Reviews & Photos
June 16 2013
1 family found this helpful
First Cabin - Balboa Bay Resort
1221 Coast Highway,
"Child Friendly Elegent Dining!"
We didn’t have to go far to find excellent food, with excellent service, and beautiful surroundings. On a recent trip to Balboa Bay Resort my four year old daughter and I enjoyed a classy dinner for two at their signature restaurant, the First Cabin. The First Cabin is the resorts upscale elegant dining experience. This delighted both my daughter and I, since it gave us an excuse to get all dolled up. We made reservations and were immediately seated when we arrived.
Service was perfection from the host to the server. Our server was great, he loved that we were having a fancy mother/daughter dinner. He was engaging and made the dinner such a night to remember. Like the staff throughout the Balboa Bay Resort, he talked with my daughter, asking her what she wanted, and then Okaying it with me. He also didn’t bat an eyelash when we wanted to substitute things. The First Cabin is a first class restaurant.
HONORABLE MENTION: The bread server was so sweet to my daughter. When she came out with the platter of bread to choose (by the way you must try the olive bread it is to die for) my daughter choose the bread sticks that are in a package. When she came back during our meal to see if we wanted more my daughter asked if she could take a package home. She immediately went into the back and brought out 4 packages and said one is not enough, you can have some for the next few days. My daughter lit up!
True to what I have come to expect from restaurants located next to the water, the menu was filled with fresh seafood options and beautiful cuts of several types of meat. My daughter and I are vegetarians and I am very comfortable with ordering off a mostly seafood and meat menu. I ordered the Cesar salad and was more than over the moon. I am very picky about my Cesar salads and so many restaurants do not get this simple salad right. The First Cabin chef has my vote for the best Cesar salad in Southern California.
The kids menu was great with several kid friendly options; hamburger, grilled cheese, hot dog, pasta, PB&J, all served with fruit and a drink. My daughter opted for the pasta with olive oil and wanted broccoli instead of fruit.
The two things that surprised me were there weren’t any pasta dishes or side dishes on the adult menu. I’m sure if I would have asked for pasta they would have obliged as they did for the broccoli that was not stated on the menu.
I’m not a big eater in general and I don’t usually eat dessert but I have to say the one thing that will get me to say YES to dessert is a flour less chocolate torte. This flour less chocolate torte had some extra bells and whistles. After the server sat down the torte he poured a wonderful caramel sauce over the torte and ice cream which made for a very decedent surprise. My daughter had the vanilla ice cream with strawberries. Both desserts were a perfect ending to a delicious meal.
The ambiance was classy yet not intimidating for small children. I find when we go to elegant dining and I dress my daughter up she rises to the occasion, she loves feeling like a big girl. The view from the restaurant is of the marina and several multimillion dollar yachts. It’s fine California dining and ambiance at its best.
I absolutely recommend eating at the First Cabin. Even though I can’t say anything about the real meat and potatoes of this restaurant, there were several other tables that seemed pleased with their meals. As for our experienced we loved every minute of this fancy and classy dining experience. My daughter asked just the other day if we could go back and have pasta and bread sticks at the fancy restaurant. I assured her we will very soon. But next time we will bring my meat eating husband. So look for an update in the near future!
My daughter and I received a complementary meal to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and I was not told to express a certain point of view.
June 16 2013
2 families found this helpful
Balboa Bay Resort
1221 W Coast Hwy,
Newport Beach, California
"Family Friendly Luxury Hotel"
Recently my four year old daughter and I decided to venture to Newport Beach for a couple days of mommy, daughter relaxation and bonding. The Balboa Bay Resort was the perfect place for us. It was luxurious without being stuffy, incredibly peaceful, and located in a family friendly beach town.
From the moment we drove up to Balboa Bay Resort, I could feel the resort was special. Situated on the marina, the fresh air enveloped me and relaxation set in. Valet was not only a breeze, but the valet staff was helpful and polite. Helping my daughter with her tiny luggage and her abundance of teddy bears, their patience with a smile was not lost on me.
