RE: Best Newport beach or Huntington Beach hotel
For that price, you might want to try the Ayres Hotel on Bristol St. in Costa Mesa. It's a nice medium-size family-run hotel, it includes breakfast and they have a decent pool (just be sure to ask for a room facing away from the airport flight path). It's located close to John Wayne airport and about a 10 minute drive on the freeway from the beach but also about 3 minutes from the South Coast Plaza area which has lots of shopping, etc. Other alternatives, but they won't be quite as nice are along Newport Blvd - your best bets are to try tripadvisor.com or enter "Costa Mesa" into google and you'll get a list of links to hotels. Or, if you're looking to spend a little more, the Hyatt Newporter is a very nice hotel with beautiful grounds & pool and within reasonable walking distance of the beach and great shopping & restaurants.
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