I am a romantic. I am not a fellow you're likely
to find embracing on the bow of a titanic ocean
liner. But, after more than twenty-five years
of marriage, I think I know a little about how
to keep the fires burning.
You have to get away from the ordinary, remove
yourself from the routine, the humdrum, the drab,
the job, the kids, the home. And the best way
to do that is to go away, to travel. Romance can
certainly blossom on a vacation to Europe, or
Hawaii, or the Caribbean. I'm fond of California
It's nice to be able to jump start romance on
short treks from home and Newport Beach is just
such a drive from almost anywhere in L.A. County.
Doryman's Oceanfront Inn (949-675-7300) is a two
story corner building just a parking lot from
the beach and catty-corner to the Newport Beach
Pier. There are but ten guestrooms, each with
a private bath, fireplace, and all but three with
an ocean view. The décor is Victorian with classic
drapes, floral wall paper, and mahogany furniture
and mantles. The rooms have queen sized beds with
ornate headboards or four-post canopied beds.
And nearly all the paintings in the rooms and
halls are of nudes. They are reproductions of
classic, mostly 19th century paintings. I wouldn't
call it erotica. But the place nevertheless sets
an erotic mood.
That mood was somewhat tainted shortly after our
check in when we were shocked to see a face at
one of the windows. And we were on the second
floor. It was a window washer. Well, I got on
the phone right away and told the desk clerk that
I preferred dirty windows. Once we recovered from
the initial fright of having a voyeur at our window,
the place lived up to my expectation of a romantic
getaway. We had a view of the pier and its fisherman,
the ocean and its surfers, and the beach with
fortune hunters scanning the sand with metal detectors.
Just a few miles drive from Newport Pier is the
Newport Fashion Island. Besides many upscale retail
stores, there's a trio of restaurants there -
P.F. Changs, The Cheesecake Factory, and The California
Pizza Kitchen. We chose P.F. Changs and enjoyed
dinner with a view of the sun setting over the
Pacific. I recommend their "wraps,"
spicy chicken or shrimp dishes wrapped in cool
lettuce leaves. In the morning we had a continental
breakfast in bed and then set off to explore the
oceanfront. Across from the Inn is a store to
rent bikes and beach paraphernalia. The beach
is wide and bike and walking paths extend north
from Newport pier toward Huntington Beach and
south to Balboa pier.
The Doryman's rates vary depending on room and
dates from $155 - 325 per night. Just a short
walk from there is another, less expensive oceanfront
bed and breakfast, The Portofino Beach Hotel (949-673-7030).
The Portofino certainly has a nicer lobby and
entrance than Doryman's, but only two of their
15 rooms have ocean views.
A trek to an oceanfront B & B may be just
the romantic getaway you need - far cheaper than
a cruise or a marriage counselor. One last suggestion,
bring your own champagne, chocolate, and strawberries.
A few gastronomic aphrodisiacs can't hurt.