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By Michael Hepworth

Huntington Beach in California is known as the Surf Capital of the world, and it is also home to the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort. The hotel is very popular with locals and wedding planners in particular, but the recession has taken its toll, so the 290 guest rooms have recently been remodeled at a cost of $10 million, with all of them having an ocean view in order to attract more business. That number includes 24 oceanfront suites that overlook the longest stretch of pristine beach in Southern California . Huntington Beach Pier is also within walking distance of the hotel, and there are on site volleyball and tennis courts, a fitness center and a heavily used heated lagoon-type pool and a whirlpool.

There are literally hundreds of reasons to go to Huntington Beach , and the Waterfront Beach Resort is a great base to check out the local attractions. Top of that list has to be  The International Surfing Museum , a living tribute to Duke Hulikohola Kahanamoku,  the sports first superstar and the “Father of Modern Surfing”.. Shades Restaurant which can be loosely described as an American bistro is the hotels main restaurant that has also been revamped, and executive chef Jeff Littlefield has created a relatively short and simple menu that slightly belies the quality of the food on offer. Littlefield, who has been at the hotel since 2001, only buys ingredients from Santa Monica Farmers Market and other local ones, and gourmet products from purveyors all over the country.

 A recent visit started with the Butternut Squash Soup with pine nuts (a very nice touch), and a beet salad with asparagus and whipped goat cheese. Since there are no signature dishes on the weekend, we decided to check the creative abilities of the sous chef filling in for Littlefield, and he came up with a halibut dish with green oyster sauce and homemade onion rings. Very light and perfect for the ambience of the room that takes on a different vibe for breakfast, lunch and then dinner. 

The Sunday Champagne brunch every Sunday has also proven to be very popular, and it looked packed the weekend we were there, with Trinidadian steel drum music as entertainment.  One thing that impressed me a lot about the hotel was the room service that was quick and very efficient. A lunch order arrived within 15 minutes, and a second request for some more coffee and tea sachets was executed within five minutes. The bedding is also brand new with plush pillow top mattresses, and the bed was one of the most comfortable I have been in for some time.

Less impressive for me was the racket on the Saturday night put up by some of the over imbibed wedding guests. However, despite that inconvenience, a stay at the Waterfront Resort can be highly recommended either for a weekend getaway or a midweek business trip. There are a lot of interesting packages available right now ranging from the Surf on Us Package (Surfing gear provided) to the Shop Till You Drop Package (limousine service to South Coast Plaza ).  The hotel is also determined to become a trendsetter when it comes to “green” initiatives.

One of the many steps they have taken is to open “The Green Room”, a laundry room that is free to all guests of the hotel. The washers and dryers are Energy Star rated units, all the accessories are made from recycled materials, and the detergent selection includes a non-toxic, biodegradable option. Other initiatives the hotel has set in place includes low-flow toilets, towel-and-linens reuse program and fluorescent light bulbs.

Fact Sheet

Address:   21100 Pacific Coast Highway , Huntington Beach .

Phone: (714) 845-8000

Reservations: 1-800-822-SURF

Websites: www.huntingtonbeach.hilton.com, www.surfcityusa.com

























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