Posts Tagged ‘Spa’

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.

 

 

Review: Secrets the Vine, Cancun, Mexico

Friday April 11, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 15 Comments

champagne, "Secrets The Vine"

Guests receive champagne upon arrival at Secrets The Vine Cancun

Wine tasting in Mexico? Yes, ma’am. While most people associate Tequila, Corona and guacamole with Mexico, I’m going to let you in on a secret – Mexico makes some good wines. Mexico is staking a claim in the vineyards of Baja California. I learned about the wines of Mexico will staying at Secrets the Vine Cancun, an adults-only resort with a wine theme woven throughout the luxury property.
 
 

 
Secrets the Vine – honeymooners to baby boomers

"Secrets the Vine" pool

Fan coral designed by Artist Jan Hendrix blends into the hotel facade at Secrets The Vine Cancun, Mexico.

From jet-setters to baby boomers, Secrets the Vine Cancun caters to a wide range of travelers. I couldn’t help notice the honeymoon and birthday banners draped across the doors of a select few hotel rooms. This 495 room all-suite property appeals not only to special occasion celebrations, it’s also for the art and wine lover.

 
Secrets the Vine wine theme

Secrets the Vine Cancun features contemporary design elements from the fan coral by Artist Jan Hendrix in the hotel’s exterior facade, to murals painted by Marta Ramirez and wine art on display throughout the hotel.

A bottle of Mexico’s tinto vino (red wine) was waiting for me when I checked into my Junior Suite in Cancun. Don’t miss Secrets The Vine Bar. Outside the 4,500 bottle wine cellar is where Master Sommeliers lead daily complimentary wine tastings at 1:00 & 3:00 p.m. If you wait until 5:00 p.m. the price moved from free to $20.

 

"Secrets the Vine Cancun" Vine bar

4,500 bottle Vine Bar at Secrets The Vine Cancun

 

Secrets the Vine Preferred Club status

For a luxury vacation, it’s a good idea to upgrade to Preferred Club status.  It’s not much more expensive and offers a good return on investment including access to Concierge service, daily continental breakfast, cold and hot hors d’oeuvres and private bar in the private lounge level and your own butler.

All rooms are ocean view, offering Caribbean Sea or Nichupte lagoon vistas. Sunsets are best viewed from the Hard Rock Hotel side, while more shade is available on the balcony next to Sandals resort. My Preferred Junior Suite #2618 looked out to the ocean and lagoon and rented for $700 per night during March. Check the website for current hotel rates.

While I’m not a big drinker, I do love the fact that I have access to the mini bar and won’t be charged for a small tin of Pringles chips or small bag of peanut M&M’s. The mini fridge is loaded with beer, juice, soda and water. Of course, your butler will stock it with all your favorite goodies if you ask.

More perks, free phone calls to the United States and Canada when placed from your hotel room. Insider tip – make sure to call to a land line, as calls to mobile phones are charged at higher rates. All rooms offer free WiFi and preferred guests receive two complimentary items ironed, unpacking and packing service and complimentary shoe shine is available.

 

"Secrets the Vine" junior suite

Secrets The Vine Cancun Preferred Junior Suite

 

Secrets Spa by Pevonia

What beach vacation is complete without a trip to the spa? A day pass to Secrets Spa by Pevonia is $75 if you feel tired and jet-lagged from travel. If money is no object, indulge in a wine therapy treatment. Arrive early to your spa appointment and soak in the hydrotheraphy pool after steaming in the sauna. Follow this with a Pinot Noir Escape exfoliation ($105) d’vine wine massage ($175) and d’vine wine facial ($99) Heaven!

"Secrets Spa by Pevonia" spa

Relax at Secrets Spa by Pevonia

Secrets the Vine dining

If beach and pool time trump spa time, there are several pools and hot tubs to keep you happy, as well as seven restaurants at Secrets The Vine. I sampled crab rangoon, spring rolls and shrimp pad Thai at Dragons Oriental Dining, an Asian fusion restaurant. Bluewater Grill is popular with steak lovers (try the shortbread cookie with caramel filling and ice cream for dessert.) Olio features Mediterranean cuisine and is open to all resort guests for lunch, while dinner is reserved for preferred club level guests. For the seafood lovers and those wanting a bite poolside, Sea Salt Grill offers a tasty shrimp cocktail with a view of the ocean.

"Sea Salt Grill" shrimp cocktail

Shrimp cocktail at Sea Salt Grill Secrets The Vine

Check in: 3:00 p.m.

Check out: 12:00 p.m.

Insider tip

While all-inclusive resorts are not necessarily known for fine dining, Secrets the Vine is an exception to the rule. If you find yourself in Cancun in March don’t miss the Wine & Food Festival Cancun – Riviera Maya.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow SecretsTheVine on Twitter.
If You Go:

Secrets The Vine Cancun +52 (998) 848-9400

Cancun, Qintana Ro

Mexico 77500

Article written by and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Secrets the Vine Cancun. All opinions are my own.

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Passports with Purpose: Alderbrook Resort helps Africa

Monday November 25, 2013 at 9:09 PM | 4 Comments

Alderbrook Resort

Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Imagine sitting on the deck, a glass of wine in hand, while watching and eagle catch thermals above the canal.

With your $10 donation, you could be kayaking on Washington’s Hood Canal, enjoying dinner at The Alderbrook Restaurant or relaxing at the Alderbrook Resort & Spa. This is just one of  the travel prizes up for grabs at this year’s Passports with Purpose.

Passports with Purpose is celebrating their sixth year of fund-raising for a cause. I’m pleased to say that this travel blogger has supported Passports with Purpose from the start and I continue to be involved in 2013.

Last year we raised $100,000 for Water.org to fund five water wells in Haiti.

This year, close to 150 travel bloggers from around the world will participate in Passports with Purpose 2013.

Together with your support, the money will fund buildOn to help construct three primary schools and fund three Adult Literary Programs in the Sikasso Region of Mali, Africa.

buildOn

Building schools in Africa with buildOn

Passports with Purpose Prizes

To see a list of prizes on the Passports With Purpose website check here. Each donated prize will link back to a full description of the prizes on the blogger’s website.

Your purchase of a $10 raffle ticket will help support Passports with Purpose and ultimately build three primary schools and several Adult Literacy Programs in Mali, Africa. For each $10 in donations that you make to Passports with Purpose, you will be entered to win a prize (or prizes) of your choice. The fundraiser begins on November 26th and closes at midnight on December 9, 2013. On Monday, December 16, 2013 Passports with Purpose volunteers will notify prize winners. All proceeds go directly to buildOn.

Alderbrook Resort & Spa, located a convenient two hours from Seattle on Washington’s Hood Canal,  is donating a one night stay in a Canal View guestroom, a $50 dining credit at The Restaurant at Alderbrook and $50 spa credit at The Spa at Alderbrook.  The suggested retail value of this Alderbrook Resort & Spa package is $385. Thank you Alderbrook Resort & Spa  for your generous donation.

Certificate is based on availability
Valid Sunday through Friday
Not valid on holiday weekends
Certificate includes resort fee and applicable room tax
Promotional Certificates are not replaceable if lost or stolen

Article written by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip

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Passports with Purpose 2009