If you’re thinking about staying with our WITS venue and hotel partner, Hotel Irvine, you’re definitely not alone. We are so excited to work with this beautiful hotel and can’t wait to share it with you, inside and out!
Of course, we had to make the enormous sacrifice and travel down to sunny and gorgeous Orange County to have a look ourselves — what kind of planning team would we be if we didn’t? — and we have loads of pictures to share.
Here’s some great info on what to expect should you stay with us at Hotel Irvine — and a few other things you can do around town, too. Don’t forget to book your room here for just $149/night — we only have a limited number of spaces and they will sell out!
The minute you walk into Hotel Irvine, you will understand why we picked it. We’re not kidding — the hotel actually has its own aromatherapy scent that they use in the lobby as you walk in!
The hotel is quite new and, since there isn’t really a downtown Irvine, has been branding itself as a location for locals to enjoy too. Because of that, it keeps its prices reasonable and has lots of events throughout the year for both hotel guests and locals to enjoy.
Here are some of our favorite images:
The Club Lounge
The club lounge is just $35 and you get an extra-yummy breakfast, a happy hour, access to computers and printers, super-fast WiFi and a great roof deck!
The Conference Center
The conference center is right onsite at the Hotel Irvine, so if you’re staying here all you have to do is come downstairs!
The location of Hotel Irvine is one of our favorite parts about this hotel. If you fly into John Wayne Airport in Orange County (SNA) you can jump on one of the hotel’s free shuttles and be onsite in ten minutes. We expected a hotel so close to the airport to be noisy, but Beth didn’t hear a single plane during her entire stay. Apparently there are very strict flight regulations around the airport that keep the surrounding neighborhood calm and quiet.
You can also fly into Los Angeles (LAX) and rent a car as the drive is only about an hour, though beware driving during rush hour, as the trip can become much longer. San Diego Airport (SAN) is a little under two hours away.
Although Irvine itself isn’t particularly walkable, there are a few places within walking distance to the hotel if you’re extra hungry (check out the quick Google map below). You can also take a quick (10 minute) Uber ride to the Irvine Spectrum Center, a giant open-air mall with tons of shops and restaurants (Beth adored this and she’s not even a big fan of malls), or a free hotel shuttle to the Diamond Jamboree (which is filled with amazing Asian restaurants and grocery stores).
Of course, if you’re staying at the Hotel Irvine, you’ll really never want to leave, and they have plenty of food options to keep you happy — at all hours of the day and night!
Other Options Nearby
If you’re looking for an outing, there are some great locations just near Irvine that we recommend you check out:
- Newport Beach and Balboa Island are adorable quaint beach towns with lots of little boutiques, restaurants, and, of course, the beach! The best part is it takes only about 10-15 minutes to get there.
- Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach are about a 25 minute drive south and north, respectively, if you’re looking for some good beach time, surfing, marine life, people-watching, and everything else.
- If you’re looking for a real gem and loads of history, check out the town of San Juan Capistrano. You can drive there in 25 minutes and actually take the Amtrak there in just 15! The town is home to the San Juan Capistrano mission. Make sure you visit both sides of the railroad tracks, as the less-busy side is filled with tiny historic shacks — some of which are homes, while others have been transformed into cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Walking there is like stepping back in time (Insider note: if you’re looking for some real information on the missions, our very own Demea of Destination Irvine actually wrote her Masters thesis on them and can tell you all sorts of great stories!).
Do I Need a Car?
This is a great question. If you plan to come into town for WITS itself and leave shortly after, you absolutely do not need a car. Everything will be available onsite if not a short walk away, and any arranged pre-conference activities will have transportation available.
If you’re staying longer, you have two options:
- Uber, Uber, Uber. Grab a buddy and take a day trip to the Irvine Spectrum or Newport Beach and you’ll find very reasonable fares to get around. There is also an Amtrak stop in Irvine itself so there are lots of places (like my favorite San Juan Capistrano) that are completely accessible and maybe even faster by rail.
- Go for a rental. This will definitely give you more access to the surrounding towns, especially if you’re planning a road trip or family vacation before or after WITS. That being said, you will need to pay for parking at the hotel and pretty much everywhere that you park your car when traveling.
Both options will be just fine, so don’t sweat either too much!