CALIFORNIA Travel Guide

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Montage Hotels Breaks Ground on New Gaslamp Hotel, The Pendry

Where: 5th Avenue and J Street [map], San Diego, California, United States
October 14, 2014 at 10:58 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, San Diego broke ground on its newest hotel project, a 317-room, 12-story Montage Hotel in the city's Gaslamp Quarter.

Scheduled to open in 2016, the hotel will have just 36 rooms with only one and two-bedroom suite options. The property, which will not be called Montage, but rather Pendry San Diego, will also have two restaurants, a spa, a rooftop pool, a nightclub, and a beer hall. Is it expected to draw both business and leisure travelers with its location three blocks from the convention center in the heart of the city's main leisure district, the Gaslamp.

The hotel says it will "appeal to young, hip guests looking for both superior personal service and high-quality design and amenities," and rates are projected to start between $250 and $300 a night. Few details have been released about the restaurants, nightclub, and beer hall, but the hotel hopes to attract locals as well as visitors and become a destination in themselves.

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Botlr, The Hotel Robot, May Be Coming to a Hotel Near You

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 10165 North De Anza Boulevard [map], Cupertino, California , United States, 95014
September 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

Named for its purpose and state of mind, Botlr, the robotic servant is currently at the tail end of a test run at the Cupertino Aloft in California. We told you all about Botlr last month but in case you need a refresher, here's how he/it works:

After receiving a request that needs to be delivered, such as a snack or small amenity, a hotel employee programs the robot by hitting a few buttons. Botlr then uses the hotel Wifi to interact within the hotel and perform tasks, such as calling and directing the elevator to a specific floor. It is programmed with a mapping system that allows it to navigate through the property, the exact same technology used by Google's self-driving cars. Cameras help it avoid obstacles and real people.

When it arrives, it uses a signal to call the room telephone and alert the guest. Sensors allow Botlr to recognize when the door is opened and lift the lid on its storage container. And instead of being silently pressured into giving a tip, guests can enter a review for Botlr on its flat panel display screen. If it's a positive review, the Botlr will do a little dance. Well, that solves our problem of not having enough cash on us.

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Stay Warm in One of Loews Santa Monica’s New Beachcomber Fire Pit Rooms

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1700 Ocean Avenue [map], Santa Monica, California, United States, 90401
September 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

You can now stay warm while you chill out in front of your own personal fire pit at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel’s new Beachcomber Fire Pit Rooms and Suites, where temperatures December through February can plummet to a horrifying 50 F (that’s a shout-out to all of you tough northerners out there who can endure -20 F in January – we’re looking at you Fargo).

With direct access to the beach, these four stylin’ rooms all have terraces with private fire pits so that you can roast some wienies or pig out on s’mores in a more civilised way than backpacking with a tent in tow and searching for kindling (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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Santa Barbara's Newest Hotel is a Hostel, But It's For More Than Just Backpackers

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 12 E. Montecito Street [map], Santa Barbara, California, United States, 93101
August 19, 2014 at 6:14 PM | by | Comments (0)

Known for a hotel scene that bears a burden on the budget traveler, Santa Barbara's newest hotel, which is actually a hostel, looks to fill that void. Opened this week in the Funk Zone neighborhood, The Wayfarer is a 31-room hostel that offers both private and shared accommodations.

The opening of the Wayfarer is especially interesting given its location in the Funk Zone. An "artsy" neighborhood filled with murals, a surf museum, wine tasting rooms, breweries, a distillery, and small restaurants, it displayed a touch of grit in its early days that Santa Barbara had always lacked. But as its popularity has grown, so have the price tags on its restaurants and urban wineries.

Last year, our bro Jaunted noted that the local media was concerned that the growing gentrification of the neighborhood would ultimately be what killed it as higher-end concepts and projects, including hotels, looked to capitalize.

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Santa Barbara's Second Kimpton Property Will Open This Summer in a Not-So-Ideal Location

June 25, 2014 at 1:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Canary Hotel will get some company later this summer when Santa Barbara County debuts its second Kimpton property in the form of The Goodland Hotel, set to open in July with 158 rooms and a self-described "Southern California Bohemia meets surf culture design.”

Kimpton’s vibe and localized approach to hotel decor is a good match for Santa Barbara’s laid-back scene, fitting in nicely between the small beachy inns (Hotel Milo) and the bigger, more luxurious hotels (Fess Parker). But one curious thing about the decision is the location of the property, as it will be located outside of downtown Santa Barbara in neighboring Goleta.

