It would be easy to devote weeks to exploring the Renaissance ClubSport's 75,000-square-foot facility—spending afternoons lounging poolside beneath the brilliant Orange County sun and taking meals at the sleek onsite restaurant. The club is an innovative fusion of fitness center, spa, and boutique hotel, complete with luxury suites, a 12,000-square-foot fitness center, and kids' club. Fitness seekers of all squares inhabit the athletic facilities, bustling away on ellipticals or playing rounds of racquetball. Others come for the more than 100 weekly fitness classes, which include yoga, Zumba, and extreme conditioning—a high-intensity combination of weight, cardio, and plyometric exercises. The fitness center is staffed by a team of expert trainers and nutrition coaches, who can advise clients on the best routes for reaching their health and wellness goals.
After workouts, guests unwind with a soak in the whirlpool before visiting the spa for a hot-stone massage or detoxifying mud body wrap. Then, it's on to the Citrus Fresh Grill for cocktails and a light dinner of Thai chicken lettuce wraps and grilled salmon. The club even offers a camp, which provides kids with recreational and educational activities while keeping them away from less constructive pursuits, such as watching TV or trying to convince their stuffed animals to do their chores.
Aqua Restaurant & Lounge, located within Holiday Inn Irvine Spectrum, serves up classic American cuisine as well as gourmet specialties. In the morning, breakfast platters and cups of RainForest Alliance coffee give diners enough energy to race a taxi on foot on the way to work. Later on, chefs prepare heirloom salads and signature dishes such as the Philly West, a gourmet riff on the philly cheesesteak that pairs shaved filet mignon with housemade Jack Daniels au jus and melted provolone. A full bar, 50-inch plasma TV, and sleek decor round out the hotel-lounge experience.
Port Restaurant and Bar entrances diners with a seasonal menu of international and American eats such as pizzas, kebabs, pastas, and seafood. Meals of wild salmon and filet mignon unfurl on an open-air patio, and wines selected by a veteran sommelier swirl by the fireplace in the atrium with the candlestick.
The décor's muted luxury evokes the building’s beginnings as an oceanfront bungalow. Accents of wood and marble charm diners amid eye-catching displays of artwork and exploding dynamite. A lineup of live music fills the elegant space, mirroring the kitchen's eclectic menu with acts ranging from acoustic pop and rock to Persian songcraft with its undulating rhythms.
At Kitsch Bar, "Happy Hour" is both a daily occurence and a multivalent term. Some nights, it means special discounts for industry workers; on Phresh Wednesdays, it means cocktails crafted with fresh-squeezed fruits and veggies. Outside of Happy Hour, the bar is equally festive, with DJs spinning on weekends, and regular bartending classes for anyone who have always wanted to climb onto the other side of the bar gracefully.
It all began with a young wanderer named Ernest Gantt. Inspired by the culture of the South Pacific, where he sometimes worked on film sets, he opened a small watering hole just off Hollywood Boulevard in the mid-1930s. He decorated it with old fishing nets and trinkets he’d picked up during his travels to the South Pacific and created a menu of exotic rum drinks, which he etched onto a board hanging behind the thatched tiki bar. Back then, drinks cost a quarter, or five wooden nickels.
Today, Don The Beachcomber still serves some of Ernest’s original rum cocktails—including his signature mai tai—in a tiki lounge inspired by that 1930s watering hole. A few things have changed over the years, however; the joint now serves a full menu of Hawaiian specialties such as ahi-tuna tacos and Kalua pulled pork piled on sweet a hawaiian bun. On Friday nights, live musicians perform Hawaiian tunes next to an indoor waterfall.
The well-regarded executive chef at Zimzala, Vincent Muraco, worked with menu expert and cookbook author Joyce Goldstein to develop a creative menu of Mediterranean cuisine with a California tinge. They researched the 22 countries of the region, incorporating the flavors of Spain, Greece, Italy, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Alabama, and more into a collection of healthful, exotic delights built from fresh, top-quality ingredients.