For decades, visitors headed to the Balboa Peninsula would know they’d arrived when they passed the pink-hued Lido Theatre and then the far less remarkable building blocks that made up City Hall.
Newport Beach’s municipal headquarters have since moved across town, the grand old theater has been painted a shade of taupe, and City Hall, well, it’s being turned into a boutique hotel.
The 130-room Lido House Hotel will be the first of its kind in Lido Village, a picturesque area that, just the same, has had trouble attracting visitors.
Imagined by developer Bob Olson as the “gateway” to Lido Village and the peninsula, the hotel plan was unanimously approved Tuesday night by the Newport Beach City Council, a decision largely supported by residents who said the village has long needed a boost.
“It’s been a long time coming,” resident Cindy Koller said.
After all, 14 months had passed since R.D. Olson was selected to develop its vision for the site, said Olson, president and chief executive of the company.
The boutique hotel will be built in a style called “Newport nautical,” a variation of a Cape Cod motif, according to the developer’s website.
There will be a spa, a restaurant and a rooftop lounge with views of Newport Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. A small public park will be built in front of the hotel along Newport Boulevard.
Though some residents said there might not be enough parking, city planners said the 148 parking spaces would be more than enough, especially with an option of 24 added spaces if valets took over.
Olson, who lives nearby on Balboa Island, said the hotel will serve as a “beach-casual neighborhood icon” that is supposed to resemble “the ultimate beach house in Newport Beach.”
Mayor Rush Hill congratulated Olson on the project, praising its design and the partnership between the public and a private entity.
“We do have a great developer and we’re going to have a fabulous hotel there,” Councilman Keith Curry agreed.
The project still has to pass muster with the Coastal Commission.