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Category: California Dreaming

The Estate Yountville in Napa Valley

There are two refreshed luxury resorts in Napa Valley. Hotel Villagio’s updates were just finished in summer 2018, while The Vintage House was modernized into a sophisticated wine country style hotel last October 2017. Both reside on Washington Street and are part of The Estate Yountville. The resorts are located between V-Marketplace and four of celebrity chef Michael Chiarello’s eateries: Bottega Napa Valley for fine dining Italian cuisine; Ottimo Italian eatery and market for breakfast, lunch, picnic fare and wine; Platform 8, an upscale burger cafe and Platform 8 Ice Cream Lab. Across the street are Michelin-starred restaurants, wine-tasting rooms...

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Ultimate Southern California Luxury Gift

If you’re looking to treat your special someone to a luxury weekend getaway this Valentine’s Day, or simply just because…head to southern California! The ultimate luxury gift is a President’s Weekend getaway filled with Champagne, luxury accommodations, decadent meals, polo matches and meeting polo legend Guillermo “Memo” Gracida Jr. This four-day and three-night experience starts in Beverly Hills at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, then moves on to being transported on a private charter BLADE helicopter to Empire Polo Club. Check in on Friday, February 15, 2019 before enjoying an 8-course chef’s tasting menu for two at Jean-Georges Beverly Hills before staying overnight...

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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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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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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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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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10 Reasons to Stay at the Hilton Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is known as the seaside American Riviera offering a coastal mediterranean atmosphere with ideal temperatures during the day, swaying palm trees, red tile roofs on white plaster buildings, and billowing sails skimming the Pacific Ocean. The beloved Fess Parker Hotel in Santa Barbara recently had a multi-million dollar renovation and rebranding to the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. The long-standing partnership with the Fess Parker family and Hilton remains intact. Eli and Ashley Parker, son and daughter of Fess Parker said, “The resort may have a new look and a new name, but will continue to provide...

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