Go Green!
Portola’s Green LEEDers – Keeping It Green

February 23rd, 2015
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Earth Day, Park Clean Up

Recycling, sustainable living and “going green” are a way of life, especially in California. From water conservation and waste management to locally sourced seafood and agriculture, individuals and businesses have embraced helping to create a healthier and safer planet.

Nowhere is that more evident than at the Portola Hotel & Spa, where not only is the business a leader in green practices, but so are the employees. As Central California’s first U.S. Environmental Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Certified Silver LEED®- EB hotel, the Portola has always lead from the front, but recognizing the need for their employees to have a channel with which to bring their own green ideas to management, the Portola Green LEEDers program was started in January of 2011.

The Green LEEDers program is a venue where Portola team member, help to continue and maintain the Green Initiatives put in place, but it also allows for the introduction of new concepts. A perfect example of this was the introduction of separate waste bin for trash, recyclables and food waste in the staff lunch room. Additionally, the hotel adopted Monterey’s Del Monte beach in 2012 and the Green LEEDers organize four beach cleanups a year through, local environmental non-profit, Save our Shores. This process is expanded with each new hire as the LEEDers attend all new employee orientations to provide educational information on the hotel’s LEED® certification and what it means to be a green property.

Del Monte Beach Cleanup

With interactive programs that engage the hotel and its employees in green practices and in turn engage the employees and the public with additional sustainable projects, the Portola Hotel & Spa and its restaurants Jacks Restaurants & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub have established themselves as true leaders in going green.

Being green and environmentally conscience, is truly a way of life at the Portola, from the inside, out!

Portola Hotel & Spa
Behind the Scenes at the Portola Hotel & Spa

February 20th, 2015
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This new feature on our Central Coast Living blog will highlight the amazing staff right here at the Portola! From food service to operations, here’s your chance to meet a great group of professionals, who not only love their job, but truly care about the experience each and every individual has, the moment they step through the doors at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay.

The first department I will be featuring is the one and only Food & Beverage crew.  With experience that spans from Grocery Bagging to Food Serving, the Portola’s Food & Beverage team is one of the most dynamic bunch of individuals you’ll ever meet.

 

Kevin Clark, Peter B’s Head Brewer on why he brews and advice for someone looking to start brewing -

“Because I love to be creative and I also really loved beer. Start brewing at home and read some books. Also start drinking other beers you normally don’t.”

 

Kevin Clark bottling beer at Peter B’s Brewpub.

Devin Gray, Food & Beverage Coordinator on why she choose to work in hospitality -

“I went to college with the intention of becoming a Physical Therapist. It didn’t take long to realize that I was on the completely wrong path – I hated my classes, I was squeamish about the work, and I didn’t feel any real connection to the profession. After weeks, months, and finally two years of trying to decide what brought me to Physical Therapy in the first place, I realized that it was really just a desire to make people comfortable and happy. Well, there’s more than one way to reach that goal – I eventually found my way to the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where I studied Hospitality Management. One of the most important things that I’ve learned throughout my eight years in hospitality is that your attitude directly affects the guest – for better or for worse. So do what you love, and they’ll (almost) always be happy!”

Jim Bridges, Banquet Manager on advice for someone interested in managing a banquet team -

“Working in banquets it’s important to expect the unexpected. Every client and every meeting is different.  If you start your day expecting changes your will be more prepared to tackle the variety of requests and adjustments of the day.”

Sonny Petersson, Director of Food and Beverage on why he choose to work in hospitality and advice for those in the industry -

“After finishing College in Sweden I moved to London in order to improve my English. The easiest way to get a job was in the hospitality industry, it was there I realized that I loved the industry and what it brings to you. It is a fast paced, cultural, rewarding and so much more industry. Not one day is the same and what I enjoyed the most is seeing instant gratification in the guest’s eyes and body language when you have exceeded their expectations. I have been very fortunate in my career and have worked at so many great places as well as with so many great people. I live and work by this motto – What separates a professional from an amateur is how you recover from a mistake. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we all make them but it is how you recover and learn from one that is important.”

 

Sonny Petersson encouraging guests to relax and have a glass of wine during the holidays in Jacks Lounge.

Franco Vasquez, Peter B’s Brewpub Restaurant Manager on why he choose Restaurant Management -

“Restaurant Management is a very noble profession.  As with any job, there is the good and not so good and, more importantly, it truly is what you make it. My years working in restaurants have been extremely rewarding, exciting and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!  I have had the privilege to work with, inspire (and be inspired by) incredible employees and managers and, hopefully, made a difference in their lives.  I have made thousands and thousands of customers happy by serving the highest quality food I could possibly serve with fast and friendly service in clean restaurants. I’ve met people along the way, customers, employees, managers and superiors that I’ll never forget.  Looking back?  Good stuff. Very good stuff.”

 

Franco Vasquez helping out at Eggstravaganza.

Peter Radler, Jacks Restaurant Manager on why he choose to work in hospitality

“I work in Hospitality because it’s the perfect business if you want to travel. When I was first starting out, I had no idea of the adventures that I would soon be taking. I’ve been in F&B for 32 years, and have had the amazing opportunity to work in Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Colorado, Los Angeles, and now Monterey. I’ve worked in free standing restaurants, in corporate situations, and have even owned my own restaurant. Each position I’ve held has been completely unique, and has taught me that you can work in the industry for years and years and it’ll still find ways to surprise you.”

