Pelican Hill’s Top 12 For 2012 Holiday Season Entertaining

The Resort at Pelican Hill® along the coast of Newport Beach in Southern California presents its top 12 holiday entertaining ideas of the year for groups large and small. New this year, the acclaimed coastal Resort debuts epicurean events such as small plates cooking classes, spa celebrations such as aromatherapy blending soirées and golf gatherings such as glow-in-the-dark group tournaments.

“The holiday season is a time for appreciation and jubilation, so we’ve designed a series of creative concepts for unforgettable social, corporate and philanthropic events,” said Pelican Hill Director of Special Events Douglas Hoagland. “Whether it’s at the Resort or off-premise at exclusive Southern California venues, our event professionals have tapped into the trends of the moment to offer turn-key holiday entertaining options.”

Acclaimed for its casually elegant coastal ambiance, iconic Palladian architecture, gracious personalized service and ocean-view event spaces, Pelican Hill combines superb facilities, luxurious amenities and inspired cuisine to deliver exceptional event experiences.

For the 2012 holiday season and beyond, Pelican Hill recommends its top 12 entertaining ideas:

1.Dinner Show Kitchen

Pelican Hill’s dinner show kitchen concept entertains guests while they dine in a banquet setting. As guests enter to be seated at long communal tables, lights are dark over the stainless steel show kitchen at one end of the elegant ballroom. The spotlight turns to a chef, who welcomes the group and begins narrating as the show kitchen is illuminated to reveal an ensemble of chefs masterfully preparing the first course. Classical music dramatically punctuates the performance, which dazzles as many as 180 guests as each course is served with synchronized service.

2.California Culinary Tour

For receptions of 150 to 300 guests, a culinary tour of California highlights regions from the mountains to the sea. Savor the cuisine, wines and artisan beers of the Napa Valley, Central Coast, and Southern California alfresco around the Coliseum Pool’s upper tier of ocean-view luxury cabanas. Strolling from cabana to cabana, guests enjoy a taste of each region as a string trio performs on a “floating” stage atop one of the world’s largest circular pools.

3.Holiday Garden Party

Southern California’s mild Mediterranean climate inspires outdoor events year-round. For holiday gatherings small and large, an ocean-view event lawn encircled by white rose bushes is the perfect setting for an afternoon or evening garden party. Croquet and bocce ball games entertain guests, as a jazz trio performs under an Italianate Rotunda. Around the perimeter of the event lawn, clusters of lounge furniture offer space for guests to socialize, sample canapés and sip seasonal beverages.

4.The Art of Celebration

Take the Pelican Hill event experience to museums and art galleries around Southern California. The Resort’s turn-key off-premise catering program brings the Resort’s service, entertainment and cuisine into sophisticated settings where guests may view fine art while celebrating together. To commemorate the occasion, add an interactive artist-led “canvas of intentions” activity, in which guests paint their sentiments on a keepsake group canvas.

5.Small Plates Cooking Class

Discover the world of Spanish tapas, Italian antipasti, Greek mezze and Asian small plates, as our chef guides groups of eight to 15 guests in a hands-on cooking class. In the gourmet kitchen of a luxurious private Villa overlooking the Pacific coastline, learn to prepare a globally inspired menu featuring some of the world’s most celebrated culinary traditions.  Following wine pairing tips from the chef, taste your epicurean creations and toast to your newly acquired culinary skills.

6.19th Hole After Dark Golf 

Light up the night at Pelican Hill Golf Club under the stars with a glow-in-the-dark golf experience. Gather your friends and tee it up with a glowing golf ball shooting for an illuminated flagstick in the distance. It’s great fun and laughs for golfers of any skill level, with options that include a “closest to the pin” challenge from the practice tee or a “test of gentleness” on the practice putting green. Enjoy chilled artisan brews or spirits with a barbeque dinner or hors d’oeuvres under the stars on an outdoor terrace.

7.Spa Wellness Retreat

For six to 20 guests, celebrate year-end successes and re-energize for the new year with a custom half-day or full-day wellness retreat at The Spa at Pelican Hill. Reward deserving employees or gather cherished friends for a Five-Star spa experience, including spa treatments, luxurious amenities and group fitness classes. Participate in a healthy cooking activity or savor a mindful spa lunch featuring locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Conclude with a glass of sparkling Prosecco during a private spa soirée, as our resident artist leads the group in the Spa’s signature “canvas of intentions” painting activity.

8.Villa Progressive Dinner Party

Entertain groups of 40 to 100 guests with a progressive dining experience featuring holiday cuisine from around the globe. Guests stroll from one luxury Villa to another, savoring traditional dishes and seasonal beverages from various countries. Each Villa is decked outside and in with customary holiday décor, music, and mini flags of the nation. This dine-around concludes with a hot cocoa bar and traditional desserts served in a vibrant outdoor street festival atmosphere, with charming strings of lights overhead and caroling singers performing.

