by Ann Shepphird | June 27, 2016

In a year when the big hotel chains keep getting bigger (see the Sheraton-Marriott merger) some hotels are choosing to go in the opposite direction and return to an independent status. One of those hotels is Hotel Irvine, in Orange County, California, which decided to shed the Hyatt Regency flag when it completed an extensive renovation in December of 2014.

According to Joe Martino, director of sales and marketing for Hotel Irvine, the idea behind the renovation’s new design was to “stand apart in a sea of beige and ordinary hotels.” It was also pointed out to me during a recent visit to the hotel that in deciding to be an independent hotel, the staff is allowed more latitude in catering to meeting planners’ needs, be it with particular signage or amenities such as free Wi-Fi. This latitude was also evident in outlets such as the hotel’s large Marketplace, which offers locally sourced items to eat, drink or take out—at reasonable (grocery store level) prices.

The hotel offers a total of 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space that includes a grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 2,100 people, a fully wired theater for up to 120, and the Backyard, which features a climate-controlled pavilion, patio and a lawn area that is serving as the site for the hotel’s outdoor movie nights this summer.

Hotel Irvine is one of three hotels in Orange County, California, owned and managed by Irvine Company. The other two include Island Hotel near Fashion Island in Newport Beach, which offers 292 guest rooms and more than 23,000 square feet of event space, and completed a renovation last year that included the guest rooms, meeting space and a revamp of its lounge and restaurant. Near Crystal Cove in Newport Beach, Resort at Pelican Hill features meeting space for up to 400.

  • 1. Hotel Irvine
    Hotel Irvine opened in December 2014 following an extensive renovation.
  • 2. Hotel Irvine lobby
    The lobby at Hotel Irvine was designed with pops of bright colors and a living wall.
  • 3. Hotel Irvine theater
    The fully wired theater at Hotel Irvine can accommodate up to 120.
  • 4. Marketplace
    The Marketplace at Hotel Irvine features grab-and-go fare at reasonable prices.
  • 5. Island Hotel Aqua Lounge
    Island Hotel’s recent renovation included the Aqua Lounge.
  • 6. Island Hotel patio
    The Oak Grill at Island Hotel now offers an outdoor patio that extends out to the pool area.