It began with a vision—to create a timeless, magnificent destination inspired by the classical architectural principles of ancient Rome and Greece–—all gracefully oriented on the edge of one of the most spectacular coastal expanses in California, in perfect harmony with the natural surroundings.
Then came years of meticulous planning, and months of excavation and construction, in-cluding hours of authentic craftsmanship at the hands of true artisans. Following the classic principles of legendary Italian architect Andrea Palladio, who used simplicity, symmetry and proportion to evoke a sense of grandeur and permanence, the Resort materialized five years ago as refined layers of both the old and new.
From every one of the million hand-cut glass tiles that line the circular swimming pool to the ancient olive trees that help shade the 504-acre landscape to the herringbone brick street pavers that replicate the iconic plazas in Italy, the understated elegance is in the details. Despite its bold, enduring presence-—with classically inspired structures, grand porticoes, graceful archways, stately columns, expansive outdoor verandas, hand-applied plaster exteriors and vaulted ceilings—the Resort exudes a warm, welcoming ambience. Guests relax and enjoy the stunning ocean views, the renowned golf courses and welcoming village-like character of the Villas and Bungalows. Pelican Hill is more than a world-class resort: It’s a testament to timeless perfection.
The Lobby Rotunda
Experience the essence of Palladian architecture in the lobby where the ceiling dome soars 33 feet to the oculus overhead. This carefully proportioned rotunda is 28 feet in diameter and inspired by Palladio’s last residence, Villa La Rotonda in Vicenza.
All of The Resort at Pelican Hill’s auto courts are anchored with stately Moreton Bay fig trees and paved with custom-sized bricks laid in intricate traditional Italian designs. The largest court at the main Resort entry is modeled after the famous Piazza del Campo in Siena.
Traffic “dots” found in the Resort’s grand auto courts were all cast by hand in a Los Angeles studio. Designed to stand the test of time, they give a unique finishing touch.
A family of colors was created to give variety as well as continuity to all Resort buildings. The colors were created from the earth of the Italian hillsides, then mixed with plaster. The tools were also from Italy and the application techniques were authentic as well.
The dramatic entry bridge is modeled after the Roman aqueducts and feels as if you are “entering another world from another time.” It is both practical and symbolic. Practically, it connects the golf clubhouse and driving range with the two courses. Symbolically, along with the rustic stone walls, it creates a spectacular entrance to the Resort.
The Resort Entry with Porte-Cochere
Made entirely by hand by classically trained sculptors, they can be found atop the stone entry pilasters at the Resort and Mar Vista entrances.
Inspired by Rome’s famed landmark, the Coliseum Pool is perfectly circular and measures 136 feet in diameter, one of the largest in the world. A continuous depth allows for quiet re-laxation with ocean and golf course views. Over 1.1 million tapered blue glass mosaic tiles line the bottom and took more than eight months to manufacture and install.
There are more than 750 olive trees that grace the Resort grounds, but 30 of them stand out among the rest. They are the ancient olive trees that are over 100 years old. Their gnarled trunks add character to the Mediterranean landscape and an Italian authenticity to the property. Stroll the walkways among the Bungalows and Villas and enjoy a little history.
Lovely to Look At
Even the two parking structures are designed to be pleasing from any angle. Special care was taken to design a European “garden” on the top of the structure so that the surrounding neighbors would see an attractive feature.
The design is based on a classic circular temple, and its columns, entablature and dome utilize Palladian proportions. Its inspiration comes from the folly structures found in an Italian garden.
Resort Entry Loggia
Loggias Centuries ago, this area was considered to be utilitarian and often used as storage or a stable. It provided shelter so that people could continue to work even in rain or hot weather. Today, a loggia serves as an architectural element that gives buildings a larger presence and often has archways, typically odd in number.
Acqua Colonnade at the Spa
Barrel vaults are “the closest thing in architecture to clouds.” The domed and vaulted ceilings were conceived to create the heavenly feeling and the architecture was de-signed “sequentially” so that the visitor has specific experiences while walking through the lobby, waiting rooms, hallways and treatment rooms. “Laylights” are used to create lighting effects; they diffuse light so that you see natural light filtering, as if through clouds.
180 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels
Each weighing 80 pounds, these have been used since opening five years ago. The wheels are imported from Italy and carved for Andrea’s signature tableside risotto dish.
Andrea Ristorante has a one-of-a-kind, temperature-controlled Cucina della Pasta (pasta room) where several varieties of pasta are made by hand each day using authentic time-honored techniques.
Twelve flavors of artisan-style gelato are created each day in the Laboratorio del Gelato (gelato laboratory). Seasonal selections, such as rum raisin and pumpkin are fall favorites, with gingerbread, peppermint candy cane and winterberry appearing for the holidays.
We’ve Been Busy!
Fun facts: 20 million pounds of laundry have been done since we opened five years ago. Nearly two and a half million meals have been served through Pelican Hill’s restaurants and cafés. Some 450,000 vehicles have been parked by staff in the main auto court. And about 72,000 massages and body treatments have been provided at The Spa.
Green Golf Design
Architect Tom Fazio “re-perfected” Pelican Hill’s two ocean-view courses, adding sustainable design features that have conserved more than 250 million gallons of water over the past five years.