Presidential Suite dethroned

Views from the Presidential Suite at the Island Hotel, experienced in the past by a host of famous guests, can soon be had by anyone willing to pay $65.

The former suite on the top floor of the Newport Beach hotel has been repurposed as the Island Club as part of an effort to meet the ever-changing needs of customers.

No more will it be booked by the likes of President George W. Bush or musician Don Henley, who graced the premises when it was still the Four Seasons Hotel.

Hotel staff will open it for use Friday with a broader clientele in mind.

Like an airport VIP lounge, the 2,000-square-foot space will provide an area for multiple guests to be looked after while they work or lounge.

Behind the double doors, a bed can no longer be found. The furniture consists largely of chairs and tables. The bathroom has likewise been torn out. A smaller one, without a tub, replaces it.

"We wanted this to be an extension of the guest room," said Donald Stamets, general manager of the hotel.

As such, charging stations abound. WiFi access allows for connection by 125 devices at once. Programming streams on an 80-inch LED smart TV to which guests can listen by donning a pair of wireless headphones.

Such are the needs of the modern-day traveler, the hotel management says.

Looking out the window, visitors can check on family members at the pool far below.

The lounge can be accessed around the clock by anyone who has paid the daily fee, said media director Julie Reynolds.

The $65 covers two guests. A charge of $25 will be applied per additional guest. Suite access is available only to registered hotel guests.

With 36 available seats, the occupancy is not expected to exceed 25 at a time, Reynolds said. No more than 45 or 50 passes will be sold per day.

The perks also carry over to the larger hotel experience.

"Club ambassadors," as they are called, will be on hand between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. to aid guests with a range of anticipated needs.

Need to print a boarding pass? Check. Want to book a helicopter to Catalina Island? No problem. Not sure whether to choose a buckwheat or green tea infused pillow from the hotel's pillow menu? The ambassadors can help.

Food planned by the hotel's chef, David Man, will also be available when the lounge opens.

California eggs Benedict will be served on Sundays while mini smoked salmon bagel sandwiches will appear on Fridays, according to a news release.

Meanwhile, a suite on a lower floor of the hotel will be renamed the Presidential Suite.

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