This Lido House Hotel review is from the perspective of both a hotel guest and separately as a “local” visitor to the property. We stayed as a couple and then also with kids and as such experienced Lido House from several different perspectives. The best way to describe us now and for the foreseeable future would be former hotel guests and visitors.
Driving up to the former Newport Beach City Hall is inspiring and leads one to believe you’re are in for a great experience. The design and architecture, with its Cape Code aesthetic and nautical theme, is a great fit for the area. Unfortunately, the promise of a great beach-house experience ends there except for a few glimmers of hope that the Lido House can become than it appears.
The Hotel Crowd
The Lido House is struggling with an identity crisis in their attempt to serve a vast array of people. Families with young kids, couples, vacationers, business travelers, locals, party goers and bachelor/bachelorette parties are all welcome. The problems start to occur when the hotel guests who are also families, vacationers and business travelers expect a peaceful experience without the partying, late night noise or security everywhere at night. They also want to experience the pool, restaurant and roof top bars and other amenities without long lines, no seating, security and wristbands everywhere they go.
On the flip side locals expect a great but casual experience where they’re treated with respect and have equal access. Others are looking for a party spot, some book rooms full of people and others show up with their crew of friends looking to close the place down. As one might imagine this mix doesn’t always work and all groups involved can feel left short changed on their experience.
Is it a hotel for families, business travelers or a party destination where you should expect loud noise, limited seating and partying throughout the day night? As of right now it’s hit or miss. You might get what you’re looking for, you might not or you might get a mix of it all.
The rooms are on the small side but appropriately decorated with a nautical theme. The rooms are sufficient for two people but a family might not have adequate space. We had a patio balcony overlooking the pool which was great but not all rooms come with a balcony.
There are no luggage racks and limited hooks and places to store or put away your items. The beds and pillows were very comfortable. Two water bottles are provided, there is a small fridge but no mini-bar or coffee. They do provide two tokens for coffee located outside of the hotel.
For many the biggest issue with the rooms is the noise. Many guests located near or even semi-near the rooftop bar will experience loud dance music and revelers late into the night. Those that might escape that the rooftop noise still might experience noise from Newport Beach Boulevard. The walls between the rooms also seem lightly sound insulated as you can hear people in other rooms and in the hall way (people loudly returning from a late night).
If you’re looking to avoid as much noise as possible request to stay away from the elevators, rooftop bar and higher floors. Avoid any room ending in 52.
For what is billed as a luxury boutique hotel the room service falls short. In the morning there is a full breakfast menu but after that the menu is extremely limited and closes at 11 pm, including weekends. Beer, wine and dessert can’t be ordered through room service and the only snack option is a nut mix. Plus, no minibar is available to supplement the room service shortcomings. It also isn’t readily apparent how to view the menu or order room service but with a call to the front they’ll explain there is no physical room service menu. You’ll need to slowly navigate the menu located on the TV guide.
The saltwater pool area is small and also includes a Jacuzzi tucked away in the back. Again, the crowd is mixed and odd. There are families with small children mixed in with younger couples, and groups of guys and girls celebrating bachelorettes, birthdays etc. Ear muffs for the kids might be appropriate based on the language and stories that can be overheard.
The pool service we experienced was poor. It took 15 – 20 minutes to order drinks and then another 20 minutes or so to get the drinks. We probably would have had two or three drinks but we ultimately gave up, waited a long time to get our check, and left. The food menu is very limited and the next day was a similar experience.
On our journey in the morning to find coffee (no coffee in the room) we passed through the pool area where cleaning up from the day before appeared optional. There were dirty towels and half full beer cups strewn about.
The Mayor’s Table food is fairly good but the portions are small and the pricing is not. Be prepared to pay fine dining prices and leave hungry. The restaurant closes at 10 pm, even on the weekends, which for many hotels this may not be a problem because the bar is still open. However, the menu is very limited at the bar and if you’re hoping for a late night (after 10 pm) dessert, you’re out of luck. This may not matter though as there is no bar seating to be found on the weekends. Additional peculiarities include that they don’t serve light beer (anywhere in the hotel) and the wine selection is limited especially by the glass.
