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Wine Country Unites to End Gun Violence

While we generally avoid political topics at GLR, I am a staunch advocate of increased gun control in this country and perplexed by its partisan nature. However, I’ll focus on the positive by highlighting some of our favorite wine country folks who are taking action.

 

Kelly and Noah Dorrance, proprietors of BloodRoot Wines and Reeve Wines in Healdsburg, CA, have announced the second annual Wine Country Unites initiative. This event, uniting wineries, restaurants, and businesses to raise funds and awareness for gun violence prevention, will be held on June 7th, coinciding with National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

 

BloodRoot and Reeve Wines

Both operate under a collaborative model with skilled vintners, emphasizing meticulous, hands-on, “small-batch” winemaking. Their wines are rich in flavor and reflect the unique characteristics of local vineyards. With a focus on sustainability and quality, they have earned a reputation for elegant, expressive wines true to their region and terroir.

 

 

Other local wineries will be participating, too, pouring their current vintages and donating $10 from each bottle sold. The goal is to raise $150,000 for the GIFFORDS Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization dedicated to saving lives through policy changes, cultural shifts, and community support.

 

Wine Country Unites was inspired by 9-year-old Evelyn Dieckhaus, a victim of the deadly Covenant School shooting in Nashville last year. Kelly Dorrance, Evelyn’s aunt, founded the initiative as a way to channel her grief into action.

 

“The outpouring of support from our fellow vintners, restaurants, and small business owners in this tireless fight is a testament to the power of our industry to drive change,” said Kelly Dorrance. “Together we can change the arc of history and make our country a safer place.”

The inaugural event in 2023 brought together 116 businesses and raised over $125,000.

 

The Ramble Music Festival

This year’s Wine Country Unites aims for an even greater impact, alongside The Ramble music festival hosted by BloodRoot Wines, which will donate all proceeds to GIFFORDS. Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords praised the community activism, stating, “Even when progress can feel too slow at the government level, there’s so much we as individuals can do to make a difference.”

 

 

If you live in the Bay Area or plan on traveling there around June 7th, you can enjoy great wines and support a worthy cause against the beautiful backdrop of Healdsburg, CA. For those unfamiliar with Healdsburg, it’s a charming town in the heart of Sonoma County, renowned for its fantastic restaurants—including the acclaimed Michelin 3-star SingleThread—and the popular Healdsburg Hotel, among other great spots.

 

I recently sampled BloodRoot wines and was thoroughly impressed. Stay tuned for my coverage and tasting notes.

 

Where the Figawi?

The Story Behind the Annual Boat Race Between Hyannis and Nantucket

In 1972, a friendly conversation among friends at Baxter’s Boathouse in Hyannis, MA escalated to a challenge to see who could sail their boat to Nantucket the fastest over Memorial Day weekend. This was the inception of Figawi Race Weekend, a Nantucket and Cape Cod tradition that has grown considerably in popularity since it’s informal start in 1972 thanks to names like Kennedy and Koch joining the competition in the 80s and beyond.

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The Lincoln Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid: Eco-Friendly Luxury Unrestrained

In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive engineering, a harmonious blend of luxury and sustainability has become the holy grail. Enter the Lincoln Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid, the latest SUV offering from the Lincoln Motor Company. With its innovative design, new world technology, and commitment to eco-conscious driving, this vehicle raises the bar for the modern luxury SUV.

 

Design and Elegance

At first glance, the Nautilus captivates with its sleek and sophisticated exterior design. Every curve and contour is meticulously crafted to exude an aura of elegance and refinement.

Step inside, and you’re greeted by a sanctuary of comfort and tranquility. The spacious interior is adorned with premium materials and exquisite craftsmanship, creating an ambiance that indulges the senses. Luxurious amenities such as heated and ventilated seats, ambient lighting, and genuine wood trim elevate the driving—and being driven—experience to unparalleled levels of sophistication.

 

Efficiency and Performance

Beneath its stylish facade lies a powerful yet efficient hybrid powertrain engineered to deliver superior performance while minimizing environmental impact. The Lincoln Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid seamlessly integrates a responsive gasoline engine with an advanced electric motor and high-capacity battery, providing ample power and impressive fuel efficiency.

Drivers have the flexibility to choose between different driving modes, including pure electric, hybrid, and gasoline-only, tailoring the driving experience to suit their preferences and maximize efficiency. Whether navigating city streets or embarking on long journeys, the Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid offers a smooth and refined ride, with precise handling and confident acceleration.

 

Advanced Technology

True to Lincoln’s reputation for innovation, the Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid is equipped with an array of cutting-edge technology designed to enhance safety, convenience, and connectivity. A suite of driver-assist features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automated parking, provides peace of mind on the road, while intuitive infotainment systems keep passengers entertained and informed throughout the journey.

 

Furthermore, the Lincoln Way™ App allows owners to remotely monitor and control various vehicle functions, such as charging status, climate control, and vehicle location, from their smartphone or smartwatch. This seamless integration of technology ensures that the Lincoln Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid remains at the forefront of automotive innovation.

 

Commitment to Sustainability

Beyond its luxurious amenities and impressive performance, the Lincoln Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid represents a significant step forward towards a more sustainable future. Lincoln is committed to sustainability not only in its products but also in its operations. From manufacturing processes to supply chain management, the company continuously seeks opportunities to minimize its environmental footprint and promote sustainable practices throughout its business operations.

 

In a world shifting toward greener horizons, the Lincoln Nautilus Plug-In Hybrid proves that you don’t have to compromise style for eco-consciousness. This ride is a testament to what happens when luxury and responsibility collide, setting a new standard for what’s possible.

 

Ram’s Gate Winery: A Perfect Day Trip from San Francisco

The wine tasting scene in Napa and Sonoma has evolved significantly since I first frequented these picturesque “twin valleys,” dotted with vineyards and beautifully framed by the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges, many years ago.

 

Gone are the days of hopping from one tasting room to another, savoring the array of wines for a mere $10 to $20—often with a complimentary tasting upon purchase of a bottle. The transformation is attributed to a combination of the evolving wine culture, influenced by changing times, and the lasting impact of the Covid pandemic. Today, the wine-tasting experience has taken on a more comprehensive and upscale character. It’s now customary for visitors to focus their attention on a single winery, yet one that offers a more holistic experience. Ideally this would include a winery with an extensive selection of wines and a beautiful setting—both inside and outside—to enjoy your tasting experience. It might also include gastronomic options and other customized experiences.

 

Unfortunately, discovering a winery that seamlessly combines all these desired attributes can be a challenging quest. Many high-end wineries boast stunning settings and may even feature gourmet dining options, yet they often specialize in only a limited selection of varietals, such as Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc. Meanwhile, the larger, more value-oriented wineries often provide an extensive range of wines (various red and white varietals), however, they tend to offer a somewhat standardized experience that mirrors what it was a decade ago, albeit with advance reservations required. Finding that elusive gem of a winery that offers the best of both worlds—diverse wine offerings, a picturesque estate, bespoke services like a thoughtfully curated lunch to complement your wine tasting—is a rare find.

 

Perched on a hill in the southern tip of the Carneros AVA, Ram’s Gate Winery offers such an experience. With a diverse selection of wines—they produce 24 different wines, though tastings usually focus on 5 or 6 styles—exquisite food options and a breathtaking setting, there is no need to go anywhere else to satiate your wine country thirst. Perhaps the most amazing feature? It’s only a 45 minute drive from San Francisco!

 

Here are some of the most alluring elements of Ram’s Gate Winery that make it an ideal “day trip” from San Francisco for wine and food lovers.

 

Proximity to San Francisco

 

Ram’s Gate Winery is conveniently situated in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, making it easily accessible from San Francisco. Located less than an hour’s drive from the city, this winery allows visitors to escape the urban environment and immerse themselves in the stunning natural beauty of wine country in no time.

 

The scenic drive to Ram’s Gate takes you through picturesque landscapes, with breathtaking views of rolling hills and vineyards, while saving you an additonal hour of dricing compared to “up-valley” destinations in places like St. Helena or Calistoga. Visitors can maximize their time at the winery without spending hours in the car.

 

Array of Wines

 

One of the most significant attractions of Ram’s Gate Winery is its wide array of wines. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, the winery offers something to suit every palate.

 

Known for its cooler-climate wines, Ram’s Gate provides a great foray into the various micro climates within Sonoma Valley. Their wine portfolio currently includes 24 different wines. Varietals include Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosé, and a Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine—great for celabratory occasions!

 

 

Ram’s Gate doesn’t offer your run-of-the-mill tastings; they provide a portfolio of six extraordinary experiences that cater to every palate and passion: the regal Seated Wine Tasting, the divine Seasonal Wine and Food Experience, the tantalizing Wine and Bites Experience, the exclusive Caviar Experience (paired with some of their finest white wines), the opulent Luxury Picnic, and the lively Group Tastings.

 

If the “experiences” are more than you were bargaining for, the winery also offers a more standard tasting, which can be enjoyed inside or outside, at the main tasting bar or various tables throughout the winery. While they run a tight operation at Ram’s Gate, the hospitality crew and tasting room staff are also flexible and will work with you on offering the ideal experience.

 

 

A Beautiful Compound

Outdoor sitting area (Photo Credit: Rocco Ceselin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designed by Howard Backen, Ram’s Gate is a stunning architectural masterpiece that beautifully blends the elements of nature with modern design.

 

At first glance, the winery captivates visitors with its understated elegance and organic charm. Howard Backen, renowned for his commitment to creating spaces that honor their surroundings, seamlessly integrates the winery into the rolling hills and vineyards that define the region. The design approach is characterized by simplicity, natural materials, and a deep appreciation for the site’s unique topography.

 

The entrance to the winery is marked by a long, meandering driveway that gradually reveals the beauty of the estate. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by a stunning main building that serves as the focal point of the winery. The structure combines elements of traditional agricultural buildings with contemporary touches, resulting in a design that exudes both rustic charm and modern sophistication.

 

Front of winery (Photo Credit: Rocco Ceselin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main building of Ram’s Gate Winery immediately captivates with its low-slung profile and extensive use of glass, allowing for breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards and hills. Backen’s design seamlessly integrates the indoor and outdoor spaces, blurring the boundaries between the two. This connection is further emphasized by the use of natural materials such as weathered wood siding, which adds warmth and texture to the building’s exterior.

 

Inside, the winery exudes an inviting atmosphere with its open-plan layout and a focus on natural materials. Reclaimed wood, stone, and metal elements create a sense of authenticity and timelessness. The design allows for effortless transitions between different areas, including the tasting rooms, barrel storage, and production facilities, enhancing the overall visitor experience.

 

One of the standout features of Ram’s Gate Winery is its expansive outdoor terrace. This beautifully designed space overlooks the vineyards, providing a serene and picturesque setting for guests to savor their wine. The use of natural stone, wood, and comfortable seating creates a relaxing ambiance that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the surrounding landscape.

 

Courtyard (Photo Credit: Rocco Ceselin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In line with Backen’s commitment to sustainability, the design of Ram’s Gate Winery incorporates environmentally friendly features and practices. From the use of reclaimed materials to the implementation of passive design strategies, the winery minimizes its ecological footprint while maintaining a high level of comfort and functionality.

 

Commitment to Sustainability

Joe Nielsen, the Winemaker and General Manager of Ram’s Gate’s estate vineyard, has taken remarkable strides in enhancing the vineyard’s sustainable farming practices. His innovative methods, such as utilizing soil diagrams and pressure bombs to assess the vineyard’s water requirements, have led to a significant reduction in water consumption by 33%.

 

Estate Vineyards (Photo Credit: Rocco Ceselin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe is now steering the estate vineyard and winery towards an even more eco-friendly future, with the ambitious target of achieving organic certification by 2024. Embracing the philosophy that Mother Nature provides the best tools for nurturing a thriving vineyard, Joe and his team have implemented various natural solutions.

To control weeds and enrich biodiversity, they employ a flock of sheep for winter mowing, allowing them to naturally fertilize the vineyard. For the challenge of birds and rodents damaging the vineyard, Joe introduced owl boxes and perches to attract natural predators, while also collaborating with a local falconer for additional pest control during the growing season. Even when confronted with an increase in deer that defied fencing, a pack of coyotes naturally traversed the vineyard, highlighting the team’s commitment to harnessing nature’s own mechanisms to maintain balance in their estate farming practices.

 

Culinary Delights

Beyond its impressive wines, Ram’s Gate Winery also offers a culinary experience that elevates the visit to a whole new level. The winery’s commitment to farm-to-table cuisine ensures that visitors can indulge in delectable food options that perfectly complement their wines.

 

 

The Ram’s Gate Winery’s culinary team sources fresh ingredients from local farms and purveyors to create a seasonal menu that reflects the flavors of the region. From artisanal cheese platters to flavorful charcuterie boards, the food offerings are thoughtfully curated to enhance the tasting experience.

 

For those seeking a more substantial meal, the winery has a fully equipped kitchen and offers a delightful dining experience, compliments of Executive Chef Ruby Oliveros. The menu, inspired by the bounty of Sonoma Valley, showcases dishes with a focus on locally sourced foods, that pair harmoniously with their wines. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely lunch while taking in panoramic views of the vineyards and surrounding landscapes, immersing themselves in the quintessential wine country ambiance.

 

winepairing_menu_0823

 

Unique Experiences

Ram’s Gate Winery goes above and beyond to provide unique experiences that engage visitors and deepen their understanding of wine culture. The winery hosts educational seminars, blending workshops, and wine-pairing classes, allowing enthusiasts to expand their knowledge and appreciation of wine.

