Thursday, July 18, 2013

Escape to Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey

I had lunch in June with Ballantines PR's Sarah Robarts and Dara Toulch at Cafe Flore in the Castro. It was a sunny, gorgeous day (rare in the summer in San Francisco). They introduced me to Janine Chicourrat, the general manager at Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey, California. It did not take long for Janine to convince me to visit this AAA-rated 4-Diamond hotel, one of but three TAG-approved hotels in Monterey.

I made this video as my partner Phil and I drove south on Highway 1. Calling this drive scenic is like describing Carly Rae Jepsen's song "Call Me Maybe" as catchy. It felt like we'd driven into a movie.

The Portola Hotel & Spa is only steps away from the entrance to Monterey's wharf. Our room had this spectacular view of the wharf and wide bay.

We dined at the hotel's Jacks Restaurant, enjoyed breakfast room service and hung out in Peter B's, the bar on the side of the hotel nearest the wharf. After spending two evenings exploring Monterey's nightlife, Phil and I agreed it was the bar in town to see and be seen.

I shot this video as we walked along the wharf chock-full of restaurants, bars, retail stores, and fishing and whale-watching tour boats.

It is a leisurely stroll through Monterey's historic cannery row to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. (You might know John Steinbeck wrote Cannery Row after spending some time with the denizens here in the 1930's.) The Aquarium itself is spectacular and invites you to come and go as much as you like on the day you visit. It was really crowded at times.

Portola Hotel & Spa was the perfect place for Phil and me to relax, be pampered and celebrate our ninth anniversary. Monterey is a lovely town to which to escape the rat race and recharge.

With the recent United States Supreme Court decisions striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Prop. 8, the LGBTQ community can now marry in California – and, it seems, in more and more states every month. Portola Hotel & Spa would be an excellent setting for a wedding or honeymoon.

That's not a hint, Phil – though the idea of marriage did come up for the first time while we dined at Jacks Restaurant.

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