Topside Rooftop Bar
The rooftop bar from a design perspective is very nicely done with fire pits and great views of the ocean, harbor and peninsula. If you’re staying at the hotel on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday don’t expect to check out the rooftop bar as it is closed, even during the summer. Thursdays and Fridays, they don’t open until 4 pm and 2 pm on the weekends.
The roof deck can be a must visit with great views, people watching and drinks but it also turns into a party spot with long lines, security, slow service, club-style wristbands and nowhere to sit. The dress code started out fairly strict (no flip flops) but appears to have loosened to no tank tops or board shorts after considerable backlash. The rooftop bar is also 21 and over so if you’re staying at the hotel with kids don’t plan on visiting the rooftop.
For a $30 destination fee ($33.90 plus tax) the hotel offers wifi and gym access plus bikes, towels and chairs to head a few blocks away to the beach. This doesn’t include the $36 valet fee and there is no self-parking.
There are outdoor fire pits, not always on at night, and lawn games to enjoy as well. For Instagram stars and those looking for great group photos or selfies there are some great opportunities such as a mural of a mermaid or a unique teeter totter to sit on.
If you want coffee in your room that isn’t option, but you do get two tokens to walk outside the back, through two gates and into a typical coffee line to grab a cup of brew.
The gym is not large but it’s a very nice gym with brand new equipment such as Peloton bikes, treadmills, cross-fit style equipment and free weights. If a gym is part of your consideration set for a place to stay, this one will meet or exceed most hotel gyms.
The staff is beachy, correction the area is beachy, the staff can be unfriendly. At a luxury boutique hotel you’re expecting great, friendly service everywhere you turn. However, the pool servers are busy and doing their best just to get your order. Security is checking hotel cards, issuing wristbands and can be stern even with hotel guests. The staff attempts to do their best to answer questions, but they don’t know much and answers can vary depending on who you talk to. At check-in the staff could do a better job of explaining how to navigate and experience the property especially when you’re competing with non-hotel guests for access to the amenities, dining and entertainment.
Our experience was that Customer Service is a big failure on the part of the Lido House. Our hotel bill had hundreds of dollars we did not make. We’d expect this to be a simple correction and everybody moves on. However, after repeated phone calls, unreturned phone calls and promises to correct it took many hours and over a month to unsatisfactorily resolve. On social media the Lido House publicly promised to investigate and favorably resolve the issue but never followed through with those promises or even bothered to reach out. Reviews regarding Lido’s customer service would appear to indicate this is not an isolated incident.
The surrounding area has many things to do within walking distance or a short bike or drive away. The Lido Marina Village is a newly re-developed area featuring waterside dining, charming boutiques and stylish shops set in a waterside village ambience. The beach is a few blocks away as are many restaurants ranging from fast food, to fast casual to fine dining. We’d definitely recommend Bear Flag Fish for some of the best seafood in Orange County.
The harbor offers many marina activities such as surfing, sailing, sunset cruises, boat rentals, fishing excursions, stand-up paddle boarding and much more. Farther out but not too far away there is shopping at Fashion Island or South Coast Plaza, Crystal Cove, golfing, entertainment, Balboa Island (get a Balboa Bar), and the Balboa Fun Zone for kids.
We didn’t stay at the cottages or use the spa and thus did not cover these two items.
The Lido House has the potential to be great but there is a lot to work out before they get there. Some issues such as customer service, rooftop bar hours, limited menus and missing amenities would seem correctable. The value proposition compared to similar hotels is a tougher fix. Figuring out their identity by balancing party goers, couples, families and business travelers all in one boutique hotel might be too difficult of a fix.
For now, Enjoy Orange County at somewhere other than the Lido House Hotel. Two oranges out of five.