Thursday, May 7, 2015

Land and Sea Adventures on Catalina Island, CA

Charming Catalina Island is located about an hour off the coast of Orange County, California. The island is 22 miles long and 8 miles across, but 90 percent of its inhabitants live in the only incorporated city, Avalon, that is only one square mile in size. For those looking to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of busy Southern California, Catalina provides a slow-paced vacation that can be spent relaxing on the beach or doing one of the many outdoor adventures.

Getting to Avalon, Catalina Island

Visitors can easily get to Avalon via a one-hour ferry ride from Long Beach, Dana Point, Newport Beach or San Pedro, California for approximately $37.25 (per adult). For only 15 dollars more, travelers on the Catalina Express can upgrade to the Commodore Lounge that offers indoor seating and waitress service. Light snacks and a beverage are included. Parking at the ferry station is typically $15 a day. If traveling by air is more appealing, the fastest way to Avalon is by helicopter -- only a 15-minute flight. If arriving on the island before the typical 3 p.m. hotel check in, there is inexpensive baggage storage at the ferry building. 

Getting Around Avalon, Catalina Island

There are a limited number of vehicles allowed on Catalina, so a rental car is not an option, but a golf cart rental is! Luckily, because Avalon is so small, most people get around by walking, cycling, golf cart, or taxi. For those wanting to visit the interior of the island, excursions are available.

Accommodation in Avalon, Catalina Island

There are various two- and three-star hotels in Avalon. Just a short golf cart ride away are the Hamilton Cove Villas, a luxury condo resort with private pool and spa and magnificent ocean views. The Catalina Island Vacation Rentals rents out the privately owned condo -- each comes with a golf cart for easy access to downtown Avalon. The office is located in the Shops at the Atwater Arcade (119 Sumner Ave, Suite B) in Avalon. 

Land Adventures in Avalon, Catalina Island

There are no shortage of activities to do by foot or wheel around Avalon. A short walk from downtown is the iconic Avalon Casino (which is not a gambling casino) that is home to a movie theater and the Catalina Island Museum. The museum shows the history and heritage of the Island through photos and memorabilia.Visitors can take a "behind the scenes" tour of the ballroom and concert hall, which are used for special events.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Segway Tours. The guided tours are an easy way to see various parts of Avalon. Tours last from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Other interesting activities include the following:
   Wrigley Botanic Gardens
   Interior Tours
   Zip Line Eco Tour

Sea Adventures in Avalon, Catalina Island

For those wanting to experience the Pacific Ocean, there are various types of water activities on the island. From snorkeling to fly fishing, there's something for every age and interest. 

Here are just a few activities worth trying:
   Glass Bottom Boat Tours
   Para Sailing
   Scuba Diving
   Semi-Submersible Tours

With only a day or with an entire week, Avalon has plenty to keep visitors entertained while on Catalina Island. For more information and maps, visit the Catalina Island Visitor Center located at the foot of Green Pleasure Pier in Avalon.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lush Garden Escape at Hotel Bel-Air

Tucked into a secluded Bel-Air neighborhood amongst mansions and lush landscaping, the five-star  Hotel Bel-Air offers guests a quiet retreat from the hustle-and-bustle of Los Angeles. The 12-acre former 1940s private garden estate mixes Spanish colonial style with French Deco design that creates a glamorous and charming atmosphere with limestone and polished marble floors, natural wood ceilings and bold-colored accents. A bridge entryway overlooking Swan Lake ( with three resident swans, Hercules, Athena and Chloe), lush walking path edging a small waterway, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and private patios, make this a retreat the entire family will find relaxing and enjoyable.

Hi-Tech Rooms at Hotel Bel-Air

This dog-friendly property features 58 guestrooms and 45 suites with high-tech features, high-end amenities  and a relaxed, yet luxurious feel. Some rooms include an in-room fireplace and outdoor patio. There are no rooms with two Queen beds, but roll-aways can be ordered to accompany a King bed, if needed.

Amenities may include the following:
  • Bang & Olufsen High-Definition Flat Screen TV
  • Fili D'Oro 310 thread count Egyptian cotton bed linens
  • 25MB+ high speed wireless internet available
  • Spacious bathroom features heated limestone floors, custom vanity with marble, and spa tub with built in TV
  • In-room iPad with room service ordering capability
  • Work desk with integrated media hub
  • Dog-walking services available
  • Rather than hanging a "Do Not Disturb" sign, guest push a button to let housekeeping know whether or not they can enter.
  • Mini Bar
  • An iPad to control the room lighting, thermostat, and contact the concierge, front desk, valet, spa, or restaurant.
  • The iPad menu also includes maps, things to do in the area, Internet, news, shopping and more.

