Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family Fun at the Kona Kai Resort & Marina

The Kona Kai Resort & Marina, owned by Noble House Hotels & Resorts, is located on Shelter Island in San Diego, CA and offers guests a true maritime experience with a private beach and views of a marina. The 129-room, dog-friendly resort is book-ended by water and has views of its own marina, where guests can charter private fishing or sailboats, on one side and ocean inlet views on the other, where Shoreline Park is also situated.

Rooms at the Kona Kai Resort & Marina

The newly renovated guest rooms and suites are decorated with neutral colors and turquoise accents, giving them a fresh island feel. All guest rooms are ADA compliant.

Most rooms are 360 square feet  with private patio and offer the following complimentary amenities:
  • One king or two queen beds
  • Connecting rooms available
  • Premium coffee offerings
  • Mini Refrigerators
  • 42 inch television
  • Wi-Fi access
On-Property Dining at the Kona Kai Resort & Marina

In addition to in-room dining, the resort offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the newly remodeled Vessel restaurant. Situated with views of the Kona Kai Marina and decor that reflects the casual, yet chic aquatic venue, Vessel is the perfect place to grab a bite and enjoy the views. In the center, there is a 360-degree bar with golden onyx counters where customers can sit to indulge in the coastal cuisine menu that offers things like the Lobster Slider with brioche, green onions, and friend Jalapeno ($7) or the Garden Lasagna with local organic seasonal vegetables and ricotta marinara ($22). Adults might enjoy a "The Local" Punch Bowl made with Hendrick's gin, St. Germain, pressed lemon and cucumber soda that serves four to six people ($34). Dockside and poolside food and beverages are also available.

Family-Friendly Activities at the Kona Kai Resort & Marina

Families will enjoy the kid-friendly activities the property provides like lounging by the newly renovated pool with views of the marina, renting bikes, SUPS, pedal boats,  jet skis, or kayaks on property, taking a Segway tour of Shelter Island, playing badminton or making s'mores on the private beach, or attending movie nights at the pool. Kids might enjoy walking the few hundred yards to the nearby Friendship Bell. There are no sunset sails or boating activities organized through the resort, but the concierge is happy to provide information for guest to charter a boat privately. Docked at the marina is the former America's Cup yacht, Stars and Stripes. The booking office is located at the resort and guests, even with no sailing skills, can climb aboard for a three-hour interactive sailing experience sure to be a thrilling for all.

Nearby Activities in San Diego

With more that 90 museums in San Diego County, there are plenty of family-friendly excursions that both kids and parents with enjoy. A popular attraction is the USS Midway, a retired aircraft carrier with a 4.02-acre flight deck and multiple levels to explore.

Here is just a short list of area attractions:

• San Diego Zoo
• Children's Museum
• San Diego Natural History Museum
• San Diego Air & Space Museum
• San Diego Model Railroad Museum
• SeaWorld
• Japanese Friendship Museum
• Legoland 

Fall Renovation at the Kona Kai Resort & Marina

By November of 2014, the resort hopes to have finished upgrading the spa and fitness center (currently closed), as well as the main entrance to the hotel.

Contact Information

Kona Kai Resort & Marina
1551 Shelter Island Drive

San Diego, CA 92106

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mountain Biking with Leigh Donovan

When Leigh Donovan, American downhill world champion mountain biker and cycling ambassador, retired in 2001, she wanted to use her skills to start a business that would allow her to introduce women to mountain biking in a safe environment. “I wanted to give them skills and confidence to be great bike riders along with gaining a lifetime hobby with biking,” says Leigh. “I want to get the working moms, closet adventure girls, and simply MORE women to join our incredible sport.”

