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New and Renovated Venues in Orange County, California (2022)

May 2, 2022
Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club Grand Lawn

Breathtaking views, reliably sunny weather and a host of impressive meeting venues are the hallmarks of programs in Orange County, California. From Anaheim to the oceanside beach cities, Orange County’s popular destinations continue to add and renovate venues, providing new and exciting options for meetings and events upon each visit. Below, we detail the latest. 

Newport Beach 

Pendry Newport Beach exterior
Pendry Newport Beach

Two major hotel renovations are making waves in Newport Beach. Now VEA Newport Beach, a Marriott Resort & Spa, the former Newport Beach Marriott reopened this spring following a top-to-bottom reimagining.

The transformation includes new coastal-inspired luxury guest rooms, the introduction of two new suite categories, three newly imagined restaurant and bar concepts, a wellness-focused spa and fitness center, expansive new indoor and outdoor event spaces, and a luxury destination pool experience. The resort’s name “VEA,” translates from Spanish to “see,” and is meant to celebrate the property’s iconic coastal and city views. 

More than 60,000 square feet of flexible indoor-outdoor meeting and event space is available for groups, including an ocean-facing event lawn, a new outdoor lawn adjacent to the ballrooms facing Newport Center, a new indoor/outdoor flex event space behind the property overlooking the coast, and more. 

Looking ahead to summer 2023, Pendry Newport Beach will open as a transformation of the Fashion Island Hotel, steps away from Fashion Island, which is a premiere Orange County shopping destination. The opening will follow an expansion of the Pendry brand in Southern California, on the heels of Pendry San Diego and Pendry West Hollywood. 

The new hotel will have approximately 295 guest rooms, including 82 suites; three unique restaurant, bar and lounge experiences; and 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including an 8,710-square-foot ballroom. A fitness center and Spa Pendry are also planned. 

[The Latest Meetings News in California]

Dana Point 

Interior of Outer Reef at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa
Interior of Outer Reef at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa. Credit: Kevin Marple

Previously known as Monarch Beach Resort, the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club debuted in early 2021. The 400-room resort is nestled on a hill along the coast of Dana Point, offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Seven culinary concepts, a private beach club, an expansive outdoor pool area, an award-winning 18-hole golf course, a 30,000-square-foot spa and more than 30,000 square feet of indoor event space is available. 

Additionally, the resort has 60,000 square feet of expansive outdoor event space, which includes a botanical garden, gazebos, spacious lawns and ocean view terraces.  

Area staple Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, which is situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation. The AAA Four Diamond resort now has 378 upgraded guest rooms and fresh indoor and outdoor public spaces, including a remodeled spa and state-of-the-art 2,500-square-foot fitness center.  

Broiled Whole Spiny Lobster at Outer Reef at Laguna Cliffs
Broiled Whole Spiny Lobster at Outer Reef at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa. Credit: Kevin Marple

The final piece of the renovation is Outer Reef, a coastal seafood restaurant, which opened in April. Led by four-time James Beard nominated chef and two-time contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef, chef John Tesar, the restaurant features fresh California produce and seafood sourced from the West Coast, ranging from Baja to Alaska. The menu focuses on the philosophy of mostly raw, barely touched and lightly cooked preparation, along with caviar, shellfish, pastas and salads as well as select meat offerings from Tesar’s steakhouse concept Knife. Coastal elements are incorporated throughout the space, including a 1,000-gallon shark tank.

Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa offers 20,000 square feet of indoor meeting and event space alongside 50,000 square feet of outdoor space, much with sweeping Pacific Ocean views. 

[Related: 4 Orange County Beaches That are Perfect for Small Groups]

Huntington Beach  

Pacific City exterior
Pacific City exterior

Huntington Beach’s portfolio of unique offsite venues is ramping up. Oceanfront retail, dining and entertainment hub Pacific City in Huntington Beach has added Surf Deck at the Surf Theater, which is an 1,800-square-foot outdoor space that has a dedicated meeting space, ping pong tables, large chess pieces and a garden seating area. The deck can host up to 500 people and power access, a movie screen, music, restrooms, guest elevator access, service elevator to the loading dock, tables/chairs umbrellas and soft outdoor seating areas are all available.  

For impressive beach dining and events, a new option arrived on Huntington State Beach last summer. The Huntington Beach House was born from a long-term partnership between The Prjkt Restaurant Group and California State Parks to reimagine coastal dining and beachfront experiences in the area. The new concept is the first of four beachside concessions scheduled to open along a 3.5-mile stretch of Huntington State Beach. The Huntington Beach House has 13 dine-in firepits spread throughout a sandy, secluded section of the beach and a 120-foot seated counter overlooking an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean. The total capacity of the restaurant is 350 and can be rented for private events. 

The Huntington Beach House
The Huntington Beach House

The Prjkt Restaurant Group has innovated beach events in other areas of Huntington Beach, including at Bolsa Chica State Beach, where it opened SeaLegs at the Beach in 2016 to host year-round concerts and events. Offering cabanas, fire pits and all-inclusive production, the venue can accommodate up to 800 guests outdoors. 

[Related: Outdoor Venues in Anaheim and Orange County]

Anaheim 

New luxury products Westin Anaheim Resort and JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort have elevated the convention powerhouse destination of Anaheim, offering luxe guest rooms and expansive, creative meeting spaces for corporate groups. A new Radisson Blu Anaheim also opened in November 2020 a half-mile from the convention center, adding even more lodging options for meetings and events. Coming in 2024, entertainment district ocV!BE is set to transform the nightlife and events scene, with a new 5,700-capacity concert venue, 30-plus restaurant concepts, four public plazas, two new hotels, office space and more. 

Anaheim doesn’t stop there, though, as it’s continuing to develop and expand its attractions for leisure and business visitors. The destination is currently mulling Disneyland Forward, a multiyear public planning effort with the City of Anaheim to update existing development approvals that will allow Disney to invest and expand in Anaheim. The ongoing effort has the potential to expand Disneyland Resort with new parks, parking areas, a hotel, retail options and dining and entertainment outlets.  

According to Disneyland Forward: “Disney is not seeking any public funding for DisneylandForward, nor are we seeking additional square footage or hotel rooms beyond what is currently approved and allowed. Rather, we are simply asking to update our existing approvals to allow for integrated development to be located and built on Disney properties.” 

Though the effort is in its beginnings, it will certainly be something to watch in the coming years for event planners looking to boost their program agendas. 

Connect 

Visit Anaheim 
(714) 765-2800 

Visit Dana Point 
(949) 441-5133 

Visit Huntington Beach 
(714) 969-3492  

Visit Newport Beach 
(949) 719-6100  

Read this next: Anaheim Hosts Largest Convention in Two Years

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About the author
Danielle LeBreck | Lead Destinations Content Strategist

Danielle started at Meetings Today in March 2019 after seven years of editorial experience in the travel and food industries. She oversees all of the destination content for Meetings Today and collaborates with the team on digital content strategy and content marketing initiatives.