Hotel Lobby Hang Outs (even if you are NOT staying there)
The best part about hotel resorts is the feeling of being in some exotic place or city, regardless if you live in the city of that very establishment.
You may be a local. You may be a tourist with certain hotels outside of your budget, or perhaps they were already booked, or you are looking for a break from the lobby of the hotel you are currently staying at. No matter the reason, this is a relatively cost free way of entertaining yourself through the magic of people watching and mingling with a crowd where you technically should not be.
The hotels (and lobbies within) are suggested based upon the following: dynamic guests staying at/frequenting the establishment; relaxed security; friendly non-threatening staff; chance of "hooking up"; networking opportunities; and if your feeling really daring, free amenities such as access to swimming pools and other common areas.
In all seriousness, most hotel resorts are aware of this practice and are happy to overlook it as long as you are respectful of the guests and premises and spend at least a little cash at one of the on-site offerings (cafes, restaurants, gift shop, vending machines, etc...).
P.S. We never had this conversation.
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
1107 Jamboree Rd, Newport Beach, CA
The Hyatt Regency frequently finds itself on this list of ours for most cities. They either love us or hate us. The shear beauty of a Hyatt Regency instantly makes the lobby a first place pick on many occassions due to the magnificiant decor and spacious layout. The friendly, professional staff never make you feel out of place and the other guests are classy but on the fun side of that classy spectrum (yeah, that's right) in comparison to some of the more pretentious individuals found at the more pretenious and exclusive establishments, who only seek privacy from the outside world (YOU and the rest of us).
The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is family friendly with many activities available for all ages which tells you that not only is this hotel tolerant but also accommodating. You never get the feeling that you don't belong.
There is also the Sandbar Lounge which is a bar/nightclub located within the walls of the Hyatt Regency, which means "spillage" of tipsy patrons, increasing the mingle factor. The Lobby Lounge is yet another inviting zone that welcomes the public for relaxation over a beverage regardless if you have a room FOB card in your wallet or not.
Newport Beachwalk Hotel
2306 W.Ocean Front, Newport Beach
In stark contrast to the other items on the list, the Newport Beachwalk Hotel finds itself at #2 for the simple fact of its location. By definition (our definition), the hotel lobby extends into its door front as part of the interior (although exterior) experience. Confused? Let us explain. This hotel's doors open up right onto the Newport Beach boardwalk. If you are not careful, you may have your toes run over by a beach cruiser bicycle or "suffer" minor whiplash from a beach ball being flung towards your dome. Actually, the whiplash is more likely to come from the consisitent head turing from the boardshort or bikini clad population passing by with the frequency of a New York City cab.
The lobby (interior) itself isnt exactly spacious, thus not very conspicuous if you want to go unoticed as a people watcher. If you are in fact a guest, the decor similar to that of a study found in a more humble mansion owned by monied aristocracy, makes for an amazing place to unwind in the evening with a book, magazine or iPad while you wait for whomever you made friends with that very day flip flop steps away on this hotels own personal beach front.
900 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa is located across the street from the famed shopper's paradise, Fashion Island, so you are guaranteed to see traffic flow of shopping bag clad shoppaholics carousing about the spacious lobby and surrounding areas (water fountain seating, etc...). Happy shoppers equals happy people so its a great place to find yourself in the evening as people unload their bounty and prepare to head out after sunset.
With many other leisurely amenities nearby there are plenty of opportunites to pop in and out between activities during your stay (as a guest or otherwise). Given that the area is a business district as well, many conventions are held at or near the Newport Beach Marriott lending to an either greater eclectic compilation of individuals looking to network or simply unwind with new company.