Balboa Bay Resort is pure luxury. The multimillion dollar yachts docked right in front was the first clue to what we could expect. Walking in the lobby I was welcomed with wall to wall marble, beautiful seating areas and the very welcoming front desk staff. Checking in was easy and thorough, I was asked if I had or needed any hotel restaurant reservations, and when I informed her that I already had them she called and confirmed them for me. Located in the hotel were two restaurants, a bar, clothing store, a gift shop with snacks and more, the library that is the perfect place to gather with friends and catch up, the library is also were you will find complementary coffee and tea from 6:00-8:00am. (Make sure to check out my review of the restaurant The First Cabin)
The room exuded California living at its finest. Beautifully decorated, extremely cozy, and there were those multimillion dollar yachts docked right outside our patio, what a view! Our room had two queen size beds with super plush mattresses and crisp cozy bedding, a lounge chair, desk, amour with a big flat screen T.V., coffee maker with organic coffee, and a mini-fridge. The bathroom was large with duel skinks, separate bath tub, shower, and toilet. My favorite part of the room was the patio; two French doors open to a patio with a chair, a lounge chair, and table. Perfect for my morning coffee or just sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air and boats going by. My daughters favorite thing to do in the mornings was to grab an apple off the front desk and a herbal tea and join me on the patio for a deep breath of fresh air before we got our day started. My daughter said it best “this is the life momma” and I had to agree.
Our visit was in June, so we dealt with cooler weather due to June Gloom. Even though the sun stayed hidden for most the day and the temperature didn’t go above 72, that didn’t stop us from having fun at the swimming pool all three days. The Olympic size swimming pool complete with lanes for laps was heated to 82 degrees, which made it comfortable enough to swim. When we were done with the swimming pool we did enjoy warming up in the large hot tub. The hot tub was large enough for my daughter to swim around in.
Food service at the pool was quick and easy. We ordered french fries and a slice of watermelon, what a perfect snack! The french fries were perfectly seasoned and crispy, served with sides of ketchup and ranch. The slice of watermelon was HUGE! We ended up bringing half of it back and eating it for a nighttime snack.
Available for rent are electric Duffy boats that seat 12, two person kayak, or a paddle boat. Unfortunately my daughter is a bit timid of the open water so we were unable to experience any of these very tempting and fun activities.
The location of Balboa Bay Resort was perfect; walking distance to several restaurants and a mile or two to great beaches, shopping, and the Balboa Fun Zone. Newport Beach is a great California beach town that gives vacationing families a taste of the California beach life.
The staff and service was top notch. We interacted with several of the staff during our stay. Everyone from the valet to the poolside food service and everyone in-between were polite, efficient, and helpful. What really felt special is that everyone not only addressed me, they addressed my daughter as well. They made her feel as important as they made me feel.
I absolutely recommend the Balboa Bay Resort. In fact not only do I intend to revisit the Balboa Bay Resort with my family and my husband family, but I think it is the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary sans our little one for a perfect adult getaway!
So whether you’re planning a relaxing getaway with girlfriends, a romantic getaway with your significant other, or a fun family adventure, you will not be disappointed if you choose the Balboa Bay Resort.
My daughter and I received a complementary stay in order to facilitate this review. All reviews are my own and I was not told to express a certain point of view.
June 06 2013
0 families found this helpful
1227 Hermosa Ave,
Incredibly dangerous is an understatement. Frosted Cupcakery is all about cupcakes, sweet tasty cupcakes. The regular cupcakes are really good, but their ice cream cupcakes are simply irresistible. Imagine a giant sized cupcake with ice cream in the center. We had the double chocolate and the mint chocolate and both did not disappoint.
The size is perfect for sharing. We bought two and my daughter ate half and saved the other half for the following day. My husband and I shared one and we were both satisfied.
April 29 2013
1 family found this helpful
Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach
1300 The Strand,
Hermosa Beach, California
"A Hotel That Feels More Like A Home!"
Nestled between Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach is a small, 5.9 sq. miles to be exact, beach city, Hermosa Beach. What Hermosa Beach lacks in size, it makes up for in quality. One of the best qualities I believe is Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach. Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach is one of those places my family calls a “yearly”. Making it on our “yearly list” means this is a place we will visit at least once a year. What qualifies a hotel to make it on our “yearly list” is one important thing, how family friendly was our stay.
We had all intentions of exploring this small beach town, but because the hotel and immediate surrounding area had all we needed to have a few days of peaceful bliss, we decided to skip the exploring and just soak up the relaxation. We will have plenty of time to explore on our yearly repeats. We did take a walk to the local cupcakery for desert which I highly suggest and the small market up the street which had everything we needed.
