Last week, I packed up my Jeep with my parents in tow, as my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew led the way to our destination. We were off for a staycation in Sunny Isles for my niece’s 5th birthday celebration. Our home for the next four days away from work e-mails and commitments was the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort, which recently underwent a few upgrades, including 80 percent of its guestrooms.
The 339-guestroom property offered the beach escape we were all in need of, and as we stepped into our room, with spanning views of the beach and adjacent Newport Pier, we were ready to settle in to relaxation mode. The property offered something for everyone in this mult-gen clan, from an onsite playground for the kids to enjoy, and a kiddie pool where the water barely reached the adult’s calves and allowed the kids to freely splash around the water, to a spa (though we didn’t have time to take that in), and the best eatery onsite, Kitchen 305—more on that in a minute.
The lobby, infused with a delicious scent, is home to two cages housing four parakeets that were the main attraction for my niece and nephew. Whether we were rushing to dinner, strolling out to the beach, or waiting to check-in, they just wanted to stare at those little feathery creatures as they sat on their swings and flew throughout the cage.
The property offers complimentary shoreside beach chairs for guests, but remind guests to head down early for prime sunbathing locations close to the water. Umbrellas and cabanas are an extra charge. Sitting beachside with views of the clear blue water we soaked up the sun, built sandcastles, and one afternoon escaped to the seaside pier for lunch at the Beach Bar.
Now, back to that best eatery onsite I mentioned earlier. On our first night, we headed to Kitchen 305 for dinner with the entire family. The dark lighting with pops of purple and blue hues give the venue a contemporary feel. The food also doesn’t disappoint; even the presentation was a feast for our eyes. We had rigatoni diablo filled with shrimp and chicken; a filet mignon with sauteed pearl onions served in an artistic, swirly tower sitting atop the steak; a surf and turf with a big lobster tail sitting atop the fillet served with mashed potato underneath and asparagus on the side; and a Texas bouillabaisse with lobster, mussels, clams, scallops, poached fish, shrimp, and rouille croutons swimming in a sea of a tomato-based seafood broth. As for the kids? They were satisfied with their giant bowl of pasta.
Kitchen 305 has partnered with a Food Network teen chef who developed the kids menu. This 13-year-old chef, Tyler Zager, who was seated on the show “Kids BBQ Championship,” developed a menu featuring fun twists on classic kid-friendly meal choices. These options include a bacon-wrapped hot dog on a pretzel bun served on a wooden dog-shaped board with a side of fries; Captain Crunch-coated fried chicken ‘n’ waffles served in a pirate’s hat; chicken or veggie quesadillas; a make-your-own pizza option, which my niece really wanted to try but they were out of that night; popcorn shrimp; boneless wings served with Tyler’s secret BBQ sauce; hamburgerliciousness with melted cheese and a side of fries; and the Kids 305 spaghetti. Each meal is served with a choice of curly fries, apples with caramel dipping, or sweet potato fries with marshmallow dipping sauce. Dessert options for the kiddos include a star fish ice cream sandwich, brownie a la mode, a cooke sampler plate with milk, or a build-your-own sundae. My niece’s choice was the brownie a la mode, which came topped with a candle for her birthday.
Rates start at $149 per night. For more information, visit newportbeachsideresort.com.