Entries in ‘Spa’ Journal

Spa Review: Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey

Friday August 8, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

"Spa on the Plaza" monterey

Spa on the Plaza in Monterey

If you read this blog often, you know that I have never met a spa that I didn’t like. As a travel writer, I’ve been fortunate to slip in a spa visit whenever I write a luxury hotel or resort review. I’ve experienced a massage on a water table in Switzerland, an in-room massage in Yountville, California, a Birch Stick massage in Portugal and  a Essence in Balance massage at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa where guests create their custom blended aromatherapy scent at the on-site Apothecary. There’s not a massage treatment I won’t try, but sometimes time is not on a travel writers side. This was the case with my Spa on the Plaza review at Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey.

 

Monterey Bay’s Spa on the Plaza

After a day of hiking Point Lobos and a trip to Big Sur on the Monterey coast, I had hoped to squeeze in a massage at Spa on the Plaza at Portola Hotel & Spa. I was only able to  reserve a 25 minute “Heaven Express” massage, but the therapist made the most of those 25 minutes with a sideline massage, focusing on my computer-weary shoulders.

 

"Spa on the Plaza" relaxation room

Spa on the Plaza relaxation room

 
Spa owners Camille and Roy Malcolm offer their person guarantee to provide guests with authentic spa therapies in a beautiful coastal setting. Spa on the Plaza offers a full-service salon, a relaxation lounge and locker rooms with steam rooms. Housed within the Portola Hotel, Spa on the Plaza guests have access to the fitness center, outdoor pool and whirlpool, as well as poolside dining service.

 

"Spa on the Plaza" monterey, california

Spa on the Plaza Oasis Suite, Monterey Bay


 
To stretch my spa treatment, I added an Oasis Suite Bubble massage therapy to my spa time. Priced at $50 (check website for current pricing) the Toto Hydrotherapy tub experience relaxed my tired muscles and the steaming hot water prepared my body to maximize the mini-massage treatment.
 

"Portola Hotel & Spa" seashells

Monterey Bay theme promotes tranquility at Portola Hotel & Spa

 
Insider Tip:
If time is not an issue for you, plan to arrive early for your spa appointment and hang out at the Portola Hotel, one of the few hotels with a swimming pool in Monterey. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Spa on the Plaza on Twitter @Spaontheplaza20.

If You Go:

Spa on the Plaza at Portola Hotel & Spa (831) 647-9000

Two Portola Plaza

Monterey, California 93940

Article and photos (excluding top photo) by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Spa on the Plaza in conjunction with Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Historic Broadmoor: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Friday June 20, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 20 Comments

"Broadmoor" Colorado Springs

Historic Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO

The historic Broadmoor reins supreme as the grand dame of Colorado Springs in Colorado. The resort holds the titles of the longest running Forbes five star and AAA five diamond property in the country – they have held this distinction since The Broadmoor’s official opening on June 29, 1918. Located on 3,000 acres with three golf courses, 779 rooms, 19 restaurants, cafes & lounges and a Forbes five star spa, the historic Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado radiates luxury.

Broadmoor Wilderness Experience

Situated in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor serves as an upscale base camp for outdoor explorers and sports enthusiasts.

While I’m not the golfer in the family, The Broadmoor offers several top-notch golf courses on property. In the summertime, complimentary golf clinics are offered certain days of the week, as are complimentary tennis round robins. While not exactly a wilderness experience, the kids (and kids at heart) might want to take a spin on Cheyenne Lake in a paddle boat. Check with the concierge for further details.
 

Golf course view from Broadmoor Spa

Golf course view from Broadmoor Spa


 
I have made a promise to myself that I will return to The Broadmoor with my husband to experience The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley. This exclusive ranch property is just a 30 minute drive up the mountain from The Broadmoor. Surrounded by the majestic Pike National Forest, the all-inclusive ranch offers fly-fishing, hiking, biking and horseback riding in beautiful Colorado Springs. Cloud Camp, an all-inclusive 54 guest resort that sites on the site of the original Cheyenne Mountain Lodge, is another Broadmoor Wilderness Experience I have yet to try.
 


 

"Broadmoor" "Penrose Room"

Dining at Broadmoor’s Penrose Room

 
Broadmoor restaurant dining

I mentioned in another post that dining at The Broadmoor is like one continuous progressive dinner party. If you like barbecue and enjoy hands on cooking classes, you’ll want to sign up for Barbecue University at the Broadmoor. I could be cut off from the outside world and be perfectly content living off The Broadmoor with its 19 restaurants, cafe and lounges. As long as I’m left behind with the head baker, chocolate maker and spa director, I know I’ll be in good hands.
 

"Broadmoor" Spa

The Spa at The Broadmoor

 
Spa at The Broadmoor

Speaking of good hands, my massage therapist, Deanne from Mississippi, delivered a 50 minute session of deep tissue heaven to my body. Make sure to pack a swim suit and arrive early or stay late to take advantage of the co-ed indoor and outdoor swimming pools and outdoor hot tub. Additionally, there is a steam room, sauna, aromatherapy room (recommended for acclimating to the Rocky Mountain altitude of 6000 feet above sea level) and fireplace lounge. The co-ed mountain view room and terrace, looking over the golf course, is a great place to relax and recharge before your spa treatment.
 

"Broadmoor" hotel room

Broadmoor West Premier King


Broadmoor West renovation

The Broadmoor resort is composed of several hotel buildings; Broadmoor Main, Broadmoor South and Broadmoor West. Walking to different parts of the resort is easy via the Cheyenne Lake Bridge. There is also 24/7 complimentary shuttle service available for hotel guests.

During my stay, the Broadmoor West had recently undergone a complete renovation. My lovely premier king, room #4443, with Juliet balcony and view of Cheyenne Lake, rented for $465 per night (check the website for current rates). Pets are welcome at The Broadmoor with a charge of $50 per pet, per night (maximum two dogs per room.) The pet fee includes special Broadmoor bedding and pet food bowls, as well as a treat for your four-legged friend.
 

"Broadmoor" hot tub

Soak in The Broadmoor hot tub



Broadmoor resort fee

Love them or hate them, resort fees are here to stay. The Broadmoor $32 daily resort service charge includes wireless high-speed internet access, local telephone calls, daily newspaper, Fitness Center access & two daily fitness classes, incoming faxes, Little Theater movies, in-room beverage service, daily housekeeping and nightly turndown service, bottled water and arrival gift. Being from California, where we are experiencing drought conditions, I was a little miffed to see that sheets and towels were changed on a daily basis. Housekeeping quickly fixed my environmental dilemma, replacing my hand written note requesting my bedding not be changed with a pre-printed no sheet-changing card.
 

"Cheyenne Lake"

Paddle boats on Cheyenne Lake at The Broadmoor

Insider tips

The Broadmoor is a member of Historic Hotels of America. The historic Colorado Springs property offers complimentary art and history tours on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Western art aficionados take note, as Broadmoor owner Mr. Philip Anschutz owns one of the largest collections of Western art. Horticultural tours are offered seasonally on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. Golf clinics are offered free to hotel guests on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow @TheBroadmoor on Twitter.

If You Go:

The Broadmoor  (855) 634-7711

1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of The Broadmoor. All opinions and experiences are my own. I’d love to hear about your visit to the historic Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

Eco-Friendly Hotels that Make Travelers Happy

Wednesday April 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM | 0 Comments

Even though Earth Day reminds us to think about our environmental footprint each April, some hotels make an earth friendly commitment year round. Here are a sampling of eco-friendly hotels worthy of a shout out. One of my favorite hotels — Boone Tavern, made it on Booking.com’s eco-friendly hotel list.

Historic and eco-friendly Boone Tavern, Berea Kentucky

Historic and eco-friendly Boone Tavern, Berea Kentucky

Boone Tavern in Berea, Kentucky is proof that history can meet modern times. Built in 1909, this beauty that’s also a Historic Hotel of America, is part of Berea College and a showcase for its culinary and hotel management programs. The hotel and tavern’s renovations include: energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, energy star lighting, solar tubes and skylights, heat recovery coils, and low VOC paints and adhesives. Guest rooms and common areas feature handcrafted furniture that represent Kentucky’s craft heritage, as well as, Berea’s fame as the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky.

Boone Tavern rooms feature hand-crafted furniture

Boone Tavern rooms feature hand-crafted furniture

Along with the environmentally friendly building that earned Boone Tavern its LEED Gold Certification, Boone Tavern’s restaurant is another reason to visit. The restaurant’s traditional American cuisine features locally grown ingredients. Signature dishes like “Chicken Flakes in a Bird’s Nest” and “Spoonbread” are the don’t miss, although I can vouch that anything on the menu is splendid. Still, the spoonbread is what you will talk about years later.

ecofriendly Bardessono-Courtyard

The eco-friendly Bardessono courtyard has a stunning view

If you go, take time to browse in Boone Tavern’s gift shop and the other shops that line Berea’s streets. There’s a reason why this is the folk art capital. The hotel’s shop includes items made by the college’s students. Hand-woven items and hand-crafted furniture are part of the bounty.

One of Nancy’s favorites also made it on the eco-friendly hotel list. Bardessono Hotel and Spa in Yountville, California is a perfect pairing for a trip to Napa Valley and wine tasting. As Nancy discovered during her stay at Bardessono, one of three LEED Platinum-certified hotels in the United States, “it is easy to be green while looking stunningly chic.”

Cavallo Point where almost every room has a stunning view

Cavallo Point where almost every room has a stunning view

Cavallo Point in Sausalito is another California hotel with LEED Certification. The reuse of historic materials and landscaping with native plants are just part of Cavallo Point’s dedication to achieving the Green Seal Environment Standard for U.S. Lodging Properties. The hotel’s energy-efficient appliances that automatically switch to sleep mode when not in use and the programmable thermostats and motion sensors that reduce heating and cooling costs are some reasons why Cavallo Point is an eco-friendly hotel. The property doesn’t use Styrofoam containers and it recycles plastic. Refillable soap dispensers and cloth napkins are other environmentally friendly practices within the hotel.

At Cavallo Point, going green comes with a view. Most of the resort’s guest rooms have views of San Francisco, the bay or the Golden Gate Bridge.

City Flats Hotel, Grand Rapids--a resuse of a landmark jewelry building

City Flats Hotel, Grand Rapids–a resuse of a landmark jewelry building

Michigan is another state with two eco-friendly hotels that deserve applause. City Flats Hotel in Holland was the first hotel in the Midwest to achieve LEED Gold status. Step inside for proof that eco-friendly, luxury and creativity go hand in hand. Each of the hotel guest rooms has its own unique flair. Each hotel room’s green decor includes: cork flooring installed with low-VOC adhesives, naturally hypoallergenic bamboo linens, curtains lined with a black-out fabric to reduce energy needed to heat and cool room, light fixtures with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, and countertops made from Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Certified recycled glass and concrete. Also, hotel furnishings are locally made.

The CityFlats Hotel in Grand Rapids is another Michigan hotel with LEED Gold Certification. Its eco-friendly combo includes the unique features of the City Flats Hotel in Holland and is an example of turning a city landmark into a new use. The building was once Fox Jewelers.

Along with booking at any of the hotel’s websites, check out Booking.com.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein of Midwest Travel Writers Association.  All photos except Bardessono courtesy of Booking.com. Bardessono photo by Nancy D. Brown.