9.Aromatherapy Blending Soirée

Balance the busy holiday season with a little relaxation at The Spa at Pelican Hill. Give your group some time to slow down and connect with one another during an Apothecary Blending Soirée at the Resort’s Five-Star Spa. Designed to stimulate your senses and encourage creativity, this hands-on activity invites guests to create personalized bath salts and essential oils guided by the Spa’s knowledgeable aromatherapist. Enjoy Prosecco and canapés, while artfully crafting the perfect combination of scents to balance your spirit and reflect your intentions. Take home your custom spa products to enjoy as a treasured memento of your seasonal celebration.

10.Alfresco Winter Picnic

Celebrate the holiday season outdoors! With an average of 340 days of sunshine every year, Pelican Hill offers a mild Mediterranean climate and ideal coastal location for alfresco events year-round. The Resort’s event planning experts organize every detail for gatherings large and small at locations throughout Southern California. Custom menus, décor and entertainment abound, from rustic family style dining at the historic Irvine Ranch’s Bommer Canyon, to gourmet picnics on the pristine sand of Crystal Cove Beach.

11.Bring Pelican Hill Home for the Holidays

Give the gift of a Pelican Hill culinary experience in your home or at your office this holiday season. Delight in turn-key entertaining for parties of any size by bringing the Resort’s chef-crafted cuisine, superb service standards and seasoned catering staff to your indoor or outdoor venue of choice. As you graciously attend to your guests, Pelican Hill’s off-premise event professionals look after every detail, from décor and entertainment to cuisine and service. This year, leave the party planning to Pelican Hill and treat your guests to an unforgettable holiday celebration.

12.A Taste of Pelican Hill Dine-Around

Don’t want to settle for a single restaurant setting? Explore a variety of epicurean experiences while touring around multiple Resort restaurants this holiday season. For small-to-medium-sized parties, design your own lunch or dinner dine-around with a course at each restaurant. Begin with exquisite ocean views from the terrace at Coliseum Pool & Grill, where Mediterranean appetizers, soups and salads feature fresh local ingredients. Continue on to Andrea Ristorante to savor authentic Northern Italian selections, such as handmade pasta, a tableside risotto presentation or seasonal entrées. Whether it’s classic Grand Marnier soufflé, seasonal gelato or holiday desserts, observe chefs masterfully preparing a final course in their open-concept display kitchen at Pelican Grill. Before or after your dine-around, enjoy live weekend entertainment and specialty cocktails throughout the Resort’s restaurants and lounges.

For additional information, please contact the Resort’s Catering Department at 800.820.6800 or visit

About Pelican Hill®

Set on 504 acres by the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach, Pelican Hill features: 128 two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with magnificent coastal views and an unparalleled array of appointments, immersing guests in the absolute finest of everything; 204 luxuriously appointed bungalow guest rooms and suites with private terraces; a rejuvenating Five-Star spa with a menu of the world’s most celebrated therapies; world-class restaurants, including Andrea serving authentic Northern Italian cuisine; an iconic “Coliseum Pool,” one of the largest circular pools anywhere with tiered decks and luxurious cabanas; and Pelican Hill Golf Club with 36 dramatic holes by Tom Fazio, nearly all with ocean panoramas. A Five-Diamond destination, Pelican Hill has earned acclaim as the 2012 Grand Resort selected by Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, as Condé Nast Traveler’s #1 U.S. Resort, Top-Rated Golf Resort Worldwide and Top-Rated California Resort Spa (2011 Readers’ Choice Awards), in Travel + Leisure’s “Top 100” World’s Best Hotels (2011 Readers’ Poll), and with two courses ranked among Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses (2011).

The Irvine Company Resort Properties owns and manages the finest resort and leisure destinations in Newport Coast and the City of Irvine. In addition to Pelican Hill, the portfolio includes the Island Hotel Newport Beach, the city’s landmark property and only AAA Five Diamond hotel; Hyatt Regency Irvine, the city’s only Four Diamond hotel; Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine, featuring a challenging, Tom Fazio-designed public golf course; and several of the finest marinas in Newport Harbor and Northern California.

About the Irvine Company

The Irvine Company is an internationally renowned real estate development company known for its award-winning master-planned communities, its vast portfolio of high-quality investment properties and its leadership in conservation and natural resource management.  The growing real estate portfolio encompasses office, apartment, retail and resort holdings located throughout California’s premier markets, including assets in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, and holdings in Northern California.  As a steward of some of America’s most beautiful and scientifically important open space and parklands, the company has donated more than half of the historic 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch in Orange County — 50,000 acres — to permanently preserve these lands. The U.S. Department of Interior and the State of California have designated these parklands as “Natural Landmarks,” one of the most prestigious land preservation designations. The privately held, diversified company traces its roots to the 1860s with the formation of The Irvine Ranch® from Mexican and Spanish land grants.