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!

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.