Author: Jill Weinlein

Spectacular San Diego Spas

Share: The Ocean Crest Spa in Carlsbad Driving up to the coastal inspired three-story Cape Rey Carlsbad, you can see the 215-room hotel is directly across the street from the legendary Ponto surf break and Pacific Ocean. This elegant property attracts families, girls getaways, weddings and surfers. The Ocean Crest Spa offers 5,700 sq. ft of serene spa experiences, including a spacious couples suite with a tub and private outdoor relaxation area. There are separate men’s and women’s locker rooms. Across from the spa is a 24-hour fitness center with views of the pool and ocean. The spa decor...

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Amsterdam’s Canals of the Rich and Famous

Share: A line of Teslas pull up to the taxi stand outside the Amsterdam airport, with a few Mercedes Benz sprinkled in between. We hopped in a Tesla for a ride to the Ambassade Hotel in Amsterdam, located along the Herengracht canal. This street is one of the most prestigious in the Netherlands and home to the rich and famous. During the 17th century, the wealthiest merchants, mayors and most influential people in Amsterdam had a home on this canal street. Amsterdam was founded 1275, and the first multi-level home with a beautiful step gable roofline was built in...

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Elegant Pink Moments at Ojai Valley Inn

Share: After about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, tourists arrive in laid-back Ojai to relax and seek wellness. Locals claim that the East-to-West Valley situation has a magical vortex, similar to that in Sedona, Arizona. Among an endless expanse of blue sky, palm-fringed streets and red-tiled Spanish Revival architecture, the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is an ideal location to witness a pink champagne glow on the Topatopa Mountains at dusk. The  308-room Ojai Valley Inn & Spa was originally designed by esteemed architect Wallace Neff. There is a pleasing smell of rosemary and lavender throughout the 200-acre property. Here...

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Five Elegant Chardonnay Wines from Santa Barbara

Share: “Chardonnay wine is the superstar in Santa Barbara, one of the most diverse regions to produce some of the best grapes in the world,” said moderator Elaine C. Brown at the Santa Barbara Vintners Road Trip Chardonnay seminar. “The wine region is located along the coastal range of North and South America. The transverse mountain range turns fully from a north-south orientation to an east-west angle. It’s the only wine region bordering the Pacific Ocean on two sides. Clouds roll over the top of the mountains with an ocean influence.” It’s this nook with a turn in the continent that makes all the elements to grow grapes for wine. The Pacific Ocean has a unique effect on the vines offering intense salinity in the air. It’s the only place where grapes grow that offers an open mouth from the valley to the ocean. The fog seeps in at night and blankets the vines with an interesting diffusion of light. By lunchtime, the bright sun bathes the grapes with warmth, before the late afternoon wind pulls the hot air away from the Valley region.  This ripening window with fog, sun and wind creates an acidity different from other wine growing areas in California. The vines thrive in these conditions with bud breaks in February and ripened for harvest by September. SOIL VARIATIONS What makes these grapes excellent for growing and producing...

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Luxury Boutique V Palm Springs Resort

Share: No one would every guess that the new luxury boutique V Palm Springs resort was once a budget Travelodge. A couple of Los Angeles celebrity criminal attorneys purchased the property and gave it a $15 million dollar makeover. What used to be a parking lot, is now the 1960s style mid-century lobby with an iconic butterfly roof. Cruiser bikes with baskets await guests next to a large glass front door to hop on and explore downtown Palm Springs along designated bike paths. Inside the lobby, staff members are eager to please guests at this brand new property because competition is fierce right now in Palm Springs, with an eclectic array of small boutique hotels along Palm Canyon Drive. What makes this one stand out from others is the sparkling pool with enormous golden swans luring guests to put on their bathing suits and float with their toes touching the water. There are plenty of  lounge chairs strategically placed on the pool deck for sun and a variety of umbrellas for those seeking shade and a nap.  On one side of the pool, guests look up to exquisite views of the nearby San Jacinto Mountains. Staff member Brenda led me past the pool area with cabanas that cost upwards of $1,000 a day (includes champagne, fresh fruit and water) to my room number 117. She told me there is a...

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