Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Hilton Hotels Revitalize the California Road Trip

April 20, 2017
CA-SF-SummOfLove_041217_306e2(c) Karen Rubin-DeYoungMuseum

Take advantage of Hilton’s California Road Trip program at Hilton hotels in San Francisco and join in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love, with special tours of Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love Experience at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

ANAHEIM, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO and SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. ––Summer travel is already underway In California and travelers from around the globe this summer can enjoy the ultimate Golden State adventure with Hilton’s “California Road Trip,” a destination package that inspires thrill-seekers and value-minded explorers. Discover an array of adventures and authentic experiences with rates starting at $149 per night.  The package highlights premier destination cities such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Anaheim and San Diego with special rates available through Labor Day Weekend 2017. To book, visit California Road Trip Package  and take a Virtual California Road Trip on Hilton’s YouTube channel.

Participating properties include: Parc 55 San Francisco—A Hilton Hotel, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, The Fess Parker—A DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara, Hilton Anaheim, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

With the California Road Trip package, Hilton aims to provide guests added value inside the hotel with a variety of inclusions to make your trip memorable while highlighting California as a premier destination for family fun, exploration and adventure, and exceptional hospitality through a unique partnership with its local conventions and visitors bureaus.   

“With some of the best Hilton properties on the map, ‘California Road Trip’ is the ultimate vacation package for families and friends who want to create memorable experiences on the road with spectacular scenery, fun and adventure along the way,” said Steve Cowan, general manager of Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 San Francisco.

The California Road Trip package, featuring exclusive rates and added value inside and outside the hotel, will be available for purchase beginning now until Labor Day at Hilton.com as well as on the Special Offers page of each of the participating hotels’ property websites.

The California Road Trip package features savings of more than $125 per night, with exclusive discount of up to 15 percent on Enterprise/Alamo and National Car Rentals, $25 food and beverage credit (available in MIX Restaurant only), complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, unlimited access to the hotel’s Health Club & Spa and a California Road Trip Road Kit featuring exclusive discounts on local entertainment and attractions. Room rates start at $149 per night, tax not included.

California Road Trip packages at a glance:

Parc 55 San Francisco—A Hilton Hotel and Hilton San Francisco Union Square package includes (Rates starting at $265):

  • The San Francisco CityPASS®program which covers unlimited cable car rides, admission to four top attractions, priced 42 percent less than the same tickets purchased separately.  CityPASS® ticket book contains helpful information, including insider tips, an attraction location map, attraction and transportation details, directions and money-saving coupons. Books are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Includes:

o   3-Day Muni Cable Car and Bus Passport

o   California Academy of Sciences tickets

o   Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure tickets

o   Aquarium of the Bay tickets

o   Option Ticket: Exploratorium OR de Young Museum + Legion of Honor tickets

The Fess Parker—A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort package includes (Rates starting at $249):

  • Tote bag, Visitors Guide, Vintners Association and Urban Wine Trail Maps, Downtown Organization Map of Shopping and Cultural Attractions, Waterfront Map, Two for One Santa Barbara Sightseeing Trolley Passes, a Santa Barbara Organic Granola Bar and bag of Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. organic pistachios.

Hilton Anaheim package includes (Rates starting at $149):

  • Tote bag, bottled water, granola bars, $10 Starbucks gift card, Visit Anaheim drawstring bag, visitors guide and map, Visit Anaheim postcard with exclusive deals and discounts on local attractions and dining.

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront packages includes (Rates starting at $249):

  • Branded bag, San Diego Magazine Spring Visitors Guide w/ coupons, Where Map, Brewers Guild map, sunglasses and mints.

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, Hilton San Francisco Union Square is a high-energy, world-class hotel that features stunning views and international sophistication.  The hotel is steps from world-class shopping and under-the-radar locales rich with the history of theatre and jazz. Additionally, the hotel is convenient to the Powell Street cable car line, Moscone Convention Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, City Hall and the Civic Center. Featuring 1,919 guest rooms and 151 suites with city views, the hotel is home to a contemporary fitness center, one of the city’s only outdoor heated swimming pools and an array of food and beverage outlets with artisanal flare and modern atmospheres. Dining options include the grab-and-go marketplace, Herb N’ Kitchen, The Lobby Bar with signature hand crafted cocktails, gastropub Urban Tavern with international offerings and the 46th floor Cityscape Lounge with 360-degree panoramic views of the Bay Area and San Francisco’s most popular landmarks. As the West Coast’s largest hotel, the property boasts 134,500-square-feet of meeting and event space, including a 30,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, for scalable meetings from startups to Fortune 500 companies. For more information, please visit www.hiltonsanfranciscohotel.com. 

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, Hilton Parc 55 San Francisco is a boutique-style business-class hotel that features stunning views and universal sophistication. The hotel is steps from world-class shopping and under-the-radar locales rich with the history of theatre and jazz. Additionally, the hotel is convenient to the Powell Street cable car line, Moscone Convention Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, City Hall and the Civic Center. Featuring 1,024 guest rooms and 54 suites, with city views, the hotel is home to a contemporary fitness center, an array of food and beverage outlets and shared campus resources with neighboring Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Dining options include Cable 55, Michelin-rated Kin Khao Thai restaurant and Barbary Coast. As the third largest hotel in San Francisco, the property boasts 30,000-square-feet of meeting and event space. For more information, please visit www.parc55hotel.com.

