Archives for posts with tag: Napa Valley
We doubled the pleasure at Wente Wineries in Livermore Valley. L to R: Karen and Gabrielle. photo by Russ Wagner

We doubled the pleasure at Wente Wineries in Livermore Valley. L to R: Karen and Gabrielle. photo by Russ Wagner

Before Napa Valley became the viticultural Eden that it is, there was Livermore Valley. What! You’ve never heard of Livermore?

Neither had we until our recent summer trek to California,  Oregon and Washington to see friends, family, and do a whole lot of wine tasting.

Livermore wasn’t our first stop, but it became an agenda on my planner husband’s activity list when he discovered that’s where Wente Winery is located. Though somewhat familiar with Wente wines, we knew that 80% of all wines produced in California never leave the state, so what higher-end gems were Wente keeping secreted away that only their club members or locals would know?

Livermore Valley, CA

Getting to Livermore was an easy 40-minute car trip from my daughter Gabrielle’s house Read the rest of this entry »

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The soaring wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava, actually can move up and down. photo by Karen Kuzsel

The soaring wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava, actually can move up and down. photo by Karen Kuzsel

in this issue: Hot deals save you hotel fees in luxury properties across globe.

Wine Train celebrates 25 years.

My husband and I were in Milwaukee, WI last week. If you’re like me, going on a mini-vacation to Milwaukee was not on my favored lists of places to see.
It was, however, quite high on his, mostly because he has long wanted to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Johnson Wax Museum structure. The cherry atop the sundae was that not only did he manage to snag the last two open spots (in what is typically a months-long wait) for a free two-hour guided tour of the Johnson Wax building, but two other buildings were just recently included in the tour. I have to admit, I was impressed with both the complex and the detailed history behind SC Johnson and Wright. Just as important, Russ and I were booked into the historic Pfister Hotel, a gem of a classic beauty of architecture. Everything about the hotel, the five-star service and staff, and the culinary delights we ate at its Café were first-class. The hotel’s walkable proximity to famed architect Santiago Calatrava’s soaring addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum was like adding a layer of hot fudge sauce to a banana split.
The moral of my trip recap is that travelling to unknown sites, exotic of domestic, may exceed any expectations and result in memories forged from the surprise of discovery. My wish for you is to discover new destinations in my blog, maybe save some dollars going there by taking advantage of the Hot Deals offered, and to let all of know how it worked out.
Happy travels!
HOT DEALS! MEAN SAVINGS

Governor of the Picuris Pueblo blessed our breakfast at Santa Fe Hotel

Governor of the Picuris Pueblo blessed our breakfast at Santa Fe Hotel. photo by Karen Kuzsel

Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda & Spa, Santa Fe, NM –  There is simply no other place in Santa Fe, NM where the Governor of the Picuris Pueblo can bless your meeting, you can sup next to an authentic Pueblo tepee, or walk among treasured Indian artifacts and handcrafted furniture. When you consider that if you book your meeting through May 31, 2015, you will not only have the possibility of all that, but you could choose a complimentary morning or afternoon break or even a one-hour welcome reception. I’ve been to this hotel. I’ve been blessed by the Governor. I’ve dined by the tepee and walked the halls. The hotel emanates a spiritually peaceful atmosphere. Be sure to check out Read the rest of this entry »

Rose petals and hearts heat up Valentine's Day romance at Capella Pedregal in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Rose petals and hearts heat up Valentine’s Day romance at Capella Pedregal in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Is it just me, or is the year already resembling a white water rafting trip, where one hurdles along a swiftly-moving river, past dangerous obstacles, barely allowing enough time to catch your breath? Albeit the weather which has played havoc upon lives across America, I am seeing strong signs that business is rebounding across the globe. Hotels are putting more heads in beds; airport traffic is heavier; and business meetings are rediscovering that face-to-face conferences initiate more business creativity and closed-sales than do virtual conferencing. On a personal note, as an entertainer (when not working as a journalist), I am elated that companies are signing off on contracts for parties and trade shows months ahead instead of waiting until the last moment for fear their attendees may opt not to attend.

