Archive for the ‘Hotels’ Category
For some reason, I had always assumed that dolphins were slimy, slippery critters with human-like traits. Of course, this assumption was based solely on a handful of fishing excursions, a few trips to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, or Marine World as it was called when I kid, and what I saw on TV. That’s enough to form a sold opinion, isn’t it? Well, as it turns out, not exactly.
Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend an event at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun, Mexico, that finally put me face-to-face with a dolphin. At the crack of dawn, our group of roughly 30 journalists was taken to the resort’s new 37,000-square-foot dolphinarium operated by Dolphin Discovery, which handles 12 other locations throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. Simple in its design, the state-of-the-art facility is made up of a series of wooden walkways surrounding a number of recessed pens and a large central pool with underwater scaffolding to stand on.
Mummy Mountain as seen from the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
The experience began as expected, with all 30 or so participants in the Sunsational FAM event taking their seats for dinner at Elements, the restaurant at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, near Scottsdale, Ariz. The setting was spectacular—providing stunning views of the immaculately landscaped, upscale resort, with a gorgeous valley and awesome mountains in the background—but we had no idea that this would prove to be just one special feature of a truly enchanting evening.
Golf clubhouse at the Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, Calif.
As if the Resort at Pelican Hill needed any improvements, the luxurious Newport Beach, Calif., destination by the Pacific Ocean has added a 7,000-square-foot pavilion adjacent to its golf complex. It’s the first major venue expansion at the Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond resort since it opened in 2008.
Pelican Hill features two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, which opened nearly two decades before the resort and were renovated in 2007. The red-brick pavilion is now the resort’s largest meeting space and can accommodate groups of up to 500 guests for receptions and 300 for seated banquets. It can be tented or open-air, making the pavilion well-suited for post-golf events, al fresco dining and formal affairs.
Timberline Lodge atop Mount Hood in Oregon. Photos courtesy of Timberland Lodge.
Since 1980, the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, an hour drive outside of Portland, has been known for mainly one thing: its exterior is used to represent the Overlook Hotel, the iconic haunted hotel in the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining. Even 20 years later, the lodge, which gets its name from being at the timber line (5,960 feet) on Mount Hood, can’t seem to shake its horror-movie history as a new documentary is set to renew interest in the iconic hotel.
Room 237, a documentary that opened to rave reviews on March 29, wildly explores many of the themes and production elements presented in Kubrick’s work to the point where some theories are as seemingly insane as the movie’s main character, Jack Torrance. One of the biggest questions posed in the documentary is why Kubrick chose the room number 237, given that the Stephen King book that the movie was based on uses the room number 217. So why the switch?
Hip hotels can be like art: occasionally abstract, visually stimulating and memorable. Sometimes hip hotels even feature art. But what really constitutes a hip hotel?
Hiphotels.com has dedicated an entire website to the topic, helping its readers uncover “Highly Individual Places…not only can they generate travel experiences to be treasured, but they are also destinations in their own right.”
The June issue of Smart Meetings magazine is featuring an article on hip hotels. But before we select which hotels to feature, we thought we’d ask our readers and social media friends their thoughts:
The Tuscsan, Monaco, Argonaut and Triton sound like exotic towns stretched across the Mediterranean coast, but actually they are the updated hotels under the Kimpton umbrella that are based in and around San Francisco. Over the past few years, Kimpton has been updating the properties in its home turf, bringing a casual elegance and definitive style to the boutique hotel market, a market that’s ready to boom again with the recovering economy.
The Monaco is only the latest property to see updates. With the help of Andrea Dawson Inc., the hotel’s new design took the 201 guest rooms of the hotel and changed them into a bold and whimsical look, with French Art Nouveau style, silk pillows and an aesthetic that screams international panache. While the update gives a luxurious new feel to the hotel, designers incorporated some of the original architecture, including the Monaco’s Tree of Life sculpture, created by Albert Guibara.
Progressive, comfortable and efficient describe Starwood’s hotels in San Diego, but these words don’t quite do justice to the extraordinary qualities I found when visiting them on a media trip this month. I had gained familiarity with Starwood after featuring its hotels in my Brand Update story in the March issue of Smart Meetings, but experiencing them personally enabled me to understand how it actually feels to be a guest.
I stayed all three nights of my visit at The Westin Gaslamp Quarter and visited the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, US Grant Hotel (a member of Starwood’s The Luxury Collection) and W San Diego Hotel. Starwood divides its properties into three groups: luxury, upper upscale and specialty select (or mid-market). San Diego’s Westin and Sheraton are upper upscale, while US Grant and W are luxury.
President Obama shares a toast at his January inauguration celebration;
courtesy of wikimedia.org
Whether it’s the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling or sequester, we have been bombarded with one potential economic apocalypse after another, mainly as a result of the self-absorbed, dysfunctional reality TV show that is the U.S. government. These days, politics is not about what you have to say, but how loud you say it, and even this doesn’t matter, as the other side most likely isn’t even listening. In an attempt to bridge the divide and save the country from the never-ending cacophony of juvenile talking points, President Obama decided to take a cue from the meetings industry and do something unheard of in Washington—meet.
The Meritage Resort and Spais a quintessentially Napa retreat boasting elegant Italian decor, a pool rimmed with luxe cabanas, a private wine-tasting room and cave, fine dining to complement that wine, a subterranean spa and the surrounding environs of rolling vineyards. The hotel is also Napa’s largest for meetings, with 50,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor space. And fresh off a renovation, it offers an updated look, enhanced amenities and improved and expanded meeting venues.
The famous Californian poet John Robinson Jeffers once called Big Sur, the majestic stretch of coastline located just a few miles south of Monterey, Calif., “The greatest meeting of land and sea.” In keeping with this theme, the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa will complete a stunning $6 million renovation of its meeting space this Saturday, transforming it into a visual representation of the epic struggle between the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Peninsula.