10 Hotel Del Coronado’s Holiday Festivities in 2021


Holidays at The Hotel Del Coronado are brighter this year with the help of EPIC Entertainment Group. This year The Hotel Del Coronado welcomes loyal guests, locals and new travelers to ‘Home for the Holidays’ with 10 different immersive holiday experiences. Here’s what you can see and do while visiting or staying at The Del.

  1. Ice skating is back at The Del. Lace up skates and skim along the ice right next to the beach. Advanced reservations are recommended and sold online.
Multiple drink and food options are available at The Del

2. Before, during or after ice skating ‘Frostbite’ Lounge offers cozy seating and a fire pit by reservation for up to six people. Order food and drinks from a holiday-themed cocktail and snack menu while watching skaters whirl by you and the colorful lights.

Spectacular Lightshow nightly

3. EPIC ENTERTAINMENT Group decorates the legendary Norfolk Pines on the Founder’s Lawn for a dynamic ‘At First Light’ lightshow with colored lights orchestrated to holiday music and snowfall. In 1904 these trees were the first electrically lit outdoor Christmas Tree in America. The show is 11-minutes long and run every thirty minutes from 5 to 9 p.m.

23-ft lobby Christmas tree

4. The return of the perennial favorite includes the spectacular two-story lobby tree decorated with 10,000 sparkling lights with more than 2,000 ornaments in red, gold and forest green. Guests can purchase many of the ornaments dazzling on the tree at the nearby shops.

The Center Tree is a towering 25 feet

5. Go on a scavenger hunt to find 20 themed Christmas trees ranging in size from 8 feet to a breathtaking 25 foot tall tree out in the Victorian Garden. Visit the shops inside The Victorian, the Welcome Center inside the Beach Village, and check for trees in The Cabanas and The Views.

Sand art at The Del Beach

6. See a Holiday Movie on the Beach. Snuggle up with a loved one on Del Beach for a movie in the picturesque theater under the stars on Dec. 11, 18 and 31.

Jingle Roast on the Beach

7. S’mores on the Beach at your own private bonfire on Del Beach. Cozy up for hot beverages, housemade marshmallows, graham crackers and a variety of chocolates. Jingle Roast is from Dec. 15 – 25 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Jolly St. Nick at The Signature Shop

8. Photos with Santa will take place on the Paseo Lawn on Dec. 16-18 and Dec. 22 – 24. Receive a keepsake photo with jolly Santa when you make a reservation for a visit. Santa is in shops and his spirit is everywhere around the hotel.

Start a new family tradition at The Del

9. Victorian Tea is served during the holidays on Dec. 17, 19, 20 and 21. Take a step back in time with a classic Victorian Tea featuring a variety of teas, finger sandwiches and sweets while beautiful music sets the atmosphere. There are special kids’ plates too, so little ones can join the adults to start a family tradition.

10. Go Holiday Gift Shopping for inspired gifts and The Del’s 29th annual holiday ornament can be found at the various shops at The Del. The beautiful handblown glass ornament is inspired by the hotel’s 1888 stained glass “Coronation Window,” which was restored earlier this year

The Beach Village is a gated community at The Del

Stay in one of the Beach Village Cottages or Villas for ocean, beach, pool and palm tree views. The villas are equipped with a full kitchen to make meals to enjoy outside on the patio or large balcony. A private welcome center checks Beach Village guests into the private and gated section of The Del. The staff are available to cater to guests needs. There are multiple swimming pools and hot whirlpools for guests to use near each cottage or villa. For reservations for a Beach Village, The Victorian, The Cabanas or The Views guest room, click here.

The Ultimate Ritz Carlton “City to Slopes’ Getaway

The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe

For the ultimate couples and family holiday getaway, The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco and The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe are offering a luxurious city and mountain vacation.

This exclusive curated City to Slopes package appeals to those seeking the finer things in life. Starting on November 19, 2021 to March 31, 2022, start the four-days with an extravagant shopping spree for holiday or wish-list items. Afterwards attend a private wine and caviar tasting at JCB Tasting Salon, and visit to the Krigler boutique. There are tickets to an exciting evening show and transportation the next day to the airport to fly on a private jet to Lake Tahoe’s winter wonderland.

The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco

The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco is one of the most luxurious hotels, earning the only AAA Five Diamond in the city. Located just steps from the iconic California Street Cable Car with convenient access to Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Lombard Street and Coit Tower, guests will enjoy seeing the holiday store displays and festive atmosphere.

Joel Costa, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco was instrumental in creating this one-of-a-kind travel package. “We’re pleased to present our guests with this exclusive winter experience in two iconic Northern California destinations,” said Costa. “After 18-months of pent-up travel demand, this package is the ultimate way to kick-start the winter travel season with VIP experiences from the San Francisco Bay to the Sierra Nevada mountains.”

Guests receive an elegantly appointed Club Level guestroom and all-inclusive dining opportunities including breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, cocktails, wine, beer and dessert.

Start one of the days with a private shopping experience for two at Saks Fifth Avenue. Come back to the hotel for a private JCB Salon multi-sensory experience. Learn about the legendary winemaker, while tasting his wines, wearing his fragrance and jewelry, and sipping from his Passion Baccarat crystal collection.

Be sure to step into the elegant Krigler shop next door to receive a limited edition Good Fir 11 Krigler holiday candle. This particular fragrant candle was inspired by founder Albert Krigler when he made his journey to California. 

During the evening, guests will receive two tickets to the entertaining “Dear San Francisco,” a high-flying acrobatics show at Club Fugazi.

The next morning a luxury car awaits to transport guests to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Board one of the private Surf Air jets, the first private air travel club of its kind, for a short flight to the majestic slopes.

