Portola Packages
The Portola’s Take on Valentine’s Day

February 12th, 2014
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It’s finally February, and you know what that means, Cupid’s arrow is flying high and love is in the air! Located in one of the most romantic destinations in California, the Portola Hotel & Spa is the perfect destination for you and your special somebody.  If you’re like me and need a little break with a dash of romance, the Portola’s Romance Package is designed to give put a little pep back in your step. Start your stay off with a complimentary bottle of Champagne and gourmet chocolate covered strawberries then, let the Portola take care of the rest while you savor the breathtaking sights of the Monterey Peninsula. Or, enjoy the day in one a luxurious nautically inspired guest room, behind the “do not disturb sign.”  This overnight package comes complete with a European-style breakfast buffet at Jacks Restaurant, bottomless Mimosas included! From the warm welcome of homemade chocolate chip cookie upon arrival, to deluxe facilities including a heated pool, Jacuzzi and poolside cabanas, the Portola Hotel & Spa will make you feel like nothing short of royalty during your getaway.

Maybe an overnight say doesn’t fit into your busy schedule? Here are some fun ideas!  

Treat your Valentine to a romantic four-course dinner at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge. Executive Chef, Jason Giles has created a wonderful menu of classic dishes touched with his commitment to sustainably sourced, local ingredients. Enjoy delicacies such as Braised Short Ribs, Velvet Lobster Bisque and Petite Fillet Mignon in our intimate dining room.  Don’t wait till the last minute to make your Valentine’s Day plans; book your Valentine’s Day experience today by calling.

If you enjoy a more casual take on Cupid’s big day, why not reserve a table at the newly renovated Peter B’s Brewpub?   Executive Chef, Jason Giles has also created a special Valentine’s Day menu that pairs a four-course dinner with a beer flight of Brewer, Kevin Clark’s house made favorites. Reserve your table by calling (831) 649-2699

This Valentine’s Day is all about choices for you and your sweetheart. Whether casual or intimate dining or an overnight experience to be remembered, trust me, the Portola Hotel & Spa is THE place to celebrate the love of your life…and take a break from the ordinary!

Local Events
Celebrity Sighting Tips – It’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am Time!

February 5th, 2014
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A legendary location for golfers from across the globe, Pebble Beach is home to professional tournaments throughout the year. None, however, is more famous and star-studded than the highly anticipated AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.  Taking place this week through February 9th, this tournament is not only venerated for its beauty and list of champions, but also for its reputation as a celebrity magnet.  We know you come for the golf, but just in case you are trying to catch your favorite celeb or athlete in action, here are some of the best locations around the Peninsula to play “paparazzi”.

It may be early morning, but that doesn’t mean that the stars are not out and about.  Come tournament time, pros and amateurs alike are warming up before the day’s play and for many that means breakfast with family, friends or entourage. Some of the stars prefer the relatively quiet Lodge at Pebble Beach, but for those staying outside the gates; several opt to visit these choice restaurants to rub elbows with the public and to get their fill of the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.  The most promising places for star-sightings in the AM are Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, Katy’s Place, The Cottage Restaurant, located in charming Carmel-by-the-Sea and Toasties Café in Downtown Pacific Grove.

As the tournament winds down for the day, the late afternoon fun is just beginning.  Although some players may head back to their hotel rooms to rest up for the next morning, many take advantage of the exciting local scene, returning to the Tap Room for post round drinks before heading over to Spanish Bay to continue the party. Some additional popular starts for drinks are the Portola’s Jacks Lounge, Peter B’s Brewpub, Carmel’s Il Fornaio and Jack London’s. In Monterey, Cannery Row’s historic Sardine Factory is also a popular post-Pro-Am hotspot, having garnered the reputation as CBS Central due to the number of the televisions network’s announcers and executives that frequent the establishment.

For the second year in a row, Grey Goose Vodka and the Portola have teamed up to create the After Hour Lobby Lounge open Thursday through Saturday during Golf Week from 6pm-9pm. Who knows who could turn up there! In addition to the Grey Goose Lobby Lounge, the Portola, Taylor Made Golf and the NCGA/Poppy Hills Golf Course have created a Pop Up Golf Experience also located in the lobby, February 6th-8th from 5pm-9pm – everyone could use some swing and putting tips, even the pros and celebs, so stop on by and check out who’s there!

There’s no need to wait till after the tournament to catch a glimpse of you’re your favorite celeb.  If you are a diehard fan, the main driving range at Pebble Beach or the putting green by the Lodge are prime spots. The amateurs are more likely to interact with their fans and you get to see them before and sometimes after their round.  Also, the well-known Club 15, an impromptu gathering of fans beside the 15th tee, is a great place to get up close and personal. Every Saturday, they come out in force to support the tournament’s sometimes less than skilled amateurs. Additionally, fans that purchase a ticket for the AT&T tournament’s practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, have the best shot of seeing the stars outside of the actual competition. The atmosphere is laid back and casual with many of the stars interacting with their fans along the way. If a celebrity autograph is on your bucket list, the practice rounds are your perfect opportunity, as photos and autographs will not be allowed during the tournament rounds.

