I grew up in Newport Beach and enjoy returning for my high school reunions. The last three visits we have stayed at the BayShores Peninsula Hotel and it has been great each time. This is not a luxury hotel but a small boutique hotel, with nicely-decorated surf-themed rooms and a very friendly staff. The free breakfast is light but all you need, and some food is available all day ( they put fresh-baked cookies out in the afternoon). The rooms are stocked with fresh fruit and free water in the fridge. They also provide beach equipment---towels, boogie boards, etc.) and we make good use of that. the location is just right, a block off the ocean beach and only a half-block from the bay. The Newport Pier commercial area is A short walk away. We like to go and watch the surfers at the Pier in the morning, and have often seen dolphins out beyond the surfers as well.
And then there's the roof terrace, a great place to sit in the early evening. Can't wait to go back.