Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Peninsula’

Behind the Scenes at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Monday, April 20th, 2015
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Accounting Department at the Portola Hotel & Spa, April 2015.

 

This new feature on our Central Coast Living blog highlights the amazing staff right here at the Portola Hotel & Spa! From food service to operations, here’s your chance to meet a great group of professionals, who not only love their job, but truly care about the experience each and every individual has, the moment they step through the doors at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay.

The next department I will be featuring is the Portola’s very own Accounting Team.  With experience that spans from making explosives for car airbags to night auditing, the Portola Accounting team is one of the most dynamic bunch of individuals you’ll ever meet. They love crunching numbers BUT even more importantly, ensuring each and every guest has an amazing experience during their time at the Portola!

 

Enjoying a fabulous monthly HFTP meeting at the Intercontinental.  Learning and networking with friends.

Monica Gonzalez, Accounts Receivable on why she enjoys accounting and the best part of her job -

“I fell in love with accounting 10 years ago. I started off in night audit and loved it.  I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I loved to balance the daily work and see what the daily totals would be. I feel like accounting is something you either love or hate. But if you love it, it’s a great department to work and grow in. The best part of my job is who I work with. Everyone is so friendly and helpful and we work great as a team. I can honestly say I look forward to coming to work every day because of the staff here.”

 

Accounting out to lunch!

Olivia Yang, Income Audit Intern on working in accounting and being a part of the team at Portola -

“There are many reasons that attract us to be in the hospitality accounting field, but the most important one is that we consider ourselves to be analytical individuals who enjoy exploring patterns and rationales behind numbers. Even though we look slightly serious while working at our desks, we are a very fun team.  We maintain our office atmosphere in the way that we not only treat each other as colleagues but friends.  We are always prepared for everyday new challenges and enthusiastic interacting with everyone drop by our office.”

 

Accounting celebrating Halloween, October 2015.

Shareef Fahmy, Finance Manager on his first job in hospitality and advice for someone starting out in the industry –

“It was a part-time job at a Little Caesar’s in high school and it turned out to be a really great learning experience. I started out washing dishes, but made it through every station until I was doing everything from taking orders, making pizzas, and assisting the guests at checkout. I got a real sense of pride from delivering great experiences that stuck with me and that’s probably why I ended up in hospitality. For someone starting out in the industry, I would tell them to think very hard about the kind of organization they want to be a part of. I used to work for a big hotel chain and thought it’d be great because of perks like free room nights but found out I didn’t like the corporate structure. Personally, I prefer working at a unique, independent property. That’s why I love the Portola!”

Monterey Bay Marine Life

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
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With temperatures rising from the winter’s chilly embrace, the sun shining just a little bit brighter and a flowers bloom beginning to show its colors like a painter’s palate, it does not take a weatherman or a groundhog to let us know that spring has arrived. Spring has always meant rebirth across the earth and nothing says spring like newborn baby animals. Sure bunnies, chicks, ducks and lambs have cornered the spring time market, but in Monterey, CA those loveable animals take a backseat to the region’s wet and wonderful marine life.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is famous the world over for its beauty and the diversity of its aquatic life. Spring is possibly the best time to view Mother Nature’s finest work as all manner of species great and small bring new family members into the world. The biggest, or course are our friends the Grey Whale. Currently, the entire Grey Whale population is migrating north to their summer home in the Bering Sea from their winter breeding grounds in Baja, California. Adults and juvenile whales make the long trip swimming at a leisurely two to five miles an hour breaching (coming up for air and spouting water) every few minutes. This majestic voyage is a great opportunity to view them up close and personal with several whale watching tours offered daily. The Princess Whale Watching is a great option and provides several tour options.

Another wonderful place to observe newly born or hatched marine life is on the water directly. Renting a kayak or stand-up paddle board allows you to explore at your own pace and under your own power. Many of our feathered friends can be found along the Monterey Bay shoreline on rocks and on the beaches. You’ll be amazed by the abundance of species that call the Central Coast home. If you need a great place to start, check out the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Called a living field guide, their docents and staff can direct you where and what to look for. Adventures by the Sea, located in Pacific Grove and Monterey has got your transportation covered with single and double kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for rent. They also offer guided tours which is a great way to experience the beauty and splendor of the bay.

If you left your sea legs at home or plan on a more stable viewing opportunity, there is no better place to see the miracle of birth than at the beach directly adjacent to Pacific Grove’s Hopkins Marine Laboratory. Located at the bottom of 1st Street and across from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, this Harbor Seal Rookery is a fantastic location to watch mothers and their pups begin life’s great journey. From birth to weaning and the pup’s first swim, it all happens on the beach through early summer. The seals and their habitat are federally protected, so onlookers may not enter the area and must respect the animal’s environment. However, Mother Nature’s greatness is truly on display for everyone to enjoy at this intimate and beautiful location.

So if you want to enjoy some great weather, fun activities and the animal kingdom, make a trip to the Monterey Peninsula where spring has officially arrived!

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

57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
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America is a country founded on the ideals of inclusion and acceptance. Our forefathers were immigrants and since we first formed our country in 1789, the United States has seen a steady stream of new and wonderful citizens making a home on our shores. As a nation, we have reaped the benefits of a diverse population and today enjoy the cultural offerings of a wide variety of peoples.

But, is there a cultural offering recognized the world over as truly American? You have to look no farther than the musical expressionism of Jazz to answer that question. Born in the South during the late 1800’s and evolving out of the call and response singing of African field workers, Jazz has formed the basis of modern popular music from rock and rap to R&B and Reggae.

One of the greatest things about Jazz is that it not only defines culture, but mirrors it as well. As an art form based upon improvisation, it is constantly redefining itself and nowhere is this more apparent that the 2014 edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

To experience the genesis of this cultural phenomenon and its offshoots, check out the festival, at September 19-21, 2014 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center. Now in its 57th year and widely regarded as the one of the local region’s best festivals, the Monterey Jazz Festival boasts a history and lineup of artists that cannot easily be found anywhere else. Three days of music, food, education and fun are headlined by the incomparable Herbie Hancock on Friday the 19th. The Festival’s modern genesis continues with Saturday headliner, The Roots, the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and one of the best bands in the land, brining a modern twist to the super-soul of Philly and traditional groups of New Orleans.

The Festival is about more than good music and a good time. Proceeds from the event benefit local music education programs and the NextGen Jazz Festival which showcases some of the best Middle School, High School and College bands, combos and choirs in the country. The winners of the Next Gen are invited back to the Festival and have the honor of playing with their heroes to a packed audience.

So don’t miss your chance to see some of the world’s best Jazz musicians celebrate this true piece of American culture at the Monterey Jazz Festival. And a One and a Two…