Family-Friendly Amenities at Hotel Bel-Air

Children will be thrilled with plush children's bathrobes and slippers and rubber swans for the bathtub. Kids even get to take home their own plush swan!

With more than 200 species of plants and flowers, kids will love exploring the property and watching the many birds and butterflies that call the property home.

Kids ages four and up can also participate in the "Junior Chef" program offered twice a year.

Babysitting services are available.

On-Property Dining at Hotel Bel-Air

Guests can enjoy fine dining on property at Wolfgang Puck Hotel Bel-Air. The restaurant features modern California cuisine with European and Mediterranean influences and a focus on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea, the menu includes items such as Brioche French Toast with Tahitian vanilla, clotted cream and huckleberry compote ($19), Fresh "Creste Rigate" Kale Pasta with Sonoma lamb ragu, vine ripe tomatoes, garlic, chili and pecorino ($22), or Miso Glazed Black Cod with bloomsdale spinach, sesame viniagrette pea tenril salad ($26). The restaurant provides alfresco terrace seating as well as an elegant dining room. For after dinner entertainment, cocktails and cuisine, the chic Bar & Lounge features live music. Open daily; weekends until 2 a.m. In-room dining is also available.
Spa: La Prairie Spa is one of 30 Forbes five-star spas in the United States and the only one in L.A.

Unwinding at Hotel Bel-Air

To relax, guests can enjoy lounging and lunching poolside (unfortunately there is no hot tub), working out in the fitness studio or joining in on the Saturday morning yoga class, getting a treatment or enjoying the quiet lounge area at Spa by La Prairie. During summer months, the pool offeres ice cream, chocolate dipped bananas, fruit skewers, push pops, and fruit smoothies, as well as foot massages, sunglasses cleaning and sunscreen application.

Contact Information
Hotel Bel-Air
701 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles, CA
90077 USA
+1 310 472 1211

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sophisticated Comfort at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe

Eagle's Nest Grille at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino, located at Incline Village, offers guests luxury and comfort in a serene mountain setting. From the champagne upon check-in to the ski valet and heated pool deck, guests will be pampered at this deluxe mountain resort. It's the perfect outdoor get-away for families wanting to enjoy a winter vacation to include activities like skiing, sledding, snowmobiling or just taking in the stunning scenery with a tram ride at nearby Squaw Valley or gondola ride at Heavenly. With a heated pool, a game room, a full-service casino, fire pits, workout room, and a tranquil spa, there are plenty of options at this 422-room resort to keep the entire family entertained. 

Mountain or Lake View Rooms at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino
Rooms at the 26-acre resort offer views of the high Sierras, pool, or gardens. With decor reflecting the earth tones and of the area, rooms are warm and welcoming. Guests can choose a "Deluxe" room or larger "Suite" at the main lodge with access to on-property dining, the Stillwater Spa, full-service casino, and heated pool. For a more private experience, guests can choose "Regency Club Lounge" accommodation that includes a private  lounge with complimentary food and drinks available throughout the day, concierge services, and business center. The spacious one or two-bedroom "Cottages" offer a lakeside retreat with a balcony or patio near the private beach.

Room amenities may include:
   Separate sitting area
   Additional window in bedroom (suites)
   Iron/ironing board
   In-room dining during regular hours
   Coffee maker
   37" HD flat-screen TV
   Cable/satellite TV channels
   Video on demand
   Stereo system
   iHome stereo with iPod® docking station
   Dual line phones
   Cordless phone(s)
   High-speed Internet access
   Analog phone line
   Individual air temperature controls
   Windows that open
   Concierge during regular hours
   Video Checkout
   In-room safe
   Safe large enough to store and charge laptop computer
   Rollaways upon request for a fee
   Crib upon request

On-Property Dining at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino
Fire Pit at the Eagle's Nest Grille
The resort offers plenty of options for dining, including Cutthroat's Saloon with live entertainment, Sierra Cafe, Tahoe Provisions, Room Service, and the Casino Sports Bar and Lobby Bar.
For an elegant night of dining, the award-winning Lone Eagle Grille serves fresh seasonal fare with breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list (on an iPad) and strives to provide organic, sustainable and local dishes. Guests can start with an apres ski happy hour cocktail in the adjacent casual bar while being entertained with live music or take in the sunset by the fire pit situated on the patio, then be seated in the Great Room for a night of fine food and wine. Two enormous fireplaces, decor in subdued natural hues, and an open kitchen, the provide a classy yet cozy ambiance. 

