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Road to Balboa Bay Club has everything, except a name

California Department of Transportation

For more than half a century the Balboa Bay Club has stood regally along the Newport Beach coastline where it has hosted such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart and Barry Goldwater.

But despite its 66 years of existence, operators of the luxury resort say people still have trouble finding the waterfront club.

The Balboa Bay Resort, the public side of the club, constantly gets calls from people who can't figure out where to turn as they drive along Coast Highway, concierge Patrick Hynes told Newport Beach City Council members this week.

The modest signage on the property just isn't doing the trick, Hynes said.

But Hynes — speaking as an individual, not a representative of the upscale club — said he has a solution: give the road from the highway to the club a name.

Any name would do, he said. Balboa Bay Way. Balboa Bay Drive. Club Drive.

"It's been a long frustration for me," Hynes said after the meeting. "Any sign would result in a smoother, less-dangerous traffic flow and less lost or befuddled visitors."

Hynes, an eight-year employee and member of the international hotel concierge society, of course knows where to turn to get to work. But it is challenging for him to explain to out-of-town visitors how to find the club at 1221 W. Coast Highway.

He could offer that the hotel is across from a car wash, but said that doesn't seem glamorous enough. Another possible explanation also has its faults: "We're at the unnamed traffic light between Dover and Tustin," he said.

Some guests drive back and forth along Coast Highway several times before they spot it, he said.

A green sign labeled Montage Resort Drive dangles from the street light at the entrance to the Laguna Beach hotel, also off Coast Highway. So why not in Newport?

"I think this suggestion really makes sense," Councilman Mike Henn said at the meeting.

Mayor Rush Hill promised to look into the matter, jokingly suggesting the street be christened in honor of himself.

The club and resort entrance is considered a driveway and so a decision on whether to name it will fall to the city, said California Department of Transportation spokesman David Richardson.

However, Caltrans, which operates that section of the highway, would install the sign panels should a name be designated.

Hill said Wednesday that he planned to consult with city staff about the proper way to start the process for considering a name, even if it doesn't end up being Rush Hill Way.

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emily.foxhall@latimes.com

Twitter: @emfoxhall

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