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Forget France, Champagne ‘runs in the veins’ of Newport Beach

Marriott International’s Autograph Collection Hotels features independent hotels hand-picked for their unique sensibilities, like Lido House in Newport.

Courtesy of Marriott International

Sun, sand, surf — and champagne. Californiaʼs Newport Beach has a taste for French bubbly, brightening everything from sunset cruises to expertly curated sampling.

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Despite its deep nautical roots, which reach back to 1870, Newport Beach knows champagne is not just for christening boats. It’s the unofficial tipple of the town, the drink of choice, cropping up at every turn.

While most people think of champagne as a celebratory drink or an aperitif, main-course food pairing is becoming more widespread. Wine lovers say champagne goes with just about everything, including cheese, grilled fish, raw seafood, chicken, even rare beef and lamb, its carbonation working as a palate refresher and a grease cutter. These traits mean it pairs well with dishes you wouldn’t expect, including fried foods.

“Our fried chicken and champagne is a pairing made in heaven,” says Riley Huddleston, executive chef at Lido House, a boutique hotel with rooms as well as cottages, each curated by local designers. Lido House is part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection Hotels brand, which features independent hotels hand-picked for their unique sensibilities.

Lido House is a boutique hotel with rooms as well as cottages, each curated by local designers.

Courtesy of Marriott International

“Champagne runs in the veins of Newport Beach,” he explains. “And Lido House is a place of celebration, with the only rooftop bar in Newport Beach. While creating our food and beverage program, champagne really stuck out. Our oysters are the perfect pairing with our own Lido House champagne.”

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Huddleston is referring to the beverage he custom created with one of France’s oldest and most celebrated champagne houses, Piper-Heidsieck, making Lido House one of the first hotels in the United States to blend and bottle its own champagne in partnership with a major maker.

Like the million bubbles in every flute of champagne, Newport Beach’s passion for sparkling wine can be pegged to any number of factors. It has the largest recreational harbour on the west coast, with 16 kilometres of aquatic sports and activities that draw visitors all year long.

Champagne cruises from the romantic Newport Beach harbour are popular and plentiful, particularly for brunch and at sunset. There’s nothing quite like soaking up the scenery of southern California from the deck of a yacht, jazz playing in the background. Sparkling wine is big on land, too, with bottomless champagne brunches elevating any day of the week in restaurants throughout the town.

A well-curated champagne selection is available by the glass and bottle at Lido House's rooftop bar.

Courtesy of Marriott International

At Lido House’s rooftop bar Topside, guests can enjoy a well-curated champagne selection, with five available by the glass and many more by the bottle, including a large selection of vintage champagne.

Beautifully integrating marina, beach and town, Lido House itself embodies a refined, stylish celebration of all things Newport Beach. The hotel is often referred to as the “new-old centerpiece,” built on the site of the former City Hall. In homage to that bit of history, the portraits of more than 40 mayors are proudly displayed throughout.

Luxury facilities include a saltwater pool and Boost Spa, which has a menu of botanically sourced treatments to invigorate and rejuvenate, a mix of massages, facials, wraps and aesthetics.

And when happy hour strikes, champagne always fits the bill.

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This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's Globe Content Studio.
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