In February 2014, was born. With a mission to educate, inspire and empower women to ride bikes with confidence and joy through private and group coaching, Leigh utilizes her 22 years of riding experience, passion and drive to teach riders the basic skills necessary for mountain biking success.
Leigh chose to partner with Mammoth Mountain to hold a women’s three-day ichoosebikes mountain bike camp. The camp, which took place July 23 to the 26th, 2014, included, not only mountain biking skills clinics, but also hiking, yoga, wine tasting and all meals. Pricing options ranged from $400 to $1,000 depending on meals, lodging (available at Mammoth Mountain Inn), and bike pass options.
She selected Mammoth Mountain due to its extensive mountain biking terrain and facilities and her partnership with Bill Cockroft, senior VP at Mammoth Mountain, who she's known for more than 20 years.
Although she's an ex-pro rider, she caters her clinics to all levels. Leigh says, "Beginners can absolutely do the clinics, that is who my business is focused on. I know most of the riders think because I am a downhiller that the camps are going to be extreme but these camps are focused on making you a better, more confident rider and not the next World Champion."
The Mammoth camp offered skills training for all levels, from those who had never been on a mountain bike to riders that have ridden at a competitive level. “We had riders that could only ride the basic dirt path near the gondola all the way up to the Kamikaze downhill course from the top of the mountain,” says Leigh. “Mammoth has some great trails to learn on and after three days of building on the basic riding skills, the riders found a new confidence and joy on their bikes.” 

With about 20 camp attendees, Leigh enlisted the help of fellow professional mountain bikers Mercedes Natvig and Christine Hirst to assist with coaching the group.

The camp started with a welcome dinner at Mammoth Mountain so that the riders could get to know each other, the coaches, and the program schedule. Attendees had the option to ride their own bike or demo a Liv mountain bike. Liv bikes, manufactured by Giant Bicycles, are designed specifically for women.

Each day included an optional morning yoga class followed by a buffet breakfast. Then the riders met at a central location at the base of the mountain and the group broke into three to four skills clinic groups. “Generally I focus on basic skill building during my clinics, like learning to move around on the bike, neutral riding position, front wheel lifts, cornering, and many other skills important to improving your riding,” says Leigh. 

The group then met up for lunch and afterwards had the option to put their skills to work on the mountain. The coaches set up three “stations” on beginner trails for the attendees to practice what they learned in the parking lot. Even some experienced riders had to relearn the proper way to ride, which proved challenging. Each day ended with a group dinner, which inevitably led to discussions about the day’s ride.

At the end of the first full day, attendees were treated to a wine tasting event, followed by dinner in the Village. On the second day, after lunch at the top of the mountain with gorgeous views, attendees had the option to ride down from the top and then break into small groups (depending on ability and interest) and ride various trails down the mountain, or to take a break from the bike and go on a guided hike in the area. Dinner included a slide show of photos taken during the camp. By the end of the second day, there was a definite camaraderie amongst riders. The final day included small group rides followed by lunch and farewells. 

The camp included complimentary bike valet at the Mammoth Mountain Inn, complimentary bike adjustments provided by a Liv bikes mechanic (who also taught riders how to change a flat tire!), and a pass for local shuttle service.

In the end, Leigh hoped that the women who attended the camp walked away with a little less fear about mountain biking. “The ‘fear factor’ is another reason I chose to launch my business,” says Leigh.” I was tired of hearing how scary mountain biking ‘is’ when I would be in conversation about the sport. When women come to a clinic or event they definitely are taught skills that help to chip away at what scares them and are given new skills to be more confident when riding in the dirt. “

For upcoming skills clinics with Leigh, visit

Friday, June 27, 2014

Family Fun in the Desert at La Quinta Resort & Club

La Quinta Resort and Club, located in La Quinta, CA, offers guests a classic dessert escape to relax and unwind or to be active outdoors while soaking up the sun and being pampered.

The sprawling 45-acre resort, one of Hilton Worldwide’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, has been a popular retreat for Hollywood royalty since 1926 and continues its tradition of offering guests accommodation in charming casitas, a multitude of on-property dining, and a full array of amenities.
Guests can lounge by any of the 41 pools and 53 hot spas, get a luxury treatment at Spa La Quinta, or polish their skills at one of the five championship courses, 23 tennis courts, or attend a variety of fitness classes.

