Portola Hotel & Spa
Love is in the Air

February 9th, 2015
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Spa On the Plaza, massage for two

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with it comes the pressure of finding the perfect gift, or gifts for your significant other.  With work, kids and everything else in our lives, however, who has the time to properly pull together a great gift? Why not let the Portola Hotel & Spa handle all the details and make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.

To begin, treat yourself to the Portola Hotel’s Romance Package. You’ll be greeted by a bottle of complimentary Champagne and decadent chocolate covered strawberries. You and your sweetheart will also receive a relaxing 50-minute Symphony Massage for two from the Spa on the Plaza as well as a delicious European-style breakfast buffet with bottomless Mimosas at Jacks Restaurant.

If you are also in the mood for dinner, why go out when you can experience the award-winning cuisine of Jacks Restaurant located just steps from your room. Executive Chef Jason Giles has created a wonderful four course prix-fixe dinner featuring an appetizer of Crispy Duck Crepinette and your choice of Butter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Beets or Lobster Bisque with Brioche Croutons for a starter. Entrée choices include Petite Filet Mignon or Pan Roasted Verlasso Salmon among others. This special dinner also includes a decedent dessert and complimentary glass of Champagne.

If your Valentine’s Day plans include more than a massage, the Spa on the Plaza has got you covered. From massage enhancements to special treatments, facials and private baths for women AND men, you can customize your experience and treat yourself and your honey to something amazing.  Choose from a list of services and treatment additions as simple as an extra-long massage or as extravagant as a Serenity Wrap where you are wrapped in a heated cocoon of herbal essences, seaweed or mud.

So if you are looking for the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience, look no further than the Portola Hotel & Spa. From romantic rooms and bottomless Mimosas to delicious dinners and relaxing spa treatments, you’ll find love is in the air, and everywhere at the Portola Hotel.

Weddings
Wedding Season All Year Round

January 30th, 2015
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There are several reasons the Monterey Peninsula is one of the most popular destinations for saying “I Do”. To begin, the scenery is some of the most beautiful in the world with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary serving as the backdrop to a bevy of local, county, regional and state parks, as well as countless forests and meadows. The entire area is also rich with historical significance from early Spanish California architecture to the inspiration and locations of famous novels, poems and movies. In addition, the amazing venues available to all are unparalleled including seaside settings, intimate gardens, traditional venues and off the beaten path locations that can emphasize the wedding’s theme. Finally, the central location cannot be beat. Centrally located between the Bay Area and the Central Valley and served by the Monterey Regional Airport accessing this long list of reasons to get married in Monterey is extremely easy. The one thing that rises above all, however, is the temperate and comfortable climate.  With mild weather throughout the year, the “Peninsula” makes it easy to plan the event of your dreams.

Many assume that the Monterey Peninsula only offers beachfront weddings, but there is so much more. Why not choose a romantic garden surrounded by native plants and rustic adobes or a more open space with views of the Monterey Bay and Fisherman’s Wharf.  For a more urban feel, plan your ceremony or reception at a private outdoor space. The Memory Garden located behind the Portola Hotel & Spa is the perfect venue for guests to sip Monterey County wines under twinkle lights and dance under the stars.

Memory Garden

So now you’ve have found the space, but it’s time for details.  No problem! Home too many world-class florists, djs, photographers, stylists, hair/make-up pros, photo booths and more, local vendors located throughout the region are some of the best in the business. Don’t forget, the experts at the Portola Hotel & Spa will help you along the way, taking care of details big and small, as you design your perfect day.

So when the love of your life asks for your hand, think Monterey to help you make memories that last a lifetime!

Local Events
Inside the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

January 28th, 2015
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There is something about winter on the Monterey Peninsula. Typically, the weather becomes a bit warmer and sunnier, the excitement of the New Year turns to keeping up with resolutions and preparations for the PGA Tour’s annual celebrity showcase, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am are running full bore. As the fleets of volunteer and player courtesy cars arrive and the tournament’s stands, buildings and tents are built in anticipation of one of the year’s most entertaining tournaments, let’s take a closer look at one of the things that make this event so unique!

Since the 1930’s, the Crosby Clambake, now the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, has blended the worlds of sports and entertainment with golf in a way that has delighted fans around the world and raised over 100 million dollars for charity since the tournament started. While much of the East Coast and Mid-West are covered in snow and ice, each February, TV sets around the country explode with the vibrant green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the clear blue of the Monterey Bay and the mellow tone of CBS’ Jim Nantz as he describes the world class golf and celebrity hijinks. As with anything popular, the public has asked for more and the tournament’s hosts, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, responded with a fantastic line-up of events leading up to the event’s official start on Thursday.

One of the newer and for Bay Area golf and sports fans, the most exciting additions, has been the Chevron Shoot-Out held this year on February 10, 2014 at 1:30pm at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.  Two storied sports franchises tee it up in team competition with current and former San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants going head to head over 5 holes. The teams are competing for bragging rights but more importantly, for $100,000 that is then donated to the Giants Community Fund, The 49ers Foundation and other local charities.