 

For those seeking a more immersive experience, Ram’s Gate Winery offers private tours that provide an insider’s perspective on the winemaking process. These tours offer the opportunity to explore the vineyards, witness the winemakers in action, and gain insights into the complexities of crafting exceptional wines.

 

Moreover, the winery frequently hosts special events, including wine release parties, winemaker dinners, and live music performances, creating an atmosphere of celebration and camaraderie. These events present an excellent opportunity to engage with fellow wine lovers and connect with the vibrant wine community.

 

Private dining and tasting room (Photo Credit: Rocco Ceselin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ram’s Gate Winery is a hidden gem that offers a remarkable day trip experience from San Francisco. Its proximity to the city allows visitors to escape the urban environment and immerse themselves in the beauty of Sonoma Valley without spending excessive time on the road trekking through Sonoma or Napa Valley—which can be dangerous if you over-indulge, or expensive if you require an Uber. With its diverse selection of wines, ranging from elegant Chardonnays to robust Cabernet Sauvignons, the winery caters to wine enthusiasts of all preferences. The exceptional culinary offerings, which highlight the region’s flavors, perfectly complement the wines and elevate the overall experience.

 

(Top Photo Credit: Rocco Ceselin)

Immunology for Longevity—An Unlikely Partnership in Health, Wellness…and Beauty!

In the relentless pursuit of defying time and embracing vitality, the intersection of science and progressive lifestyle practices has become more and more of a practice. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Immunocologie®, a skincare maverick deeply entrenched in the science of immunology, and Blue Zones, the pioneering researchers unearthing the simple secrets of eternal youth (and a NetFlix mega hit), have forged an unusual, yet intriguing alliance.

 

First Line of Defense

Immunocologie represents a paradigm shift in skincare, integrating principles of immunology into its skincare formulas. Founded by Karen Ballou, a veteran skincare expert with a background in immunology, the brand emphasizes the skin’s immune system’s key role in maintaining health and vitality. Central to Immunocologie’s philosophy is that our skin acts as a barrier, protecting the body from external aggressors while also communicating with the immune system. We don’t always consider our skin when thinking about our immune system, but it should be no surprise that the epidermis—our largest organ—plays such a pivotal role.

 

Bioactive, Natural Ingredients

 

Forged from nature’s arsenal of defensive ingredients that help thwart off attacks, Immunocologie’s formulations pack a punch with bioactive ingredients like French green clay and adaptogenic plants—including baobab oil, desert date tree oil, grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, moringa seed oil, and shea butter. These ingredients are selected for their ability to support the skin’s immune response, enhance cellular regeneration, and restore balance.

 

How Immunocologie Works

Working with the skin’s natural delivery system, the line utilizes ionized water, purified French green clay, marine algae, and a roster of minimally processed, cold-pressed, and fermented plant-based ingredients to transport crucial minerals and vitamins directly to the skin’s microbiome. By promoting skin health at the immunological level, Immunocologie offers a holistic approach to skincare that goes beyond surface-level concerns, addressing the underlying factors that influence skin aging and resilience.

 

“Created by our ethnobotinist from France, the science focuses on delivering to the skin the 12 essential minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium and copper that are vital to our body and benefit the skin along with specific plant-based ingredients,” explains Immunocologie founder, Karen Ballou.  “It all started with the Vital Oligo Science, a patented ionic exchange technology that is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.”

 

 

“The conduit for this delivery system is our ionized clay water derived from our French Green Clay—known in scientific circles as montmorillonite clay—enabling the absorption and adsorption of these minerals and removing toxic build up while adding other key nutrients to our largest organ, our skin!   The skin ‘recognizes’ and utilizes these minerals and nutrients and actually craves them—especially immune-compromised and sensitive or unbalanced skin.  In fact, when someone experiences dryness, acne, or rosacea, they’re experiencing a disruption of the skin’s immune system. The mineral content in our products support the skin barrier, helping it maintain a healthy microbiome that defends against inflammatory stressors, thus helping all skin types reach homeostasis or balance again, which firms the skin and makes it glow!”

 

Blue Zones?

 

So what exactly are Blue Zones, you ask? Prior to 2023, the public at large didn’t often understand the term Blue Zones. That is before “Live to 100, Blue Zones” became the #1 most streamed series on Netflix the month it debuted in 2023, skyrocketing the awareness of Blue Zones. The term, coined by National Geographic Explorer and journalist Dan Buettner (and founder of the organization) refers to covert regions in the world where people live significantly longer and healthier lives than the global average. Through extensive research, Buettner and his team identified common lifestyle practices and environmental factors that contribute to longevity in these regions. These practices include a plant-based diet, regular physical activity, strong social connections, and a sense of purpose.

 

By studying the habits and environments of centenarians in places like Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), and Nicoya (Costa Rica), Blue Zones offers insights into the interplay between lifestyle choices, social dynamics, and longevity.

 

A Sensible Partnership

By marrying Immunocologie’s science-backed, natural ingredient-based skincare products, with Blue Zones’ wisdom, this partnership is all about rewriting the rules of aging.

No, this isn’t just about slapping on some fancy creams and calling it a day. It’s about a lifestyle—an ethos. It’s about trying new things, nourishing your body with plant-based badassery, staying active, forging unbreakable bonds, and living every day like it’s your last.

 

Put another way, it is a multifaceted approach—leveraging immunology, skincare science, lifestyle medicine, and healthy living practices—to promote longevity and well-being.

These products not only nourish and protect the skin but also integrate ingredients and formulations that align with the dietary and environmental factors associated with longevity. By leveraging the synergies between skincare science and lifestyle medicine, Immunocologie and Blue Zones aim to empower individuals to prioritize their health and well-being proactively.

 

Phase 1 of the partnership will introduce three of Immunocologie’s signature, earth-friendly products to Blue Zone believers: purified French Green Clay; Vital Iconic Mist topical wellness spray made from clay water, and a self-heating Lava Mask. The earth-derived products help ground the user, contributing to mind-body balance.

 

The collaboration between Immunocologie and Blue Zones signifies a sensible blend of scientific innovation and age-old wisdom, transcending mere aesthetics to provide skin with natural, immune-enhancing nutrients. While the reception of their product line among consumers is yet to be determined, we like their strategy.

Business or Pleasure in Charleston

While big cities like New York and Chicago remain the big hubs for business travel—and Las Vegas is still the king of conventions—smaller, trendier cities like Austin, Nashville and Scottsdale, Arizona are seeing more corporate travel events.

It should be no surprise then that Charleston, South Carolina—named best city in America for three years running by Travel+Leisure—has a new resort that is attracting corporate travel events. Across the harbor from Charleston in Mt. Pleasant, The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina opened its doors in 2016 and has received rave reviews from the travel press.

Pairing good ole hospitality and luxury amenities, The Beach Club is part of the Leading Hotels of the World collection and is located just over the bridge and minutes away from Charleston’s historic district. And thanks in part to its sheer size, The Beach Club is able to offer custom experiences that few hotels in the Charleston area can match. With this amount of wonderfully manicured space—especially in a city like Charleston where most of the hotels are smaller boutiques—it is no wonder that corporate America has taken notice.

 

Exterior Arch Overlooking Pool

When companies plan their business gatherings in Charleston, they expect to get a taste of the city’s rich history, charm and coastal ambiance. At “The Beach Club” however, they will also experience a level of service that caters to the culture of their organization with customized events and tailored itineraries. The hotel’s commitment to hosting only one corporate group at a time ensures attention to detail and to helping each business achieve their end goals. Innovative meeting venues and nautical infused interiors are a refreshing departure from the typical hotel conference room. In addition, outstanding views of downtown Charleston, combined with views of the harbor and marina, the Arthur Ravenel bridge and USS Yorktown provide a backdrop for creativity, inspiration and extraordinary experiences for groups of all sizes.

 

Yorktown from Bridge

 

The new luxury 92-room hotel opened its doors in late 2016 and has already been recognized as one of the Best New Hotels in the World by Fodor’s – only one of four hotels in the United States to be honored with this impressive distinction.

 

Beach Club King

 

The resort’s waterfront location and proximity to the largest marina in the Carolinas, lends itself to an array of teambuilding activities and unique meeting venues such as private yacht excursions, sailing lessons, fishing expeditions and even meetings set among vintage airplanes on the USS Yorktown, a WWII aircraft carrier. Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) are available at nearby Sullivan Island’s Beach as well as on-property waterfront yoga classes on the sandy beach or pier. Indoors, the views are just as thought provoking with a 30-seat private movie theater featuring surround sound and leather recliners—presentations and theater style meetings can be scheduled for a unique experience—and a stunning, specially-commissioned 20-seat table in the Palmetto Executive Boardroom. Larger groups can be accommodated in a variety of spaces including The Yacht Club, overlooking the Charleston Harbor Marina, the Atlantic Ballroom and the Commodore Room, all contributing to more than 40,100 square feet of total indoor and outdoor meeting space. The 30,000 square foot pool area at The Beach Club overlooks the harbor and is just as awe-inspiring as the luxe interiors. A welcome reception at the poolside Tiki-Bar or under the grand porch creates a bold beginning to several days of brainstorming and eleven private cabanas become a great reward for incentive trips and outstanding performance within an organization.

 

Yacht Club Meeting Room

Movie Theater

 

Outside of the boardroom, teambuilding activities embrace the local, southern charm of Charleston as team members take to the streets of downtown in the Charleston Chase Scavenger Hunt or participate in a game of Charleston Feud, where contestants answer questions about their host city.

Teambuilding activities, which vary by season, have included opportunities to embrace nature via the water on a sailing competition in the Charleston Harbor; the Veggie 500 where teams create a four-wheel racing vehicle—out of vegetables; and a bicycle building experience where the team builds a bike from scratch that is then donated to a local child or charity in need. For groups wanting to apply a little zen to their meetings, wellness opportunities include Beach Yoga and Meditation classes which help attendees maintain focus and shift their thinking for optimal output. Southern charmer, Suzanne Pollak, Dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits offers keynote and breakout sessions on topics ranging from Etiquette and Entertaining to Culture and Wellness. Her unique style of storytelling keeps attendees engaged and on the edge of their seats, and equipped with valuable tools that apply to life both in and out of the boardroom.

 

Pavilion at Night

 

“The charm of Charleston, South Carolina has drawn national acclaim as one of the country’s best cities by Southern Living, Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, to name a few,” says Oliver Rooskens, Managing Director of The Beach Club. The Beach Club takes this allure a step further with corporate meetings and retreats—offering unique services for the business traveler—including events in our private in-house movie theater, parties on the grand porch, poolside, overlooking the Charleston Harbor or even taking your boardroom meeting to the water via a private charter at the Charleston Harbor Marina—the largest marina in the Carolinas. We can arrange keynote or breakout sessions with engaging wellness and business etiquette experts who can even teach you how to host a Southern Cocktail Party.”

 

Beach Club Pool

 

Of course, any good corporate outing should include some non-structured time—some good ole fashioned downtime. And The Beach Club has plenty of options. From the 30,000-square-foot Tropical Pool and Deck, to the Tranquility Pool with Whirlpool, to Private Poolside Cabanas, the pool scene is on par with even the grandest big city hotspots. Those not in the mood for lounging can indulge in a bit of seaside competition on the private bocce court or some lighthearted fun on a life-sized chessboard. Or, they can take a mental and physical break inside the resort’s Estuary Spa, where massages, body treatments and facials provide a healthy dose of relaxation. Once you’re ready to explore, be sure to take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary trolley service and bikes to see the city. Alternatively, the Water Taxi, while a small fee, is the best ride into downtown Charleston. At night, head back to the hotel to enjoy a sumptuous seafood dinner at the Fish House, one of Charleston Living Magazine’s “Top 25 Restaurants in Charleston.”

TRENDING

Angels, Devils and a Turkey

Belles and beaus are readying their bells and bows for the premier event of the South: the Kentucky Derby. And amid the horses and hoop skirts, that oh-so-Southern cocktail, the mint julep itself, is poised to make its annual gallop through the world consciousness. A genteel concoction of sugar, water, ice and mint; founded upon that most Southern of spirits, bourbon; the mint julep is to the South what the martini is to the North. (See Our Tips for Perfecting the Mint Julep and Drinking It in Style). Continue reading

Over 100 Years Old, This Colorado Hotel is Still an Eye-Catching Marvel

A century ago, hotels were built to rival European estates, with hundreds of rooms, sweeping manicured lawns and spectacular vistas. Few of these grand estates remain. While tourists still flock to the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan; The Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina; The Breakers in Florida and The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, it’s The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that is the queen of the grande dames, and with good reason. Continue reading

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Nomad Hotel Library Bar

Best Library Bars

Ah, the library bar. An urban oasis steeped in history (quite literally). Vintage, deep-seated armchairs, mahogany shelves and leather bound books ease the soul, while a single malt scotch calms the nerves after a long day of work. Ron Burgundy’s kind of place. My kind of place. Continue reading

7 Great Hotels In San Francisco

While San Francisco may have become too expensive to live in, it is still relatively affordable to visit. Unlike New York City’s hotel scene, which seems to grow and grow, with trendy newcomers stealing the show, many of San Francisco’s top places to stay are the same properties they have always been—albeit some minor name changes.

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Nearly Nantucket

The secret that used to be Nantucket has long been out. Each summer, the island receives an increasing influx of tourists in the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day who come to experience this unique place. Outside that time period, though, Nantucket is a much different world. In fact, a long weekend in mid-May may be the perfect time to experience the real Nantucket.

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Fields of Plenty—A Foray into the Best Ballpark Food

Although the temperature is still in the 40’s in some cities, the 2019 baseball season is in full swing. It’s impossible to predict what will happen over the course of a 162-game season—that’s already evident, with the reigning World Series Champion Red Sox team having trouble finding a victory while the seemingly hapless (on paper) Baltimore Orioles have managed a winning record in the first week of play. They are forecast to win 58 games. Continue reading

OPINION & VARIETY

Why ResortPass is a Great Service and the Company They Should Partner with to Be Even Better

Have you ever stayed at an impressive resort that, while teeming with the promise of pristine pools and soothing hot tubs, seems to be a bit lacking in any actual partakers? The offerings, sure, are plentiful, but the sauna and steam room in their world-class spa? Empty. This may sound problematic for their business, but in the efficiency-driven, “as-a-Service” economy we live in today, it also presents a smart opportunity for mutually beneficial partnership. Enter ResortPass, a service poised to connect locals and day trippers seeking relaxation with access to a partnering property’s all too available amenities.

 

Some might say the company has taken a page out of the Airbnb book by leveraging the under-utilized assets at resorts and selling them as an experience, for a fee. Well, the model is certainly working out for both parties. Launched in 2016—with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and “The Point’s Guy,” Brian Kelly, as early investors—ResortPass is starting to hit their stride this year. Not only have they grown their network significantly, but they also closed a $26 million “B” round this past November. They now partner with over 900 hotels and resorts around the world, all allowing users to enjoy luxury experiences on a day pass basis.

 

The price, you might be musing, is surely where the catch lies. Not necessarily, as it is more so reflective of the level of service and amenities offered, as well as the brand. The Four Seasons, for example, will likely cost you more than a Marriot. The range might be from $25-100 per day for a standard pass—more for daybeds and cabanas. The cost for children is less, if not free, depending on age.

 

Carneros Resort—Napa Valley, CA

 

It’s early days yet and hard to forecast the level of overall demand there will be for ResortPass, but I do have one prediction. The “stickiness” of this service will ultimately reside more with travelers than locals. According to Michael Wolf, CEO of ResortPass, the early data disagrees. So far, the majority of ResortPass’s users are locals who want to experience the amenities of hotels in their own or nearby cities. A staycation, or even “day”cation, as they say.

 

“Our local users never had the opportunity to access the hospitality industry locally,” says Wolf. “They thought they had to get on a plane to enjoy those sorts of amenities.”

 

Miramar Resort—Santa Barabra, CA

 

 

To be fair, ResortPass does acknowledge all types of users, from locals to cruise ship passengers alike, and I’m sure they are targeting all sorts of people in various situations where the service would be compelling. Whether the local demographic remains their top revenue source is anyone’s guess, but I would wager that the true value of this service lies with a certain type of traveler staying at a certain type of place.

 

For example, guests staying at a boutique hotel—one that offers a terrific experience but without resort-level amenities—would seem to be likely customers. Vacationers staying with friends are another plausible group to appeal to, as they might still want a bit of pampering and that vacation vibe while they’re out of town. And then there is their ultimate customer, the ones where the value of ResortPass truly becomes apparent—and for me, it’s full circle back to Airbnb and its guests.

 

I love Airbnb. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate the service. They created a whole new segment of lodging at price-points that are generally more attractive than hotels, especially if you require multiple bedrooms. What Airbnb sorely lacks, however, is amenities. Sure, you can get a great pad with a pool, large kitchen and epic view of the ocean or mountains, but you cannot get the kind of facilities and social intangibles that luxury hotels and resorts offer. There is no way to spell a bustling hotel lobby, or expansive pools surrounded by chaises and cabanas, with dining and cocktail service at your fingertips.

 

Williamsburg Hotel—Brooklyn, NY

 

Ritz Carlton Bal Harbor—Miami, FL

 

And therein lies the true value of ResortPass. The best products and services are the ones that fill a void. It’s fine to build a better mouse trap and plenty of companies have made a living doing this. Even the most innovative companies in the world owe a lot of their success to products and services that already existed which they simply improved upon. Apple didn’t invent the smart phone; they just made it better. A lot better. But filling a void is the ultimate goal for most entrepreneurs. See Uber, Venmo and yes, Airbnb.

 

I think Airbnb would be wise to partner with—or dare I say, even purchase—ResortPass. It may start out as just an incremental supplement to their service, as it’s only useful if there is a qualifying resort nearby. Nonetheless, it would be a natural fit that could yield larger, more impactful results in the future. The Batman and Robin of travel disruptors, if you will.

 

ResortPass gets the GLR stamp of approval as a rising star in the resort space. Mark my words, they’re going places—and not just for the day.

 

Interview with Travel Flights Analyst Adam Kwan of TomFlies.com

TomFlies.com is an NYC-based, new-concept travel agency that aims to provide several essential aspects of travel that may have been overlooked throughout the years. Not selling exaggerated experiences, but rather leading their clients to genuine discovery is a key goal at the new age travel agency. We asked their Lead Flights Analyst, Adam Kwan some questions about the future of travel and how TomFlies.com plans to be a part of it. Here is what he had to say.

 

Q.It appeared for a while that the Internet (and D.I.Y. booking) would deal a major blow to travel agencies, however they have actually seen a strong resurgence in recent years. Why is this and how does the pandemic factor in?

 

A.What we try to do for each one of our clients is to identify where we can add value above and beyond the services they can book themselves. Whether it be monetary value from negotiated rates or service-oriented benefits such as expertise and personal vetting of providers and vendors, we think this goes a long way in showing clientele the benefits of booking with us.

 

People nowadays are inundated with what are essentially cookie cutter options that provide instant gratification. Just go on Amazon and you’re a couple clicks away from getting whatever you want, shipped straight to you from a warehouse containing hundreds of the same whatever-you-wants. We believe that this type of standardized mass merchandising is not befitting of people’s travel needs. People don’t buy vacations as nonchalantly as they do household goods. They want to be sure that they will get the best experience and best value for their travel. Especially since, for many people, a vacation is a significant expense relatively.

 

Right now, travelling in a pandemic-stricken world, people are more nervous than ever. Their confidence has been shaken and many people are unsure what will await them when they exit their plane. Making sure that people are confident that their travel will go off without a hitch has always been one of our main goals, so we view travel consultants as more beneficial than ever. There is a deluge of information out there with each country having different regulations. The last thing someone wants to do is spend their hard-earned money on a trip, only to find out they cannot board the plane or leave quarantine during their stay. That’s where we step in, making sure that our clients are making completely informed decisions with confidence.

 

Shutterstock

 

Q. Loyalty and rewards programs play a much larger role for airlines and hotels than meets the eye. Can you discuss how and why these programs are so vital for the travel industry, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic?

 

A. We see two main benefits to loyalty programs. The first is obvious—reducing customer churn and encouraging purchases with your company over your competitors; i.e. customer loyalty. The second benefit is liquidity through corporate partnerships.

 

Reducing customer churn (the rate at which customers stop buying your product over time) is important for every industry, but even more so in leisure travel where each individual customer may only purchase something once a year or less. It is tantamount that a travel company remains prominently in view of their clientele. Regular newsletters, deals, and targeted ads help with this, but a loyalty program will take this a step further. Loyalty programs create a sense of investment in your clients and strongly encourage them to return to you for their travel needs. There have been many detailed studies done on the psychological effects of loyalty programs, but the benefits are essentially the following:

 

  • Goal Anticipation – Creating something for your client to work for. By giving them a concrete goal and a way for them to track their progress towards that goal, people will be strongly motivated to complete that goal; i.e. purchase more. Not only that, but customers will invest more to complete the goal the closer they are to achieving it.
  • Positive Reinforcement – Encouraging customers to stick with you by giving them rewards is an obvious example of positive reinforcement. But just as important is the converse. Not only are you encouraging people to purchase through your company, but you also create a sense of “lost value” when they book with your competitors. Studies have shown that people generally tend toward being risk-averse when faced with a value-loss proposition.
  • Creating a sense of exclusivity – Simply put, people like being in exclusive groups and feeling unique and appreciated. Top-tiers of loyalty programs offer this prestige. If you make JetBlue Mosaic, you’re going to feel pretty good being the first one on the plane.

 

 

The second main benefit is more simply explained. Airlines and hotels will create liquidity by selling their points to corporate partners. When Chase or American Express offer their cardholders point exchanges or deals with specific travel partners, that likely means the bank has purchased points in bulk from the travel provider. This accounts for a surprisingly significant portion of the liquidity for several travel companies and is important in supporting daily operations and business development.

 

Both of these benefits are eminently important during the pandemic. When your clients are ready to travel again, you want to make sure they come back to you. And while traditional sales dry up, you want the extra liquidity from corporate points sales to keep things running.

 

Q. Should consumers be thinking any differently about their loyalty/rewards memberships during this period? Are there any tips or strategies you have for people who travel frequently and accrue a lot of points?  

 

A. There are a few tips and tricks we have for maximizing the value of your points, however more so in general rather than specifically during the pandemic.

 

First is to absolutely do your research. There’s no way of knowing if you’re getting a good value for your points unless you know the baseline value of them. For example, TrueBlue points are worth 1.1 cents each on average. I would only book flights with points where you meet or exceed that exchange rate. During COVID, we’d suggest to make sure that there is no expiration on your points and benefits, at least until you’re ready to travel again. If there is, ask the airline or hotel if they can extend the expiration for you.

 

Second is to shop around. Just because you have points with American Airlines doesn’t mean you can’t buy a British Airways ticket with them. Airlines have partners which often allow you to book the same exact flight through them. For example, Alaska Airlines offers many of the same flights operated by its partner American Airlines, however the flights usually cost fewer Alaska Airlines miles than AAdvantage Points. You can simply transfer your points from AA to Alaska and use them there for more value per point.

 

Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock

 

Q. What have been the most frequently asked questions by your clients during the pandemic and how are you advising them? 

 

A. Far and away the most asked question is whether a traveler will have to quarantine when they arrive at a destination or if they will have to take a COVID test before travelling. We’re keeping track of the ever-changing regulations for each of our most popular destinations so we can make sure all of our clients are fully informed.

 

Q. What destinations, US and international, do you expect to see the most interest in once virus fears subside and travel returns to pre-pandemic levels—or close? 

 

A. Hard to tell, but it’s between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean in our opinion. We’re already seeing a large uptick of interest in the Caribbean, especially for all-inclusive resort destinations like Cancun and Punta Cana. The amount of interest can only go up from here. We think that the private and comprehensive experience offered by all-inclusive resorts does add a sense of security for their guests. Knowing that everything you need is in an environment you’ve seen being sanitized goes a long way towards making people feel safe during a pandemic. They can have it all without having to go out into unfamiliar surroundings that may not be clean.

 

Positano at sunset/Shutterstock

 

We also think people are just itching to head back to the Mediterranean, we know we are. Italy, Spain, Egypt, Israel, and Greece et al have always been some of our most requested destinations, and people miss those places more than ever now that travel is restricted.

 

Q.What is the single biggest reason to use a travel advisor?

 

A.Simply that the cost to benefit ratio is great. With our agency’s negotiated rates and worldwide reach, we can offer prices competitive with OTAs while also offering the added benefit of travel planning expertise and dedicated e-concierge services and support before, during, and after travel. Essentially, people will be able to pay roughly the same amount of money for their travel as if they booked it themselves, without actually having to do anything themselves.

 

Q.In just a few words, what is your philosophy at TomFlies.com?

 

A.“Always wander!”

 

See our full report on The State of Travel: 2021

Nomadic Nutrition—Foraging Tips From an Expert Forager

In the Time of Covid, the wide blue yonder is both my escape hatch and my sanity maintenance pill. Specifically the swath of public lands east and west of my home in Seattle. Out there, in the ancient forests and lonesome mountains of the Cascades and Olympics, I can breathe in the fresh air and not worry about tainted particles of disease, those “air-born droplets” we’ve heard so much about.

 

Only, those same mountains aren’t so lonely these days.

 

It turns out there are plenty other Americans with cabin fever, and outdoor recreation is seeing a boom like never before. Retail stores are sold out of camping equipment, fishing gear, bikes, and cross-country skis. Trailheads overflow with cars. Popular spots for hiking and angling are busier than Grand Central Station.

I enjoy all those activities, too, but thankfully I’m also a forager, which encourages me to get off the beaten path to go on a more solitary outdoor treasure hunt for wild edible foods. Foraging is a perfect way, in fact, to forget about the downward spiraling news cycle and find literal sustenance in nature.

 

Chokecherries, common across much of North America, make tasty jam

 

And in case you’ve been squirreled away in deep quarantine, foraging is hip these days. It’s now cool to traipse through the woods, woven Guatemalan basket in hand, in search of chanterelle mushrooms for the table, or to brave the bite of stinging nettles for a pot of soup. Every Michelin-aspiring chef has wild foods on the menu, and the bearded hipsters in their logging shirts from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, are learning how to tell a Death Cap mushroom from a delicious clump of porcini.

 

Fiddlehead ferns, lovely and full of earthy flavor

 

But…about those Death Caps… If you’d like to learn how to find a few untamed foods to spice up dinner during lockdown, just remember the forager’s Golden Rule: Never, ever, eat anything from the wild without one-hundred percent certainty of its identification. While there aren’t many deadly poisonous plants and mushrooms, there are a few, meaning it’s a good idea to learn how to recognize, for instance, a common weed such as poison hemlock (looks a bit like parsley!), yes the same one that killed Socrates.

If you’re new to foraging, try to go beyond leafing through field guides or surfing YouTube videos. Take a class or workshop if possible, join a mycological or horticultural society (most club meetings are via Zoom these days, but it’s a start), and best of all, find a more experienced friend or willing teacher who can mentor you.

 

Pan-seared diver scallops with morels and potatoes in stinging nettle sauce

 

There’s ample foraging just about everywhere across this stricken nation, including within city limits. Every region boasts of a few specialties: prickly pear cactus in the Southwest desert; wild rice in the Great Lakes; onion-y ramps up and down Appalachia. In many places you can harvest something as ubiquitous as the humble-yet-nutritionally-off-the-charts dandelion year-round, or go for the more advanced art of clam digging or mushroom hunting in season.

Regardless of quarry, wild food foraging is a great way to get outside for a while and forget about what ails us.

Langdon Cook, award-winning author of Upstream and The Mushroom Hunters.

Venice Beach—With Kids?

Fifi+Hop’s Corey Cook takes us to energetic Venice Beach which, despite it’s edginess, can be a great place to take kids. You just need to know where to go.

Some may look at the title of this post – Venice Beach with Kids – with speculation, but Venice was actually my girls’ self-proclaimed favorite part of our L.A. family vacation. They loved it. This post is all about things to do in Venice with kids, and why it should be on every family’s L.A. must-see list.

Venice Beach with Kids

 

Venice, CA, bohemian in spirit, has always been the funkier side of town, filled with eclectic shops and people, restaurants, street entertainers, and, in general, an off-beat vibe all its own. It’s never really had a reputation as a family-oriented kind of hood. Yet it’s this colorfulness of Venice which is exactly why I wanted to take my kids – all the action and eye-candy, I knew, would entertain them for hours.

 

We decided to allot 1 day in Venice, out of our 5 days. How did we go about planning our 1 day in Venice itinerary? I knew just who I wanted to show us around – my blogging friend Hilary from the blog HilaryStyle. She is the eyes and ears of L.A. and would be the perfect person to show my kids everything that makes Venice, Venice.

 

Venice Beach with Kids, HilaryStyle and mePin this image on Pinterest

 

Hilary and Me!

Hilary was on board for our visit, and then some. We covered it all, and by the end of the day my girls were reeling from all the fun they had. Here’s all the fun things to do in Venice Beach with kids. (Tip: we went first thing in the morning around 9:30, which was a perfect time to start our day, as there were hardly any crowds and it was very manageable with the kids).

WALK ALONG THE VENICE BOARDWALK (AKA OCEAN FRONT WALK)
Venice Beach with kids, walk along the Venice Boardwalk

 

The famous Venice Boardwalk spans about 1 ½ miles, with beautiful, white sand and the Pacific Ocean on one side, and funky storefronts and eateries on the other. Whatever bric-a-brac shops you can think of, the Ocean Front Walk has: souvenirs, sunglasses, surf and skate shops, t-shirts, tattoos, etc. My girls got their L.A. souvenirs here, in the form of sweatshirts, and have been wearing them ever since. Both say Venice Beach in different patterns, and they think they are the coolest girls in town when they wear them!

We walked for a while along the path, and Hilary pointed out all the other interesting things to see that make Venice the happening place it is. We saw people biking, rollerblading, playing paddle tennis, which are some of the activities you can do while you’re there (though we did not). And then there is of course Muscle Beach, an iconic part of the boardwalk where all the body builders work out. This is where Gold’s Gym got its start, begun by 70’s and 80’s superstar body builder, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

Later in our walk the girls got henna tattoos, which was a big hit – there are tattoo shops, fortune tellers and other off-beat things like that scattered all over the boardwalk. As well as restaurants – we ate at Wee Chippy at the recommendation of Hilary as having the best fries anywhere, and I have to say, she was right! In general, the Venice Boardwalk has an energy that appeals to any age, and is just plain FUN.

 

WATCH THE SKATEBOARDERS AT VENICE SKATE PARK
Venice Beach with kids, Venice Skate Park

Venice Skate Park is truly an amazing skate park, and definitely worth a visit. If you’re like us then you will love watching all the skate boarders do their tricks. The boarders span all ages, and you can see older men as much as younger kids skate about. It’s a lot of fun for the kids, and it can take up as much or little time as you want it to.

CHECK OUT ALL THE STREET ART AND WALL MURALS
Looking at the Venice Beach street art with kidsPin this image on Pinterest

 

Venice Beach wall mural

Venice is known for its abundance of street art, and seeing as Hilary is the street art expert, she showed us mural after mural, art piece after art piece, all throughout Venice. I’ll get to some of these places below, but we saw street art in many of the side streets off of the boardwalk, on our way over to the canals, and along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. There are wall murals everywhere, some I would have probably walked right by had it not been for them being pointed out – so make sure to keep your eyes open and on the look-out. They are colorful and whimsical and great fun for the kids to pose in front of for vaca pics.

 

Venice Art Walls with kidsPin this image on Pinterest

One of the highlights of our day in Venice was making some street art/ graffiti of our own! Hilary brought cans of paint with her, which the kids sprayed out on the beach. There is a designated area called the Venice Art Walls where the public can spray paint themselves, and the kids went to town – a great, unique activity that they will always remember!

 

WATCH THE STREET PERFORMERS
Watching the street performers and dancers on Venice Beach

We’re from New York, and whenever there are street performers doing their thing (always) in the subway, on the streets, Union Square, Times Square, wherever, we like to check them out. The girls love watching their shows. Venice is no stranger to street performers so we of course had to see them too. They are a big part of the chemistry that makes up Venice, with a contagious energy that you can’t help but feel a part of. Until they want you to join the show! We watched one group do their break dance, gymnastic stunts, etc. until they started to head our way to get the kids to participate. We immediately high-tailed it, but up until then it was a lot of fun for the kids, with a huge crowd getting into it.

 

WALK ALONG THE VENICE CANALS
Walking along the Venice Canals in Venice Beach, CA

It is no coincidence that the “Venice of America” has the same name as its Italian counterpart. Venice was founded by millionaire developer Abbot Kinney and modeled after his favorite European city, Venice. In the early 1900’s the canals that we see today used to be wetlands, and the perfect spot to build canals. Today (especially after a major renovation project completed in the 90’s), they are one of L.A.’s most unique neighborhoods and so much fun to walk around. I really enjoy walking along the canals and over the bridges, and so did my kids.

 

Giant Unicorn float in the Venice Beach canals in Venice Beach, CAPin this image on Pinterest

 

With the renovation came many newly built, modern homes, and looking at the houses is just as much a part of the appeal. So many of the city’s beautiful homes are located in the Venice Canals. We particularly liked looking at all the different boats home owners had, from canoes to kayaks to unicorn rafts!

