Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805

Pelican Hill Logo

Old intro: December 31, 2009: HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody! Wishing all of you a happy and safe 2010 that will be a year of better life for all. :) To end the year, a large post of almost 50 photos (count, if you want) for you to read and enjoy. And a few days later, 20 pictures of a very nice kitchen.


After checking in and the tour, we were whisked off with bottles of water with the directions to drive to our villa. Easy and simple, right? Well, with the hotel's own traffic being quite busy, it was a bit difficult. The streets were wide, luckily enough, to squeeze in two cars, so driving, as long with some careful precautions, was no hard task. Even better, our villa was not far away from the Villa Clubhouse. So, it was soon enough we would meet our villa.

Villa-805

We did not even get time to look and enjoy the villa's architecture before parking into the garage, as our butler was already waiting and waving us to our garage, opened for our "grand" entry. Our butler, Luis, then met us at the door and asked for what luggage was needed to be hauled into the room. We usually just do the luggage work ourselves, but since it was Pelican Hill and they even were so prideful of their butlers that they took pictures of them hauling luggage with a smile, we let Luis do the hard work of grabbing a multitude of luggage.

Outside Atmosphere Road

Here was how all the other villas nearby looked. The villa next door had guests who were staying for a week after we left Pelican Hill! That's a long time, and plenty of money along with it. There's definitely a reason why they were staying here for so long, and we were about to learn why.

Garage Cabinets

Inside the garage, it was full of items a guest could use. Inside the cabinets were piles of different towels, rugs, and slippers. The laundry machine already came with two complimentary packets of Tide and Bounce, which were placed neatly on top of the machines. One could really live quite easily here at Pelican Hill!

Garage Operation

How do you open and close the garage door? Well, to the outside of the garage door you would see a room key slot. Simply just slide in and out the key and you would get the door to open or close. A simple process, but the staff never told us that. We only realized this fact on the day we left. :) The villa next door did not seem to know either, as their garage door was always open.

Outside Walkway To Villa

Down we went through a shady walkway, to arrive at the entry of our villa.

Glass Door

But, we still had to wait. What happened? Where were the keys?

Room Key

Well, the keys arrived shortly, as my companion who was checking in brought along our four keys and all the other Pelican Hill handouts/advertisements. We were soon in for a first glimpse of our room.

Entry

The doors opened after the the key went into the key slot, and we were in! Pardon the laptop bag in the photo, as this photo was taken AFTER the butler left and we settled in.

What the butler said next? "Welcome to your three bedroom villa."

Hmm? We reserved a two bedroom villa, is there something wrong here? Are they (Pelican Hill) going to charge another extra 500 dollars a night now?

It ended up being a free upgrade. Nice. Is it just me being lucky or is it that both the Palazzo and Pelican Hill just want to make me happy and give them a better review by upgrading us for free? (No bias still...)

First Glimpse

So this was in reality the first glimpse of the room as we went in. See the details already? The pillows were puffed and dimpled in the same spots for consistency. Lights were turned on for mood. And the books were staked in a wave pattern. Pretty.

We then went off on a tour, just like we did at the villas. Our butler first went through the the complimentary items, then the kitchen and great room, the balcony, and then lastly the bedrooms. After that, he picked up all of our luggage, one on each hand, to our room. Even if the luggage was heavy (stuff from UCI), he showed no signs of being tired, and instead left with a smile. So nice.

Here, how about I give you my version of the tour. Come along!

Entryway Glass

Looking back at the entrance, this was how it looked. No, there were no blinds or anything to shade the glass during the night. Privacy issue? Could just be.

Compllimentary Meat Cheese Plater

Meat and Cheese Platter

But what I am kidding about. What most people want to see is the FOOD. And food you shall get. After all, our butler showed us this complimentary platter of dried meats and cheeses before going anywhere else. The brie cheese was fantastic- extra creamy, butter, and not at all bitter. So smooth! Meats were the norm, and I did not try the other cheeses. Not a cheese fanatic, as you can see.

Bread

There was also toasted bread and cheese crisps, along with some lightly sweetened stewed strawberries. I liked the strawberries and the cheese crisps. The bread? I did not care for it. Hey, it was already dried by the time we arrived, and plus it was burnt.

However, there was a welcome card placed by the decorative piece, which was at first placed in an envelope (we opened it). In it was a welcome and a signature by the hotel upper level staff- a nice welcome, and not just a standard Shangri-La like welcome where the card is tiny. This card was substantial, like at Four Seasons.

(EDIT March 30, 2011: The Shangri-La statement is proven FALSE by my recent review at Island Shangri-La, I was probably thinking more of the tiny welcome card which you can see in THIS review)

Great Room

Kind of cut out from the first glimpse photo was the TV and fireplace area of the Great Room, and so now you see it here, with my camera bag in the middle (suffice to say, I shouldn't have brought it as I didn't need it. After all, it went everywhere I went).

TV Area

What is the main focal point? The fireplace, the fireplace. It is gas operated and with a flick of a light switch, it can open and close. For safety purposes, it closes itself after a period time, but you can easily override it with another flick of the switch. But what I am talking about? The TV, which is to the side. There are four of these LG TV's, and all of them are of the same size. The great room LG TV however is the only one that offers a Bose sound system to go along with the DVD player, which is in every bedroom as well. This makes the TV just simply so much more enjoyable to listen and watch.

Living Room

Here is a view of the Great Room at night. Kind of dim, yes, but not all the lights were turned onto full capacity. Still, even if it was, only parts of the room would be very bright (due to the lighting which only highlighted parts of the room).

Small Bedroom

How about we just move on now and see some bedrooms? The smallest bedroom was the bedroom closest to the entrance and the Great Room. They call it Bedroom #2; I would call it Bedroom #3. Simply, a very cozy and small bedroom. Perfect for one person staying in this room. It was about the size of a room on a older cruise ship, but felt much larger.

The bed was only just a single queen, not a king bed. Which also explains why this is better for either one person or kids. To the sides were two nightstands, with a Cisco telephone (nice), Seiko clock (every room had this), and lamps.

Small Desk

Not very far away from the bed is the other side of the room, consisting of a built in table, LG TV that directly faces the bed, and two cabinets for clothing storage and other purposes. But how about the bathroom? Where is it?

Small Bathroom
(I do not like reflective glass!)

It is just simply right across the hallway from the bedroom door. Quite roomy. Only one sink, but what did I tell you? That bedroom was probably made just for one person to stay in, not two or more. Perfect for a person that needed to study for tests, but not for two people relaxing.

As you can see by the photo, there was a roomy shower area with a rainforest like showerhead, plenty of towels, one sink, and plenty of amenities. You won't just find shower gel and shampoo, you'll find lotion, conditioner, cotton swabs, cotton pads, a sewing kit (quite elaborate one too), shoe mitt, emery board, dental rinse, and more!

Shower Amenities

Even the shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner were not just mini bottles. These were substantial bottles the size of a small hand. 100ml's worth of liquid, not 60 ml like at Shangri-La Guangzhou. As expected, these toiletries were made by Gilchrist and Soames, and were actually also made of organic ingredients, like basil, calendula, lemon, olive leaf, and rosemary. According to the packaging, the toiletries were:

-Shampoo with basil extract (more basil smell)
-Shower Gel with lemon extract (like lemon verbena to me)
-Conditioner with calendula extract
-Lotion with olive leaf extract

Small Sink

And just to add another photo, a close up image of the sink area. Not that I don't have enough photos for you to look at already...

Moving down the long hallway, there was a small closet with more storage space as well as two Pelican Hill umbrellas, and then a large piece of artwork to the left. At the end of the hallway, there were two doors to enter the master bedroom and a bedroom with two queen beds. How about we tour the two queen beds room first.

Queen Bedroom

This bedroom with the two queen beds was also the largest bedroom out of the whole three bedrooms, which can also be seen via their floor plan if you do not believe me. The TV was located dead center in front of the two beds and was placed into a special built in frame. Below, a beautiful plant setting, remote, and storage lay. Windows, which faced the outdoor walkway of the villa, were also part of this bedroom as well as the bathroom. However, since there was no real view, I left them mostly closed during the stay.

Queen Nightstand

Like the other bedroom, this bedroom also came with a Seiko clock and Cisco telephone. A writing pad with a metal pen, as well as a rounded lamp, was also on the nightstand. On each bed, there were two lamps attached so the room would not be as dim, as after all, there were no lights on the ceiling.

Closets

The closet was at the far corner of the bedroom and inside were two robes, plenty of hangers, and two special cases for pillows and blankets. Now, I did not open either, but both were quite large. All the other bedrooms had these items as well, with exception of the master also having the only safe in the villa. In addition, all of the closets had two slippers which were exceedingly cushy and soft. So was the case for the robes, which were furry and soft on the inside and smooth like microfiber on the outside. One of the best robes I have seen up to this date!

