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The Resort at Pelican Hill

By Honey   Thursday, October 6th, 2011

The Resort at Pelican hill in Newport Coast is about a 45 minute drive from Los Angeles International airport where I was earlier this month prior to my cruise on board the Crystal Symphony to the Mexican Riviera.

Not one but two doormen  held the doors open for me to enter the reception area  to this extravagant resort which has magnificent expansive views of the Pacific ocean. The resort is set on a bluff  , but a complimentary shuttle( a schedule is given to you when you check in) provides transportation to the beach and Crystal Cove state park which are right below. Since I had just arrived from the “deep freeze” aka The Twin cities, I decided to have lunch by the ocean at the very popular Beachcomber restaurant which serves  delicious American cuisine with breath taking views of the Newport Coastline and Catalina Island.

 The resort at Pelican Hill is designed in a dramatic Tuscan-inspired Palladio style, with stunning man made landscape  with hundreds of elegantly swaying Canary palms, age-old olive trees, exotic flowering shrubs  and rose bushes. There are 204 bungalows and 108 villas.  My bungalow had an ocean view and was over 800 square feet, with a private terrace  and was very luxuriously appointed with a gas lit Italian limestone fireplace, which I did sit by in the evening.  If you do not feel like walking to the spa or restaurants on the property a shuttle will pick you up and take you where you want to go.

I spent both  evenings before dinner at the 23,000 square foot elaborate  spa in the warm Roman soaking pool as it was too cold to be outdoors at the the circular pool— the largest of its kind in the world . The spa boutique  carries Olivina skin products and  the founder of this company, Susan Costner-Kenward, was visiting for the weekend to talk about her products which are made from olive and grape seed oil.

There are plenty of dining options at the resort.  They have an Italian restaurant called Andrea and The Grill which is a distinguished Continental room and is known for  sampling thick aged beef and fresh-caught seafood, all while enjoying sunsets over Catalina Island. There is also a gourmet delicatessen  , a poolside venue and a 37th hole (there are two golf courses hereby Tom Fazio ) at the golf club. If none of these restaurants appeal to you then there are plenty of dining options in Carona Del Mar which is less than a 10 minute drive from the resort.

I have traveled the world and seen some beautiful resorts but there was something very special about Pelican Hill.  I was not ready to leave after a couple of nights of tranquility and luxury.  Everyone is made to feel special at the beautiful Pelican resort.  A perfect place to visit for a long weekend if you are within driving distance and are looking to get away or for longer if you are flying in.

Aman Resorts in Bali

By Honey   Friday, February 19th, 2010

I recently had the opportunity of visiting the exotic island of Bali. I disembarked in Padang Bai after a short but wonderful cruise on Regent Seven Seas Mariner from Singapore to Bali and chose to spend a few days in beautiful Bali visiting three Aman properties Amankila, Amandari and Amanusa.

Amankila is a short drive from Padang Bai where the Mariner had anchored and we tendered in. A cheerful, smiling  Budi Klong met us once we had gotten off the tender  and greeted us with the word Ibu before our names. In Indonesian Ibu means mother and everyone will greet you that way., After a short drive from Padang Bai we arrived at Amankila which means peaceful hill. It is set on a hill overlooking Lambak Strait in East Bali. Our suite, one of the 34 had a spectacular view of the sea and surrounding hillside with a private pool. Check-in is done in the suite which are like beach houses. Below the resort is it’s private sand beach and club. One can chose to walk or be driven in an open-air buggie. I chose to be driven by the ever smiling Budi the next morning before we departed for Amandari.  Though my stay was short it was nice to be able to experience the Amankila where service was impeccable and the staff always smiling and gracious.

Budi drove us to Amandari which is just an hour a way but we chose to make a few stops along the way. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant where all the locals dine. The food was delicious and spicy. Since we also wanted to interact with the local people in their own homes, Budi offered to take us to his home and meet his 105 year old grandfather. He was alert and had the most beautiful toothless smile. We  finally arrived at Amandari by early  evening which is Aman’s enclave of Balinese elegance and grace overlooking the Ayung river gorge. Amadari which means ‘peaceful spirit’ is located 5 minutes from the art community of Ubud in central Bali. The views of terraced rice fields and coconut palms is magnificent. Our thatched-roof suite with private garden courtyard and pool was more like a villa than a suite. The suites feature expansive glass walls with superb outlooks with batik-covered sliding doors. Our suite had an outdoor sunken tub which was wonderful to soak in at night and star gaze after a relaxing Ballinese massage in one of their open air bales. The world class staff are always willing to help and make your  stay warm and comfortable.

The next morning after a relaxing breakfast by the pool we set out for Amanusa which means peaceful isle in  Nusa Dua which is about 6 miles from the Denpasar, Bali airport  an hour and half drive from Amandari. The property is on a garden hillside in Southern Bali just above the Bali golf and country club. Views run from the adjacent Indian Ocean to sacred Mount Ayung on the far horizon on a clear day. Amanusa has 35 thatched-roof suites set behind foliage and mossy para stone walls for added privacy. All suites have 4 poster beds, a sunken indoor tub, outdoor shower, a garden courtyard and terrace with spacious day bed. We arrived almost at sunset and took a short drive down to the beach club. The sand beach is one of Bali’s finest and is fringed by a coral reef. After another relaxing Balinese massage and a delicious Indonesian in room dining dinner in our exquisitely designed suite, it was time to bid farewell to Bali very early the next morning. A noteworthy point mentioning is all the staff I spoke to at all three resorts had been working with the resorts since they first opened, some 18 and some 20 years.

All three properties offer Virtuoso exclusive amenities. For further information and special pricing for the Aman resorts in Bali please contact Honey at