Sometimes the best family vacations are ones that aren’t too far from home, but offer up enough fun and relaxation to make you feel like they’re in paradise. Located in Orange County, about an hour north of San Diego and south of Los Angeles, Hotel Irvine is a great spot for a family vacation that’s kid-friendly and affordable. We’ve got your insider’s guide to this hot spot that will leave the entire family wanting to plan another visit.
Photo: Hotel Irvine
Hotel Irvine is a hip, fresh lifestyle hotel that makes you feel like you’re relaxing at home rather than staying in a luxury suite (although we love the luxury of not having to make bed every day!). When you step into Hotel Irvine, you’re immediately greeted by bright colors, eclectic modern furniture and fun music. The staff at the property wants you to feel comfortable, which is why they offer great amenities like family-friendly activities, complimentary breakfast and free Wi-Fi.
The variety of rooms are perfect for families of any size. You can chose from spaces with two double beds or a large king. Families are easily accommodated with the connecting rooms and suites. For a little something extra, you can add Club 12 access to your reservation for only $35 per day. This 12th floor lounge is a hidden spot where you can relax in residential-style seating, unwind on the terrace or enjoy the flat screen television. Club 12 includes breakfast and fresh coffee in the mornings, and bites and beverages from 5-8 p.m. The suite is a perfect spot if one parent needs to get a bit of work done while the rest of the family plays poolside or is napping in the hotel room. And yes, kids are welcome at Club 12 too.
Where to Eat
One of the coolest things about Hotel Irvine is the Marketplace, located on the lobby floor. This stylish, multi-functional spot is the perfect place to enjoy a bite or take one to go. It’s like your own personal farmer’s market, gift shop and restaurant. It’s open 24/7 and features locally-sourced food and tasty treats. Marketplace offers everything from salads to pasta to sandwiches to espresso. The variety is amazing, meaning you’ll find something for even the pickiest of eaters or those with food allergies.
We love the affordability of Marketplace, with prices are the exact same as you’d expect at a local grocery store (no up-charged hotel snacks here). Got a napping kiddo and can’t make it out of your room for a snack? No problem! All you need to do is text the Marketplace and your food will be delivered right to your door.
If you’re looking for a delicious spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner, make time to check out EATS Kitchen + Bar. Th eclectic menu is made up of tasty treats featuring local, farm-fresh ingredients. We suggest the EATS burger with aged white cheddar, bacon, herb aioli, pear jam and a brioche bun. The kids menu offers plenty of dishes for the littlest diners. If the weather’s nice (which is most of the time in SoCal), dine outside and find a spot by the fire pit.
No stay at a Southern California hotel is complete without a splash in the pool. Hotel Irvine has an awesome pool and jacuzzi area. There’s tons of lounge chairs and cabanas lining the pool. So parents can relax while the kiddos swim like fish. If you or the kids need a snack, the Wet Bar is waiting to take your order. The pool is open late into the events for fun night swimming during warmer weather.
Hotel Irvine also has awesome basketball courts with balls available right at the host desk. If your family wants to breathe in some fresh air, go for a jaunt on one of the outside exercise trails just a short jaunt from the hotel. You can pick up complimentary trail maps at the host desk. Complimentary bike rentals are also available.
One of the things we love about Hotel Irvine is how it’s not just a hotel, but that it offers awesome activities for families. Summer is a great time to plan your visit to Hotel Irvine, especially with the outdoor movie nights. On select summer weekends, grab the kiddos for some fun in the Backyard where you can spread out blankets and beach chairs to spend nights under the stars. Summer movies include family favorites such as E.T., The Breakfast Club, Pitch Perfect 2 and Avengers, Age of Ultron. Kiddos will love dancing to live music and playing outdoor games before the movie starts. Guests can dine on a picnic from the Marketplace or feast on the chef’s outdoor BBQ cuisine. We suggest a few staple movie snacks like popcorn and candy, and the DYI s’mores station.
If you’re looking to take the kiddos beyond the property, Hotel Irvine is just 10 minutes from beautiful SoCal beaches, and in the neighborhood of local hiking and biking trails like Bommer Canyon or El Moro Canyon. Hop in the car and drive about 15 minutes south and play at Pretend City Children’s Museum. Kids love playing in the 17 interactive exhibits and activities, which are essentially an interconnected city.
Just a short distance away is the Discovery Cube OC, a science center that’s filled with a dinosaur quest, helicopter tour, water gallery, planetary research station and much more. If shopping is what you have in mind, the Irvine Spectrum Center has dozens of stores, an IMAX movie theater, a Hello Kitty Cafe pop-up, and Storymakery, the first self-publishing experience where kids create their own characters, write a story, and publish their own book.
17900 Jamboree Rd.
Irvine, Ca 92614
Have you stayed at Hotel Irvine before? What was your favorite part of the experience?
— Leah R. Singer (photos too, unless otherwise noted)