Archive for April, 2013

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Season Preview

Thursday, April 25th, 2013
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At the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, nothing gets the heart pumping faster than witnessing auto racing’s elite hurtle around the track at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Once again, Spring brings the kings of the hairpin turn to the Monterey Peninsula for a full slate of American Le Mans, MotoGP, Historic Motorsports and Superbike racing.

The season kicks off with the American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron May 9-11, 2013. This is the 15th year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the world’s premiere sports car racing championship and as a global leader in Green Racing, The American Le Mans Series pushes the drivers and their crews to the limit of human endurance. The weekend offers speed and excitement that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Not to be outdone by their four wheeled friends, supped up cycles descend on the Peninsula during the Red Bull U.S Grand Prix, July 19-21, 2013. In its ninth year at Mazda Raceway and featuring the MotoGP World Championship and a full slate of American Motorcycle Association (AMA) races, this weekend is one of the sport’s most popular events and draws huge crowds to watch 18 separate races over the three days.

Part of the Monterey Peninsula’s Classic Car Week, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 16-18, 2013 offers a glimpse into the past as authentic, race proven; period autos compete in class to determine bragging rights. This year, the featured marque is the American classic Chevrolet Corvette celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The season continues with the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival powered by MAZDA. The September 7-8, 2013 event features the Grand Am-Rolex Sports Car Series as well as the Daytona Prototype class and Grand Touring (GT) competition with some of the most exciting, in close racing this side of NASCAR. This weekend is a true treat for the whole family (You too ladies) as race weekend includes autograph and meet and greet sessions with the drivers that have in the past included Grey’s Anatomy star McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey and other stars of film and television.

The bikes return in the final event on the schedule as the SBK-Eni FIM Superbike World Championship makes it’s only U.S. appearance September 27-29, 2013. Two high speed races are featured over the weekend as teams’ race high-performance bikes from manufacturers like Kawasaki, BMW, Suzuki, Ducati and Honda.

With so many great motor sports events, why not enjoy them even more by booking your stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa. Nautically inspired guestrooms only steps from the Monterey Bay coupled with a location just a short drive from the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway makes the perfect complement to any of these action fueled weekends.

How to Pack For A Monterey Vacation

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
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Visiting the Monterey Peninsula is one of the country’s great vacations. Whether you are on a weekender from the Bay Area, a mid-week business trip from the East Coast or are traveling internationally and spending a couple of weeks, the wide ranging beauty and landscape of the area make each day a unique adventure. It also, however, makes packing for the Monterey Peninsula somewhat of a challenge.

American author Mark Twain once wrote, “The coldest winter I ever experienced, was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” San Francisco’s location usually means a foggy day on their peninsula and warm sunny one slightly inland and the Monterey Peninsula is no different. In Pebble Beach it could be foggy and windy while in Monterey the conditions could be and sunny and mild. Meanwhile, as you move into Carmel Valley, you could experience clear skies and temperatures in the 80’s!

With so many microclimates within a few miles of each other, what’s a visitor to do? Layers are the key, but more than layers, are multi-functional pieces that can keep you warm on an early morning walk along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, dining al fresco at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge or Peter B’s Brewpub at the Portola Hotel & Spa, but then can easily fit in a backpack as you explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A light wind & water resistant jacket is a must, as are a couple of sweater options. Shorts and comfortable pants are also important as visitors often will spend time walking and sightseeing. A good pair of trail sneakers/shoes will be a savior for your feet whether you are hiking at Garland Ranch in Carmel Valley or strolling through Pacific Grove’s historic downtown. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit. While the water can be chilly, the beaches of the Monterey Peninsula are fantastic and there are many spa options that offer Jacuzzis, saunas and more. Finally, don’t forget to bring something nice to wear. With a fantastic array of nationally recognized restaurants, art galleries and cultural events you’ll want to have the option of dressing up to enjoy your experience.

The Monterey Peninsula has something for everyone and with the some thoughtful packing, visitors can enjoy it all with ease!

Pub Talk with the Beer Geek & Friends at Peter B’s Brewpub

Friday, April 12th, 2013
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One of the great American pastimes is to pop open a cold brew and have a good talk. Whether the talk is serious or lighthearted, about sports or life, people really like to unwind with a good beer. So what’s better that talking over a beer? How about talking about beer and doing it live from Peter B’s Brewpub located behind the Portola Hotel & Spa?

Chris Nelson, better known as The Beer Geek, talks about beer, life and his lifelong love of beer every Wednesday at 5pm on KRML Radio’s Pub Talk. Chris Nelson and his wife, Merideth started The Beer Geek website(www.thebeergeek.com) in 2005 to help document their extensive travels as they tasted their way around the world, sampling locally brewed beers at their source. As their knowledge and experience grew, so did their following and a book, Teachings from the Tap, and a series of video blog episodes, One Pint At A Time later, they have firmly established themselves as a go to source for information and insight into the rapidly expanding craft brew industry.

Peter B’s Brewpub, recently voted by Monterey County Weekly readers as Monterey’s Best Local Beer & Brewery, hosts Chris and his guests as each week, they explore the world of beer and other topics of interest from around the Monterey Peninsula and the greater Central Coast area. While topics can be far ranging, the sudsy libation is never far from the conversation and with Peter B’s house brewed craft offerings and featured small batch specials, guests are invited to come down to the live broadcast and enjoy the interactive show. So if you are a diehard fan of craft brews or just enjoy a cold one with friends, join Chris Nelson and friends at Peter B’s Brewpub each Wednesday at 5pm on KRML 102.1 FM and 1410 AM for Pub Talk. It’s an experience worth tasting!

Earth Day is Every Day at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Thursday, April 4th, 2013
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With Earth Day right around the corner, many businesses and organizations start talking about being green. It’s a positive step in the right direction and every little bit helps. The green movement has made its way into the hospitality industry as well. While many hotels are beginning to go green, the Portola Hotel & Spa is one of the most environmentally friendly places to stay not only on the Monterey Peninsula, but throughout California’s Central Coast. As one of Central California’s first Silver LEED®-EB Certified hotels, the Portola has implemented a host of green initiatives focused on the well-being of the environment.

LEED Certification refers to a rating system that considers everything from the materials used to build a building to the way a business disposes of their garbage. Everything is taken into account and the entire staff at the Portola has embraced these initiatives. Some of the more innovative green practices are utilized in housekeeping. These include 100% organic cotton mattresses that are hypoallergenic and an Ozone Laundry System that utilizes an enzyme based laundry detergent for sanitizing linens and towels. They also include a green cleaning program that uses H203 system to clean and disinfect guest rooms without any harsh chemicals and guest room carpets that meet with the Carpet and Rug Institute’s plus program for low VOC material and paint that meets low VOC standards as well.

Not to be outdone is the group sales department. They have implemented the Monterey Green Meetings program that works with meeting and event planners, as well as private parties to plan green events and environmentally conscious team building exercises. Food and Beverage is also heavily involved in the movement by offering sustainably grown, organic and locally sourced ingredients as well as repurposing waste from Peter B’s brewery operation.

The Portola Hotel & Spa is continuing to strive for environmental excellence by going through a LEED recertification process by the U.S. Green Building Council. So as Earth Day draws closer, residents of and visitors to the Monterey Peninsula; can rest assured that one of the area’s premiere hotel and spa destinations, and their restaurants are leaders in the protection of our precious environment.