Frequently Asked Questions


The beaches and cities along southern California's Pacific Coast enjoy a Mediterranean-type climate of sunny, warm summers and mild wet winters. The rainy season runs from November through March and usually produces no more than 12 inches of rainfall per year. Due to a stable marine layer, any type of precipitation is rare between May and October. The average annual humidity is 64.7 and the average year round temperature is 62 degrees. In summer weather, temperatures rarely exceed 85 degrees. In the morning and evening there are often strong ocean breezes. In summer, low clouds and fog along the coast give way to sunshine by early afternoon. Frost occurs in the Southern California area less than once every ten years.


Casual wear is acceptable most of the time. Some establishments (nightclubs, bars and some restaurants) have a "no jeans, no running shoes" policy. Certain fine dining establishments within Newport Beach require men to wear jackets or blazers with ties to dinner. 

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the United States. ATMs or Bank machines can be found everywhere and debit cards are also widely used. If you are using a foreign card at a bank machine, your money will be disbursed in U.S. funds. Please note that you cannot use International debit cards for payment.


Financial institutions will provide a credible rate of exchange when switching your currency for U.S. dollars. A currency converter is available on the Fairmont website under the Travel Tools heading. It is also available when checking availability on Step 2 of the reservation process.

Electrical Current

110 Volts, 60 Cycles AC (same as Canada and Mexico) 

Health Insurance

The United States has a very high quality of medical care. However, it is a private system and, as such, is very expensive by any standard. You should consider the purchase of your own health insurance a necessity. Even if you are covered by your home country's national health insurance system, your country will probably not pay all costs associated with health care in the U.S., so additional coverage is necessary.

Visitors taking medicine prescribed by a doctor should bring a copy of the prescription in case it needs to be renewed by a doctor in the U.S.

Liquor and Smoking Laws

In the United States, all states require that you be 21 years of age or older to purchase and/or consume alcoholic beverages. California has very strict legislation relating to smoking. Smoking is prohibited in all public spaces including shopping malls, bars and restaurants.

Public Holidays

New Year's DayJanuary 1
Martin Luther King Day January (Third Monday)
President's Day Day February (Third Monday)
Easter March or April
Memorial DayMay (Last Monday)
Independence DayJuly 4
Labor DaySeptember (First Monday)
Columbus DayOctober (Second Monday)
Veterans DayNovember 11
ThanksgivingNovember (Last Thursday)
Christmas DayDecember 25

Time Zones

California is located in the Pacific The continental United States has four time zones: Eastern, Central (1 hour behind Eastern), Mountain (2 hours behind Eastern), and Pacific (3 hours behind Eastern). 


Tips or service charges are not usually added to a bill in the U.S. The exception to this is when a large group of approximately eight or more are dining together in a restaurant, in which case the establishment may state in advance that a gratuity of 18% will automatically be added to the bill.

In general, a tip of 18% of the sub-total (before taxes) is given. This applies to waiters, waitresses, barbers and hairdressers, taxi drivers, etc. At hotels, airports and railway stations, bellhops, doormen, redcaps (porters), etc. are generally paid $1-2 per item of luggage.

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