The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara, an AAA Four Diamond property, is located at 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, steps from the beach and within ½ mile of downtown in one of the world’s most perfect climates. The 360 room guest rooms, with their own balcony or patio, overlook the Santa Ynez mountains, 24 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens or the Pacific Ocean.  Over 44,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the Parker Family Wine Experience and unique outdoor Plaza del Sol make this a quintessential California destination for weddings and events. 

Hilton Anaheim is located in the heart of Anaheim’s revitalized Resort District and conveniently situated in the center of Southern California. Hilton Anaheim is just a short distance away from world-class beaches, sports stadiums and concert venues, ultra-trendy boutiques, action sports, lifestyle and tony shopping centers. Hilton Anaheim is approximately a one hour drive to downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica and South Orange County and an hour and a half drive to San Diego.

The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines offers a unique San Diego experience with a setting unlike any other in southern California. A coastal retreat situated atop the bluffs of La Jolla and overlooking the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course and the majestic Pacific Ocean, sits the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. With each of the spacious 394 guest rooms featuring a private balcony or patio with magnificent views of the golf course, ocean or beautiful hotel gardens, the resort offers a genuine San Diego experience. Minutes from the beautiful beach communities of La Jolla and Del Mar and 12 miles from the San Diego International Airport, the resort offers a feeling of seclusion, yet remains close to everything San Diego has to offer. Located at 10950 North Torrey Pines Road La Jolla, CA 92037. For additional information, please visit: www.hiltonlajollatorreypines.com.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 30-story, 1,190 room hotel, is located on the edge of the bay in downtown San Diego and situated on 12.79 acres of Bayfront land. The hotel boasts 165,000 square feet of meeting and event space, four restaurants, a 7,300 square foot health club and spa, 3,000 square feet of retail space, a 2,400 square foot business center along with San Diego’s first heated saltwater hotel swimming pool and nearly $2 million of commissioned public art. Hilton San Diego Bayfront is adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center and PETCO Park, located at One Park Boulevard, San Diego, 92101. For additional information, please visit www.hiltonsandiegobayfront.com. 

For more information about Hilton’s California Road Trip package, visit HiltonAnaheimRoadTrip.com 

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San Diego’s Westgate Hotel Puts on ‘Return to Versailles Palace’ Masquerade for New Year’s Eve (Costumes Encouraged)

December 14, 2016

(San Diego, CA)– San Diego’s very own Parisian palace, The Westgate Hotel, invites guests to ring in the New Year by stepping back into the 18th century for an alluring evening of timeless decadence with a Masquerade Night in Versailles. A five-course dinner, elegant masked ball, Moët & Chandon Champagne toasts, and luxurious guest rooms to sleep in late on New Year’s Day are all part of the experience.

Upon arrival, guests will make their way up the Westgate’s grand staircase to be whisked away from the modern age and transported to a haven of French aristocratic elegance. The Versailles Court will begin check-in at 7 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. guests will indulge in French crafted libations such as Champagne, French 75 and Side Cars. Following the reception, at 8:30 p.m., guests will sit down to a lavish five-course Parisian Royale Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel, accompanied by flutes of Moët & Chandon, France’s very own 18th century Champagne creation; live music from a quintet combining French standard, contemporary, jazz and more; dancing; and masked opulence. Masked revelers can dance the night away to welcome 2017 with a champagne toast.

“We are beyond excited to be throwing the most elegant and memorable New Year’s event San Diego has seen,” said Richard Cox, General Manager at The Westgate Hotel. “A masquerade ball set in Versailles couldn’t be done anywhere but here. Guests will truly get the sense of 18th century France as it was, and ring in 2017 in a very special way.”

It is the perfect occasion to transform yourself into a French Royale, King, or Queen – someone Marie Antoinette herself couldn’t resist. Costumes and masks are encouraged. The cost to attend is $259 per person. Tax and gratuity are additional.

Overnight accommodations are available for guests interested in extending the party to New Year’s Day. Luxurious guestroom and amenity options include:

  • Le Versailles: One night stay in a premier room, five-course wine pairing dinner for two for $850.
  • Marie Antoinette: One night stay in a premier room, five-course wine pairing dinner for two, brunch for two, Versailles snack delivered at midnight and in-room party favors for $1,055.
  • Forever Your King: Overnight stay in the Presidential Suite or Governor Suite, five-course wine pairing dinner for two, macaroons and a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne for $3,500.

Following the night’s merriment, the Westgate will welcome 2017 with a New Year’s Day Brunch in Le Fontainebleau Room on January 1. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. guests will enjoy a special menu priced at $69 per person.

Toom prices include gratuity and valet parking with room tax additional. Rooms can be booked at www.westgatehotel.com.

Tickets to The Westgate’s Masquerade Night in Versailles are limited and early reservations are encouraged. For reservations, call 619.238.1818.

The AAA Four Diamond-rated Westgate Hotel is an iconic property in the heart of downtown San Diego designed to rival the mythical palaces of Europe. From its 223 elegantly appointed guest rooms to the contemporary cuisine of the award-winning Westgate Room, guests truly experience a memorable difference while enjoying European décor, attentive service, exquisite cuisine and artistic cocktails.

The Westgate Hotel is part of the Grand America Hotels & Resorts collection which features Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho (twice selected by readers of SKI magazine as the nation’s top ski facility), Snowbasin Ski Resort, just outside Salt Lake City (site of the 2002 Olympic Downhill and Super G Races), The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City (a AAA Five Diamond rated hotel) and Little America Hotel properties in Arizona and Wyoming.

