So monumental was the scope and scale of this swank SoCal retreat that its developers shut down two of the nation's top public courses — for two years — in order to build it. Late in 2007, Tom Fazio's re-tooled, 14-year-old seaside designs, Ocean North and Ocean South re-opened. A year later, the Resort at Pelican Hill made its debut. Virtually everyone who has experienced Pelican Hill agrees it was worth the wait.
Distinctive touches are splattered across the property. With hotel rooms and villas etched into a hillside overlooking the Pacific, the effect is Tuscan countryside, but the striking Coliseum Pool, shaped in a gigantic circle and framed by columns and arches, evokes the spectacle of Rome in all its glory. On-call butler service for villa guests, fresh pasta made daily in a temperature-controlled room at Andrea Ristorante and locally produced spa ingredients that vary seasonally are other highlights. A sizeable bill awaits upon departure, but perfection has a price. The Newport Beach area delivers perhaps the nation's most perfect climate; the region finally has a golf resort to match.