The dinner menu includes items such as Hamachi Tartar with avocado, marinated cucumber, citrus soy dressing and wasabi ($18), Seared La Belle Farm Foie Gras with almond bread pudding, glazed white figs, and pomegranate and foie gras vinaigrette ($22), Roasted Petrale Sole with celery root puree, almandine broccolini, curry-vanilla vinaigrette with roasted grapes ($34) or the Brandt Beef Filet Mignon with red wine reduction and béarnaise ($46). For dessert, guests can indulge in items such as the Fresh Baked Dark Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream, salted carmel sauce, dried cherry compote and walnuts ($10). A vegetarian and children's menu are also available.

Stillwater Spa at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino
After a long and rigorous day of skiing, guests will enjoy the opportunity to relax and unwind with a treatment at the Stillwater Spa. The services reflect the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, fresh mountain air, and warm campfires. With 16 treatment rooms, a fitness center and salon, guests can indulge in wellness from head to toe at this 20,000-square-foot spa. Services include body treatments, facials, and massage. 

The 80-minute signature Sierra Dreams treatment incorporates lavender in a full body exfoliation followed by hydrating moisturizer and ending with a scalp and foot massage ($230).
The amenities include lockers, a VIP locker room, iced face towels, robe, slippers, sauna, restroom, and multi-head shower. For ultimate relaxation, guests can take advantage of the eucalyptus steam room and sauna. There is no hot tub in the spa area. Guests can use the one at the pool. While waiting for a treatment, there is complimentary champagne, chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, hot tea, and infused water available. The men's and women's relaxation rooms feature a fireplace with oversized lounge chairs and reading material.

Resort Amenities at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino
This full-service resort has amenities that go above and beyond to make sure guests are comfortable and have the conveniences they expect.

   Year-round heated lagoon-style swimming pool
   2 Oversized jetted whirlpools, 1 for adults only
   Rollaways available (applicable fee)
   PDA Check-in
   Complimentary parking (valet & self)
   Complimentary shuttle service to and around Incline Village
   Sport Shop including ski & golf rentals
   Pet friendly hotel
   StayFit™ fitness center
   Private beach with water sports (seasonal)
   Over 80,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor venues
   Exceptional catering featuring Personal Preference Dining®
   Only lakeside ballroom in Lake Tahoe
   Complimentary Wi-Fi
   Gift Shop
   Tahoe Provisions cafe
   Babies Travel Lite Services

On-Property Activities at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino

There is no shortage of activities to keep guests entertained while staying at the resort, including the 24-hour Grand Lodge Casino that includes 250 slot machines, video poker, 22 table games, a live poker room, and full-service sports book. Smoking is allowed in the casino. Must be 21 or older to enter. 

Kids will love the arcade with several types of games to play. Children ages 5 to 12 can attend Camp Hyatt for full day of games and activities that reflect the natural wonders of Lake Tahoe. At the end of the day, the family can join together around one of the three a fire pits on property while the kids roast marshmallows from a s'mores kit.

The heated pool is sure to be a hit with the entire family. Even during the winter months, guests can take a dip since the pool deck is also heated and there is a swim up area where guests can enter and exit the pool indoors (to avoid the frigid temperatures) and swim in and out to the main pool area. This makes toweling off after a swim much more pleasant.

Outdoor Recreation near the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino
For those wanting to take advantage of the winter sports activities in the area, the resort makes it easy. The on-property Sport Shop offers ski rentals and there is a ski valet so that guests don't have to lug their skis up to the room. A complimentary shuttle runs to and from nearby Diamond Peak resort and life tickets can be purchased on property, while other ski resorts are just a short drive away. The resort concierge is also available to book cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, dogsledding, snow mobile adventures, snowshoeing and more.

Contact Information
111 Country Club Drive
Incline Village, Nevada 89451
(775) 832-1234