 

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The Best of CA Highway 1: Must-See Spots in Cayucos by The Sea

October 8, 2016
Cass-House-2-Cass-House---Pavilion-credit-Lindsey-Hahn

Check out the Historic Cass House and Historical Museum in Cayucos along the Highway 1 Discovery Route, Photo Credit Lindsey Hahn. (PRNewsFoto/California Highway 1 Discovery)

A Beachcomber’s Paradise, A Foodie’s Nirvana, And A Vacationer’s Dream Come True; With a Rich History, Cayucos Features a White Sandy Beach, a Fishing Pier, Tide Pools, Hiking, Biking and Horseback Riding Trails, Plus Enter To Win A Must See Getaway To The Coolest California Beach Town

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif.– Roam around the Coolest California Beach Town! Take the plunge into the classic beach town of Cayucos along the iconic CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in Coastal San Luis Obispo County midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Enjoy miles of pet-friendly beach, surfing, kayaking, strolling the historic pier and getting up close and personal with sea life (think adorable sea otters). With plenty of family-owned restaurants, wineries and local artisan goods, there’s so much for you to enjoy, especially on a fall, mid-week getaway to Cayucos.

Voted “the coolest small town in America” in 2009, Cayucos by the Sea is a surprising gem of a town that appears like magic out of the misty fog. Cayucos is truly an authentic California beach town with a long stretch of white sandy beach, sun more often than fog, a free public fishing pier, an historic saloon, and a quaint old-fashioned main street. Television personality Huell Howser selected Cayucos for an episode of his show, California’s Gold, and filmed most of it strolling up the center of Ocean Avenue, marveling at its un-crowded yet ultra-desirable qualities.

Win a Must-See Cayucos Getaway 
Immerse yourself in Cayucos by entering to win the Must-See Getaway Contest. It’s easy. Just fill out this form and you could be selected to win two night lodging at one of the town’s quaint hotels, wine tasting at Cayucos Cellars, dining and a private kayak tour for two.

Must-See Cayucos by the Sea – As Close To Perfection As You Can Get

Unscathed by the big developers, the population of Cayucos is about 3,000. Despite its small size, Cayucos has an eating establishment to meet everyone’s palate, from a chowder house to five-star dining. You’ll also find fabulous antique stores, surf shops with handcrafted boards, and locally owned gift stores. For children, there are three play areas designed just for them including, picnic tables, barbecues, and a paid lifeguard during the summer. There’s even a fresh water swimming pool in the summer near Hardie Park and two lighted tennis courts, located a short walk away from the pier. Grownups looking for a bit of “spice” will find that “in spades” if you’ll forgive the pun, at The Old Cayucos Tavern, a historic bar with card-playing rooms, pool tables, dancing, and some of the best live music around. Check out this video to see all there is to do in the cool seaside town or visit http://ci.highway1discoveryroute.com/files/Must_See_Caycuos__10416.pdf. For more information on the California Highway 1 Discovery Route, visit www.Highway1DiscoveryRoute.com.

 

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Girlfriend Getaway Month in Morro Bay, California

March 24, 2016
Morro Bay, California

The estuary at Morro Bay, California – a fabulous destination for an adventurous Gal Getaway © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

MORRO BAY, Calif. — April is a perfect time to grab your best gal pals to explore, unwind, shop and indulge during Girlfriend Getaway Month in Morro Bay, and take advantage of special discounts on kayaking, paddle boarding, candlelit yoga classes, local boutiques and BnBs.

Imagine starting the morning off with your best gal pals taking a nice jaunt down the waterfront Embarcadero and out the harbor walk to Morro Rock and onto the beach, a great way to get in exercise before the day really begins. As a special reward, you and your BFFs can enjoy a girls brunch at Dorn’s, sitting on the patio overlooking the Embarcadero and the bay planning out what adventure to tackle next. A candlelight Yoga class? Shopping the citywide yard sale? Learning how to make a sun-kissed Pacific sea salt scrub to nourish, hydrate and protect your skin from harmful sun rays, or attending a special fairy garden workshop? Laughing out loud at “Menopause the Musical,” or special girlfriends adventures including kayaking on the bay or standup paddle Yoga? Sub Sea tours is also offering a special Girlfriends Getaway discount on bay cruises and whale watching, and an evening sunset cruise on the bay with one of the many other tour operators along the Embarcadero is a fine way to dine with the girls. There is no shortage of girl-cation activities in Morro Bay this April.

Take advantage of special classes, activities and discounts designed to inspire you to spend quality time with your besties in Morro Bay, the ideal location for a best friends getaway along California’s Central Coast. This quaint seaside fishing village with a bustling waterfront filled with restaurants, wine bars, boutique shops and harbor cruises and activities is the picture-perfect girl-cation destination.

Located along scenic Highway 1 midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, click here for a list of Girlfriend Getaway month classes, activities and deals. For more travel information visit www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on FacebookTwitter or Pinterest.

 

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Chalet View Lodge, Mountain Retreat in California, Welcomes Pets – even on Golf Course

August 13, 2015
Playing golf with a canine companion at Chalet View Lodge.

Playing golf with a canine companion at Chalet View Lodge.

Chalet View Lodge, just outside Graeagle, California, is welcoming four-legged guests to their mountain retreat, even on the golf course.

Chalet View Lodge right on the edge of thousands of acres of Forest Service land, dotted by alpine lakes and close to the Feather River just waiting to be explored on two or four legs. When a furry guest arrives, they’re treated with a dog biscuit at the front desk, and plenty of fun places to explore on the property.