Jason Giles, Executive Chef on why he choose to become a Chef and his funniest moment in his career

“I got in this field because it allows me to be creative and share my passion for great food with other people. My funniest moment was when I was working 21 days straight, 16 to 18 hours a day while opening a restaurant and falling asleep standing pitting cherries for the pastry station.”

Jason Giles at the Tequila Expo for a live cooking demo.

Weddings
Win a Second Honeymoon in Monterey

February 12th, 2015
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Who doesn’t love a good contest, especially when it involves a romantic getaway in beautiful Monterey?!  The Portola Hotel & Spa has just released the contest details for their Second Honeymoon Contest* and I don’t know about you, but getting away with just the hubby sans kiddos sounds amazing!!! The lucky couple will win a complimentary overnight stay in a nautically themed room at the Portola Hotel & Spa, breakfast for two at Jacks Restaurant AND a 25-minute Couples Coastal Massage at our Spa on the Plaza.

So here are the details!

  1. Go to the Portola Hotel & Spa’s official Facebook page Click Here!
  2. Post a picture from your wedding (post to page, do not send as a direct message)
  3. Write a caption in 50 words or less sharing your favorite memory from your wedding day
  4. Make sure to include the #MontereyWeddings with your entry

All entries must be submitted by February 20, 2015 and the winning couple will be selected by the team at Spa On the Plaza and notified on Monday, February 23, 2015 via the Portola Hotel & Spa Facebook page.

Meet Last Year’s Second Honeymoon Contest Winner – Kelly A.

“A beautiful blue sky painted with white puffy clouds, a gentle breeze blowing and the sun kissing my skin. The man of my dreams by my side and our family and friends celebrating with us! April ’02, our wedding was the best day of my life!”

 * Terms and conditions apply. Must be 18 years or older to enter. 

Portola Hotel & Spa
Love is in the Air

February 9th, 2015
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Spa On the Plaza, massage for two

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with it comes the pressure of finding the perfect gift, or gifts for your significant other.  With work, kids and everything else in our lives, however, who has the time to properly pull together a great gift? Why not let the Portola Hotel & Spa handle all the details and make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.

To begin, treat yourself to the Portola Hotel’s Romance Package. You’ll be greeted by a bottle of complimentary Champagne and decadent chocolate covered strawberries. You and your sweetheart will also receive a relaxing 50-minute Symphony Massage for two from the Spa on the Plaza as well as a delicious European-style breakfast buffet with bottomless Mimosas at Jacks Restaurant.

If you are also in the mood for dinner, why go out when you can experience the award-winning cuisine of Jacks Restaurant located just steps from your room. Executive Chef Jason Giles has created a wonderful four course prix-fixe dinner featuring an appetizer of Crispy Duck Crepinette and your choice of Butter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Beets or Lobster Bisque with Brioche Croutons for a starter. Entrée choices include Petite Filet Mignon or Pan Roasted Verlasso Salmon among others. This special dinner also includes a decedent dessert and complimentary glass of Champagne.

If your Valentine’s Day plans include more than a massage, the Spa on the Plaza has got you covered. From massage enhancements to special treatments, facials and private baths for women AND men, you can customize your experience and treat yourself and your honey to something amazing.  Choose from a list of services and treatment additions as simple as an extra-long massage or as extravagant as a Serenity Wrap where you are wrapped in a heated cocoon of herbal essences, seaweed or mud.

So if you are looking for the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience, look no further than the Portola Hotel & Spa. From romantic rooms and bottomless Mimosas to delicious dinners and relaxing spa treatments, you’ll find love is in the air, and everywhere at the Portola Hotel.

Weddings
Wedding Season All Year Round

January 30th, 2015
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There are several reasons the Monterey Peninsula is one of the most popular destinations for saying “I Do”. To begin, the scenery is some of the most beautiful in the world with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary serving as the backdrop to a bevy of local, county, regional and state parks, as well as countless forests and meadows. The entire area is also rich with historical significance from early Spanish California architecture to the inspiration and locations of famous novels, poems and movies. In addition, the amazing venues available to all are unparalleled including seaside settings, intimate gardens, traditional venues and off the beaten path locations that can emphasize the wedding’s theme. Finally, the central location cannot be beat. Centrally located between the Bay Area and the Central Valley and served by the Monterey Regional Airport accessing this long list of reasons to get married in Monterey is extremely easy. The one thing that rises above all, however, is the temperate and comfortable climate.  With mild weather throughout the year, the “Peninsula” makes it easy to plan the event of your dreams.

Many assume that the Monterey Peninsula only offers beachfront weddings, but there is so much more. Why not choose a romantic garden surrounded by native plants and rustic adobes or a more open space with views of the Monterey Bay and Fisherman’s Wharf.  For a more urban feel, plan your ceremony or reception at a private outdoor space. The Memory Garden located behind the Portola Hotel & Spa is the perfect venue for guests to sip Monterey County wines under twinkle lights and dance under the stars.

Memory Garden

So now you’ve have found the space, but it’s time for details.  No problem! Home too many world-class florists, djs, photographers, stylists, hair/make-up pros, photo booths and more, local vendors located throughout the region are some of the best in the business. Don’t forget, the experts at the Portola Hotel & Spa will help you along the way, taking care of details big and small, as you design your perfect day.

So when the love of your life asks for your hand, think Monterey to help you make memories that last a lifetime!