Posts Tagged ‘Central Coast’

Winter-time Wonderland at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Saturday, December 6th, 2014
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In case you hadn’t noticed, winter has arrived. Yes, for most of the country, Winter means weather, but in California and specifically on the Monterey Peninsula, Winter is more about the holidays and wondering why scarves and gloves look cool, but are actually uncomfortable in 65 degree weather. Most importantly, however, winter and the holiday season mean family. Whether you are entertaining guests from out of town or spending time with your own, there are many options around the Monterey Bay, but none excite the group as much as the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Beyond the world-wide reputation and overall greatness, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering several recently new and exciting exhibits and that are sure to awaken the wonder in everyone. Tentacles, the Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes debuted to much fanfare a few short months ago and has been enchanting guests ever since. Featuring giant rooftop tentacles and multiple tanks filled with 9 types of cephalopods, the exhibit will immerse you into a whole new world of these ever-changing sea creatures.

One of the other recent exhibits is the Jellies Experience. Gain a whole new appreciation of this beautiful mysterious and sometimes dangerous ocean dweller. Eight different types are featured and their graceful water-ballet amidst black-lit rooms is something to truly behold. Their simplicity and complexity are on display all at once in an almost surreal experience.

The Aquarium’s favorites are of course on hand with Penguins, Sea Otters, the Kelp Forrest, the Splash Zone and daily feedings and classes available for everyone’s enjoyment. Most recently, viral videos of rescued sea otters have made the rounds on YouTube and Twitter, but now you can see these cuddly kits in person!

If your guests are from out of town, the Portola Hotel & Spa offers a very special Monterey Bay Aquarium Family Getaway for $199 (now through January 31, 2015). Guests will receive accommodations in a nautically inspired guest room, a warm homemade chocolate chip cookie, 25% Off* on Food & Beverage for Dinner in Jacks Restaurant and two adult tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which are good for two consecutive days. Book Now!

This winter, if the parkas and scarves have not made it out of the closet, but you are looking for a great experience for the family, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They’ll thank you for the best present of all, quality family time!

 

Book now and stay December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015.  Terms and conditions apply.  Based on availability. Not applicable to groups. Blackout dates apply.
*Not valid during holidays.

And the Winner is…

Monday, November 10th, 2014
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Known as one of the premier venues in in Central and Northern California for conferences, meetings and corporate events of all sizes, the Portola Hotel & Spa was recently named a winner of the Smart Meetings Magazine 2014 Platinum Choice Award. I am thrilled to share with the followers of our Central Coast Living Blog, the press release that was distributed by Ballantines PR to local, regional, national and trade industry media outlets announcing this exciting news!

Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey’s first and only Silver LEED® EB certified hotel, has been selected by Smart Meetings magazine as a winner of its 11th annual Platinum Choice award. This prestigious award recognizes excellence in service and amenities among meeting hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. An additional category recognizes outstanding services by destination marketing organizations and convention and visitor bureaus across North America.

Out of thousands of qualified properties and organizations, Smart Meetings honors a select group of 192 businesses this year, one being Portola Hotel & Spa. Winners earn this recognition by setting exemplary standards in a range of categories, including ambience, amenities, breadth of resources, facility quality, guest services, meeting space, meeting packages, recreational activities, restaurant and dining facilities, and technical support. The honorees are chosen by the publication’s readers, who vote for their favorites, with additional input from editors and industry experts.

“The winners reflect the diversity of destinations and properties available to meet the needs of meeting planners. These organizations, hotels and resorts exemplify the professional standards expected by event professionals and attendees,” said Marin Bright, Smart Meetings Founder and Publisher. “We are proud to honor industry leaders that celebrate excellence, innovation, exemplary service and facilities to help make meetings and events extraordinary for planners and attendees.”

“We are excited and honored to have been selected by Smart Meetings as a Platinum Choice Award winner and will continue to strive for excellence and be a leader in the hospitality industry,” said Janine Chicourrat, General Manager of Portola Hotel & Spa.

Portola Hotel, along with the premier group of honorees, will be celebrated in the December 2014 issue of Smart Meetings magazine and on smartmeetings.com. View the full list of 2014 winners click here.

The Fourth Annual Monterey Beer Garden – Brews, Views & More!

Friday, September 26th, 2014
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It’s beer at its crafty, sudsy and tasty best; outdoors and all over! The Monterey Beer Garden is back for its fourth annual installment and this year is shaping up to be best yet. The hop-based festivities start at high noon and run until 4pm this Saturday, September 27, 2014. The event features 15 of California’s best craft breweries including:  event host Peter B’s Brewpub, Alvarado Street Brewery Co., Boulder Creek Brewery, Discretion Brewing, Drakes Brewing, English Ales Brewery, Firestone Brewing Co., Hermitage Brewing Co., Highway 1 Brewing Co., Santa Clara Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Seabright Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., Tied House Microbrewery, Triple Rock Brewing Co. and Uncommon Brewers.