As January slips into February, I wish you warmer weather (if you’ve been plagued by the polar vortex), more business, and the time to embrace love (not just work) in your life. For those of us in the hospitality, travel, lodging, meetings & events industries, the approach of Valentine’s Day heralds romantic promotions and the crunch of conference bookings. Here are some grand deals for which you may want to consider.

PUT YOUR HEART INTO THESE PROMOTIONS

Cold weather dashing your warm thoughts of love? You may want to catch a flight to Los Cabos, Mexico, on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, where love will indeed be in the air and in the romantic possibilities. The 96-room Capella Pedregal’s “Month of Romance” offers an arrange of activities created especially for lovebirds in mind, such as Movies Under the Stars and Romantic Culinary Delights, which includes a romantically themed five-course dinner. There’s also A Chocolate Love Affair for couples who want to mix up a scrumptious chocolate fondue, or Romancing the Moon, a romantic spa experience based around the cycles of the moon.

Escape to Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort whose Valentine’s Weekend includes everything from the special Hearts and Hands couples massage on the suite’s terrace to private rooftop dining under Los Cabos’ star-filled skies. A weekend isn’t long enough to express your sentiments? Maybe the four-night Passion in Paradise Package is a better fit. There is an option for a 5th night at 50% off. Hurry though. Travel must be booked between February 12th and 18th. The package includes breakfast in bed daily, delivered by your personal butler, as well as Moet rose champagne and strawberries.

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch as far as you’d like, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos has a (minimum) three-night option from Feb. 9-21,that won’t break the bank. It includes 15% off a private champagne beach dinner, a bottle of premium wine and cheese platter, an upgrade to a Ziva Ocean View Junior Suite (subject to availability) and free access Read the rest of this entry »

House Hotel Galatasaray is a 19th-century boutique hotel in Instanbul

House Hotel Galatasaray is a 19th-century boutique hotel in Instanbul

When I was a child, my family travelled on a pretty regular basis. We moved on a fairly regular basis from one end of the country to the other, or from one country to another, depending on the whims of the Air Force, to which my dad belonged. I knew even then that our worldly adventures, geographical awareness, and exposure to many cultures was something to be relished like a fine wine paired with the right piece of cheese. My love for travel continues today, even when I find the vagaries of airline restrictions often inconvenient. I feel blessed to share travel opportunities with you. May you find the opportunity to pack your bags for an exciting learning and fun experience in the near future.

HOTELS & RESORTS

If you left your heart in San Francisco and are yearning to go back for it, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis would like to check out their $90 million redo of the lobby, meeting space, fitness center, Bin 55 Restaurant and Wine Bar, Mission Grill, Starbucks Cafe, second floor atrium, and all 1,499 rooms and suites. The 39-story Marquis lies next to the Moscone Convention Center and just steps away from Yerba Buena Gardens, renowned museums and cultural attractions, world-class shopping in Union Square, and AT&T Park — home of the San Francisco Giants. 415-896-1600 or www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sfodt-san-francisco-marriott-marquis

If I can’t get to San Francisco (one of my favorite cities), then will someone please book me passage to Istanbul so I can stay at The House Hotel Galatasaray. This place looks stunning. Tucked away among the antique stores of Read the rest of this entry »

Of course I’m happy. I won the Build-a-Blend blind taste contest. photo by Agatha Gilmore

PART ONE – WHAT TO SEE & DO

When the invitation came for a press trip to Napa City, I was sure the PR agency must have mucked up the destination.  I’m not exactly a newbie to California’s renowned Sonoma and Napa Valley wine regions. Have sipped enough wine in tasting rooms to numb my palette and blur where I was when. I distinctly remember driving on Hwy 29 or the Silverado Trail on my way to this or that winery or to return to San Francisco and passing through a non-descript town, but what on earth were we going to find inspiring enough to do for days in that forgettable burg?

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

In the year since my last visit, Napa City has undergone a transformation into Read the rest of this entry »

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