A Variety of Rooms at La Quinta Resort and Club

Guests can select to stay in one of 719 guestrooms that include casitas, suites and spa villas to suite their needs.
Most rooms offer the following complimentary amenities:

   Inviting interiors featuring early California-style décor
   Flat-screen televisions
   High speed Internet access; two telephones with dual lines/data port
   Private patios with garden, mountain or pool views in most rooms
   Fireplaces in select rooms
   Luxurious bathrooms with oversized tubs, separate showers, double sink vanities, top quality bath amenities and lighted make-up mirrors
   Plush terry bathrobes
   Refreshment center, wet bars in suites
   In-room safes
   Coffee service, iron, hairdryer

Suites may feature:
·   Hospitality kitchens
   Accommodate up to 14 people with connecting guestrooms
   Wood-burning fireplaces
   Eight suites also showcase private spas
   Five luxury suites include both a private pool and spa

Keep in mind that although guests can request non-smoking rooms, smoking is allowed in the outdoor patios surrounding the pools. Sharing a pool with neighbors could mean swimming with a chain smoker, bachelorette party, or partying college kids.

There is an adult-only pool, which lures the party crowd with music pumping and drinks flowing. This could make the smaller pools more family friendly.

On-Property Dining La Quinta Resort and Club

TWENTY6, named after the year the resort was established, 1926, is a modern bistro that offers causal updated versions of traditional dishes prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients. Marketed as “vintage comfort food redefined,” the menu includes creative items such as the Pickled Purple Cauliflower ($2.26), Mandarin Orange & Cashew Salad with pea tendrils, crisp won tons, and sweet sesame soy dressing ($13.50), or the Reverse Root Beer Float made with root beer ice cream and vanilla cream soda ($7). The chef might also surprise you with a sample of items that are not on the menu, such as pancakes stuffed with bacon and topped with chocolate sauce or sweet potato tater tots with marshmallow dip. TWENTY6 also offers a breakfast menu that includes hotcakes, waffles, omelets, seasonal fruit and more. A popular dish is the Everything And The Kitchen Sink that includes corned beef, potatoes, peppers, onions, two cheeses and eggs ($17.26).
For authentic Mexican dishes, Adobe Grill offers a menu that features traditional dishes, as well as signature menu items such as table-side guacamole ($12.95), hand-made tortillas, award-wining tamales and more than a dozen hand-crafted margaritas including the Pepino Diablo with Tanteo jalepeno-infused tequila, or the Red Bull Margarita. Specialty dishes include the Camarones with Fideo – large pan-seared Mexican white shrimp sautéed with jalapeno, garlic tomatoes and cilantro served over angel hair pasta and vegetables ($23) or the Drunken Mahi Mahi blacked and glazed with El Jimador 100% agave tequila served with potato hash, fire roasted corn and pineapple jalapeno salsa ($26).
For a glamorous evening out, Morgan’s In the Desert provides a contemporary American cuisine with rustic farm-to-table menu items.
Also available are in-room dining (available poolside too), poolside dining at the Centre Court Café located at the main pool, To-Go menu items at the Coffee Market and a handy frozen margarita and snack cart that cruises the premises.
Family-Friendly Activities at La Quinta Resort and Club

Families will enjoy the many activities the property provides, including many pools (including shallow kiddie pools), bike rentals and nearby bike path, putting green, croquet, playground, nearby hiking trials, and movie nights at the main pool. There is also a candy shop, a kid’s clothing store, and babysitting services available. To really spoil the kids, check out the junior spa treatments for kids 10-17 years old.