Located at the historic Custom House Plaza by the bay in downtown Monterey, the Monterey Beer Garden has grown in popularity each year and with this amazing line-up of breweries, it will be sure to be a hit. AND this year make sure to stop by the Schoch Family Farmstead Cheese booth to sample their local cheese aged in Peter B’s very own stout!

102.1 KRML we will be broadcasting live bringing the sounds and fun to all their listeners and rock n’ roll cover band, Velvet Plum will entertain attendees throughout the afternoon. New to the Monterey Beer Garden this year is the photo fun of the Popshots photo booth from Pocketful of Plans and media partner 831 Magazine.

More than just brews, BBQ and fun, the Monterey Beer Garden benefits local nonprofit, Save Our Shores, with a portion of event proceeds going to help keep beaches throughout the Central Coast clean and garbage-free. In addition, the Monterey Beer Garden is sponsored by the Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey County Weekly and Monterey Signs, all local businesses, dedicated to supporting their community.

For tickets and more info visit www.montereybeergarden.com  and make sure you’re on hand to experience craft beer as it was meant to be.

“Beer here” this Saturday!

Please drink responsibly. The Monterey Beer Garden has partnered with UBER, providing safe rides for all attending, to and from the event.

It’s Easy Being Green – Even on Vacation!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
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In 2014, just about everything has a touch of green thrown in. Not outfits mind you, but environmental protection and sustainability. From the food we eat and the cars we drive to the packaging of our products to the water we drink, everything is about making the world we live in a better place for us, our children and our children’s children. While much of our green practices are undertaken at home where we have the most control, a growing number of travel destination are also joining the effort.

The Portola Hotel & Spa is at the forefront of this movement on the Monterey Peninsula. As one of Central California’s first U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Silver LEED®-EB (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Existing Buildings) Certified hotels, the Portola has implemented a host of initiatives focused on the well-being of the environment and is one of the region’s most environmentally-friendly places to stay and eat! Learn more!

LEED Certification refers to a rating system by the USGBC 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 staff at the Portola has embraced these initiatives. The hotel’s entire food service operation, which includes Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, Peter B’s Brewpub and their room and event food service teams participates in the Food Scrap Program. Scraps have traditionally been taken to the local landfill, but now, as part of the Monterey Regional Waste Management District’s Organics to Energy compost program they are repurposed. Each week, over 2000 lbs. of food scraps and other organic waste is diverted from landfill disposal and after inspection, is mixed with mulch and turned into compost. The methane gas produced during the process is captured and used as fuel to produce energy and the compost is used by local farmers and winemakers to help grow their crops. In addition, all the cooking oil is specially recycled and turned into bio diesel fuel.

The hotel and its restaurants also participate in the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s Water Wise Best Management Practices Program.  Each room is outfitted with water efficient fixtures including showerheads and sink aerators, as well as high-efficiency toilets. Display cards in every room also remind guests to help conserve water and energy by hanging up towels that they want to reuse during their stay. The Portola has also installed water efficient clothes and dish washing machines and multiple water saving devices in departments throughout the hotel. These water wise practices not only help to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint, but also save water during the current California drought.

Throughout history, visitors to the Monterey Bay area have continually marveled at its beautiful scenery and environment. Don’t you owe to yourself to help preserve that gift for generations to come? Stay GREEN at the Portola Hotel & Spa.

A Memory Garden Memory

Monday, July 28th, 2014
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So… it’s not too often that I get personal on our Central Coast Living Blog, but every July I get a little sentimental!  Nine years ago, this month I was walking down an aisle dusted with rose petals at one of the most magical venues in all of Monterey (in my humble opinion)  – the Memory Garden.  I’ll never forget walking through the Portola Hotel & Spa on my way to marry my best friend.  Each step I took through the lobby as the sun was shining through the windows; I was one step closer to becoming Mrs. Thomas.

My husband and I were immediately drawn to the Memory Garden.  The clean white walls of the adobe and enchanted garden were exactly what we had envisioned for our wedding day.  The natural flora and fauna of the garden didn’t really need any extra decorating; it was perfect just as it was.

I remember vividly, as I peeked from the gates before the ceremony, that this was it – my dream wedding, simple, romantic, elegant and quintessential old Monterey. After, we walked hand in hand to Frank Sinatra’s “It Happened in Monterey” (yes I know he’s referring to Monterey, Mexico, but it still worked) and as we gazed back at our family and friends, all was right in the world at that very moment!

Now our walks near and around the garden include our amazing six year old twins, who fondly call it Mommy & Daddy’s Wedding Flower Garden, and every time we take that first step through the gates, my husband and exchange a glance with one another, reflecting on our wedding day.