STROLL ABBOT KINNEY BOULEVARD

Checking out the wall murals in Abbot Kinney in VenicePin this image on Pinterest

 

Having fun at Avatar Nation in Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach           

 

Perhaps the chicest part of L.A., Abbot Kinney Blvd. is filled with Boho fashion stores, home design shops, fabulous restaurants and an overall trendy vibe. You can’t go to Venice without hitting Abbot Kinney. What’s in it for the kids? Good question – it’s mostly for adults. But for the adults who are visiting with their kids and don’t want to miss out, there are some gems to take the kids. We went to Salt n Straw ice cream, which has amazing, unique flavors and which the kids loved. We found plenty of street art to take pics of them with, and we found fun stores to take them in too – one of them being Avatar Nation. The kids played ping pong in the back, it’s full of bright colors, and they loved it. It was a welcome respite for us adults too to take a break and let the kids play.

Why MeCabo Should Be On Your 2023 Travel List

Well-known as a chic, party-themed hotel, ME Cabo reopened in the fall of 2021 after a complete transformation. The weekend of the Day of the Dead, one of Mexico’s biggest holidays of the year was the rebirth of this popular destination. Drawing scores of bikini-clad, well-heeled travelers from the west coast, all over Mexico and a growing number from the rest of the United States, ME Cabo opened its doors again and is ready to impress after investing over $10 million in its total redesign. These are the five top reasons why the seaside ME Cabo resort should be on the bucket list for every Mexico-bound reveler.

The location

 

beach

 

Within walking distance of town, this resort doubles down on the nightlife and fun-in-the-sun vibe. Not only are you in perfect view of the famous El Arco from much of the resort, but you can be shopping, “cheersing” or boating just minutes after leaving the hotel. It may be hard to pull yourself away from the resort’s own beautiful stretch of beach, oceanfront pool and bevy of highly celebrated restaurants though.

 

The resort sits at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, and during the winter months, it is possible to see whales frolicking offshore. While the beaches are public, the resort does have a roped-off section with private chairs and umbrellas where guests can relax uninterrupted. The water is warm (this is Los Cabos’ only swimmable beach), and servers circle around to take orders from the nearby bar.

The party vibe

 

lounge

 

This is not the kind of place you come to for a quiet nap by the pool with cucumbers over your eyes. And the guest list here knows that. The upscale crowd here seeks out the party vibe making nightlife part of their daily routine, too. The rates here prohibit the Spring Break crowd from coming to the resort meaning it is ready and waiting for the often young, elite and chic crowds of Mexico City and Los Angeles.

 

 

saxophonist

 

As one of Meliá Hotels International’s brands, ME hotels are known globally for their sophisticated and fashionable party spirit. By the pool, dancers shimmy and shake from morning to night on pedestals as guests sip fruity cocktails or chilled Mexican beer. Clubby music emanates from speakers morning to night, and it is hard not to wake up in a good mood here. Even the hotel’s top suite has its own DJ booth for those that want to try their hand at mixing music. Poolside musicians perform throughout the day to entertain the crowd including jazz-style violinists and saxophonists.

 

A swim-up bar complements the roving pool servers, and visiting DJs often entertain at the beach club. The same thumping music continues in many of the bars and restaurants keeping the party mood alive throughout the day. It’s the kind of young and hip party place that is designed to impress.

This resort is not a mecca for conferences, but it does draw plenty of social events and weddings that take advantage of the beach club platform and pool area for parties.

Headline-worthy food and beverage

 

cocktail

 

Rosa Negra, famed for its numerous dining outlets in Mexico, is at the helm of the food and beverage experience here. It is responsible for the four dining and drinking outlets here, each with a focus to serve Latin American flavors using local ingredients.

Confessions Skybar & Tapas serves light bites of mostly Spanish fare with a mix of meat, seafood and veggie options. Arrive before sunset to catch the beautiful views, but once the sun goes down, the lights turn up for a DJ-fueled party atmosphere with coastal breezes. Dress to impress up here.

 

restaurant

 

Expect Thai, Chinese and Japanese fare at Funky Geisha while Mamazzita Mexican Soul serves three meals a day focused on traditional Mexican fare. Like the pool, musicians and entertainers perform throughout the space as guests dine on beautifully presented dishes. The Rosa Negra affiliation has brought tremendous buzz among foodies and from around the country to the resort. Don’t miss the fruit and grain bowls and chilaquiles at breakfast, which luckily serves until late.

 

lamb

 

At Taboo Beach Club, Mediterranean fare is the go-to option with everything from Greek-style rack of lamb to healthy platters of vegetables and chilled gazpacho. The outdoor setting is meant to feel like you’re at the beach on a Greek island or Turkish cafe.

 

The redesigned rooms

 

guest room

 

Perhaps the highlight of a stay here is the quiet spot you have to seek respite after a day partying by the pool or dancing on the beach. If you had stayed here before, you will hardly recognize the new look of the guest rooms. Polished tile floors and white-washed walls show off minimalist design with the occasional pops of color in the Mexican art and design pieces. Throughout the hotel, regional touches in Mexican art and design abound.

 

 

bed

 

The bedding features chic, yet unpretentious, bespoke bedding with power and USB outlets on either side of the bed. I particularly like how the bed is positioned to maximize the window views in many rooms. Open-plan bathrooms continue the edgy design with vanities stocked with towels and C.O. Bigelow toiletries. Separate marble rain shower and water closet sections make the entire bathroom and dressing area feel more spacious. Built-in luggage racks above drawers are another well-thought-out touch.

 

 

suite

 

Minibars (which the hotel calls “maxibars”) are stocked with regional Mexican products, but all rooms come with complimentary Evian bottled water. Suites add separate living room areas with day beds and Nespresso machines. There is a variety of suite types, some of which have outdoor whirlpools on the balcony and the most up-front-and-personal views of El Arco. Guests in the ME+ Suite enjoy a pre-reserved day bed at Taboo Beach Club each day of their stay.

 

The spa

lobby
The hotel’s redesigned lobby
 

With all of that partying, your body deserves a touch of pampering in between the ruckus. The spa is tucked away into a corner of the resort as if it were an afterthought, but once you pass through the changing rooms, you realize there is much more than meets the eye.

Grab a glass of chlorophyll water and head for the relaxation areas to feel the ocean breeze in the shade. Splashing waterfalls bring you into another world as you wait for your treatment. On the menu are facials, massages and medical treatments from a well-trained staff.

 

design details
The design details around the resort are beautiful.

In addition to sauna and steam room areas, there’s also a modern fitness center with the latest workout equipment, stacks of towels and a fridge stocked with chilled bottled water. It’s clear that many of those parading around the pool have spent at least some time in the gym or spa. For most of us though, the views and food are what clinches the deal when considering a top resort for a trip to famous Cabo.