Orange County’s social scene will get a touch of luxe hospitality as part of the new Pendry Newport Beach, opening this summer at the former Fashion Island Hotel.
A wing of the 295-key hotel—the first Pendry Hotel to open in Orange County and the third in Southern California—will feature the debut of a new company product: an exclusive members club, featuring high-end food and beverage options alongside shows and events.
The Elwood Club is a strategy for Irvine-based parent company Montage International to build upon the traditional luxury experience it launched in Laguna Beach 20 years ago.
It continues the effort started with the launch of Pendry in 2017, which aims to establish “buzzy places in town” through the high-end boutique brand, notes Michael Fuerstman, co-founder and creative director of Pendry Hotels & Resorts.
Pendry Newport Beach will be OC’s 39th-largest hotel by room count, and the sixth-largest hotel in the city when it opens. A 20-year Montage veteran, David Hoffman, will be the general manager of the coastal property, expected to open in September, bringing the social club with it.
The flagship club will occupy an 11,000-square-foot space that will house several new venues for members.
“We’ve been waiting for the right opportunity, the right city and the right building,” Fuerstman told the Business Journal.
The new hotel is the result of Pendry’s takeover of the former 20-story Fashion Island Hotel, following its sale in 2022 to Newport Beach’s Eagle Four Partners, which has its own collection of members clubs in the city, including The Newport Beach Country Club and Balboa Bay Club.
Pendry Newport Beach and The Elwood Club will be “unlike anything Orange County has seen yet,” Fuerstman said.
The idea for the members club “revolves around being social and having a place to entertain and be entertained,” Fuerstman said.
Members will have access to a dedicated part of the hotel that will be divided into several venues connected to a main corridor that will act as an art gallery.
A cabaret-inspired room with an entertainment stage, lounge seating and a screening room will be “the heart and soul” of the club’s entertainment offerings, Fuerstman said.
The Elwood Club will also include two restaurants; the first will feature fireplaces and televisions with a California-English inspired pub, while a second restaurant will anchor the other end of the club as “a culinary standout,” Fuerstman said, with a notable chef-in-residence to be announced soon.
Closing out the main offerings will be a wine and board room.
The club aims to have consistent, daily programming to activate the spaces and allow for many business collaborations and partnerships.
The club also allows Pendry to interact with guests on a more daily basis, not only during vacations and short trips, helping to increase loyalty and engagement with the new-to-OC brand.
“We have the footprint and the building in which to do it,” he said. “It’s rare to find this much square footage that gives us the scale and enough space to create magic.”
The Elwood Club will join the hotel’s 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
Pendry chose Newport Beach to debut The Elwood Club because officials spotted a need for venues with more of a nightlife feel.
The cabaret, Fuerstman notes, can host unique entertainment and music acts to generate that feel.
“If we’re going to endeavor to build something, we want to make sure it’s going to be spectacular,” he said. “There will be no version of taking something over and putting our name on it just for growth.”
Gary Sherwin, president and CEO of Visit Newport Beach, said the added nightlife elements will help set Pendry Newport Beach apart from other local hospitality venues.
“Hotels now have to be more than just a place to stay,” Sherwin said. “It allows us to recreate our experiences in a new more modern way.”
Membership inquiries are now open online, with Pendry declining to offer price details.
Sherwin noted that membership prices for neighboring country and city clubs can range from the low five figures to around $200,000. He projects the club to have nearly 600 members by the summer opening.
Moving the Needle
The Elwood Club is part of Pendry’s goal of creating space with a “contemporary luxury” feel that add value to a market, Fuerstman notes.
“With every Pendry hotel, we try to do something in the city and the market we’re in that really moves the needle,” he said. Other Pendry locations include Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and Tampa, Fla.
Pendry is looking at expanding the social club concept to its other locations.
“We think this is a natural fit for us and we’re looking at other opportunities right now,” Fuerstman said of the new business line.
The Pendry Newport Beach is among four new hotels the high-end hotel operator will open in the next three years, with properties in La Quinta, Tampa, and New Jersey in the works.
Like its parent company (see story, page 16), Pendry has international expansion plans in the works. It’s currently redeveloping the former Port Ferdinand Luxury Marina &
Residences into the 74-key Pendry Barbados, marking the brand’s first overseas property. It will open in 2026.
“There’s a lot of momentum and demand for what we’re building right now,” Fuerstman said.