Guest Services at La Quinta Resort and Club
The following services are offered:
   The full-service Spa La Quinta and state-of-the-art fitness center
   An executive business center and services
   A pet-friendly program, Paws La Quinta
   In-room dining
   24-hour concierge service
   Enterprise Rent-A-Car, located in the main lobby
   Airport and transportation services
   Babysitting, available through the concierge on a reference-only basis
   Complimentary self-parking and valet parking 

Fall Renovation 
This fall/2014 marks the first milestone of a phased multi-million dollar restoration of the 45-acre
bespoke escape, which includes 620 guest casitas and suites plus 98 one-, two- and three-bedroom
villas. Preserving the inspiration and historical significance of the 1926 property, the resort-wide
renovation will encompass enhancements of all guest casitas and villas, a redesign of the main lobby
and public spaces as well as re-imagine the pool experience.

Contact Information
La Quinta Resort & Club
49499 Eisenhower Drive
La Quinta, CA 92253
(760) 564-4111

Thursday, June 26, 2014

OSEA Adds Blemish Balm to Skin Care Line

OSEA, which stands for Ocean, Sun, Earth, and Atmosphere, has added a Blemish Balm to their line of safe cosmetics. Founder Jenefer Palmer strives to provide customers with the highest quality, naturally-sourced skincare that is vegan, gluten-free and biodegradable.

“I want to leave this planet a cleaner place than when I arrived,” says Palmer. "I also want women to be able to use the safest cosmetics possible. Remember seventy percent of what you put on your body can be absorbed into your bloodstream. I want to raise the consciousness of women so they use safe cosmetics, it's not just about beauty - it's about their health.”

The Blemish Balm is an organic, lightweight, non-greasy, antiseptic moisturizer that helps reduce blemishes, prevent future breakouts, and keeps skin shine-free without clogging pores.

The unique blend includes pure cypress, rosemary, and juniper essential oils in OSEA’s proprietary base of three different seaweeds (including Gigartina seaweed, which is hand-harvested in the pristine waters off the coast of Patagonia). The Balm is loaded with skin-loving multivitamins, anti-aging properties, and mineral peptides that nourish and aid in skin repair. OSEA's seaweed is certified USDA organic.

The Blemish Balm ($42), has become a best seller, along with the Ocean Cleanser, Advanced Protection Cream, Eyes & Lips and Vitamin Sea Serum. OSEA has partnered with luxury destination resorts and day spas worldwide. Their line of products can be found at their spa partners or online at

Monday, June 2, 2014

Celebrity Cruises' Land-Based Wine and Food Festival

Celebrity Cruises hosted their first-ever land-based Great Wine Festival on May 31, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Great Park in Irvine, Calif. Attendees were able to sample wine from more than 40 wineries including Kendall Jackson, beers from craft breweries including Stella Artois and unique spirits such as sparkling tequilla from TeQava. Food samples were also available from the Celebrity Cruise Executive Chef John Suley, as well as top Orange County restaurants including Laguna Beach-based Maro Wood Grill.
Celebrity Cruises is know for its gourmet wine and food offering about their ships. Recently 10 of its restaurants received Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence."
Scott Clifton, director of sales, said, “Celebrity’s love affair with the culinary arts continues to flourish. We saw this opportunity to introduce food and wine aficionados to culinary experiences they can enjoy while on a Celebrity ship, as well as restaurants and beverages they have yet to try.”
Ticket prices were up to $100 with proceeds benefiting LegalAid of Orange County, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides free and low-cost legal services to individuals of Southern California who might otherwise be denied access to justice.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hotel del Coronado Keeps it Green

Built more than 120 years ago on the beach of Coronado Island in San Diego, California, the luxurious Hotel del Coronado has long been a favorite resort of locals and out-of-towners alike. This National Historic Landmark provides visitors with a feeling of old world glam, but in a casual beach environment. Families will feel especially welcome with accommodations that cater to kids and pets and activities the entire family will enjoy. 

