Portola Packages
WISH YOU WERE HERE – Springtime VACATION deals at the Portola!

March 19th, 2015
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There’s no better time to getaway than the Spring in Monterey!  With moderate temperatures, wildflowers in full bloom and endless outdoor activities, your perfect Monterey Bay vacation is just a click away!  The Portola Hotel & Spa has just released their new seasonal packages, and trust me, the fresh coastal air and relaxed atmosphere, is just what the doctor ordered!

WHALE WATCHING PACKAGE

Set out to sea on an amazing, once in a lifetime Whale Watching expedition! The popular Whale Watching Package includes two tickets for a 2 ½ to 3 hour whale watching tour on a fully-equipped, large vessel and an overnight stay in a nautically appointed guest room. Your tour will be led by experienced, Monterey Bay-based Marine Biologists assisting in sea-bird sightings and identification of marine wildlife. Most importantly, don’t forget the camera!

ROMANCE PACKAGE

It’s always the right time for a little romance! Whether taking a sunset stroll on the beach or heading out on a coastal adventure, the Portola’s NEW Romance Package will get your heart a flutter!  As you enter your room, a bottle of complimentary Champagne and decadent chocolate covered strawberries await.  Relax with a Symphony Massage for two at Spa on the Plaza, and be pampered during a 50 minute treatment. In the morning, enjoy a European-style breakfast buffet at Jacks Restaurant…bottomless Mimosas included!

FAMILY PICNIC ADVENTURE

The Monterey Bay is filled with endless open space.  From white sand beaches to whimsical gardens, parks and lush forests, there is no shortage of family-friendly places to picnic and explore. The NEW Family Picnic Adventure package includes an overnight stay in a nautically appointed room, a picnic lunch from Jacks Restaurant, a blanket and the help Portola’s knowledgeable Concierges to find your perfect location where your adventure will begin!

BREAKFAST FOR TWO PACKAGE

There’s nothing better than waking up to the sights and sounds of the coast!  Get the most out of your overnight stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa with our Breakfast for Two Package. Enjoy breakfast for two at Jacks Restaurant and bottomless Mimosas, all complemented by a fabulous European-style breakfast buffet.  Sit in Jacks’ nautically inspired dining room or outside, on the cozy pet-friendly heated patio.

FAMILY AQUARIUM PACKAGESave 15% off Regular Rates!

Plan your next family getaway with some of the coolest creatures in the world! Spend your days surrounded by majestic marine life, while taking in the wonders of the Monterey Bay. Experience the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s newest exhibition, “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes” and explore a dozen live exhibits, including the world’s largest octopus. This ultimate California Family Vacation Package features Monterey Bay Aquarium discounts including two adult and two children’s passes Monterey Bay Aquarium “Two Day Special” passes, as well as breakfast for two at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge (and did we mention, children age 5 and under eat free?!).

 

Ready, set, click!  SEA you in Monterey!

 

Family Fun
Set Sail on an Adventure with Your Portola Pirate!

March 9th, 2015
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Springtime in Monterey is the perfect season for pirates of all ages to have some fun and experience all the Monterey Bay has to offer! The team at the Portola Hotel & Spa has put a list together of kid and family-friendly events throughout the Monterey Peninsula and beyond. Check them out and mark those calendars when planning your next Monterey Bay family getaway!

March 13, 2015 FREE Tour, Asilomar Birds & Their Habitat Homes at the Asilomar Conference Grounds

March 14, 2015 Family Art Break: Portrait Poems at the Monterey Museum of Art La Mirada

March 20-29, 2015 The Jungle Book at the MPC Theatre Company

March 27, 2015 The Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Festival at the Monterey Conference Center & Portola Hotel & Spa

March 28, 2015 Science Saturday at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History: Bees, Wasps, Honey & Hives

April 4, 2015 19th Annual Breakfast with Bunny in Devendorf Park, Carmel by the Sea

