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Author: jill-weinlein

The Best Holiday Displays in California

During the holidays, some of the most luxurious hotels in California have constructed the largest and most spectacular gingerbread houses and holiday displays that are featured throughout the lobby and hotel.  Here are the best of the best: Montage Beverly Hills Guests and visitors at the Montage Beverly Hills are dazzled with multiple brightly lit trees, a menorah, and life-size sleigh with mistletoe above to sneak a memorable kiss. Life-size nutcracker soldiers made of fondant stand at attention in the lobby of the hotel. The Montage Beverly Hills is offering special programs for the entire family. Younger guests can...

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Yountville’s Fascinating Art Walk

For the past eight years the town of Yountville in the Napa Valley wine country, has displayed an exquisite outdoor art collection by local and U.S. artists. Over 30 colorful pieces of art enhance Washington Street, strategically placed along the one main street. Some are in front of trendy restaurants, others near luxury hotels and charming inns, wine tasting rooms, a spa and a museum. Gordon Huether partnered with Yountville Arts to create the Yountville Art Walk. With his guidance and willingness to lend four sculptures, the Yountville Art Wall was born. Tourist can pick up an Art Walk map at...

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The Trendy Duniway Hotel Portland

What makes The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel special is their friendly and thoughtful staff, especially Concierge Extraordinaire John Conway. Stepping into the warm, eclectic, living-room style lobby, one admires the trendy furniture and tchotchkes on the wall behind the reservation desk. There is a glass-encased Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the Ghostbusters franchise, an iconic camera, and a record player with a stack of vinyl records to play. Curated books from the largest independent book store Powell’s are on display. Conway is usually one of the first people to welcome guests. He stands near nostalgic items that include an old typewriter,...

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SHARE by Curtis Stone on Princess Cruises

Walking on-board the Emerald Princess, I admired the 19 deck cruise ship with almost 900 glass balconies attached the 1,539 guest rooms. What makes this ship extra special is Executive Chef Curtis Stone’s fine dining restaurant SHARE. It’s featured on only three Princess Cruises ships, to provide passengers an celebrity chef culinary experience while at sea. Chef Curtis Stone creates an inviting dining room with walls of glass windows for ocean view dining in an opulent setting. Inside a private dining room are photos of Stone and memorabilia, including his first recipe Orange Cake that he wrote out in...

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Celebrate the Holidays with Chandon

While up in the culinary town of Yountville in Napa Valley, I met Pauline Lhote, one of the top California winemakers and Director of Winemaking at Domaine Chandon. She and her team are excited to debut two new festive, limited-edition Brut bottles – one in silver and gold and the other in hot pink and gold. JW: These new bottles are so pretty and perfect for the holidays. Was that your plan? CHANDON: The Chandon Brut enhances a tablescape for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve celebration. It’s elegant gold foil neck and effervescent label takes any holiday gathering to a new...

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Exploring Washington D.C. from The Wharf

There are so many places to see and stay at while visiting Washington D.C. Recently a new neighborhood opened in the Southwest section of D.C. that offers luxury accommodations, an award winning culinary scene and fun water activities along the Potomac River. Staying at the red brick, metal and glass waterfront InterContinental Hotel for one night, I enjoyed the lively rooftop bar and sparkling pool looking out at the harbor, river and National Mall. The elegant beige, gold, brown and nautical blue rooms offer contemporary maritime decor, high-quality cotton linens and down and non-allergenic foam pillows. Guests can relax in...

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Santa Monica’s Sexy Shangri-La

Built 1939, Santa Monica’s Hotel Shangri-La offers a unique elegant streamlined art deco design that resembles a luxury ocean liner, especially when you stand outside in the renovated multi-level courtyard deck. This property is known to locals as the hottest outdoor rooftop bar in Santa Monica. ONYX is a modern ’70s theme space-age lounge, decorated in sexy black, white, purple and gold colors. During sunset, this area is filled with people enjoying views of Malibu to Palos Verdes. In the evening, the changing colors on the giant ferris wheel at the nearby Santa Monica pier are an exciting backdrop....

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Wellness at Island Spa Catalina

Recently I cruised on a one hour Catalina Express boat ride from Long Beach to Catalina Island. The captain slowed down when a pod of dolphins were feeding, so we could all admire this magnificent mammals. Once I arrived in Avalon, I walked along to pedestrian-only front street to enjoy a day at the spa with a 60 minute Sea of Life facial, complimentary treatment enhancement, $30 credit at Encanto Cafe, 25% retail discount at the Spa Shoppe and complimentary access to all spa amenities. Walking into the spa, I was introduced to Spa Director Zach Thomas formerly of...

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A Sneak Peek Into the Governors Ball at This Year’s Emmy Awards

Recently I had the opportunity to see, taste and experience the 2018 Emmy Awards Governors Ball at L.A. Live up on the Event Deck. Hollywood’s largest dinner party is produced by Cheryl Cecchetto of Sequoia Productions and/or the legendary chef and Patina Restaurant Group Founder, Joachim Splichal and the Patina Catering team will serve the nominees, presenters and guests an array of 35 chef-driven small plates and bites and tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, including some celebrated favorites from the Michelin-starred Patina and the fabled Nicke + Stef’s Steakhouse. Before sipping on an Emmy cocktail, guests can fill up at the Nick & Stef’s...

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2018 Julia Child Award Winners Too Hot Tamales – Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

When Los Angeles based celebrity chefs, television personalities, cookbook authors and philanthropists Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger learned that they were receiving the 2018 Julia Child Award, they were thrilled. A distinguished panel from the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts awarded these two chefs. They are not only the first women to receive this honor, but also the first chef team to be acknowledged by this prestigious non-profit organization. The Foundation will be presenting their award on November 1, 2018 in association with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at a gala event...

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Hotel Honoring Hawaii’s Queen Kapiolani

Across from Kapiolani Park, Honolulu Zoo and one short block from the surf of Waikiki Beach, the Queen Kapiolani Hotel is enjoying a $35 million dollar renovation. As one of the first modernistic hotels built in mid 1960s, its becoming one of the most authentic, engaging and unique properties in the Waikiki Beach area. There is a story behind this 19 floors and 315 room hotel offering ocean and Diamond Head views. In honor of the rich history of the Hawaii’s most beloved royal, Queen Kapiolani, the property is celebrating her deep commitment to health, education, and well-being of...

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Yappy Hour at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa

As the sun sets at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, guests bring their dogs out of their dog-friendly guest rooms and walk along the paved and grassy golf course paths, to socialize with other guests during “Yappy Hour.” The Westin Mission Hills is an upscale dog-friendly resort that caters to canine guests year-round.  Dogs up to 50 pounds are welcome to stay in guest rooms for no additional fee. Upon check-in, the resort will collect a refundable $100 deposit in case of damage to the room. Dogs have the opportunity to sleep in a signature Westin...

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