Family Fun
Mother’s Day Memories

May 4th, 2015
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Mother’s Day is just a few short days away and with everyone’s hectic lives, finding the perfect gift might be hard to do. Sure there are the old standbys of flowers or a card, but what about something more to show mom just how much you care? Here are a few ideas that will take the pressure off you and make mom smile:

 

  • Mom has taken care of you all your life, so why not take care of her? The Spa on the Plaza at the Portola Hotel & Spa has a wide variety of treatments, packages and specials to sooth and relax from straightforward massages to herbal wraps. Right now, they are offering a Mom’s Renewal and Mom’s Tropical Delight specials. Both include upgraded treatments along with discounted prices.
  • If mom needs a moment of silence away from the kids (or the spouse) the Portola Hotel & Spa has several options that might fit her fancy. From whale watching and paddle boarding to wine and golf, you can give mom just what she wants while she relaxes in a nautically appointed guest room complete with an outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi and a warm homemade chocolate chip cookie on arrival!
  • The old adage goes, “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach” and that could not be more true at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge; especially on Mother’s Day! Executive Chef Jason Giles has outdone himself with a classic Mother’s Day menu featuring Traditional Eggs Benedict, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, Assorted Cheeses, Salads, Mimosas and more. Reservations are required, as is room for desert. Call (831) 649-7874.
  • If you are far away from mom this Mother’s Day, why not give her a taste of Monterey? Monterey County is home to some of the world’s best food and drink and it goes without saying that Mom will love experiencing what you do.
    • Lula’s Chocolates offer award-winning candy with a Peninsula twist.
    • Scheid Vineyards has some of the best wine around and is locally owned and operated.
    • Let your mom know you are eating your veggies with a box of Castroville Artichokes from Pezzini Farms
    • Or, how about a selection of locally produced olive oil from Quail and Olive in Carmel Valley

 

Whatever you decide, know that the gift you give will be one wrapped in love. To all the moms and moms to be, have a Happy Mother’s Day!


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

April 20th, 2015
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Accounting Department at the Portola Hotel & Spa, April 2015.

 

This new feature on our Central Coast Living blog highlights the amazing staff right here at the Portola Hotel & Spa! 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 next department I will be featuring is the Portola’s very own Accounting Team.  With experience that spans from making explosives for car airbags to night auditing, the Portola Accounting team is one of the most dynamic bunch of individuals you’ll ever meet. They love crunching numbers BUT even more importantly, ensuring each and every guest has an amazing experience during their time at the Portola!

 

Enjoying a fabulous monthly HFTP meeting at the Intercontinental.  Learning and networking with friends.

Monica Gonzalez, Accounts Receivable on why she enjoys accounting and the best part of her job -

“I fell in love with accounting 10 years ago. I started off in night audit and loved it.  I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I loved to balance the daily work and see what the daily totals would be. I feel like accounting is something you either love or hate. But if you love it, it’s a great department to work and grow in. The best part of my job is who I work with. Everyone is so friendly and helpful and we work great as a team. I can honestly say I look forward to coming to work every day because of the staff here.”

 

Accounting out to lunch!

Olivia Yang, Income Audit Intern on working in accounting and being a part of the team at Portola -

“There are many reasons that attract us to be in the hospitality accounting field, but the most important one is that we consider ourselves to be analytical individuals who enjoy exploring patterns and rationales behind numbers. Even though we look slightly serious while working at our desks, we are a very fun team.  We maintain our office atmosphere in the way that we not only treat each other as colleagues but friends.  We are always prepared for everyday new challenges and enthusiastic interacting with everyone drop by our office.”

 

Accounting celebrating Halloween, October 2015.

Shareef Fahmy, Finance Manager on his first job in hospitality and advice for someone starting out in the industry –

“It was a part-time job at a Little Caesar’s in high school and it turned out to be a really great learning experience. I started out washing dishes, but made it through every station until I was doing everything from taking orders, making pizzas, and assisting the guests at checkout. I got a real sense of pride from delivering great experiences that stuck with me and that’s probably why I ended up in hospitality. For someone starting out in the industry, I would tell them to think very hard about the kind of organization they want to be a part of. I used to work for a big hotel chain and thought it’d be great because of perks like free room nights but found out I didn’t like the corporate structure. Personally, I prefer working at a unique, independent property. That’s why I love the Portola!”

Craft Beer
Can You “Wing” It?

April 14th, 2015
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There’s nothing better than watching the big game with wings and a cold beer!  Peter B’s Brewpub at the Portola Hotel & Spa is asking YOU to see if you’ve got what it takes to create the best, original Wing Sauce recipe in Monterey!

Peter B’s, Monterey’s original craft brewing is asking all home and novice cooks to put their skills to the test with their first ever Wing Sauce Competition happening now through May 8th.  Each original recipe must include a Peter B’s Original Craft Brew and all entries must be submitted via the Peter B’s Brewpub Official Facebook page with #peterbswingscontest, no later than May 8, 2015.

Judging will take place during the live broadcast of KRML’s Pub Talk with the Beer Geek at Peter B’s Brewpub on May 13th and the grand prize winner will be awarded a one night stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa with dinner for two at Peter B’s and of course bragging rights!

So stop on by the Brewpub or click on the link below for a list of local markets and specialty stores to purchase your favorite, house made Peter B’s brew let the cooking begin!  Get crazy, get creative and get to having some fun; creating the ultimate, the best, Wing Sauce in all of Monterey!!