April 11 & 12, 2015 Pacific Grove Good Old Days Celebration

April 16-19, 2015 Sea Otter Classic at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

April 25, 2015 Science Saturday at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History: Identification Day

April 25, 2015 Fancy Nancy the Musical at Sunset Center, Carmel by the Sea

April 25, 2015 Big Sur International Marathon’s By the Bay 3K

April 26, 2015 Big Sur International Marathon’s 5K (ages 8 & older)

April 26, 2015 Día del Niño at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Portola Pirates Program at the Portola Hotel & Spa is focused on kids between the ages of 3-12 who want to come to Monterey and have fun! The Portola has created a fun treasure hunt around the nautically inspired decor on the property, incorporating fun and the educational history of Monterey. Antique model ships are located throughout the hotel in addition to anchors and photographs from days gone by, ensuring educational and exciting Monterey travel with kids.

Portola Hotel & Spa
Top 10 Reasons to Meet In Monterey

March 6th, 2015
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Monterey is many things to many people. For the locals, it’s home and a wonderful place to live. For visitors, it offers something for everyone. You can take a solo hike through the trails at Garrapata State Park, explore the many museums with the family, enjoy a romantic dinner with your loved one or tee it up with your favorite foursome. Many people, however, visit the Monterey Peninsula for business. The area is a top destination for meetings because of the varied event spaces, unique activities and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Here are our Top 10 Reasons to Meet in Monterey (in no particular order)

  1. The Portola Hotel & Spa – What’s better than comfortable rooms, award-winning restaurants and a central location to all the sights and sounds of Monterey. A great home away from home to help you get your work done.
  2. The Monterey Bay – Location, location, location; the old saying goes and the Monterey Peninsula has that covered. It’s called the greatest meeting of land and sea for a reason!
  3. Event Technology – The Portola Hotel offers state of the art internet, video, lighting and sound for events of all sizes.
  4. The Monterey Regional Airport – Located within 15 minutes of Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and Salinas, the airport offers multiple flights from the major airlines, as well as an entire section for private and corporate jets.
  5. Green Meeting – It’s a popular request in meeting and event planning and at the Portola Hotel it’s included in everything offered. From the composting of organic waste and earth-friendly plastic and paper goods to an emphasis on environmental awareness during team building and zero waste meetings and events, that’s why the Portola is a LEED®-EB Certified property.
  6. Unique Venues – While indoor meetings are still the norm, more and more planners are looking for new and out of the box locations. Monterey offers several historic outdoor venues including the Custom House Plaza and The Memory Garden, as well as Cali-style beach parties and nautically inspired, private on-site venues.
  7. The beauty of the location is without question, but so is the location! Monterey is centrally located between popular destinations Carmel, Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove and it is only a short drive to Carmel Valley or Big Sur. The Portola Hotel is right in the middle of it all as it is within walking distance to the Monterey Aquarium, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and Downtown Monterey. Perfect for event attendees to get out and see the sights without the hassle of elaborate transportation.
  8. Meeting Space – The Portola offers 22,126 square feet of flexibility with nine rooms ranging from large ballrooms to executive board rooms. Additionally, the Portola is directly adjacent to the spacious Monterey Conference Center which boasts an additional 30,000 square feet of event space.
  9. Let’s Eat – Gone are the days of tired and bland conference food. Award winning Executive Chef Jason Giles heads the Portola’s culinary team that has been wowing meeting planners and their guests for years. Featuring locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, attendees are certain to be impressed by their meals. Additionally, on-site restaurant Peter B’s Brewpub offers house-made craft beer that has been winning medals and tasting competitions since 2012. Brewmaster Kevin Clark works in concert with Giles to create the perfect pairing creating a memorable highlight to conference attendee’s visits.
  10. Something for Everyone – From large conferences to small board retreats and from event accommodations to the perfect wedding, the Portola Hotel & Spa and the Monterey Peninsula really do offer it all. As a one stop shop for any meeting planner, why not make it easy and Meet in Monterey!

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.