And no need to leave your pup behind when you go out to play nine holes on the Chalet View Lodge Golf Course.

Petsalso can join their companions for dining on the terrace or on the lawn, and a tasty biscuit serves a welcome for each dog checking in with their owner.

More than half of the Chalet View Lodge’s rooms are pet friendly, for an additional $25 a night for one to two dogs.

Chalet View Lodge is an all-inclusive resort with cool mountain charm offering lots to do both onsite and in nearby Graeagle and Johnsville. The Chalet View Lodge is conveniently located on Highway 70 near the quaint town of Graeagle, California, just 54 miles to Reno Tahoe-International Airport, 51 miles from Truckee, 152 miles from Sacramento and 235 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area. The property is owned by the Hickman family since 2004.

For more information, go to www.chaletviewlodge.com or call 800-510-8439.

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San Francisco’s Arts & Culture Scene is Bustling

April 16, 2015
The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the unexpected cultural treasures of San Francisco © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the unexpected cultural treasures of San Francisco © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Creative people have always been attracted to San Francisco, from the inventor of Levi’s blue jeans to the wizards of the latest tech startups to the creators of Burning Man.  Artists find the city’s atmosphere of innovation and freedom of expression irresistible, resulting in a diverse collection of remarkable museums, exhibitions and events that are equally irresistible to those who love the arts.

Here are some recent and upcoming developments in San Francisco’s arts and culture scene.

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Art lovers (anyone interested in human rights) have only seven weeks left to see the works of world renowned artist Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz, the notorious prison turned national park in San Francisco Bay. @Large: Ai Weiwei on  Alcatraz, a site-specific exhibition of works, is on view through April 26, 2015.

The Chinese artist is internationally recognized both as a maker of potent and provocative art and as a passionate advocate for human rights and freedom of expression. His art and ideas find a compelling new context in this exhibition of large-scale sculpture, sound and mixed media created specifically for Alcatraz.

Ai’s sculpture, sound and mixed-media works occupy four locations in the former prison: the New Industries Building, A Block, the Hospital and the Dining Hall. With the exception of the Dining Hall, these spaces are usually off limits to the public, but all will be open throughout the run of this unprecedented exhibition.

The exhibition is included in the regular Alcatraz ticket prices.  Special guided @Large Night Tours will be offered on Thursday through Monday nights.  Tickets can be purchased at http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/website/ai-weiwei.aspx. In anticipation of high demand for @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz tickets, a limited number of seats on the Early Bird boat (departing Pier 33 at 8:45 a.m. seven days a week) will be set aside each day to accommodate exhibition visitors. These Early Bird tickets and tours may be reserved by contacting the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at 415-561-3021 or aiweiweialcatraz@parksconservancy.org,

For more information on ticket options, see http://www.parksconservancy.org/events/park-interp/ai-weiwei-alcatraz.html.

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz is organized by the FOR-SITE Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

Art Along the Waterfront

San Francisco has long been a city committed to accessible art.  After experiencing Ai Weiwei’s work on Alcatraz, people will be ready to discover more public art and they will be in exactly the right place.  The Embarcadero is home to more than a dozen public art installations.  It’s hard to miss Cupid’s Span, the gigantic bow and arrow by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen in Rincon Park.

On the south side of the Bay Bridge, on the Embarcadero at Second and Townsend streets, is Mark DiSuvero’s Sea Change.   Seventy feet tall and weighing 10 tons, this elegant and kinetic sculpture serves as a gateway to the newly refurbished South Waterfront.

Some installations blend history and culture.  Between Piers 35 and 39, Roger Barr’s Skygate, a 26-foot-high mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture, is dedicated to the memory of Eric Hoffer (1903-1983), a longshoreman, poet and philosopher.

Many of the public art installations along the waterfront and throughout the city are part of the city’s civic art collection.  For a map of public art, visit www.sfartscommission.org/pubartcollection/pubart-projects/2008/10/21/public-art-projects-map.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) More Than Doubling in Size

A major expansion is underway at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), which has embodied bold vision and innovation from its founding in 1935 to the 1995 opening of its Mario Botta-designed building.

With more than 30,000 works, SFMOMA has built definitive collections in painting and  sculpture, photography, architecture and design, and media arts, including significant examples of the art of the Bay Area and California. The SFMOMA collection is internationally recognized and continues to grow.

In 2016, SFMOMA will reinvent itself yet again by more than doubling its current capacity for the presentation of art, providing almost six times as much public space as the current building.

The centerpiece of SFMOMA’s expansion is the remarkable building design developed in collaboration with the architectural firm Snøhetta. The approximately 235,000-square-foot expansion will seamlessly join the existing building.

One of the catalysts for the expansion is the addition of the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, one of the greatest private collections of contemporary art in the world.  Learn more at www.sfmoma.org.

Museum of the African Diaspora Reopens after $1.3 Million Renovation

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is one of the few museums in the world focused on African Diaspora culture and on presenting the rich cultural art works of the people of Africa and of African descendant cultures around the world.  The Museum is currently featuring “The Art of Elizabeth Catlett” through April 5, 2015.

MoAD reopened in December, 2014, after a $1.3 million renovation with added gallery space, a more open layout for the ground floor and lobby, a redesigned Museum store, and an upgrade to all of its technology including interactive iPad kiosks in the lobby and a new website.

MoAD recently was chosen as a Smithsonian Affiliate and now has access to the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of 136 million artifacts for research, exhibits and programming.

Situated in the heart of the Yerba Buena Arts District, home of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, MoAD is actively engaged in building a community that inspires, educates and connects people of all ages and backgrounds. MoAD seeks to build a deeper understanding of the African Diaspora through art, programs and events that cultivate wonder and excitement about the ways in which personal histories are connected. As a nonprofit organization, the museum’s operations and programs are supported by grants and contributions from public and private sources.  To learn more, visit www.moadsf.org.

SFMOMA Partners with MoAD and the Oakland Museum of California

As part of SFMOMA’s On the Go series showcasing the museum’s collection at other cultural venues in the region, the Oakland Museum of California features “Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California” through April 12, 2015 and MoAD presents Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA, opening May 8.

Organized in partnership with the Museum of the African Diaspora, “Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA” considers how artists from the early 20th century to the present have negotiated a vast array of European, African and American visual-cultural forms to redefine what it means to make a portrait. Together, the works suggest that as people move between geographies, meanings drift, too.

“Fertile Ground” illuminates local histories and social forces that changed the face of art in — and beyond — the Golden State. Weaving together art and ephemera from the collections of the Oakland Museum of California and SFMOMA, the exhibition tells the stories of four creative communities at decisive moments in the history of California art: the circle of artists and influences from Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in San Francisco in the 1930s to the streetwise, uncompromisingly idealistic artists at the center of a vibrant new Mission scene that took root in the 1990s through the present.

For more information, visit http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events

The Bay Lights to Become Permanent in Time for Super Bowl 50 in 2016

San Francisco has become a national leader in light art.  No recent development underscores this more strongly than the news that The Bay Lights, the world’s largest LED light sculpture, will become a permanent icon on the city’s landscape.   Illuminate the Arts has successfully raised $4 million in private funds to pay for new equipment and re-installation.

Since its debut on March 5, 2013, the vertical cables of the Bay Bridge’s western span (also known as the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge) have come to life nightly with 25,000 LED lights “performing” in patterns created by light artist Leo Villareal.

The originally planned two-year installation of The Bay Lights by artist Leo Villareal will end on March 6, 2015 and the sculpture will be removed to allow Caltrans to perform maintenance on the bridge cables.

The Bay Lights will be re-installed in time to shine for Super Bowl 50 in February 2016.   Learn more at http://thebaylights.org/about/.

San Francisco Illuminated by Light Art

Two other temporary light art installations are drawing crowds:

Soma by the Flaming Lotus Girls at Pier 14 on the Embarcadero debuted at Burning Man in 2009 and has been organized by the Black Rock Arts Foundation.   It will be illuminated at 10 minutes after sunset until 2 a.m. nightly through July 2015.

On Treasure Island, Bliss Dance by Marco Cochrane (2011) is on display on the Avenue of the Palms at the Great Lawn.  Though no end date has been announced, the installation is considered “temporary, until further notice.”  The 40-foot-tall sculpture’s lighting effects are on from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. nightly.

Permanent light art pieces within the city’s 49 square miles include:

  •  Three Gems, by James Turrell (2005), de Young Museum, Osher Sculpture Garden, Golden Gate Park
  •  Skygarden, by James Turrell (2007), San Francisco Federal Building, 90 Seventh St. at Mission Street
  •  Ocean Mirror with Fragments, by Jim Campbell (2007), Saunders Court, University of California, San Francisco, Koret Way
  •  Constellation, by Nayland W. Blake (1996), San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St., Civic Center
  •  Firefly, by Ned Kahn (2012), 525 Golden Gate Ave. at Polk Street, Civic Center
  •  Language of the Birds, by Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn (2008), Intersection of Broadway and Columbus Avenues, North Beach
  •  …and my room still rocks like a boat on the sea…(Caruso’s Dream), by Brian Gogginwith Dorka Keehn  (2014), 55 Ninth St., south of Market Street
  •  Bayview Rise, by Haddad-Drugan (2014), Pier 92, Bayview near Third Street and Cargo Way

At San Francisco International Airport, permanent light art installations include:

  •  Wind Portal, by Ned Kahn (2000), International Terminal between BART Station and AirTrain
  •  Four Sculptural Light Reflectors, by James Carpenter (2000), International Terminal, Main Hall, Level 3, Pre-Security
  •  Spirogyrate, by Eric Staller (2014), Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2, Post-Security
  •  Sky, by Merge Conceptual Design (2014), Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2, Post-Security
  •  Light Beams for the Sky of a Transfer Corridor, by Vito Acconci (2000), International Terminal, A-G, Level 2, Pre-Security
  •  Ceiling Flood, by Keith Sonnier (1999), International Terminal, Boarding Area G, Level 2, Post-Security

Light-centric events and tours are currently being scheduled around the summer solstice, on June 21, 2015.  San Francisco Travel,  the city’s tourism marketing organization, is also planning the third annual IlluminateSF festival to celebrate these eclectic, electric installations in December 2015 and January 2016.

For more information on the light art installations and related events, visit www.illuminatesf.com

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 34 international cities on 29 international carriers. The Bay Area’s largest airport connects non-stop with 78 cities in the U.S. on 15 domestic airlines. SFO offers upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit www.flysfo.com. Follow on www.twitter.com/flysfo and  www.facebook.com/flysfo.

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official tourism marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit www.sanfrancisco.travel or call 415-391-2000.  The Visitor Information Center is located at 900 Market St. in Hallidie Plaza, lower level, near the Powell Street cable car turnaround. 

 

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Film Festivals Flourish in San Diego

March 7, 2015

With more than a dozen specialty film festivals screening everything from horror to fashion, and from LGBT- to Hispanic-themed films, San Diego is emerging as a leading destination for film lovers.