For official contest rules and more info visit www.peterbsbrewpub.com.

Must be 21 years or older to enter. Competition not open to employees of the Portola Hotel & Spa. 

Explore Monterey
Monterey Bay Marine Life

April 1st, 2015
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With temperatures rising from the winter’s chilly embrace, the sun shining just a little bit brighter and a flowers bloom beginning to show its colors like a painter’s palate, it does not take a weatherman or a groundhog to let us know that spring has arrived. Spring has always meant rebirth across the earth and nothing says spring like newborn baby animals. Sure bunnies, chicks, ducks and lambs have cornered the spring time market, but in Monterey, CA those loveable animals take a backseat to the region’s wet and wonderful marine life.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is famous the world over for its beauty and the diversity of its aquatic life. Spring is possibly the best time to view Mother Nature’s finest work as all manner of species great and small bring new family members into the world. The biggest, or course are our friends the Grey Whale. Currently, the entire Grey Whale population is migrating north to their summer home in the Bering Sea from their winter breeding grounds in Baja, California. Adults and juvenile whales make the long trip swimming at a leisurely two to five miles an hour breaching (coming up for air and spouting water) every few minutes. This majestic voyage is a great opportunity to view them up close and personal with several whale watching tours offered daily. The Princess Whale Watching is a great option and provides several tour options.

Another wonderful place to observe newly born or hatched marine life is on the water directly. Renting a kayak or stand-up paddle board allows you to explore at your own pace and under your own power. Many of our feathered friends can be found along the Monterey Bay shoreline on rocks and on the beaches. You’ll be amazed by the abundance of species that call the Central Coast home. If you need a great place to start, check out the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Called a living field guide, their docents and staff can direct you where and what to look for. Adventures by the Sea, located in Pacific Grove and Monterey has got your transportation covered with single and double kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for rent. They also offer guided tours which is a great way to experience the beauty and splendor of the bay.

If you left your sea legs at home or plan on a more stable viewing opportunity, there is no better place to see the miracle of birth than at the beach directly adjacent to Pacific Grove’s Hopkins Marine Laboratory. Located at the bottom of 1st Street and across from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, this Harbor Seal Rookery is a fantastic location to watch mothers and their pups begin life’s great journey. From birth to weaning and the pup’s first swim, it all happens on the beach through early summer. The seals and their habitat are federally protected, so onlookers may not enter the area and must respect the animal’s environment. However, Mother Nature’s greatness is truly on display for everyone to enjoy at this intimate and beautiful location.

So if you want to enjoy some great weather, fun activities and the animal kingdom, make a trip to the Monterey Peninsula where spring has officially arrived!

Action & Adventure
Monterey Bay Insider Hiking Tips

March 27th, 2015
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With breathtaking views around every corner and some of the world’s best coastal and forested hiking trails, I turned to the team at the Portola Hotel & Spa to get their insider tips on how best to explore the Monterey Bay by foot!  Whether hiking, strolling or heading out for a trail run, you’re in for a real adventure!

Doris Lopez out on the Monterey Coastal Recreational Trail – Just Steps from the Portola Hotel & Spa

“Whatever it is whether I am running or hiking the beautiful scenery that surrounds us and the fabulous air that we breathe in this area, it’s my Zen.”

-Doris Lopez, Catering & Convention Services Manager

 

The Portola’s very own, Jair Sanchez (in fluorescent yellow) Competing in the Big Sur Half Marathon

In November 2014

 

“The Big Sur Half Marathon is one of my favorite race courses. Even when not racing, this course is both a challenge, and features views of the coast. The Portola Hotel & Spa is the proud sponsor of our very own Jair Sanchez, a local running icon!”

-Toni Bau, Director of Finance

 

 

Chelsea Robinson’s View from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

 

“There is no excuse for me to not get out and walk or bike on the Coastal Recreation Trail! The views are amazing, no matter where you are on the coast of the Monterey Peninsula. I love that it’s MY view!”

- Chelsea Robinson, Group Rooms Coordinator

 

 

Breathtaking View of Garrapata by Olivia Yang

“I recently went hiking at Garrapata in Big Sur. Garrapata is truly a hidden gem in this area and I would recommend the hike to anyone looking to explore the area.”

-Olivia Yang, Income Audit Intern

 

Amazing Wildlife Around Every Corner

 

“This amazing butterfly, literally stopped me in my tracks one morning as I was running down General Jim Moore Drive on Fort Ord! With countless trails for running, hiking and mountain biking, Fort Ord is a hidden Monterey Bay gem.”

-Toni Bau, Director of Finance

 

View from the Top of Soberanes Trail, Along Highway One, Towards Big Sur.

“One of my favorite places to hit the trail is Soberanes Canyon, also known as the Garrapata Loop.  Why?  Because it is a relatively short hike, with incredible ocean views, and gives you the most incredible workout.  Even if you think you are in shape, your legs are guaranteed to burn.  If you’re like me, it takes three days to re-coop.  Great place to train for triathletes or weekend warriors (like me)!”

-Janine Chicourrat, General Manager

 

Lisa & her Twins, Taking an Early Evening Hike at Point Lobos,

Just Before Sunset, Perfect for the Entire Family

“Sometimes, there’s just nothing better than a sunset hike! I love taking our kiddos out to Point Lobos, helping to instill the value of taking a moment to appreciate and respect nature.”

-Lisa Thomas, Central Coast Living Editor

 

 Inspired to get out and hit the trails?  Here are a few local resources to help plan your adventure!