The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Upon landing, a luxury car will transport guests from Truckee Tahoe Airport to The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. This contemporary AAA Five Diamond mountain retreat sits among the snow-clad mountains at Northstar California Resort. It’s a stunning winter wonderland and ultimate skiing getaway featuring convenient slope-side, ski-in and ski-out access. An inter-mountain gondola connects the resort to the nearby Village at Northstar.

There are 170 guest rooms and 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences. Guests have access to the 17,000 square foot spa and fitness center.

According to Laurie Munos, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe, “This winter season, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is thrilled to offer guests an over-the-top package allowing them to experience the many luxuries of Lake Tahoe as well as our neighboring city San Francisco.”

Receive keys to a beautifully decorated Club Level guestroom, and two lift tickets await to be redeemed at Northstar California resort, plus premium ski or snowboard rentals for two. Guests can also participate in private ski or snowboard lessons for two and receive a $500 credit to the True North boutique for ski or snowboard gear.

Later in the evening dress for a private Chef’s Table Experience at Manzanita, the resort’s signature restaurant. Other dining venues include The Backyard Bar & BBQ, The Living Room, Café Blue for luxe après ski culinary delights.

The City to Slopes package at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, and The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe must be reserved 14-days in advance. The all-inclusive rate begins at $25,000 for two. Call (800)241-3333.  

This review was featured in JustLuxe – November 2021.


My friends at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, CA invited me to come experience their new rides, attractions, restaurants, shops, in the new immersive world of THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD. The creative team has their hit movies come to life!

After a stressful week, it was so much fun to be a kid again, starting at an evening reception at SeaLife Aquarium. I watched jellyfish gracefully float in a clear tank, and walked through a clear tunnel to admire a variety of fish, sharks and rays glide by. One of my favorite exhibits was the bioluminescent tide and starry night in the Maldives.

Sipping wine and nibbling pulled pork sandwiches, Mac and Cheese, vegetable crudite and fresh baked cookies and vanilla ice cream, I enjoyed talking to Head of Public Relations North America at Merlin Entertainments, Julie Estrada tell me about the new LEGOLAND New York opening soon. Another familiar face was Senior Media Relations at Merlin Entertainments Group, Jake Gonzalez. He shared his excitement of the events that were going to take place the following day for the Grand Opening to the media in the morning and to the public in the afternoon.

Listening to LEGOLAND California Resort President Kurt Stocks share how the new The LEGO MOVIE WORLD is based on the blockbuster films The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Movie 2, piqued my interest even more.

We talked about how the unveiling of this new large land at the theme park, was put on hold in 2020, due to the pandemic. Finally the grand opening was happening on May 27, 2021. “THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD truly has something for everyone, and we are excited to welcome more guests to experience this new land which takes them from theater to theme park. It will play a key part in boosting tourism locally in Carlsbad and across Southern California,” shared Stocks. 

Pink and gold streamers filled the air, as the official Grand Opening took place in The LEGO MOVIE World. The colorful land is the largest addition in the Park’s history, and features six interactive attractions, including Emmet’s Flying Adventure Ride.

Families buckle in aboard Emmet’s triple decker flying couch for a thrill-seeking adventure. The couch swivels to a full-dome virtual screen, and soon guests fill the misty vapor of flying through clouds to memorable lands such as Middle Zealand, Cloud Cuckoo Land, Pirates Cove and the Sistar System.

The Grand Opening celebration at LEGOLAND California

Fans will recognize familiar faces along the way including Sweet Mayhem, a star character from THE LEGO®MOVIE 2: The Second Part. Emmet’s Flying Adventure features cutting edge technology offering a multi-sensory experience. Feel the rush of falling from Unikitty’s Disco Drop and experiencing the many personalities of the fearless feline. The new ride drops, spins and bounces guests back down to earth with pleasing smells, thrills and lot’s of fun. 

Mayor of Bricksburg with the President of LEGOLAND California Kurt Stocks

The adventure continues after the ride as young guests can climb and explore Benny’s Playship, ride Queen Watevra’s pink Carousel, create at Build Watevra You Wa’Na Build zone, and meet Emmet and all his friends in Emmet’s Super Suite.

This special area is geared for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. Throughout LEGOLAND California, there are more than 60 rides for all ages and entertaining shows.

Fun rides for the entire family at LEGO MOVIE WORLD

Enjoy tasty themed treats such as Cloud Cuckoo Crepes, Benny’s Rocket Fuel and Everything is Ramen throughout the land. 

Afterwards go ride the newer LEGO® City: Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride. Guests step inside and look out porthole windows to experience more than 2,000 real sea animals, sharks, rays and tropical fish living and swimming in the water.

SEA LIFE aquarium is home to more than 5,000 living creatures and incorporates play zones, informative fun facts and interactive quiz trails.

Other water adventures include LEGOLAND Water Park featuring more than seven slides, sandy beaches and the unique Build-A-Raft River plus Pirate Reef and LEGO Legends of CHIMA Water Park comprising 10 acres of water fun!

Extend your stay at LEGOLAND HOTEL or LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

LEGOLAND Hotel is the nation’s first LEGOLAND Hotel featuring 250 all themed rooms, with either a pirate, adventure, kingdom, LEGO® Friends and LEGO® NINJAGO™ decorated large family guest rooms.

North America’s first LEGOLAND Castle Hotel features Royal Princess, Knights, Magic Wizards and Dragons in their 250 rooms. There are restaurants, swimming pools and interactive activities for the entire family at both hotels. 

For more information, visit http://www.LEGOLAND.com or call (760) 918-LEGO (5346).THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD is included in the price of admission to LEGOLAND California Resort. Guests can purchase tickets and reserve their spot through LEGOLAND California’s reservation system for their desired Park visit.