For golf enthusiasts and the celebrity-obsessed alike, this tournament is one event you won’t want to miss.  Fans can buy tickets online at www.attpbgolf.com/tickets. Some say the best thing about this event is the money donated to charity which recently topped $100 million dollars. Others though, will describe the time they were behind Justin Timberlake at the bar. Either way everybody is a winner at the AT&T…FORE!

Portola Hotel & Spa
Portola Team Profile: Meet Executive Chef, Jason Giles

January 29th, 2014
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One of the great culinary institutions on the Monterey Peninsula is Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, led by Executive Chef Jason Giles. The full service restaurant, located inside the Portola Hotel & Spa is more than just a run of the mill eatery serving middling hotel fare. Jacks has won countless awards for food, wine and location during its history, and continually is evolving to keep up with the latest trends in the culinary world.

Inspired by his mother’s love of cooking and culinary heavyweights Jacques Pepin and Julia Child, Chef Giles enrolled in the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and following graduation, headed north to Sonoma where he worked at the Grill at the Sonoma Mission Inn, which is now known as the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Chef Giles then moved south to the Pebble Beach Resorts where, as Sous Chef, he played an active role in the development and opening of Stillwater Bar & Grill.

Giles is at the helm of all the Portola Hotel & Spa’s culinary operations, including menu development for the hotel’s two restaurants, Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub, as well as the creation of menus for in-room dining, banquets and special events.

As Executive Chef, Giles hand selects local produce and ingredients, many of which are brought in from the nearby Salinas Valley (better known as the “Salad Bowl of the World”) and fresh seafood from the Monterey Bay arrives daily. As a true believer in the “green food” movement, Chef Giles supports local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and dairymen, while adhering to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program. He also utilizes 100% Harris Ranch Beef, as well as other hormone and chemical free meats.

In 2013, Chef Giles launched a fabulous Oyster Bar and Live Action Kitchen in Jacks Lounge, where guests can enjoy freshly prepared oysters and Champagne by the glass, while watching the Portola’s culinary team prepare appetizers and salads.

So if you are a local or a traveler from far away and you are in the mood for a wonderful meal, come by Jacks Restaurant & Lounge or Peter B’s Brewpub and experience the culinary skill of the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef Jason Giles.

Come to Jacks and savor the local flavor!

Local Events
Come One & Come All to the Fourth Annual Whalefest

January 23rd, 2014
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If you are like me, you love the ocean. Whether it’s walking along the beach, visiting an aquarium or experiencing some nautically inspired art, the ocean and specifically the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary give each and every one of us so much to be thankful for. That’s why I’m calling all marine-life enthusiasts, from near and far to swim on over to Monterey’s Historic Fisherman’s Wharf for the Fourth Annual Whalefest. This free, family-friendly event takes place this weekend, January 25-26, 2014 from 10am to 5pm.

The event is a celebration of the whale, its environment and the many organizations that protect the Monterey Bay. Not only does Whalefest offer music, lectures, exhibits and films, but there are live art demonstrations and a 60 foot model gray whale that attendees can explore. And since it is migration season, now is the time to observe these beautiful creatures. So, if an up close view of these huge mammals is more your speed, whale watching trips are available throughout the day as are tours on a 29 foot Coast Guard Transportable Response Boat.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a site rich in Monterey’s iconic history and this event will be buzzing with vibrant sights and exciting exhibits in every nook and cranny. There’s a world of deep-sea adventure to be had right here in Monterey. Whalefest promises to be a weekend of inspiring, educational and empowering exploration of the majestic Monterey Bay. With the mission of protecting the beautiful Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Whalefest is a weekend of fun, for a cause.  Don’t miss out on a moment of the excitement.

Visit www.montereywharf.com for additional info plus a schedule of performers and events.  Don’t miss out on this “whale” of a good time!

Looking to book a whale-themed getaway – check out the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Whale Watching package, it includes two tickets for a whale watching tour, plus 15% off the regular nightly rate.

Explore Monterey
Win a Second Honeymoon in Beautiful Monterey

January 17th, 2014
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#MontereyWeddings

I don’t know about you, but I have always wanted to plan that second honeymoon, but just haven’t got around to it between, work, kids and life in general! Well, you are in luck, because your chance to have that long overdue romantic getaway is right at your fingertips.  With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the Portola Hotel & Spa is holding a Second Honeymoon Contest, from which one lucky couple will receive a complimentary one-night stay at the Portola Hotel, along with breakfast for two at their award-winning Jacks Restaurant & Lounge.

What could be better than quality time with your sweetheart at one of the most romantic destinations in California to remind you why you fell in love in the first place?  Nothing beats spending time away, especially when it involves visiting the iconic Monterey Bay coastline and relaxing in luxurious quarters AND most importantly taking in a few peaceful moments for just you and your significant other.

To enter Portola’s Second Honeymoon contest, post your favorite picture from your wedding day on the Portola Hotel & Spa Facebook page accompanied by 50 words or less, telling your favorite memory from your wedding day and don’t forget to include the hashtag #MontereyWeddings in your post. The winning couple will be announced via the Portola’s Facebook page on Valentine’s Day (deadline to enter is February 12th).

This could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for so don’t waste a moment!  Grab your wedding album because a trip down memory lane might be just the thing to inspire some brand new memories.  Who knows, your second honeymoon might even be better than your first!