AtriumWhen my teen daughter and my dear friend and I decide to enjoy a girlfriend getaway in Irvine, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect or where we should stay. We’d heard Irvine was steeped in arts, dining, nightlife, shopping and all the typical things that girls gravitate to when planning a gal getaway, but Irvine exceeded all our expectations which is quite a feat when you consider our ages, spanning over four decades, are as diverse as our interests.

We used the Atrium Hotel right across from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, as our hub and home away from home. We chose to drive on this particular trip although other previous excursions to Orange County have found us flying in before. Originally this 1969 icon was the “Airporter” hotel. Business and relaxation both thrive in this location that has evolved over the decades, as much as its environs.

atrium1So “note to self,” was what a great location the Atrium would provide if we had flown in. It was equally well situated for this car-centered road trip to Irvine. The boutique style resort property has a beautiful pool and a very satisfying breakfast buffet that we all appreciated for fueling ourselves for our daily exploration of Irvine.

Just a few miles from most of Irvine’s most notable attractions, like the Irvine Spectrum Center, The Diamond Jamboree and OC Great Park, The Atrium is set in the perfect location to enjoy it all whether it’s beaches, hiking trails, dining, or arts you plan to explore in Irvine and the surrounding areas.

It’s a little retro, very hip, small, and offers many amenities. A free shuttle to and from John Wayne Airport, Complexions Day Spa, room service, on-site restaurant/bar, on-site Enterprise car rental, pool cabanas and complimentary in town shuttle are just a few reasons why a traveling family will love this boutique hotel.

Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of, an online travel magazine. Carmels been on local talk radio for 17 years and now co-hosts THE GOOD LIFE with Mike the Wine Guy on KMYC 1410AM. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooney or Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs.