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  • Writer's pictureKathy Condon

Stay at Sonesta Irvine and Explore the Area

Updated: 2 days ago

Tall long barista table in front of wall sculpture in the dining room of the Sonesta Irvine
Sonesta Irvine Newly Remodeled Dining Area Photo by Kathy Condon

When I had the opportunity to review the Sonesta Irvine in Irvine, California, I gladly accepted the invitation. I knew nothing about Irvine, which is only 100 miles from Palm Springs, my home of 12 years.

The host has provided support for certain aspects of the trip, which may include accommodations, activities, meals, or other services. However, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and reflect the author's genuine experience.

Research Revealed Factoids About Irvine

1. Since 2005, the FBI has named Irvine the safest city for violent crime of its size in the United States.

2. Irvine has been named #10 as the Healthiest Cities in America. The criteria were its health care, food, fitness, and green space.

3. Irvine has a plethora of corporate headquarters including Pacific Premier Bank, Toshiba, Taco Bell, and Samsung.

4. Irvine is a planned community.

Time for a Road Trip

The research piqued my curiosity, so I headed out from Palm Springs with a friend to explore the area. Leaving midday on a weekday meant the traffic was sparse for our journey. We ditched the highway and opted for the road over the mountains, leading through small towns and breathtaking scenery.

Checking into the Sonesta Irvine

We were warned that construction may be taking place at the Sonesta Irvine. I have to say that it was not readily noticeable because it is 95% complete. We quickly noticed innovation throughout the premises.

Unlike most hotels, the registration area is off to the far left. Straight ahead is the bank of elevators. Once registered, the elevators are readily available to head to your room and are convenient when you leave the hotel.

Off to your right, the hotel space opens with high ceilings and light beaming through them. Lounge places are abundant. Also noticeable was that many people were using their computers at the scattered high tables with internet connections. In the background are bookshelves with accessories that individually catch your attention.

Dining at Havens Point Provisions & Spirits

Keeping with the open space theme, Havens Point bar and restaurant is steps away from the lounge and workstation area. Thus, one doesn't go through any doors but can dine at various table configurations. We chose to try one with a booth and chairs and finally decided we preferred a table with comfy chairs for dining throughout our stay, though one could also eat at a barista table.

An old fashioned on a menu of Haven Point Restaurant at the Sonesta Irvine
The Haven Point Bar at Sonesta Irvine Old Fashioned Photo by Kathy Condon

Of course, we had to try the cocktails. Since I am an aficionado of Old Fashioneds, I can say the one I had here was outstanding. Haven Point certainly lives up to its reputation as one of the best places to have craft cocktails in the area.

For breakfast, try the French Toast, a delectable twist on Bananas Foster. For dinner, order the shareable Lemongrass and Ginger Fried Chicken. My 12 oz Prime NY steak was superb.

Two queen beds on side and bureaus on the right with lamp in a Sonesta Irvine room.
Sonesta Irvine Room Photo by Kathy Condon

The Sonesta Irvine Rooms

Our room with two queen-sized beds was perfect for our stay. I loved that the lamps on both sides had bases with outlets for regular plugs and configurations for our phone chargers.

Nary an iron existed. Instead, the innovative idea of having a steamer. It makes sense that who wants to deal with an ironing board when at a hotel? The bathroom showers were large, and we both commented that we noticed it was paying attention to sustainable water issues, yet certainly did the job of providing an enjoyable shower.

Something you don't see at many hotels. On every two floors, guests can use a washer and dryer.

Sonesta Irvine Work Suite

My friend and I were seasoned trainers, teaching social workers how to help people with disabilities get jobs during our former lives. We had experience working in various training rooms and admired that everything needed was available here. This flexible space is the prototype for four other Sonesta Hotels. It is a brilliant space, and it is no wonder its design has been created at other Sonestas.

In foreground, tables an d on the back wall a screen to show slides, videos
Sonesta Work Suite Photo by Kathy Condon

Elements of Work Suite

It is a vast room. Off to the left is a bar- the perfect place for snacks. The surface area provides a square for cold foods and another for warm foods, provided when the package is purchased for the use of the room.

The tables can be configured in any way the room renter desires. There are long tables with internet connections and small tables. If you want comfy lounge chairs, no problem; they are in the same room.

Do you need an area to take a break? They are there; even games are available if you decide teambuilding might be better reinforced with a game board. Or attendees can go out on the patio.

Need visual aid equipment? No problem. It comes with the package purchased, so there is no nickel-diming you with additional charges. Whiteboards and even butcher-wrap paper rolls are adhered to the wall to help you with your presentation.

Besides the Work Suite, there is a large ballroom and smaller meeting rooms throughout the hotel.

Large pool in the fitness area of the Sonesta Irvine
Sonesta Irvine Indoor Pool Photo by Kathy Condon

Twenty-hour Fitness Studio

The entire space has been upgraded. Peloton equipment is available. After your workout, the inside heated pool and hot tub are available to cap off your workout session.

Exploring Irvine

When it is time for breaks or activities, there are some unique things to see. Yes, Disneyland is only 14 miles away, but here are some other options:

A antique-like carousel pictured, with blue sky and puffy white clouds
Irvine The Great Park Carousel Photo by Kathy Condon

The Great Park

If there was a surprise, it was The Great Park, 13,000 acres. Formerly an air force base, the city now owns the land. We commented on how happy children must be when it is announced they are going to Great Park.

Every sport and space to play is available here—there is even a soccer stadium: tennis courts, football fields, and basketball courts. A giant waterslide provides endless fun for those hot California days.

There is an ornate carousel for minor children, well, maybe adults too. Picnic tables are spread throughout the grounds, so you can enjoy a packed picnic when the hunger bug hits.

A produce stand at The Great Park in Irvine Photo by Kathy Condon
The Great Park Farm and Food Lab Photo by Kathy Condon

The art gallery has an extensive display of local artists, some working in their studios, so you can watch them work. After viewing the art, stroll down to the farm-to-table gardens being developed to educate gardeners on the best sustainability practices.

The University of California Irvine

Their art galleries are staffed with art history majors so that you can learn more about the art and the artists. However, it is also a unique opportunity to talk with students about life while attending a university.

There is lots of green space to relax. You might want to sign up for their newsletter in advance to catch up on their many free lectures.

Irvine Spectrum

Be prepared to spend hours visiting Spectrum, comprising 5,000 acres and 38 million sq. ft. designed for day and night activities. It offers everything from shopping to physical fitness entertainment opportunities like movies and nightclubs.  

If I plan a conference in the future, I will seriously consider this hotel. It is near John Wayne Airport and an easy drive from Los Angeles, making it convenient for corporate conferences. Plus, you would not hear from attendees; there isn't anything to do in the area.

After spending two days in Irvine and enjoying the hospitality of the Sonesta Irvine and its attentive staff, I've concluded another trip to the area is needed. We only scratched the surface of what there is to see and experience in Irvine, California.

Kathy Condon is a Travel Writer, Journalist, and Award-Winning Author.  SATW    760-902-3094

Here's a link to learn more about Kathy Condon




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