For more Resort information, operating schedule and to make reservations, visit: www.legoland.com/california

The Cassara Carlsbad above The Flower Fields, LEGOLAND & SEA LIFE Aquarium

Last year at this time, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch had to close and lock it’s entrance gate due to the pandemic. It was one of the only times in over sixty years, that the public couldn’t walk next to rows of blooming colorful Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers. This annual event lasts for only six to eight weeks, usually starting in early March through early May.

Wear a face mask

Located in North San Diego County, a region with a history of growing flowers going back to the 1940’s, stay overnight at The Cassara Carlsbad, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Guests can purchase admission tickets to be one of the first visiting The Flower Fields to admire acres of rainbow colored ranunculus flowers in the morning or before sunset.

Situated on 12 acres above the super bloom of bright colors, The Cassara is the only hotel in Carlsbad that offers the most spectacular view of The Flower Fields from its guest rooms, grand pool area and grounds.

See the flowers, LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE Aquarium in Carlsbad

The hotel is also across the street is LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium. The Cassarra offers a private pedestrian entrance into the family amusement parks. Families enjoy the spacious Family Karlsbad 576 sq. ft., well designed two-room suites. There is a sitting area with couch and 42-inch TV, near a King bed with luxury linens and another 42-inch TV, armoire, and work desk area. Near the entrance is a bedroom with two twin beds and another 42-inch TV.

Suites offer a king bed and separate bedroom with twin beds

The floor to ceiling sliding glass window offers lots of natural light, views of the fields and fresh coastal air with the Pacific Ocean beyond. Guests can sit outside with their morning coffee, work on their laptop, or watch the sunset. The oversized bathroom boasts a granite vanity counter top and sink, premium bathroom amenities, hair dryer, and separate powder room with combo bath/shower.

Relax by the heated pool or fire pit areas

Amenities at the property include two resort size pools, a family splash pad, and fitness center. Paved walking pathways around the resort provide views of the city, Flower Fields and ocean.

Take an antique tractor ride

Wake up and take a tractor driven wagon ride to learn about The Flower Fields. Walk into the 1500 square foot greenhouse filled with world famous Ecke poinsettias, the sweet pea maze, Santa’s playground, an orchid greenhouse, and many themed areas, including a whimsical face mask garden.  Picnic tables are on site and parking is free.

Photo spots are private at The Flower Fields

Go to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch for the 2021 Season: March 1 through May 9. The hours are from 9 am-6 pm daily.
Prices: $20.00 for Adults, $18.00 for Seniors 60+, $10.00 for Children ages 3 – 10,
Children ages 2 and under are Free.
Season Passes: $42.00 for Adults, $38.00 Seniors 60+,
$22.00 for Children ages 3 – 10.
Wagon Tour: $6.00 for Adults,
$3.00 for Children ages 3 – 10

All visitors must have a pre-purchased ticket available online only! No onsite tickets will be sold.

This article was featured in JustLuxe and Luxe Beat Magazine

7 Great Escapes in Spring 2021

Ready to celebrate Spring now that you are vaccinated? Here’s some of the best So Cal and Vegas escapes.

Santa Monica

1. Casa del Mar Beachside Bliss Picnic
The iconic Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica and its sister property, Shutters on the Beach, are offering an oceanfront picnic experience to hotel guests. Wiggle your toes in the sand during this new culinary services. Beach setup by the picnic concierge team comes complete with a chic low table, comfy plush pillows, linens, blankets, and sun umbrellas. The delicious picnic menu includes lobster rolls; Thai lettuce wraps; and charcuterie. Just in time for Spring, the hotel is offering a new Beachside Bliss Package that includes a 2-night stay in an luxurious ocean-view room, welcome amenity, daily valet parking, and the new oceanfront picnic experience. The package starts at $875+ per night with a two-night minimum stay. Hotel guests are also able to purchase the beach picnic offering a la carte during their stay. Go to: www.hotelcasadelmar.com, 1910 Ocean Way (310)581-5533.

2. Newport Coast

The Resort at Pelican Hill – For a true Mediterranean experience, stay overnight at The Resort at Pelican Hill. Enjoy sitting outside overlooking the largest round swimming pool at the Coliseum Pool & Grill. The chefs prepare fresh, seasonal ingredients in their culinary specials and have them served in one of the most magnificent settings. Fun Fact: There are over one million glass mosaic tiles, each of them meticulously laid by hand inside the pool. The views beyond the pool is the Pelican Hill Golf Course and sparkling Pacific coast. This luxury resort offers a truly relaxing, vacation experience. Self Parking is available at the Main Estate. Coliseum Pool & Grill menus: BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER POOL KIDS

3. Palos Verdes

Terranea Resort – Fresh air, fire pits, culinary delights with craft beers and cocktails while taking in the scenic views of the Pacific are available at multiple dining venues at Terranea this Spring. Indoor and al fresco experiences are available at each restaurant. Fine dining at mar’sel is open for a coastal Easter Brunch on April 4 starting at 10am to 3 pm. A four-course menu showcases traditional Easter specialties with a twist, including lamb omelet, rack of lamb, halibut, brisket as well as vegetarian options. Pair with Champagne and accompanying fresh juices. Other dining venues: bashi, catalina kitchen and Nelson’s offer seasonal specials. Right now Terranea is offering guests an extra savings with the third night free. Restrictions may apply. Promotional code: 3FREE. https://www.terranea.com/offers/third-night-free. For more information call (866) 261-5873.

4. Laguna

The Ranch Laguna Beach – Those looking to play golf, take beach walks, practice morning yoga, listen to live music in one of the most beautiful canyons while dining al fresco will enjoy their stay at The Ranch Laguna Beach. Take a road trip with one of the resort’s specials that include

  • $25 Chevron gift card
  • Waived resort fee
  • Farewell snack box, choice healthy or “kind of healthy” assortment
  • Laguna Beach road trip playlist

Valid for select Sunday – Thursday nights through May 27, 2021.

5. Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach – When guests reserve a stay at least 21 days in advance they receive a 15% savings on the best available rate at this luxury resort on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Other special offers include Montage Memories with deluxe accommodations, complimentary nightly valet parking and a daily $60 breakfast credit. For those seeking to Linger Longer arrive early and stay late. It’s a special weekday stay offering the opportunity for more pool time and extra hours to enjoy breathtaking ocean views with an early check-in and late check-out, along with complimentary valet parking. Read more about The Montage Laguna Beach

6. Dana Point

Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point offers a cozy bed and breakfast vacation, The Blue Lantern Inn is one of the best So Cal destinations. Sitting up on a bluff overlooking the Dana Point Harbor and Pacific coastline, the staff present guests with a wine, cheese, crackers and fruit picnic bag. Guest can enjoy this on their patio, balcony or Inn’s viewing terrace. Also at check-in guests are presented a menu to check off what items they desire for breakfast. The next morning a multi-course hot and cold breakfast tray arrives at your guest room door. After breakfast, take one of their cruiser bikes for a spin around Dana Point or go for a nature hike above the Inn. Read about specials here.

7. Las Vegas – See a show!

The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino excitedly announced that on Thursday, April 22 Penn & Teller will perform a new content and magic show, plus a selection from Penn & Teller’s extensive catalog of fan favorites. “We are so excited to go back to doing what we do, where we do it, for the people we do it for,” said Penn Jillette. “Teller and I are both more than two weeks out of our second shots, and in the same bubble, so we can stand unmasked on our stage. We will give up seeing what we hope are smiling faces so our audience can stay masked and safe.” Additionally, Penn shared, “We haven’t been on stage in over a year, so we don’t know whether the audience will be coming to see us do miracles, or just to see if we remember which way to face on stage. But no matter what, we’re excited to return to our home at the Rio!” Deals are amazing at this hotel right now with suites starting at $29 on certain dates when available. Click here to read more.

Recharge this Spring at Terranea Resort


Renew and Recharge at Terranea Resort

The last time I stayed at the Southern California Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, I heard seals barking near my room. This 102-acre outdoor destination offers guests plenty of space to relax, recharge and renew in a safe environment. The resort offers nature walks for individuals, couples and families to learn more about the history, beautiful plants and wildlife in the region. Those seeking a quick weekend getaway or an extended stay can enjoy watching whales pass by as they migrate up to Alaska, or play a round of golf, paint by the sea, kayak to see seals and dolphins, enjoy morning yoga, and evenings by a firepit at Nelson’s.

During Spring Break, Terranea is welcoming guests of all ages with the following activities:


Ask the reception desk for a self-guided nature walk map featuring the 18 stops along the easy to follow pathways. Learn about Catalina Island 22-miles across the sea, stop at The Spa to admire Aleppo pines and Sago palms, and stop by Nelson’s for a beverage, snack or meal.


The Terranea Kids Club has specially curated boxes of activities designed for children age 4-12. Each kit celebrates the beauty of Terranea, including en plein air painting project, nature journal, design your own beach ball. There is also a Terranea’s Tot arts and crafts box offering a Lil’ Architects Lesson, sailboat craft, design your own Puzzle with artist markers, a sun visor sticker project, and jumbo bubble magic wand. 


Paint from your patio or balcony a large rock or wooden Easter eggs while taking in the ocean views. There is a self-guided instruction sheet, the art of mandala meditation guide and the Terranea beauty is your inspiration to create your own unique work of art keepsake. 

Photo courtesy of Terranea


Fresh air, fire pits, culinary delights with craft beers and cocktails while taking in the scenic views of the Pacific are available at multiple dining venues at Terranea. Indoor and al fresco experiences are available at each restaurant. Fine dining at mar’sel is open for a coastal Easter Brunch on April 4 starting at 10am to 3 pm. A four-course menu showcases traditional Easter specialties with a twist, including lamb omelet, rack of lamb, halibut, brisket as well as vegetarian options. Pair with Champagne and accompanying fresh juices. Other dining venues: bashi, catalina kitchen and Nelson’s offer seasonal specials. 


The Lobby Bar & Terrace is the spot to take in a sunset and Catalina Island views. Sit cozy around one of the Lobby Terrace fire pits, and enjoy specialties including a fizzy bunny mimosa, ambrosia strawberry mint truffle, and sweets from Chef Perry’s Bake Shop.


Swin at one of the resort’s three swimming pools, or relax on a lounge chair and take in the tranquil views. 


Kayak in the morning with Bob or Anthony on a guide led kayak adventure to Abalone Cove. Friendly and curious seals may swim near you, and dolphins will gracefully slide by. 

Right now Terranea is offering guests an extra savings with the third night free.  Restrictions may apply. Promotional code: 3FREE. Please visit https://www.terranea.com/offers/third-night-free. For more information call (866) 261-5873.

This article is featured in Luxe Beat Magazine.

The Resort at Pelican Hill

The first time I visited The Resort at Pelican Hill, I learned Donald Bren, the Chairman of the Irvine Company had a vision to create an iconic place that would build memories and moments for people for generations. 

The ultimate Newport Coast resort destination is perched upon 504 acres of protected land along a Southern California coastal enclave. Opened in 2008, as the only luxury Italian Renaissance 5-star resort in the Golden State, it still offers guests one of the most memorable vacations.

It’s a world unto itself, inspired by the design of the 1500s Italian architect Andres Palladio. His architectural masterpieces were influenced by classic building principles of ancient Rome and Greece.