Here is just a sampling of the many film festivals that can be found in San Diego throughout the year:

  • The 22nd annual San Diego Latino Film Festival takes place at the AMC Fashion Valley 18 in San Diego’s Mission Valley during March 12-22, 2015. The festival features screenings of short and feature length films from across Latin America and the U.S. by Latinos and about the Latino experience.
  • During May 20-23, 2015, visitors to San Diego can enjoy more than 25 international films, filmmaker presentations, surfboard shaping demos, live music, panels with surf legends and more at the San Diego Surf Film Festival. The festival takes place at Bird’s Surf Shed, a unique surf shop and surf-art gallery, located in San Diego’s North County.
  • FILMOUT San Diego returns May 29-31, 2015, to celebrate the year’s best LGBT films. In addition to film screenings, the festival features special appearances by filmmakers and actors. Screenings are held at the Observatory North Park, a historic theater in the heart of one of San Diego’s trendiest neighborhoods.
  • The 6th annual La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival will be held on July 24, 2015, in the luxurious coastal community of La Jolla. Hundreds of fashion fans will attend to view films highlighting the world’s top fashion houses, designers and stylists.
  • The San Diego International Film Festival takes place Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2015 in downtown San Diego. The largest of San Diego’s film events, this festival showcases the best in American and international full-length films, documentaries and short films, and features Q&A sessions with directors and guest appearances by well-known actors and film artists.
  • Just in time for Halloween, the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival celebrates horror and its various sub-genres by showcasing new and independent artists, as well as reviving classic horror films. Held at the Media Arts Center San Diego’s Digital Gym in North Park, the October festival features films ranging from psychological thrillers to supernatural horror to slashers and even related genres like noir. October 2015 dates are still to be announced.
  • In September, the San Diego International Kids’ Film Festival supports entertainment and education industries by showcasing international films, screening more than 60 films from 38 countries at the AMN Healthcare Theater in Carmel Valley. The festival provides aspiring young filmmakers with an opportunity to communicate to an international community. Dates for 2015 are still to be announced.
  • In November, the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC) at the California State University San Marcos presents the San Diego American Indian Film Festival. The festival highlights the best of current films from American Indian filmmakers, producers, directors and actors working through Indian Country. In addition to film viewings, the event includes three days of interactive dialogues with film industry professionals, selected panel discussions and opportunity for Q&A sessions after each screening. Dates for 2015 are still to be announced.
  • Presented by the Pacific Arts Movement, the San Diego Asian Film Festival in November celebrates motion pictures, shorts and animation from Asian artists from around the world. The 10-day festival takes place at various venues around San Diego; dates for 2015 are still to be announced.
  • The annual San Diego Italian Film Festival showcases the best new Italian films ranging from engaging dramas and entertaining comedies to documentaries telling unique stories. The 2015 festival will take place at the historic La Paloma Theater in San Diego’s North County; dates are still to be announced.
  • The San Diego Black Film Festival spotlights African-American and African diaspora cinema. At the annual festival held in January, the San Diego Black Film Festival presents more than 100 films ranging from comedy and drama to documentaries, animation, shorts and more at downtown San Diego’s Reading Theater. Dates for 2016 are still to be announced.
  • The San Diego Jewish Film Festival showcases American and international feature films, documentaries and short films that explore the Jewish experience.  The festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in February 2015 with nearly 50 films screened at venues around the county. Dates for 2016 are still to be announced.

For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org or call 619-236-1212.

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Experience Winter in Wine Country and Celebrate the Holidays at The Meritage in Napa

December 5, 2014

The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. is hosting a variety of events for the holidays, including an elegant New Years Eve dinner in its Estate Cave and Ballroom Celebration. The resort will also offer special dinners in its award winning restaurant, Siena. A new, Winter in Wine Country Package includes a wine blending experience at Judd’s Hill Winery.
Christmas Dinner, December 25 will include a savory four-course menu full of holiday cheer and tasty delights. Tickets and Info: MeritageResort.com/product/Christmas-Day-Dinner-Siena/

NYE Dinners and Ballroom Celebration, December 31
NYE with Siena with Ballroom Celebration includes a four-course meal. Ticket price includes dinner at Siena and entrance to the NYE ballroom celebration, which includes sweet bites, music, dancing, a champagne toast at midnight, and a cash bar for libations. Tickets and Info: http://meritageresort.com/product/new-years-eve-dinner-siena-ballroom-celebration/

NYE with Trinitas Cellars and Ballroom Celebration starts with a reception in the Estate Cave followed by a magnificent candle lit multi-course dinner. Each course will be paired with delicious Trinitas wines. After a delicious meal, join the big NYE Bash in The Meritage’s Ballroom! Registration is in the Estate Cave. Tickets and Info: http://meritageresort.com/product/nye-trinitas-cellars-ballroom-celebration/

NYE Ballroom Celebration includes entrance, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. Enjoy live music by the Brian Cline Band. A VIP/Bubble Lounge is available, which includes access to the Bubble Lounge and bottle service (additional charge applies). Tickets and Info: http://meritageresort.com/product/new-years-eve-ballroom-celebration/

Rooms Special for All Holidays: Extend your holiday stay, book 3 or more nights and receive 30% off per night when using the discount code CHEERS14. Offer available through January 4, 2015. Visit MeritageResort.com or call 844.993.9628 for reservations.

