June 16, 2013 |
Many Napa Valley wineries are beginning to welcome visits from families, and they're making a serious effort to keep the kids engaged. Lest we forget, wineries are farms, and in many cases they have farm animals, game birds, fish ponds, picnic grounds and other kid magnets. Not all of wine country is kid-friendly, mind you, but you can find ample attractions to make this a satisfying destination for serious wine lovers … and grape juice lovers too. The tab: We spent about $647 for a family of four, including $315 for one night at the Villagio Inn, $260 on meals and $72 on a castle tour and wine tasting.
June 12, 2013 |
With ocean views selling at a pricey premium throughout Southern California, it can be dumbfounding to encounter a prominent downtown Santa Monica hotel that deliberately averts its gaze from the water. The boxy former Holiday Inn near the Third Street Promenade, however, is probably not long for this world. At the prompting of city officials, the owners have come up with a plan to raze the aging hotel and erect a three-tiered showplace that embraces the Pacific with outdoor terraces, a rooftop restaurant and sea vistas from every possible angle.
May 31, 2013 |
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa , an architecturally eclectic National Historic Landmark in Riverside, would like you as a guest with a package that's $189 a night. You'd be in good company: The inn has played host to 10 U.S. presidents and vice presidents, besides such celebrities as Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand and James Brolin. The deal: The castle-like downtown hotel, which opened at the turn of the 20th century, is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. It features four dining venues, including a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, a spa and a popular wedding venue, St. Francis of Assisi Chapel.
May 12, 2013 |
To some, a Mother's Day getaway means a don't-look-back, tires-screeching hall pass for an escape with girlfriends. To others, it means an amorous sojourn with a husband or partner. Then there are those who want to take along their kids or even the family pet. Herewith, places to suit all preferences. A tip: You can sometimes get fantastic last-minute deals on websites such as http://www.hotels.com . Le Méridien, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia For the mother - or family - who has been everywhere.
April 4, 2013 |
"Babe's and Ricky's Inn," Ramin Niami's new documentary on the legendary L.A. blues club, is a bit like the music that founder Mama Laura gathered up in her big, open-hearted embrace - an improvisational riff filled with weeping guitars, wailing harmonicas, pounding keyboards and sweat-soaked players rather than rigorous storytelling. If you don't want to get up and move at some point during this film, go see a doctor. Music in "Babe's and Ricky's" is righteous and raucous and easy to come by, but the story of Mama Laura is more elusive.
March 31, 2013 |
Cowboys are my weakness. That's not just the title of my favorite Pam Houston book, but the truth about my undying fascination with those icons of the Wild West. These days, when most of the horses are under the hood instead of a barn roof, it's a challenge to find an authentic outpost where rootin,' tootin' cowboys still have a foothold. That's why there's Prescott. Though the mile-high city about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix is becoming a desirable retirement haven, it's more notable for its long-running rodeo, historic downtown and saloons that are the next-best thing to time travel.
March 25, 2013 |
Nature photographers looking to polish their camera skills may want to check out this Big Sur hotel package, which comes with a complimentary room upgrade. The Ventana Inn & Spa 's Photo Safari includes: Accommodations in a Big Sur Suite, or better. A $150 dining credit, good for dinner for two (one per stay). Two 50-minute spa treatments. One two-hour photography session and guided tour of Big Sur, led by an instructor. One 16-by-24-inch print of an image taken during the photo tour.
March 24, 2013 |
Between the brouhaha of the winter holidays and the end of the school year is that coveted halfway point known as spring break. To gear up for that last lap of the academic year, grab the kids and significant others and go recharge at some posh pools. Many Southern California hotels have cerulean gems that allow you to escape from it all without traveling too far or breaking the bank. Seeking pools outside Los Angeles? We have some destinations that may surprise you, but first, perch-worthy pools close to home.
March 22, 2013 |
Santa Fe Sage Inn in New Mexico's capital offers a spring getaway for $74 a night plus tax. The inn is in a convenient location, too, within walking distance of the Santa Fe Artists Market at the Railyard each Saturday or a shuttle hop to downtown. The deal: I have written about this inn before because its prices are good in a city where you easily could spend a lot more. It's a basic motel-style building with a heated pool and inexpensive parking ($5 a night). Breakfast (waffles, pastries, bagels, yogurt, fruit, eggs, cereal and more)
March 17, 2013 |
Perched on the Pacific Ocean roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Cambria is charming - full of local boutiques, not chain stores; fresh, inventive restaurants, no McDonald's in sight; art galleries, studios and a series of small-scale inns and B&Bs. It's also a great base for adventures in Paso Robles' bordering western wine region alongside U.S. 46. On our recent weekend, my husband, Bill, and I were set on checking out some lesser-known wineries recommended by friends.