This creative legend’s 16th-century vision is replicated throughout the beautiful resort from the moment you walk into the soaring ceiling lobby. Large archways and a 28’ in diameter domed rotunda are reminiscent of the Palladio’s Villa Rotunda in Northern Italy. Atop the front desk are antique olive jars from Spain, Italy and France. 

Furnishings in the lobby and expansive Great Room include a 17th century Italian walnut table with fluted pilasters that are reminiscent of the Palladian columns in the lobby. Also in this room the grand limestone fireplace was hand-cut and carved in Italy. On the wall framing this enormous fireplace are two Flemish tapestries dating back to the 17th century. From Brussels, they are made with woven wool and silk depicting a vase filled with flowers within a columned pergola. These tapestries may have been hanging at Chateau d’Amenoville and are from the collection of the Marquis de la Rochefoucauld.

The resort features a collection of more than 120 contemporary California plein air paintings that celebrate the sea and land. These pieces are influenced by French Impressionist painters Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The art displayed was specifically commissioned for The Resort at Pelican Hill by local outdoor painting artists paying homage to the vanishing natural vistas and preserved land surrounding the resort.

Beyond the lobby is a covered Portico terrace supported by Roman columns bringing the coastal outdoors into the lobby. The spectacular views of the resort’s golf course and the Pacific Ocean beyond allow one to feel as if they are at an extraordinary country villa in Tuscany. Sculpted fairways and thousands of acres of preserved land provide beauty and tranquility.

The free-standing Renaissance rotunda looking out to the Pacific Ocean is an ideal area for weddings, receptions and photo opportunities.

Inside my bungalow, I read on my patio lounge chair, while gazing at the golf course and Pacific Ocean about half a mile away. At night, I soaked in the marble bathtub and enjoyed the view of the fireplace and plush bed, custom fitted with a pillow top mattress. The hand-hewn wood beams add to the Tuscan country style warmth.

Scenic pathways and residential-scaled streets are enhanced with hundreds of olive trees and Italian-inspired landscaping, lead guests to elegant bungalow guest rooms and suites, ranging in size from 847 to 2,486 square feet. Step inside to appreciate the soaring hand-hewn wood beam ceiling, working limestone fireplace, granite wet bar, hidden cabinet safe and mini-refrigerator.

Marble bathrooms offer double sinks, deep soaking bathtubs with a peek-a-boo window, and a walk-in shower. Open glass sliding doors out to a table with chairs for coffee in the morning or sit on one of the lounge chairs on the terrace offering panoramic ocean views for reading, sunbathing or napping. 

Bungalow suites are almost double in size and offer two fireplaces and two plasma TVs, as well as a dining table and chairs and large sectional seating. Each suite offers glorious ocean and golf course views.

The resort also offers the largest selection of oceanview villas. These luxury home accommodations range from two to four bedrooms for daily rental. Starting at 2,200 square feet up to 3,581 square feet, step out onto the oceanview terrace to take in the views, cook in the gourmet kitchen or have a personal butler and staff take care of your desires and needs. 

Villa guests have the exclusive privilege to the 10,000-square-foot Villa Clubhouse, offering personally tailored service, private gourmet dining, a radiant blue pool, cabanas and stunning vistas of the Pacific.

The ocean views from the two golf courses at the Pelican Hill Golf Course designed by renowned course architect Tom Fazio are hypnotic and may have golfers not keep their eye on the ball throughout their game.

Looking to the south is another signature architectural feature that is a social hub at this luxury resort, the Coliseum Pool and Grill. The pool is the largest circular pool in the world. Its radiant blue bottom is created by 1.1 million hand-cut glass tiles.

Surrounding the pool is the Coliseum Grill set amphitheater-style on a terraced deck. Meals are served on one level of the terrace overlooking guests relaxing and swimming in the pool, as well as sipping bubbly on lounge chairs, day beds and private cabanas. The coastal California healthy menu focuses on avocado enhanced toasts, grilled proteins and fresh fish, salads, sandwiches, pasta and decadent desserts.

Looking for a Mediterranean vacation without having to fly to Italy? The Resort at Pelican Hill offers Tuscan ambiance, 5-star luxury amenities and service. For reservations, click on The Resort Pelican Hill for availability and rates.

This review was also featured on JustLuxe in March 2021.

Downtown Disney District Reopens

The Downtown Disney District, including Buena Vista Street, is open with select retail and dining locations. Ongoing updates on additional restaurant and food and beverage location openings can be viewed here.

Everyone must wear a mask

To reopen, Disney has implemented new health and safety measures based on guidance from health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and appropriate government agencies.

Soon a limited-time, ticketed experience will be opening at Disney California Adventure Park, focusing on the world-class food and beverage. Also, 1,000 Cast Members are being rehired.

Right now you can enter and explore without a timed ticket.

Good signage for parking and entering Downtown Disney District

There are 6 key things to expect when visiting the Downtown Disney District:

  • Park at the Simba Lot only right now. There are cones and closures clearly defined for guests to enter the Downtown Disney District. Parking is $10 per car. There is no refund or validation.
  • Guests receive a temperature screening prior to entry and walk through a tent with two sniffing dogs with their handlers, before a bag check and walking through a metal detector.
  • Face coverings are required for guests ages 2 and older. There is a vending machine that sells masks for $2 for those without one.
Forget your mask? No worries they have a vending machine with $2 masks
  • Physical distancing measures, including physically-distanced queues and seating, and physical barriers at select locations.
Benches are marked with safe distance seating
  • Temporary operations modifications, including reduced hours at select locations and the suspension of entertainment offerings and high-touch interactive areas.
The park has hand washing stations and hand sanitizer machines

An increased focus on cleaning and sanitation, including the addition of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers are located in key areas. The day I visited there seemed to be more Disney cast members than guests, as the district was getting ready to reopen more outdoor dining venues.

Disney “Cast Members” are keeping the parks clean

The Downtown Disney District has begun a phased reopening, including an expansion onto Disney California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street. The brand new Star Wars Trading Post was a popular store that had a line of fans to enter. The stores are allowing a certain number of people inside, and have a social distance line and umbrella to keep guests safe and comfortable.

New Star Wars store in Downtown Disney

There is no entrance fee of ticket to stroll into Disney CA Adventure along some of Los Angeles’ most popular neighborhoods. Many of designs are inspired from where a young Walt Disney lived and worked after arriving in Southern California in 1923. Find the plaque next to Walt Disney and his friend Mickey Mouse statue that states, “It was July 1923. I packed all of my worldly goods – a pair of trousers, a checkered coat, a lot of drawing materials and the last of the fairy tale reels we had made – in a kind of frayed cardboard suitcase. And with that wonderful audacity of youth, I went to Hollywood, arriving there with just $40. It was a big day the day I got on that Santa Fe California Limited. I was just free and happy!”

Walt Disney’s dream came true
  • Downtown Disney District, including Buena Vista Street, parts of Hollywood Land and Grizzly Peak are open as of February 4, 2021. Certain retail and dining locations are also reopening. View Open Dining Locations for ongoing updates.
  • Starting Friday, Feb. 5, guests can once again make a reservation at Carthay Circle Lounge – Alfresco Dining, with its seasonal menu and unique dining environment on Buena Vista Street. Also beginning Feb. 5, mobile app order offers a contactless way to order corn dogs and soft drinks at Award Wieners, or bacon cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, onion rings, waffle fries, kids’ meals, and vanilla and chocolate shakes at  Smokejumpers Grill. Guests should place their mobile order once they are already on Buena Vista Street.
The park is reopening slowly and safely

Hours: I recommend arriving early when it opens at 10 a.m., before the lunch hour. Weekdays aren’t as crowded as weekends. During the week, it closes down by 8 p.m., and on the weekend at 9 p.m. Visiting Downtown Disney District awakens your senses. Listening to Disney music plays throughout the open areas, while smelling the pleasing aromas of creative Disney snacks, and colorful and appealing window displays and beautiful floral gardens.

Disneyland is not open yet, hopefully soon

Leaving Disney’s California Adventure to walk back through Downtown Disney District back to my car, I was drawn to the entrance of Disneyland. It was sad to see the gates all closed, yet the slope below the Train Depot continues to have a floral design of Mickey Mouse, giving hope that one day soon it will reopen safely again.

Hopefully Disneyland Hotels will open in 2021

The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Park and all of Disney California Adventure Park remain closed and will reopen at a later date, pending state and local government approvals. I’ve heard possibly the theme parks will partially open more areas by March, 2021.

California Vacation Dreams Come True in 2021

Polling conducted by Michelle Gielan, founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research and an expert in the science of happiness, found 97% of Americans say having a trip on the calendar makes them happier. Three-fourths said planning a trip would make them feel more in control amid so much uncertainty.

Big Bear Lake

I think we all can agree, the pandemic has taken a toll on covid-weary #stayathome traveler’s mental health. It has also taken a significant hit on the economy too. Americans left a third of all their earned vacation days on the table in 2020, according to research from the U.S. Travel Association. More than half say they looking to visit bucket list destinations in 2021 when the time is right. Californians now say they expect to take 39% more time off in 2021, according to research by SMARInsights. This pent-up demand for travel will be key for California’s recovery.

Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito

Visit California is offering a National Plan For Vacation Day (Jan. 26), to give travelers hope to dream now and travel later.  ‘California Dream Dial’ is a free, limited-time hotline to help callers brighten their outlook by planning a future road trip in the Golden State. Connect with California travel experts to find special deals.

Carlsbad, CA

“It’s never too early to start planning, and we can all use something on the calendar to look forward to,” said Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta. “California Dream Dial is a service for visitors to begin mapping out travel plans for their dream vacation. And when it’s safe to travel again, these trips will do double duty as they work to jump-start California’s economic recovery.”

Avalon, Catalina Island

To use the California Dream Dial as a resource for trip planning, travelers are invited to complete a short questionnaire starting today to make a 20-minute appointment for Tuesday, Jan. 26. If unable to make an appointment, call the hotline directly at 1-833-PLAN-PTO from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST on Jan. 26.

Yosemite Valley

“Booking a trip – even just getting it on the calendar – might be the very thing we need to restore our emotional immune system after months of mounting uncertainty and stress,” Gielan said.

Pacific Beach – San Diego

With road trip expertise from California travel experts, California Dream Dial provides the perfect planning tool with tips on everything from California’s hidden gems and National Park hacks to culture- and culinary-filled getaways. The hotline experts will explore each traveler’s specific interests and offer curated guidance for future road trips once the pandemic has subsided and it is safe to explore the Golden State again.

Marina Del Rey

Travel is a powerful component of California’s economy that accounted for $145 billion in spending in California in 2019, supported 1.2 million jobs and generated $12.2 billion in state and local taxes. The pandemic halved those numbers in 2020, but planning a trip will provide a direct boost to businesses and jobs across California to jump-start recovery.

Quail Lodge & Golf Club – Carmel Valley

To make an appointment for California Dream Dial, go to  visitcalifornia.com/plan2021. If unable to secure an appointment, call the hotline directly at 1-833-PLAN-PTO from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Future visitors can share their 2021 travel plans online using #PlanForVacation and #VisitCalifornia.

Park Hyatt Aviara Momcation in 2021

Ever since the pandemic, mothers around the world are double and triple tasking to keep their families mentally and physically healthy. They are the ultimate Lifestyle Enhancement Directors of the world. Not only are many moms working from home, taking ZOOM meeting, cleaning, shopping, and cooking while safer-at-home, but also being cheerleaders for their children who are distance learning. It’s a full time job more than ever.

Hotels are offering specials to give moms a relaxing temporary escape from the demands of modern motherhood, even if it is just for 24 hours.

I recently had the opportunity to take a Momcation at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad to see and experience the $50 million dollar renovations, plus interview Bravo Top Chef superstar Richard Blais.

First thing about Momcations, they should be less than a two hour drive from home, and from Los Angeles, the beach town of Carlsbad offers a laid back vibe. Those mom’s longing to fly to Hawaii or Cabo San Lucas will discover the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort offers many of the same vacation experiences.

Located 7 miles from Ponto Beach in the beachside town of Carlsbad, overlooking the Aviara Golf Club, Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve and out to the Pacific Ocean, the hotel’s transformation appeals to all of your senses. I first noticed its signature scent, and then the ocean breeze feather touched my skin as I entered the lobby. The open and spacious areas offer art and beauty everywhere I looked.

The redesigned ‘Living Room’ reflects a multi-million dollar home-like feel with a flickering fireplace, stylish metal doors, light wood flooring, comfortable sitting area and books to peruse at your leisure.

ff the lobby is a the new Ponto Lago restaurant on the third level. It’s the resort’s signature restaurant offering breakfast and dinner service out on an oceanview outdoor terrace. Executive Chef Pierre Albaladejo offered me a taste of some of his new menu items. He shared how his new restaurant got its name, “Ponto is named after the beach just miles from the resort, and Lago pays homage to the nearby nature lagoon.” This restaurant also has two private interior dining rooms that can accommodate 12 guests on one side and 20-30 guests in the other secluded area.

Even though the resort closed in March 2020 due the pandemic, Chef Pierre and his team started R +D for the new menu at Ponto Lago and Pacific Point Lobby Lounge. “It’s California cuisine with Baja CA twist, that is refined and not pretentious. I’m inspired by the cuisine from Valle de Guadalupe cooked over a wood fire, while using local produce and flavors,” said Chef Pierre. Guests can sit to enjoy a mezcal or tequila tasting flight in the evening and fresh squeezed juice flight in the morning to add to their mimosas.

Bravo’s Top Chef Richard Blais is soon opening a new restaurant concept, Ember & Rye, overlooking the 18th green at the Aviara Golf Club. This is an ideal spot for a romantic meal sitting out on the outdoor terrace, taking in the views, while enjoying wood fire grilled proteins, vegetable dishes and a stellar retro-meets-modern cocktail list.

Nathan the food and beverage director is offering an exciting cocktail program that includes yuzu jalapeno popsicles, mezcal boba tea, and a special coffee and rye concoction.

Park Hyatt Aviara offers 327 well appointed guest rooms and 43 oversized suites, including the Palmer Suite with its own putting green. My Momcation room was #501 offering a super soft Hyatt king size bed with luxury linens, a marble bathroom with a step-in shower, soaking tub, a super plush bathrobe and luxury bath toiletries. Sliding glass doors led out to a private balcony with two chairs and a table for al fresco dining, morning coffee and view gazing.

I donned a bathing suite and visited both of the brand new water edge pools. The family pool with dual water slides was empty, due to pandemic travel restrictions. Hopefully with COVID vaccine administration, families will arrive by Spring Break to play at the water play park, and sit in the beach area with sand and play toys. Cabana rentals come in two sizes, and the fire pit area offers complimentary s’mores.

The new zero edge adult pool offers sweeping views of the Aviara golf course canyon, Batiquitos Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean in the distance with multiple seating options and semi-private cabanas. I sat in the bubbly hot whirlpool tub and looked up at the stars appearing after sunset.

Afterwards, I visited the elegant Pacific Point Lobby Bar to order a light dinner to take back up to my room. I got back into the world’s most comfortable robe, turned on the television and enjoyed a rotisserie chicken, kale and broccolini wrap out on my balcony, before coming inside to watch Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in “A Star is Born.” The beauty of a momcation, is I watched the entire movie without any interruptions, and I had the television clicker all to myself.

The next morning I work up when my body was ready to wake up, and went for a walk down to the Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve and back. It was a three mile walk offering various picturesque stops along the route.

I stopped at Aviara Market off the lobby of the hotel to order a green salad smoothie, banana nut muffin and large coffee to take up to my room before meeting Chef Richard Blais.

The 90 minute interview was enlightening and will be published in an upcoming post. Afterwards, I packed and was ready to drive back home to share my experiences with my family.

From atop the highest ridge, overlooking Carlsbad’s natural beauty, Park Hyatt Aviara is the idyllic spot for a Momcation, romantic Valentine’s Day weekend, Spring Break or summer getaway. Special deals are available on the website.

2021 is the time for a Luxe Getaway

With promising news of the vaccine rollout, new data shows that up to 70% of travel consumers are hoping to make the most of their unused vacation days in 2021. Some of the most popular destinations include luxury beachfront destinations in St. Barth’s, and Los Cabos and driving trip through California’s wine country. While many travelers feel ready to get in the car and go, others are ready to safely hop on a plane again for the ultimate getaway. Here are four destinations on my 2021 Travel Bucket List that I plan to visit:

St Barth’s is magnificent, yet sadly many of the resorts and properties were damaged due to Hurricane Irma, and then the pandemic hit. The completely rebuilt private beachfront hideaway Le Sereno St Barth is now open and ready to receive guests. Located on the ultra-private crystal-clear waters of the Grand Cul De Sac in St. Barths, there is a fresh new look to all guest rooms, including 39 newly renovated waterfront suites, and luxury four-bedroom villas. The re-imagined Restaurant Al Mare now has a new beach restaurant extension, and offers relaxed luxury and attentive service. Besides a new retail concept store, they also expanded the spa featuring exclusively curated Valmont products and treatments. Le Sereno’s guests can enjoy a beachfront sunset picnic experience with a private butler, painted porcelain dinnerware, champagne and Mediterranean-inspired fare from the hotel’s Michelin-starred executive chef. Click here to see their special promotions.

Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection is a historic country estate located on 10 secluded acres in Austin, TX. Guests are invited to partake in the relaxing weekly Sunday ritual on the lawn featuring champagne on ice and an artisanal assortment of bites prepared by the hotel’s award-winning chefs. Rooms in the mansion range from 500 to 1575 square feet. Each of the one and two bedroom suites in the charmingly original Italian Renaissance Revival mansion, offer antique windows that open onto the cascading formal gardens and spacious lawns. Currently they are offering specials to entice travels to enjoy a change of scenery.

The legendary Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, CA was the dream of French restaurateur, Claude Rouas. In 1981, with business partner, Bob Harmon, Rouas opened Napa Valley’s first fine-dining restaurant, designed to reflect a taste of Provence in California wine country. The immediate success prompted the addition of “The Inn of the Sun” five years later. Nestled within 33-acres of heritage olive and oak trees, the hotel’s 50 contemporary guestrooms and suites, blend relaxed sophistication with understated elegance. Guests have two different outdoor picnic options set in the olive grove. Guests can choose from an intimate, private dinner and champagne toast under fairy-tale twinkle lights or a deluxe daytime experience offering French-inspire cuisine, artisan cheeses, charcuterie and wine. Click here to Unpack. Unplug. Unwind. and other special promotions to enjoy

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences in Los Cabos, Mexico is nestled along a protected cove, at one of the most desirable beach in Los Cabos. Known for its tranquil, swimmable waters and pristine coral reefs, teeming with tropical fish and sea turtles. The classic Baja guest rooms offer private terraces with viewsFor those looking for the ultimate family reunion, residential living is available in Chileno Bay’s spacious two to six bedroom villas. Stay for 4 nights or longer and enjoy curated extras, including an Aztec Healing Ritual spa treatment, fishing excursion with 3-course chef-prepared meal in villa, private 1-hour sunrise yoga session, and paddle boarding in the Sea of Cortez.

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Chileno Bay Resort & Residences

5 Northern California travel specials in 2021

For those ready to receive their vaccination and travel in 2021, here are 5 Golden State staycations in Northern CA, offering perks and special deals for weekday and weekend getaways, as well as future staycation plans.

Property: Harbor Court Hotel in San Francisco, CA
  1. Harbor Court Hotel is a four star boutique hotel located within steps of the Ferry Building. FUN FACT: The waterfront hotel was built in 1926 as an Army-Navy residence. The eight-story architectural brick gem proudly served soldiers returning from war. DEAL: Reserve for stays March 1 – June 1, 2021 and receive a $25 gas card, road maps and a CA trip guide offering directions to wineries, scenic routes and fun spots to explore the best of the Golden Coast. Room prices on Jan. 4, 2021 started at $159 a night. Booking Link: here.
Marin Suites Hotel

2. Marin Suites Hotel in Marin is offering an Essential Workers Special Rate for government, law enforcement, first responder, healthcare, or other essential workers. Not only will you receive a special discount off their best available rate, but also a continental breakfast and complimentary newspaper. Employee ID required upon check-in. FUN FACT: Located in Corte Madera, this area once was famous for producing redwood tree lumber which was used in the constructing the city of San Francisco 12 miles away. DEAL: Room rate on Jan.4, 2021 started at $122 a night .Booking Link: here

The Getaway

3. The Getaway in Carmel is just steps from the white sands of Carmel Beach. FUN FACT: There are no addresses, parking meters or street lights in Carmel. Instead many of the cottages have legendary names such as “Hansel” or “Sea Urchin.” It’s also bad luck to change the name on a Carmel cottage. DEAL: a pet friendly boutique hotel offering 10% off it’s Best Flexible Rates plus receive a bottle of local wine and chocolates upon arrival. Book now and stay by January 31, 2021. Blackouts may apply. Pet Fee: Guest will be asked to adhere to The Getaway’s dog policies upon arrival. All dogs are welcome for a one-time, non-refundable cleaning fee of $83.25 (tax included) for 1 dog and $99.90 (tax included) for 2 dogs, charged upon check-in.  Booking Link: here.

Complimentary bicycles at The Hideaway

4. The Hideaway also in Carmel is a sister property of The Getaway. It is also a pet-friendly property and offers complimentary bicycles for guests to explore the best rated trails in Carmel By The Sea. The front desk provides helmets, lock, and city map. FUN FACT: Carmel-by-the-Sea’s is a charming European Village looking one-square mile village where Clint Eastwood was once mayor. DEAL: Book now and stay by January 31, 2021 to receive 10% off Best Flexible Rates plus receive a bottle of local wine and chocolates upon arrival. Blackouts may apply. Booking Link: here 

Hotel Winters

Property: Hotel Winters is a four-star boutique hotel in Winters, CA offering a Peace of Mind Promise on Covid safety protocols and procedures. The area offers numerous wine tasting spots. FUN FACT: Winters is a small city in rural Yolo County, and the western Sacramento Valley. It has a population a little over 6,500 residents. DEAL: Save Now, Travel Later. Travelers will receive an exclusive $189 rate for any date now through the end of March 2021, plus a daily $25 F&B credit, a bottle of wine upon arrival, and late check-out by 2 p.m. There are no blackout dates. The hotel is also offering an exclusive government, first responders and healthcare rate. Booking Link: here

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