Experience Winter in Wine Country: Winter is one of the best times to visit Napa Valley. Many wines have recently been released, restaurants and tasting rooms are less crowded and, although the vines are dormant for the winter, the hills and valleys are alive with mustard blossoms and greenery. Winter in Wine Country starts with in November and goes through early March.

Winter in Wine Country Includes:
• 2-night stay in a Guest Room
• Wine Blending Experience at Judd’s Hill Winery, includes three finished bottles of wine (up to 4 guests).
• 2 glasses of the wine of the week at The Commons: A Wine Bar
• 15% off Spa Terra treatment (excluding Saturdays)
• Breakfast for two at Siena
• Upgrade based on availability

Winter in Wine Country Reservations can be made by Clicking Here.

For additional information about The Meritage Resort and Spa visit MeritageResort.com.

The Meritage Resort and Spa is a four-diamond Napa Valley luxury resort set against a hillside vineyard. A destination unto itself, it features 322 Tuscan-inspired guestrooms and luxury suites, seasonal farm-to-table cuisine at the Siena Restaurant and wine tasting in the Estate Cave featuring Trinitas Cellars. Regain a healthful balance with curative treatments at Spa Terra—a lavish underground spa with steam grottoes, soaking pools, treatment alcoves and tranquil walls of water. The resort boasts the most comprehensive event and meeting space in the wine country, including the two largest ballrooms in the Napa Valley, the Estate Cave and three covered terraces. Crush Ultra Lounge offers guests a chance to relax with a full bar, sports entertainment and six bowling lanes.

For additional information about The Meritage Resort and Spa visit MeritageResort.com.
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Meritage Resort Offers Special Rates for Displaced Residents and Travelers Following Napa Earthquake

August 26, 2014
The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, California, offered its ‘Meritage Masterpiece: The Art of Relaxation’ package in conjunction with Napa Valley’s Arts in April.

The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, California, offered its ‘Meritage Masterpiece: The Art of Relaxation’ package in conjunction with Napa Valley’s Arts in April.

The Meritage Resort and Spa is open and fully operational following the South Napa Earthquake that occurred at approximately 3:20 a.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, August 24, 2014. As the city of Napa and others throughout Napa Valley are working to clean up and open local businesses, restaurants and other hotels, The Meritage has been offering displaced residents and travelers special rates to assist during this time.

“We are working with our business partners and other hotels throughout Napa Valley to assist in any way that we can,” said Michael Palmer, general manager of The Meritage Resort and Spa. “We have been offering special rates to residents who cannot go back home because of structural damage, been in contact with hotels in Downtown Napa that have had to move guests, and are continuing to work with our staff to ensure that they and their families are safe.”

The Meritage Resort and Spa is a proud partner of Visit Napa Valley and is working to provide guests with a list of open wineries, restaurants and shops they can visit during their stay in Napa over the coming days and weeks.

“It is important that travelers know Napa Valley is open for business,” said Palmer. “Napa Valley restaurants, wineries and other local businesses are ready to serve them and provide the world-class hospitality that we are known for.”

The Meritage Resort and Spa is a four-diamond Napa Valley luxury resort set against a hillside vineyard. A destination unto itself, it features 322 Tuscan-inspired guestrooms and luxury suites, seasonal farm-to-table cuisine at the Siena Restaurant and wine tasting in the Estate Cave featuring Trinitas Cellars. Regain a healthful balance with curative treatments at Spa Terra-a lavish underground spa with steam grottoes, soaking pools, treatment alcoves and tranquil walls of water. The resort boasts the most comprehensive event and meeting space in the wine country, including the two largest ballrooms in the Napa Valley, the Estate Cave and three covered terraces. Crush Ultra Lounge offers guests a chance to relax with a full bar, sports entertainment and six bowling lanes.

For more information about The Meritage Resort and Spa visit http://www.MeritageResort.com or email info@meritageresort.com. For Napa locals who need a place to stay, please call The Meritage Resort and Spa directly at 707.251.1900. 

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Hyatt Regency San Francisco Invites Guests to Extend the Weekend, Explore City

August 23, 2014
The Hyatt Regency San Francisco is offering its popular Explore Package in conjunction with a series of free walking tours, especially designed for those who want to take a long weekend getaway to discover San Francisco’s many outdoor attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco is offering its popular Explore Package in conjunction with a series of free walking tours, especially designed for those who want to take a long weekend getaway to discover San Francisco’s many outdoor attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco, a luxury property on the city’s waterfront, is offering its popular Explore Package in conjunction with a series of free walking tours, especially designed for those who want to take a long weekend getaway to discover San Francisco’s many outdoor assets. 

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco’s Explore Package includes overnight accommodations in newly renovated guestrooms, 15% off food and beverage at Eclipse Restaurant located in the Guinness Book of World Records largest atrium lobby and two San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) passes, which provide unlimited daily use on the iconic cable cars, historic street cars, busses and trolleys.  Rates start at $229 with further discounts available for those that extend their weekend into Sunday and Monday nights.

And, for those who want to extend their stay in San Francisco through Sunday and Monday nights, there are many diversions, including free concerts at Sigmund Stern Grove, better ticket availability for such popular attractions as Beach Blanket Babylon, better chance of snagging last-minute passes for the Alcatrz Cruises’ prison tour, fewer crowds at some of the city’s most popular attractions, like for such museums/attractions as Academy of Sciences; ExplOratorium; Hyde Street Pier; PIER 39; Cable Cars; walking or biking across the Golden Gate Bridge; Japanese Tea Garden; and greater access to some of the most celebrated restaurants, such as restaurants, including:  Boulevard, La Mar, Water Bar, Plouf, Butterfly, Chaya Brasserie, Piperade and Slanted Door.

Walking San Francisco’s Most Beloved Destinations

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco is ideally situated to explore the City-by-the-Bay. with free, self-guided walking tours:

Lands End: Sometimes considered the wildest, rockiest corner of San Francisco, Land’s End is a historical hike that begins at Point Lobos and is an ideal location to watch the spectacular sea lions bark on the rocks below.  This is a nice retreat from the busy city life where outdoor enthusiast can get lost in the dramatic cliffs, open terrain and 30-mile, panoramic views of the California coast. While here, hikers can also visit the ruins of Sutro Baths, a large public bathhouse that was constructed in 1896. There is also a Labyrinth, shipwreck remains and the Palace of the Legion of Honor to round out the adventure. This relatively easy hike is roughly 3.4 miles long and normally takes 1-3 hours. For more information, check out http://www.everytrail.com/guide/lands-end-san-francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge Walk: The Golden Gate Bridge is the icon of San Francisco and is considered to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. Luckily, visitors have the opportunity to walk across the 1.7 miles span of this bridge, which opened to the public on May 28, 1937 at a cost $35 million dollars. For those that want a longer walk, there is a trail up to Hendrik Point, which features a phenomenal view of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline. For more information, check out http://www.everytrail.com/guide/walking-the-golden-gate-bridge.

One Perfect Day in San Francisco: San Francisco may be as diverse a city as they come. The city boasts vast culture, art and history. For one perfect day, enjoy this 7.1 mile tour that will highlight  the locals’ favorite diversions. It begins at Tartine Bakery, which is one of the best bakeries-cafés in town. Next, Stow Lake, where adventurers can rent rowboats and paddle boats. For lunch, walk a short few blocks to check out the vicinity surrounding UCSF at Irving Street & 9th Ave where there’s a diverse group of several ethnic restaurants. Then, return to Golden Gate Park for a visit to The Academy of Sciences Museum, a world-class science museum that has visitors lost for hours. Finally, finish at Haight-Ashbury, which takes visitors back in time to the hippie culture of the 60s. For more information, check out http://www.everytrail.com/guide/one-perfect-day-in-san-francisco.

Downtown Architecture Walk: For those interested in a walking tour through the heart of downtown San Francisco, check out Crocker Galleria, Hallidi Building on 150 Sutter St, Wells Fargo Banking Hall, 111 Sutter St, City Group Center Greenhouse, The Crown Zellerbach Paper Co. Building and Shell Building. These buildings offer unique architecture that are not found anywhere else, and are considered to be some of the most important buildings in the world. Even though it’s only a half a mile walk, architecture buffs can get lost here for hours just admiring the beauty this historic area. For more information, check out http://www.everytrail.com/guide/san-francisco-downtown-architecture-walk.

Touring Chinatown: Tourists and locals alike are drawn to the irresistible charm that Chinatown has to offer. The entryway to this historic neighborhood features a green-tiled gate at the intersection of Grant and Bush streets at which point visitors are drawn into one of North America’s most populated Asian communities with the authentic ambiance of shops, restaurants, grocery stores, delis, bakeries, fortune cookie factory, tea and herbal shops, galleries, souvenir haunts and more. At 1.2 miles long, it’s the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. For more information, check out http://www.everytrail.com/guide/chinatown-san-francisco-walk.

Union Square and SoMa: Built in 1850, with a history from the Union troops of the Civil War, Union Square is the place to gravitate to for shopaholics, theater enthusiasts and people watching addicts. Some of the most reputable retailers include Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s, Williams-Sonoma, Nike and Neiman Marcus. Or, for those that enjoy the more exclusive boutiques, head to Maiden Lane for the more intimate, chic boutiques and cafes. Before or after shopping, take the cable car or head to south of Market Street (SOMA) to enjoy museums, park life, a great variety of food and drinks and several family-friends sites. To properly prepare for this outing, prepare for a half-day with a 1.6 mile long journey. For more information, check out http://www.everytrail.com/guide/san-francisco-s-union-square-amp-soma.

The Explore Package is available through December 30, 2014 (with the exception of blackout dates) and is based on availability.  Rates vary according to dates of reservations (best rates available on Sunday and Monday nights). For reservations and additional information, visit www.sanfranciscoregency.hyatt.com or call (800) 233-1234.

About Hyatt Regency San Francisco

Situated on the Embarcadero Waterfront, across from the iconic Ferry Building Marketplace, with ferries to Sausalito, Tiburon and Alameda, Hyatt Regency San Francisco is the city’s most accessible hotel.  The hotel is at the beginning of the California Street Cable Car line and is also in close proximity to the Embarcadero Center’s shops and restaurants, Financial District, Downtown, Chinatown, North Beach, Union Square, South of Market, AT&T Park (home of the SF Giants) and Embarcadero’s waterfront walking and jogging trail.

The city’s largest luxury waterfront hotel, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco boasts 804 newly refreshed rooms and suites. Guest services and amenities include Wi-Fi service throughout the hotel, 24-hour automated business center and 24-hour StayFit @ Hyatt Fitness Center. Situated in the soaring atrium lobby of the hotel, amidst magnificent trees and trellises that create a serene and relaxing environment, Eclipse Restaurant and Lounge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring classic interpretations of local cuisine. In addition to the physical attributes of the hotel, Hyatt Regency San Francisco has also been distinguished as one of The Best Places to Work in the Bay Area, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

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