Posts Tagged ‘Big Sur’

Monterey Bay Insider Hiking Tips

Friday, 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!

Set Sail on an Adventure with Your Portola Pirate!

Monday, 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.

Top 10 Reasons to Meet In Monterey

Friday, 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!

Getting Healthy, Monterey Bay Style

Friday, January 2nd, 2015
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With 2015 here, there’s no better time than the present to begin devising a plan on how to be more healthy and active in the New Year.  No matter your fitness level, the Monterey Bay is jam packed with activities, indoor and out, that can release those endorphins and get your heart rate jumping.

Take a look at 15 activities that can help you can get a jump on making 2015 your best year yet!

  1. Sign up for a 5K or 10K that benefits a local charity AND takes you around the scenic Monterey Bay coastline – visit www.Active.com for a list of upcoming races, including the Together With Love Run/Walk benefitting the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center on Sunday, February 8,2015
  2. Rent bikes from Adventures by the Sea and explore the Coastal Recreation Trail, 17 Mile Drive and the rest of the endlessly beautiful Monterey Peninsula!
  3. Re-energize in the hot and cold pools, eucalyptus steam room or roomy sauna at Refuge in Carmel Valley
  4. Sculpt your body from head to toe at Carmel Barre in Carmel with classes available throughout the day
  5. Hike the four+ mile Soberanes Canyon Trail loop across from Garrapata State Park along scenic Highway 1 towards Big Sur for a great cardio workout and reward yourself with some of the best views around
  6. The Fort Ord National Monument is home to awesome trails ideal for mountain biking and hiking, only certain areas are open to the public, but can be accessed via the Bureau of Land Management
  7. If you are looking for a little adventure, here’s something that will definitely get your heart pumping – Zip Lining in Felton, (about a 45 minute drive from Monterey) in the middle of the Santa Cruz Mountains, visit Mount Hermon Adventures for pricing and online reservations
  8. Tennis anyone?  Reserve a court or book a lesson through the Monterey Tennis Center, just a few blocks from the Portola
  9. History buffs will enjoy walking along the Path of History, marked throughout Downtown Monterey with walking tour maps available
  10. How about some family fun? Skip, run and play at Dennis the Menace Park, also located in downtown Monterey, slides, swings and mazes await kids of all ages.
  11. Run and take in the fresh sea air, along the many white sands beaches throughout, Carmel by the Sea, Pacific Grove and Monterey
  12. Contact the local experts at Central Coast Fly Fishing in Carmel Valley and help them guide you to find the best spots for fly fishing around the county, or head down to Fisherman’s Wharf to book a charter with one of the many deep sea fishing vessels, such as Chris’ Fishing Trips
  13. Hang 10! Book a private or group lesson with Carmel Surf Lessons or Monterey Bay Surf Lessons wetsuit and board rentals available as well through both companies
  14. Visit the Concierge Desk at the Portola Hotel and a friendly staff member will help you book 9 or 18 holes at one of the awarding winning golf courses throughout the Monterey Peninsula and beyond
  15. Get up close and personal with sea otters and sea lions aboard a kayak or stand up paddle board, available to rent via Adventures by the Sea; stand up paddle board yoga classes are also available, for those with good balance

Unforgettable Beach Picnics on the Monterey Peninsula

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
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For many people summertime means lazy days in the sun, kicking back with good friends and good food!  In my opinion, there is no better way to celebrate this tradition then heading to the beach for an old fashioned picnic.  The Portola Hotel & Spa has some fun tips to create you perfect beach picnic!

 

Step One – choosing the right beach. The Monterey Peninsula is filled with amazing beaches and each one comes with unique scenery and features. Here are some favorites along with what makes each location so special.

Del Monte State Beach – Just a short walk from Portola is the Del Monte State Beach, which spans from the Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf to Seaside. The long stretch of beach allows picnic goers to find their own intimate spot in the sand or a grab a picnic table and watch the crowds go by on Monterey’s bike trail. Dogs are welcome on this beach and the water is perfect for boogie boarding and surfing. Great for activities for all ages, it is ideal for flying kites, playing catch or a game of volleyball with courts located right off the beach. For picnickers that are planning to stick around after sunset, be sure to bring ingredients for S’mores along with firewood, since beach fires are permitted.

Lovers Point – The teal waters, protected swimming coves and tide pools galore make Lovers Point the perfect spot for picnics! Make camp on the sandy beach or in the park just above the beach at the picnic tables. A protective cove makes this beach a little warmer than the others and once lunch is fully digested, wade into the Bay or take a dip in the Lovers Point Children’s Pool open daily from noon to 4:30pm.  Kayak and paddle board rentals are also available at the beach from Adventures by the Sea.

Asilomar State Beach – Just south from Monterey in Pacific Grove are the white sands of Asilomar State Beach. Asilomar is Spanish for “refuge by the sea,” and it lives up to this name. Picnickers and their dogs too, can spend all day walking the boardwalks surrounding the beach and the sand dunes, exploring tide pools and watching the surfers catch big waves, as a State designated beach, beach fires are also permitted.

Carmel Beach – Bright blue waves, white sand and dogs galore await you at Carmel Beach. The long stretch of beach with views of golfers on the Pebble Beach golf course, quaint Carmel homes and the luscious scenery of Point Lobos will keep picnickers entertained for hours. The world-renowned beach attracts people from all over the world to picnic by day, take in the beautiful sunset and set up bonfires by night.

 

Step Two – food and beverage. The Monterey Peninsula is jammed packed with great restaurants and cafés that serve food to go. We have picked a few that will delight the taste buds with a little local flavor!

Jacks Restaurant & Lounge – Located inside the Portola Hotel & Spa, Jacks is one of the Peninsula’s most popular spots for lunch and is available for take-out.  As a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program, Jacks is committed to using healthy, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.  Jacks lunch menu features a Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich, Whole Wheat Chicken Wrap and a Classic Club Sandwich, just right to pack in your picnic basket. For something a little lighter, try their Warm Chicken & Cashew Salad or a Crispy Dungeness Crab Cake Salad, pair these with the perfect wine and you’ll be all set!

Happy Girl Kitchen – Two blocks form the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Happy Girl Kitchen is a café and cannery that specializes in house-made baked goods. Delicious organic breakfast and lunch options include sandwiches, soups and delicious cheese and cracker plates. This spot also specializing in preserves so be sure to grab one of the jams, pickles or a jar of local honey.

Troia’s Market – Located just a few blocks up the hill from Portola, Troia’s Market is a great place to stop to pick up traditional quality deli sandwiches, a selection of sides such as potatoes salad and other homemade options such as mac and cheese, salads and lasagna. There is a vast assortment of snacks to grab and a nice beverage selection for those of age.

Whole Foods Market – Located right off the freeway at the Munras exit, Whole Foods is a great option for picnickers on their way to Asilomar or Carmel Beach. Offering a full service deli, sushi bar and big selection of ready food to go, Whole Foods is a great place to stop to ensure that everyone in the picnic party will be able to enjoy their favorite food on the beach.

Wine – What is a great beach day without a bottle of wine? Just steps from Portola are two great places to pick up world famous local Monterey County wines. Stop in Wine From the Heart or Terranova Fine Wines to taste a few before purchasing your new favorite bottle and heading to the beach.

It’s hard to go wrong on the Monterey Peninsula when selecting a location along with food and beverage for a picnic. Don’t forget sunscreen, towels, a blanket, chairs, sand toys and a football or volleyball!

When it comes down to it, finding the time to relax and be around loved ones is precious, so get out there and have day on the Peninsula that everyone will remember!