We had the luxury of staying in a suite with a full ocean view. What I was told is that all the rooms are the same, what you choose is the view. 80% of the rooms have some sort of ocean view, either partial or full. Each room has a King size bed and a queen size sleeper sofa, and they also have connecting rooms to accommodate bigger groups.
Our room was amazing, beautiful serene décor, grand bathroom, comfortable living room space with kitchenette, and bedroom area with desk and flat screen T.V. Other in room amenities were a second flat screen T.V. in the living room area, stereo, DVD player, dishes, silverware, tea kettle with assorted tea, coffee maker and coffee, microwave, mini-fridge, fireplace, use of bathrobes, safe, and Aveda body products.
After getting settled in our room and feeling the relaxed energy of our atmosphere, it became clear we did not want to take a minute away from enjoying our view to sit in a restaurant. We grabbed some groceries and since the room had everything we needed to prepare meals, we did just that. I quickly realized that the Beach House Hermosa Beach was named appropriately. It really does feel like a house. My suggestion to anyone booking a room at Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach is spring for the beach front view, you will be glad you did. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like cooking yourself there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance and the hotel offered in-room dining.
Let’s talk about the bed…the bed and the bedding where far superior to any hotel bed or bedding I have stayed in. I have stayed at some of the top hotels and I can say without a doubt, this was the most comfortable night sleep. My biggest pet peeve is stiff linens and overstuffed rock hard pillows. Again one of the small things this hotel has that made it feel more like home.
It must be the beach air that has everyone in a good mood, or they know how to hire likable, polite, and helpful staff. Everyone we came in contact greeted us with a warm smile and the willingness to help. We didn’t need any help during our stay, yet the eagerness to make sure everything was to our liking was felt throughout.
Parking was a breeze (no pun intended (ocean breeze). Valet is right when you pull up to the hotel. The cost is $24 for overnight guest. What I have found is that on average parking will cost you $16-$25 so it’s right in line with other hotels. The $24 includes in and out privileges, but since you’re in a town with most things in walking distance, you might just park your car and keep it parked your entire stay. Valet is also where you will find complimentary beach chairs and sand toys! Beach towels are available at the front desk.
The only thing between Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach and the beach is the bike path. The property is literally beach front. So you don’t have to drive to the beach or lug your beach chairs and babies blocks to get to the beach. You walk out of the hotel and you are on the beach. The beach itself is very child friendly. The shore is flat, the sand is clean, there is an abundance of shells to gather, and with the sand toys you can borrow, there are plenty of sand castles to be made.
Continental breakfast was included in the stay. Located in a small café setting with indoor and outdoor seating, this easy, fresh, self serve breakfast was the perfect way to start our day. Offered were bagels and cream cheese, danishes, muffins, cereals, and whole fruit, along with coffee, tea, juice, and milk.
Other Hotel Amenities:
A few amenities we didn’t use but are worth mentioning are the free use of the fitness center and Jacuzzi and the on sight spa, that offers relaxing massages and treatments.
Even though we didn’t explore and see all Hermosa Beach has to offer, we did drive through it on our way to the hotel. The streets were lined with small boutiques, restaurants, antique shopping and more, all within walking distance from the hotel. It really did encompass the beach lifestyle. Within a block from the hotel there were several restaurants, coffee shops, a market and clothing stores. This made it perfect to park our car and keep it parked until we checked out.
The Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach is the perfect hotel for locals or families visiting California. We are locals and we love a stay-cation that makes us feel like we are no longer in Los Angeles. Because of my husband’s business we have found ourselves doing more and more local trips that feel like we are much further than 30 miles. The Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach has the feeling of home in a setting that makes it hard to leave but easy to return.
My family and I received a hosted stay to facilitate this review. I was not asked to express a certain point of view. All opinions are my own.
April 27 2013
Zio Gelato - Palazzo Hotel
0 families found this helpful
3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South,
"Best Gelato I've Ever Had!"
This is by far the best gelato I have ever had! With over three dozen flavors like watermelon, guava, green apple, pineapple and just about any fruit flavor plus chocolate and vanilla flavors, there must be a flavor for everyone here. It isn't cheap, we paid almost $8 for one scoop in a cone! But what isn't expensive in this town.
Made in the kitchen of the Valentino restaurant under the watch of James Beard-awarded chef Luciano Pellegrini.
You will find it behind Bouchon bakery between Venetian and Palazzo.