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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Catalina Island

Catching Some Zzzzzzz At Zane Grey's Pueblo Hotel - Little did Zane Grey know, as he penned over 80 western novels in his home on Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of California, that the house he designed in 1929 would someday be a charming bed-and-breakfast inn. 

Hotel Villa Portofino on Catalina Island - After Front Desk Manager Candace checked me into the Hotel Villa Portofino, I relaxed in the garden patio for the shade; the hotel reminded me of a lazy seaside  Mediterranean cottage hotel that offers great amenities and a wonderful location in Avalon.

Laguna Beach/ Dana Point

Celebrate At the Beach - Marriott Laguna Cliffs Resort - Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, in Dana Point, California, is a place to celebrate life!  I know because I took my daughter there on her annual birthday outing.  We spent three glorious days and nights at the most picturesque spot on the Southern California coastline.

Surf & Sand & Spa & Splashes The Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach, California has achieved legendary appeal for those fortunate enough to have stayed there during its 55 years of operation. Located at 1555 South Coast Highway, it was built in 1948 as a beach side motor lodge with 26 rooms. Artists discovered Laguna Beach and over the years made it a premier vacation destination.

Long Beach

The Ghosts and Legends of The Queen Mary — The Queen Mary is more than a museum or keepsake for an entire war generation. She is also today a fine dining experience and a wonderful 365-stateroom hotel. You can voyage from the past to the present in the museums, but the real artifacts are the staterooms made up exactly as they were during the Queen's magnificent heyday.

A Bunk On A Junk Don't own a yacht, yet? No worry. The latest craze is a boat and breadfast, and we check into the marina for a night's nap in yachty luxury, wake up with fresh coffee, and we don't even have to make the beds.

Hilton Comfort on a Long Beach
The Hilton Long Beach is conveniently located for business and leisure travel, for cruise vacationers, and for those looking for a spot in the sun. Bay Watch at the Hilton!

Los Angeles / Santa Monica

Something By The Sea - Le Merigot is a charming European-style boutique hotel and spa overlooking the sand and surf in Santa Monica, California. Anticipating good weather, and the luxury and service that heralds the only Mobil “Four Star” and AAA “Four Diamond” property in Santa Monica.

Academy Award Winner - The Millennium Hotel in LA - Discover fine dining at the Millennium Hotel in the heart of Los Angeles, only a few blocks from City Hall, and once the home of the Academy Awards; The Ballroom and ghosts still inhabit this classic Jazz-era hotel, with the best rated sports bar in town. Hey aren't the Lakers on tonight!

Le Luxe LA - Le Meridien Beverly Hills - Four and a half years ago (1999) the French chain Le Meridien took over the Asian-style Nikko, near the corner of La Cienega and Burton Way in a most fashionable section of Los Angeles. Fifteen million dollars later—voila!—Le Meridien at Beverly Hills.

Feng Shui The Ambrose Hotel Way
Upscale tranquility and refreshing affordability characterizes the Ambrose - newly opened, uniquely-crafted boutique hotel in Santa Monica. Inspired by the legendary turn-of-the-century Arts & Crafts Movement and influenced by Asian style, this new 77-room hotel offers a peaceful entry foyer/living room with Asian carpets on hardwood floors, comfortable rocking chairs and a cozy library with views onto a tranquil garden.

Screen Gem - The Hollywood Roosevelt Celebrates it 75th Anniversary — The first Academy Awards in 1929 (before there was an Oscar) were held in the Blossom Room at the luxurious Hollywood Roosevelt, named after Teddy. Since those days ghosts of stars and starlets from days gone by still make a casting call at the renovated and venerable hotel. Today you may see present day stars as they film on the historic ground.

From The Hills to the Beach bungaLOEWS - From the hills — Beverly Hills, that is, to the beach — Santa Monica Beach, that is, Loews has you covered in the Southern California climes.

The Ghosts and Legends of The Queen Mary — The Queen Mary is more than a museum or keepsake for an entire war generation. She is also today a fine dining experience and a wonderful 365-stateroom hotel. You can voyage from the past to the present in the museums, but the real artifacts are the staterooms made up exactly as they were during the Queen's magnificent heyday.

Hilton Comfort on a Long Beach The Hilton Long Beach is conveniently located for business and leisure travel, for cruise vacationers, and for those looking for a spot in the sun. Bay Watch at the Hilton!

Santa Barbara

California Dreaming At The Hotel Santa Barbara Clark Gable and Carol Lombard were frequent guests, and eyewitnesses claim Leo Carrillo rode his horse around the lobby on several occasions.

San Diego / La Jolla / Del Mar /Coronado

Landmark of Luxury - The US Grant Hotel - The minute I entered the spacious first floor lobby, I felt the world class luxury of a cosmopolitan experience. The  polished mahogany woodwork, the grey veining of the Italian Carrara marble floors from the original 1910 lobby, glistened under the pristine and opulent crystal chandeliers that sparkled under the hand-carved ceilings  The old world elegance of the interior architecture mixed with contemporary rich cool Belgian blue accents, gives the property the prestige of the Presidential seal. 

The Grand Life at The Grand Del Mar - Part of the resort’s quality also stems from its location nestled in the lush Los Penasquitos Canyon Reserve, away from the hustle and bustle of urban San Diego, giving guests a sense of seclusion. 

Hyatt Holiday Hiatus in San Diego - I am convinced that my “Corner King” room was one of the finest rooms on the property and I encourage travelers to experience it.

Romance at the Ivy Hotel in the Gaslamp District - The Ivy Hotel is located right in the heart of downtown San Diego.  It is a block over from the infamous 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp Area.  It is located on F St between 6th and 7th.

Love Is In The Air at Rancho Valencia Resort - This magnificent resort is imbued with LOVE from the second you step onto the property. Set amidst 40 acres of hills and orange trees north of San Diego, it’s minutes away from the scenic beaches of La Jolla and the thrilling excitement of the Del Mar Race Track.

San Diego's New Wow! - W Hotel There wasn't a moment that I wasn't surprised, captivated, and thoroughly enthralled with the way the "W" captured the casual comfort and beach culture that makes San Diego one of the most quintessential Southern California cities. This place is like none other in all of its amenities.

Ocean Beach Discovery - Diamond Head Inn - Stumbling upon the Diamond Head Inn in 2003 was like unexpectedly finding a precious jewel; a diamond in the rough. My husband and I chose this particular hotel for its affordable price and perfect location, accessible to everything that San Diego has to offer, and only a few feet from the wide, velvet sands of Ocean Beach.

The Del Mar Cookie Resort - As I write this, I lie on my oversized bed, in my oversized suite in the DoubleTree Hotel in Del Mar, California. On my right sits a 27 inch Zenith television complete with an interactive music jukebox, a pleasing digital movie selection, and a variety of video games patiently waiting for me to challenge them.

Old Calfornia - Nuevo Estancia - I feel like I have come home to my own private retreat where wealthy ranchers knew what hospitality meant. The old world elegance is visible: wrought iron railings, arched doorways, picturesque clay tile roofs, and cozy fireplaces — exactly how I imagine life in Old California, a time when breathing fresh open air, and feeling connected to natural surroundings is what is expected.

La Jolla's Coastal Jewel - The Hilton at Torrey Pines - La Jolla Torrey Pines Hilton Hotel in Southern California is the ultimate place to experience perfection. It is San Diego's premier destination for hospitality, dining, recreation, meetings and banquet facilities. I know, because my weekend stay at this magnificent property was absolutely, positively perfect.

California Beach Resorts at Beachbooker.com

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
& the DESERTS


San Francisco / Bay Area/ Wine Region

The Hip is Reborn as Chic at the Casa Madrona in Sausalito - The magnificent view, which the Barrett’s enjoyed then, can be found today at Casa Madrona; the historically hip, now chic, 63-room hotel offering guests the best location in Sausalito. And this is the time to visit; the hotel has just opened a new chapter in its rich 126-year history with the completion of a multi-million-dollar renovation.

The Alisal Has It All - The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Solvang, California is a rare place in our world where you can enjoy a vacation adventure exploring the coastal hills of central California in the luxury of a quiet cottage surrounded by ten thousand acres of the greenest, plushest countryside you could ever imagine.  The resort takes you back to a time where you rode high in your saddle, cowboys strummed their songs around campfires, and families shared stories.

Travel and Tennis - Napa Valley - In our series on “traveling and tennis” we’ve covered wonderful locales like Florida’s Gulf Coast and Palm Springs.  An area less known for tennis but every bit as attractive is the Napa Valley of northern California. Tennis might be considered a garden sport in the leafy confines of Meadowood.

Boots, Saddles, & Spa at Macarthur Place Country Inn - In the heart of Northern California wine country, just forty-five minutes north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, is the historic town of Sonoma.  And here, just off Broadway at MacArthur Street, you’ll find a historic inn set on a country estate of six acres featuring lush landscaping, rose gardens, ponds and water fountains. This is MacArthur Place Country Inn & Spa, recently awarded AAA’s prestigious 4-Diamond rating.

Sutter Street Solace at Galleria Park Hotel - Outside Sutter Street may bustle with the business of the district, but inside this “boutique” hotel we found a restful ambiance in shades of dove gray, celery, and pale wedgewood, and a faint, welcoming scent like gourmet jelly beans.

Embark on Fun at Hyatt Rengency Embarcadero - Today a number of spiffy hostelries have sprung up along the Embarcadero.  Tiara among them is the Hyatt Regency, where I was able to obtain a room with sweeping views across the Bay toward Oakland.

A Sqaure Deal at San Francisco's Handlery Hotel - Think of San Francisco ’s hilly streets and you’ll think of cable cars.  There’s no more picturesque way to travel in this city, and if your hotel happens to be right by one of the three cable car lines, that’s a big plus.  The Handlery Union Square Hotel (351 Geary Street) is a classy European-styled property in the heart of downtown San Francisco. 

The Monaco - The Luxurious San Francisco Treat - The Kimpton Group of hotels is a boutique hotel chain with some fantastic luxury hotels in the Bay Area, but watch out Boston and New York, they are opening posh palaces there as well.

Air and Hotel PackagesMr. Mosser's Benevolent Boutique Hotel —Originally built as The Keystone in 1913, the Mosser opened as San Francisco's newest and most luxurious hotel. It was built by Alice Phelan, a patron of the arts, sister of Senator Phelan and daughter of James Phelan, who built the Phelan Building, just around the corner on Market Street. The building is an exquisite example of Victorian architectural style. The two-story lobby and elevator cabs have been completely restored, retaining the charm and grace of this magnificent building.

Make It El Drisco In San Francisco Another historic hotel celebrates it's birthday. Built during the Barbary Coast and Gold rush heyday of California, The Drisco was completed three years before the big 1906 earthquake. The Drisco is a member of the Joie de Vivre Hospitality chain, and it celebrates it's 100th birthday this summer. As a National Register of Historic Places, the Drisco is a diadem in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

The Plugged In Inn - Silicon Valley's Cupertino Inn — When I travel - especially on business - I want a place that's easy to get to, easy to check in to, a room that works for me, and a few nice things to make me remember it and want to return. I like a smooth, comfortable surrounding. Although lots of flash or ornate architectural statements are sometimes nice, I want to relax and be able to feel like I can behave like I do at home. The Cupertino Inn in Cupertino, California, gets a 9 out of 10 - definitely worth returning to.

Palm Springs

Boutique Balance at the Hotel Zoso - Between boutique escapes, large resorts with 18 hole golf courses, mid-range accommodations, or private homes, the options of where to stay in Palm Springs are endless.  I wanted a change of pace in a hotel, something not too tiny and not too grand, something "balanced" in between, so I surfed and logged onto the Hotel Zoso.

Palm Springs Caravanserai - Riviera Resort & Spa - Picture this; two longtime girlfriends rolling down a deserted Southern California highway, bags in tow, looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a weekend getaway. Attired in sunglasses and sundresses, we rolled down the windows to get a little wind in our hair and check the temperature; right around 100 degrees. Perfect!

Happy Chic at Parker Meridien Palm Springs Resort - The entrance is strikingly simple with a curved driveway that made it appear as if I was pulling up to a private home.  The first thing I saw was a high latticework wall of white concrete.  Behind this brise soleil,  the bright orange entry doors popped into my focus.  What I found beyond these doors of this $25 million remodel was not only surprising but somewhat surreal and sublime.

Korakia - Palms Spring Med - Something to Crow About - To escape means to step into another pattern, a different time, and an unknown world.  If this is the side of Palm Springs that you want to experience, then I have the perfect hotel for your great escape!

The Beat Goes On At The Beat Hotel - It was 1957, when an ordinary hotel in the Latin Quarter of Paris was dubbed "The Beat Hotel" and then became the center of this literary groundbreaking artistic energy.

Palm Springs Retro - The New Ingleside Inn
- Gazing out through covered arches to the shrubbery and swimming pool beyond, I sipped my iced tea and listened to Mel Haber talk about one of his favorite subjects, Palm Springs' Ingleside Inn.

The Ingleside Inn - The Place to See and Be Seen - Ingleside Inn is a short distance from the famed Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Behind the wrought-iron gates winds a sweeping, tree lined driveway with the lovely views of Mt. San Jacinto in the background and the gracious service and privacy the Inn staff offers, it is easy to understand why the "in" crowd of Hollywood cherishes this quaint resort.

Andalusian Resort is a Palm Springs Re-Treat — The fashionable and lovely Andalusian Resort is one of Palm Spring's best kept secrets, with only seven rooms, you can bet you will miss the crowds in comfort.

California Food and Wine