Confirmed participants in the Shoot-Out include SF 49er greats Steve Young and Harris Barton and current SF Giants Buster Posey, Matt Cain and Bruce Bochy with others yet to be named.  This part of the “AT&T Week” is always fun and it’s a great opportunity to get up close to your favorite 49er or Giant.

Yes, the regular tournament is the big show and will once again be highlighted by comedian Bill Murray, actors Don Cheadle and Chris O’Donnell and NFL stars Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, but Tuesday’s Chevron Shoot-Out offers a laid back and approachable venue to watch some of the best athletes in the world play golf like you and me. FORE! (Seriously)

Action & Adventure
Winter Fun, Monterey Style

January 21st, 2015
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For much of the country, winter fun means bundling up and heading out into the snow.  Whether it’s skiing in Utah, snowshoeing in Wisconsin or ice skating in New York, there is no shortage of traditional wintertime activities across the country. On the Monterey Peninsula, however, the mild temperature means a long trip before reaching the snow. Although, that does not mean visitors and locals on the Central Coast don’t enjoy the outdoors, they just do it Monterey style.

Wintertime brings the annual migration of the Grey Whale as they head south from the Pacific Northwest to the warmer waters of Baja California and their yearly birthing grounds. Whales can be seen from one of the many whale watching boats that depart from Fisherman’s Wharf. If you didn’t bring your sea legs with you, don’t worry. You can still spot these majestic beauties from one of the many turnouts along Highway 1. Their season runs from December through April so there is plenty of time to enjoy one of nature’s true spectacles.

Book the Portola Hotel & Spa Whale Watching Package Now!

You can also experience the wonders of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary up close and personal on a kayak or paddle board. Adventures by the Sea is a great option for rentals and conducts tours of the coastline with a skilled guide. From your sea-level seat, you’ll experience sea otters, sea lions and a multitude of birds. Bring your waterproof camera for the selfie of a lifetime.

Another outdoor option is enjoying one of the many county, regional or state parks in the area. From the inland beauty of Garland Ranch Regional Park to the seaside sanctuary that is Point Lobos, everyone from young to old can enjoy an easy walk to an invigorating hike in addition to everything else these parks have to offer. Many of the parks offer rangers or docents that can add to your experience and allow for pets and picnics in designated areas.

Sometimes the simplest thing just might be the best. Grab your friends, your partner or just a good book and a blanket and head down to a nearby beach and take in the Pacific sunset. Asilomar and Carmel State Beaches offer long stretches of white sand and plenty of room for your four legged friends.

Relax and set the rays of the day’s last light embrace you with warmth, Monterey style.

 

Food & Wine
Come On Get Happy

January 9th, 2015
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Jacks Lounge inside the Portola Hotel

The Portola Hotel & Spa and its two dining hot spots, Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub have always been known for innovation. Whether it is achieving LEED®-EB certification for the hotel’s commitment to environmental stewardship, Jacks focus on sustainable and locally sourced ingredients or Peter B’s creative on-site craft brewery, there is always something new and exciting happening at 2 Portola Plaza. So when Jacks Lounge announced a revamped Happy Hour Program, the New Year just got a little bit better.

Jacks Lounge kicks the fun off daily from 4-6pm with brand new menu items featuring $5 small bites like Corned Beef Sliders, Soy Marinated Beef Skewers and Risotto Fritters. Drink specials include $4 well drinks, $6 barrel aged cocktails, $4 house white and red wines and $3 12oz bottled beer. Fridays and Saturdays feature local favorite Dino Vera performing live music in the lounge from 6-9pm. So whether enjoying a quiet bite to eat and glass of wine cozied up to the fireplace in the lounge or unwinding with friends out on the heated pet-friendly patio, Jacks has something for everyone.

Peter B’s Brewpub behind the Portola Hotel

Not to be outdone is the popular Happy Hour menu at Peter B’s Brewpub. From 4-6:30pm daily, drink specials include $4 16oz and $6 25oz house-brewed beers, $4 Margaritas and $6 Long Island Iced Teas. The food choices are wide and varied with dishes ranging from Sweet Potato Fries and Monterey Cali-Mari to The Wing Man (Buffalo Chicken Wings) and Homemade Chips and Salsa. The menu also ventures out of the Monterey Bay with regional specialties like Crispy Cheese Curds from Wisconsin, Fried Pickles from the Deep South and Pacific Cod Ceviche from Baja. A favorite place to chill is out on their pet-friendly patio with comfortable benches, fire-pits and an up-close view of the pub’s onsite brewery operation.

An added bonus for both happy hours, and really any meal for that matter, is the complementary self or valet parking at the Portola. With so many drink and dish options, live music and free parking you’ll be happier for a lot longer than an hour at the Portola Hotel’s Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub!