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Newport Beach Blog

February 6, 2018

Creativity “Wins The Day” This Valentine’s!

Looking for something beyond store-bought wrapped chocolates this Valentine’s Day? With picture perfect weather, glistening water and views, and some of the finest opportunities in all of Southern California, this year it’s time to be different and be creative by giving the gift of time well-spent together. Whether you celebrate during the week as this year the holiday falls on a Wednesday, or a a whole weekend, there’s plenty of unique ways for cherished bonding.

Hornblower CruisesHornblower Cruises & Events offers a multi-course Valentine’s Dinner on Feb. 14, as well as three-hour Dinner Cruises on Friday and Saturday evenings and two-hour Saturday and Sunday Jazz Brunch Cruises.  Weekends mean taking a break and for brunch, guests are welcomed aboard with a bottomless glass of champagne. Then a delicious buffet is available – stocked with classic American breakfast dishes, plus plenty of seasonal lunch entrées and richly decadent desserts. Sway to the live jazz music and enjoy the gorgeous views of Newport Beach’s iconic scenery on the bay. Visit: www.hornblower.com for all the details.

Fashion Island HotelOvernight escapes are the best! Sometimes just sneaking away for an evening of romance and relaxation is in order.  Fashion Island Hotel Newport Beach knows all about how to make this special. During February, every day is Valentine’s Day, and the hotel is offering a “Love to Indulge” package that includes luxurious accommodations, delicious dining, posh cocktailing and a relaxing spa experience. This one-night package includes complimentary dinner for two at Oak Grill and a couple’s massage. Starting rates are $449 per night and is based on availability (price excludes applicable taxes). Please call 877-591-9145 or book online.

Balboa Bay ResortThe waterfront Balboa Bay Resort is offering an “Endless Romance” package. This includes a $100 food and beverage credit at the resort, along with sparkling wine, assortment of macaroons and strawberries in-room upon arrival, rose petal turn-down service and valet parking. To book please call 888-894-2788, or click here: http://meritagecollection.com/balboabayresort/endlessromance

Spa Gregorie’s has you covered for ensuring the most kissable lips this Valentine’s Day! In addition to fabulous massages, facials, body scrubs and gift cards, here are some unique gifts to consider—so pucker up! Patchology Hydrating Lip Gels moisturize and soften your pout in just 10 minutes with these easy to use lip masques ($15 for five gel masques). Or perhaps the Revival Lip Scrub, which exfoliate the face and allows the lip plumper’s to do their work! This scrub is sugar-based so it dissolves when massaged into the lips and comes in three yummy flavors: cinnamon sugar, peppermint sugar, and rose vanilla ($10).  Call 949-644-6672 or visit: www.spagregories.com

Le Pain Quotidien is hosting a “Couples Valentine Pizza & Pie Baking Class” on Feb. 14, 16, and 17 at 7pm. Bring romance into the bakery with two classes in one! Participants start off with hands-on instruction for making their own pizza dough, sauces from scratch, ways to top the pizza and how to bake them. Next, make a pie and learn how to fill the pie. Once the pizzas have baked, guests will sit down to enjoy a four-course meal with a bottle of wine. Cost is $100 per person. To book click here.

Gondola Adventures will make you feel like you are smack-dab in Venice, Italy, as you and your special someone glide along Newport Harbor. And why not celebrate Valentine’s Day early, or on the weekend?  As a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration on Feb. 12 and 13, Gondola Adventures is offering couples lower rates and a $15 discount by using promotional code “VPRE18” when booking (this cannot be combined with any other offers). Ask about their romantically popular “Message In A Bottle” option. In a nutshell, the host (normally a passenger on the gondola) writes something special for their valentine ahead of time. The gondola company transfers it onto parchment paper, ties it with a ribbon and places it into a clear glass wine bottle.  Sometime during the cruise, the Gondolier slips it into the water, turns the boat around, and asks that special someone to retrieve it. It’s just perfect for Valentine’s Day! Guests can also pre-order items to nibble on during the cruise.  To book call 949-646-2067 or visit: www.gondola.com

Pedego CDMPedego Corona del Mar has you riding an electric bike and experiencing the joys of exploring the coast effortlessly. Hills? No problem. Glide along at your own pace and feel like a kid again. Perhaps stop for a Balboa Bar, or ride the ferry across Newport Harbor, cruise Crystal Cove—it is so much fun. Pedego Corona del Mar has two specials.  Custom tours are available from $125 per person with a minimum of two guests and for the holiday, Pedego CdM is offering a 10% discount ($25 off for two).  Guests choose their own itinerary and are accompanied by a trained Pedego guide. We suggest Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula for sightseeing as well as exploring the neighborhoods of Corona del Mar and nearby Back Bay and Estuary.  Or, if you prefer to do it on your own, just rent bikes (from $25/hr per person) and head out!  If renting two bikes for two hours, get a third hour for free.  Maps and directions are available upon request. Reservations and payment are required at least 24 hours in advance and are based on availability.  One free Pedego watch goes to the first 25 reservations for rentals or custom tours in response to this Blog, so be sure to mention you read this on the Visit Newport Beach blog! These offers are valid through Feb. 18, 2018. Call  949-612-7989 or visit: www.pedegocdm.com 

The Newport Bay Conservancy is offering “Back Bay Guided Kayak Tours” on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to noon. As the largest remaining estuary in Southern California, the Back Bay offers a unique experience to explore a salt marsh estuary that is home to many birds and several endangered species. The guide will discuss the history of the bay, and the native plants, birds, animals and marine life.

This two-hour guided kayak tour paddles through the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve with a Naturalist. These tours are conducted in partnership with the Newport Aquatic Center. Both novices and experienced paddlers are welcome. Guests can book their adventure at: www.newportbay.org

Balboa Kayaks and Paddleboards is located on Dover Drive, at the base of Castaways Park. They rent paddle boards and kayaks and are offering a great deal right now. Mike, the owner, is very helpful and will make your outing memorable. For all of February, guests who rent one paddle board for two hours will get the second board rental for free! When visitng their website, click on the blue “Special” button and then call or text 949-466-3721 or email balboakayaks@gmail.com with your preferred day and time. Free parking at the launch site.  https://squareup.com/store/Balboakayaks

Balboa Fun Tours rents kayaks, paddle boards, bikes, Segways and more. Located on Balboa Peninsula near 19th Street. During February, when you rent a single or tandem kayak, get the second hour for free! Call 949-484-4600 or visit: www.balboafuntours.com

Southwind Kayak Center is located under the bridge near PCH and Bayside Drive. Open Friday-Sunday during the winter, they offer kayak and paddle board rentals and are in a great spot to explore the Back Bay. Call 949-261-0200 or visit: www.southwindkayaks.com/pages/newport-beach-kayak-rentals

For gift items and special Valentine’s Day cards, many of the boutiques on Balboa Island have charming ideas with garden art, aprons, candles, and candy too. Items can even be monogrammed at Sandcastle Monogram www.sandcastlemonogram.com  and you can follow your heart to Balboa Island Museum store for some special gifts with a historical reference www.balboaislandmuseum.org

Written by Deirdre Michalski

Deirdre Michalski is a travel and culinary writer covering topics near and far. You can read more about her adventures on her web site www.TastesAndTravel.com

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