Queen Bathroom

The bathroom was also quite large- almost 3/4ths the size of the bedroom. Large! It was not actually this dim. The awful with home technology me (as our house was built 10 years ago) did not understand the light switches. It was not just close and open. The dimmer settings were also different than what I was used to. No Lutron here! Instead, the large button that did not swing up and down was the button that would have made this image much brighter. Without those lights on, the room was a fluorescent light heaven. You see that result here.

Queen Sinks

There were two sinks in this large bathroom, as expected. A large mirror dwarfed the sinks, and to the back of the door was a mirror that apparently looked like a slimming mirror instead. Anything that looked okay in the large mirror became skinny in the mirror to the back. That mirror was a full body one, you know.

Anyway, the sinks also had two glycerin soaps (like the other bathrooms), an electronic scale, plenty of towels, and a plant. I'd say plenty of room for the cosmetic carrying person, but I'm not one of those people you see. But, if you removed the fat towel on one of the shelves, you would have PLENTY of space, if the counter was not enough.

On the floor were two cotton rugs which were thin but cushy enough. If you needed more, a full stack was available in the garage. We did not need any.

Queen Shower

To the left of the sinks was the shower, which was also quite roomy, and filled with plenty of tiles for the flooring. The features and the toiletries were the same as the small bedroom's bathroom.

Tub Rack

I did not use the tub at all, but there was plenty to see, including a "seashells" book with plenty of beautiful images of seashells and writing on seashells, as well as another bottle of shower gel and another bar of soap. The list of things of toiletries to take home is growing. You did not know already? If you do not take them home but use them, they throw them away. And that now, is a big waste, especially with the case of this villa.

Bath Caviar

But really, I have just been teasing you. The bath caviar was the main attraction of the tub. Other hotels may have plenty of bath salts to use, but Pelican Hill has bath caviar! Smooth, oily, and "nourishing" pieces of caviar they were when you popped them and lathered the liquid onto skin.

Queen Toilet

The toilet was left in its own little room, which when closed was still quite a large room with nothing else but a toilet and a painting. No telephone, no special piece of lighting like at the Palazzo.

Master-Bedroom-

Moving onward next door was the master bedroom, which was quite obvious as it had several distinctions compared to all the other bedrooms. Outside was a patio with seating and greenery, which then was attached to a side door to go out to the garage, which was then about five feet away. The bed was not a queen bed, but a king bed with a large canopy over the bed like at Palazzo. To the side, there were not nightstands but built in tables with seating that were perfect for make up use, or for work. But am I kidding? A work atmosphere would be better suited for the small bedroom.

A LG TV and plenty of seating and storage rounded out the master bedroom. I have little words to say, since by looking at the photos, all the bedrooms were in reality were quite similar, even cosmetically. Beige pillows and bed throw, down bedding, plenty of fluffy white pillows, cream walls with a chipped effect as a design feature, plenty of crown molding, et cetera. You see it all in the photos! Other than the carpeting, which was brown and a bit rough in texture (not very smooth).

Master Sink

Unlike me, my companions staying in the master bedroom were smart enough to know how the lights functioned. So, here you see the result. A nicely lit bathroom, with a pretty orchid! The sinks were quite similar. BUT....

Amenities

The amenities were not. Only the master bathroom had a comb and dental kits, which were portable toothbrushes with large tubes of toothpaste. Not fair! Otherwise, the other bathrooms had the same amenities.

Master Tub

Yes, the tub was identical to the two queen bed's bathroom too. Bath caviar, tub table.

Master Orchid

And while we are in the same bathroom, how about another picture of the orchid? Yes, the toilet was also in its own separate enclosure like in the two queen bedroom.

Now that we've talked about almost every portion of the room (Kitchen coming up in a SEPARATE post), how about a chronological flashback of the view.

Daytime Catalina

The first daytime photo was one of Catalina Island and the Golf Course. I had a wider photo, but unfortunately, due to the reflective glass (you can see the result of it already in this photo), I will not put it online as if I blur myself and my companions out, the image is ruined. But hey, Catalina looks quite nice during the day, right? Even if it was a bit hazy outside. To the far right was more- Newport Beach, more golf course, and more ocean.