The Victorian-era resort recently finished an extensive $13 million, two-year renovation encompassing the original Victorian guestrooms, Beach Village villas and cottages, common areas and dining venues. This May the resort will unveil the new "Del Beach" that will include beach cabanas, food and drink service, and beach toys.

Green Initiatives

The Hotel del Coronado is a resort that families can feel good about. It is one of only three San Diego resorts that is Green Seal Certified, which means the resort takes pride in waste minimization, energy conservation and management, management of fresh water resources, waste water management, pollution prevention, and environmentally sensitive purchasing. 

Seaside Rooms at the Hotel del Coronado

Part of the renovation includes new Blue Dolphin family suites in the Ocean Towers. The suites feature a newly renovated master king bedroom and sitting parlor along with a beach-inspired kids’ bedroom, complete with sand-colored carpet, linens and playful artwork as well as bean bag chairs, crisp white bunk beds, an Xbox gaming system and a treasure chest filled with toys.

Most rooms offer the following complimentary amenities:
  • The Del’s signature line of personal care and bath products
  • Plush terry robes
  • 26 television channels, including HBO
  • Voicemail
  • High-speed Internet access
  • Mini refrigerator
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron and ironing board
  • In-room Keurig coffee maker
  • In-room safe
  • 24-hour in-room dining service
  • Turndown service, upon request
  • Daily newspaper available in the lobby
For large families who want a private get-away with extra amenities, the Beach Village has 78 luxurious custom cottages and villas with up to three bedrooms, spacious dining and living rooms, gourmet kitchens, private terraces that have therapeutic spa hot tubs, and fire pits. There is also a pool for Beach Village guests only that includes private cabanas. Beach Village guests get access to private dining at the Windsor Club Cottage, including complimentary breakfast served daily. Feel like staying in for dinner? Not a problem. Del Chefs can prepare your family's favorite meal in the comfort of your cottage or villa, or you can have the concierge pre-stock the kitchen with your favorite ingredients if you want to cook yourself.

On-Property Dining at the Hotel del Coronado

The Hotel del Coronado has about a dozen eateries on site, from the upscale signature restaurant 1500 Ocean to the poolside Splash Bar & Deli. Families might enjoy the casual ocean-front dining at the Sun Deck Grill with patio fire pits (dogs allowed) or the artisan pizza at Eno. For special treats, the kids are in luck. There's MooTime Creamery that offers handcrafted ice cream (and great place to visit while waiting for check in), for a wide variety of candy and sweets, and for dessert, don't miss out on s'mores on the beach. Reservations are taken for 6:30 or 8 p.m. and include unlimited marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers along with roasting sticks and beach chairs, plus an attended to tend the fire. It's the perfect way to end the day.

Outdoor Activities at the Hotel del Coronado

There is plenty to keep the kids busy at the Hotel del Coronado:
  • Treasure Hunt: Upon check-in be sure to pick up your kids' Adventure Pack that includes a map, compass, whistle, and magnifying glass. The map leads kids to clues hidden under the golden crowns around the property. Solve the mystery and win a prize!
  • Bike Rentals: There is a conveniently located bike rental shack on the property. Guests can rent a variety of bikes, including a Surrey that can hold up to six passengers. Follow the bike path along the ocean and through the town of Coronado. Kids love to ring the bell to warn pedestrians to watch out!
  • Swimming: The main pool is the perfect place for kids to splash and adults to relax while taking advantage of the typically sunny Southern California weather. Pool towels, kick boards and water toys are provided.
  • DelVenture Kids Program: Kids ages four to 12 will love the activites that the Kids Program offers, such as safaris, ocean learning, mosaics, junior photographers, beach olympics and more. Plus, it gives parents some time to enjoy the resort alone.
Guest Services at the Hotel del Coronado

The following services are offered:
  • Concierge
  • Childcare
  • Transportation
  • Rental Car
  • Valet Parking
  • Laundry and Dry Cleaning
  • Business Center
  • Guest Email & Fax
Contact Information
Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118