View-1

See it now? Plenty of golf course, and plus, a view of the villas nearby as well as other houses not owned by Pelican Hill. Fuzzed out is Newport Beach. And yes, I was crazy enough put the D90 on the top of balcony. This photo was another bad panoramic. See the effect of the three photos being overlapped?

Villas in the Distance

Here is one photo from the panoramic. See the villas facing the ocean?

Early Sunset

We had set off for the Villa Clubhouse and thus by the time we got back, the sun was setting and the day was getting darker. Hence, it was time to take more photos, and it was at this time where I learned how to apply ISO to take a nighttime image. Last minute learning!

Sunset View

Soon, the sun was setting further and further. With a low ISO, everything in the foreground was getting pitch black!

Catalina Island in the Sunset

Knowing that, it was nice to capture Catalina Island at the time. Very nice view of it :).

Great Room Tables

Time to head inside now? Well, inside it was nice and toasty. With my trusty and old 12 inch Powerbook G4 (a photo of it three years ago HERE) that still can not view this blog in full (my tester computer for low resolutions- its screen is only 1024 by 768 pixels), nothing was to fear. After all, there were plenty of plugs built into the table it was sitting on. A Cisco telephone was nearby. And the dining table, which interfered with the seating of the table, had food. And the kitchen also had food (to be reviewed in the Kitchen post). So, everything was okay.

Fireplace

The gas operated fireplace also made sure to keep us nice and toasty.

Plants

And beautiful succulent plants were sure to keep us happy with their pulchritudinous looks. The top one was in the kitchen, the bottom one was in the two queens room. How can all these plants be so picture perfect? (Too bad, the bottom image would have been much nicer if I was thinking when I took the photo!!!)

Table Sunset

Before we left for Pelican Grill, it was time for another shot of how it was outside. This shot had the camera just perched on the table.

Night Amenity

Night fell, and when we returned to our villa via the Escalade, our room had changed. Everything was organized again. If we had clothing laid out not neatly enough, it was folded nicely and placed somewhere we would easily see it. The beds had been made for nighttime, and a bottle of water and a special item in a box, which you see above, was placed onto the beds. If we placed their amenities somewhere else, they placed them back. See? So much thought was put in.

Sweets

All of the signs read that the amenity was of apricot and rosemary, but were they? We had two different types of sweets. And no, we did not eat them yet. :(

Pelican Hill Slippers

And here were the slippers. If six were not pleasing enough (two were in each bedroom's closet), there were nine more pairs of slippers in the garage.

We walked with the slippers everywhere (all the time during our stay, actually). Outside the villa, in the villa. Yet, they never got really dirty at all! The backing was only a light grey, even if we did walk outside quite a bit. Shocking, yes. Pelican Hill knows their maintenance!

I did end up sleeping after writing about Pelican Grill on the mini laptop for three hours (with breaks), but the sleep was uncomfortable? Why?

The bed was comfy enough. Very soft (I sleep on a firm bed, so it felt like the opposite), but lightly supportive. The pillows were cushy and soft. BUT, the down bedding? Too thick and heavy!!! I was not sleeping in 40 degree weather, thanks. The opinion of the bedding was unanimous. Simply, too hot for the season! Maybe if we switched blankets it might have worked much better. Instead of putting the thermostat at 72, we had to put it near 60. That only solved the problem for me, since I was sleeping right in front of the air conditioner(the air vent for the 2 queen room faces the beds). Everyone else, I wasn't sure.

Stars without a Tripod

But, being the night it already was, I'd rather take some photos instead of sleep uncomfortably. So, out with the camera I went into the nippy Newport Coast night to take some pictures of the stars, which were shining quite bright. Unfortunately, all the shots were blurry. I after all had no tripod and instead was keeping steady by putting the camera onto the lounge chair outdoors and using my hands to angle the camera up. Crazy me, crazy.

View-2

Luckily enough however, the sun was shining again and another day had begun. And in the morning, the sun was shining brightly and the clouds were puffy and beautiful. Perfect photo opportunity!

You can read more of the second day's activities here, and then lunch at Charlie Palmer here.

Read the series in order:
China Garden- Irvine (Lunch Day 1)
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Introduction and Villa Clubhouse
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805 Kitchen
Pelican Grill- Newport Coast (Thanksgiving Pre-fix Dinner
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Second Day Thoughts
Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza- Costa Mesa (Lunch Day 2)

Enjoy!