Now, there’s nothing “wrong” with Goleta (I used to live there, in fact), but it certainly isn’t a prime location as a tourist looking to experience Santa Barbara. You’re caught nearly ten miles outside the buzz of downtown in a much more residential and strip-mall oriented area, and most of the other hotels nearby are basic, catering to businessmen and parents of university students. Renting a car becomes almost imperative as you won’t be able to walk to any restaurants, bars, or beaches. The website describes the hotel as being "a rollerblade away" from downtown Santa Barbara, but that's unfortunately incredibly deceptive and, to be honest, simply a flat-out lie.

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Hotel del Coronado Introduces New Beachfront Amenities

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1500 Orange Ave [map], San Diego, California , United States, 92118
April 29, 2014 at 10:01 AM | by | Comments (0)

With Memorial Day around the corner, it’s that time of year when hotels take down the scaffolding and show off newly renovated digs in time for the busy summer season. The 126 year-old Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego is the latest to announce a refreshed look with the upcoming launch of a new beach area on May 1st.

Called Del Beach, the new waterfront set-up features daybeds, half-moon cabanas, boogie boards, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayak rentals, and a beach playground for kids. The revamp will also come with new white and burgundy beach towels, and guests can rent chaise loungers and sun umbrellas. A full food and beverage service will offer salads, sandwiches, mai tais, and margaritas right on the beach.

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This Inn in Ojai Seems Like it Could Belong in the Rainforest

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 108 Pauline St [map], Ojai, California, United States
April 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

The small town of Ojai often gets lost in the shadows of destinations such as Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Big Sur along California's central coast, but after a recent visit to the "Valley of the Moon," we began to understand what has made it a long-time getaway for those looking to escape L.A. and refresh in the powerful, healing aura that our bro Jaunted discovered.

Something that initially seems like a drawback is what turns out to be one of Ojai's best attributes: The fact that it is not located on the coast. Tourists coming to California understandably want to be near the ocean, yet same-state travelers (aka Cali locals) appreciate the change in scenery, change of pace, and the rejuvenating properties that live in the orchard-heavy landscape of Ojai.

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What to Expect When Santa Barbara's Hotel Oceana Turns Into The Hotel Milo

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 202 W. Cabrillo Boulevard [map], Santa Barbara, California, United States, 93101
April 10, 2014 at 3:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Biltmore, Bacara, and Davy Crockett's Fess Parker get a lot of the attention when it comes to Santa Barbara's hotel scene and full-service resorts, yet a drive through town, especially in the blocks adjacent to the beach, reveals clusters of boutique hotels and small inns that far outnumber the bigger brands.

One such property is the Hotel Oceana on Cabrillo Boulevard, which sits across the street from the beach and the harbor. Featuring a collection of cozy courtyards outside of rooms and between buildings, we were impressed with its colorful landscaping, the blues, reds, and yellows of the flowers and furniture bold against the backdrop of the green gardens. The rooms and views are just as eye-popping, as you will see in the following photos.

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An Idyllic View of Santa Barbara From The Fess Parker Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard [map], Santa Barbara, California, United States, 93103
April 3, 2014 at 11:18 AM | by | Comments (0)

A few weeks ago, we showed you the before and after pics of the Fess Parker's most recent renovation. The revamp ensured that the hotel will remain one of the city's flagship hotels going forward, at least as far as aesthetics go. We love the new rooms, and one thing that hasn't changed is the beautiful ocean and mountain views they provide.

Next week, we'll poke around town and dish on all the hotel news happening around town, including other hotel renovations as well as offerings you can expect from different properties this summer.

For now, enjoy this wonderful view from the hotel's Gardenia Building, and feel free to daydream about the warm California sun as we transition into spring.

[Photo: Will McGough]

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No Joke: This Hotel Left a Sticky Note On the Headboard

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 2481 S.El Camino Real [map], San Clemente , California, United States, 92672
April 1, 2014 at 10:55 AM | by | Comments (4)

Hmmm... this was definitely a new one for us. This weekend, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in San Clemente, California, while attending a wedding on the adjacent golf course, and when we entered our room, we found this note waiting for us, pressed on the headboard.

As snotty as it sounds, our first thought was whether the hotel wanted a cookie for this typically routine service. We also wondered if sticky notes are now the new way to communicate in our technologically advanced world.

But alas, the note is actually just a marketing opportunity by Hampton Inn. (We've seen another hotel use sticky notes before as a marketing gimmick too.)

A few years ago, the brand rolled out these printed sticky notes to assure guests that the sheets on the bed are clean. Which makes sense since our #1 fear is usually that the duvet cover hasn't been washed and contains god-knows-what kind of stains.

But while we definitely appreciate clean linens, we're not sure we need a note, much less a sticky note on the headboard, to remind us. This isn't Office Space, it's a hotel room.

What do you think? Should Hampton Inn use sticky notes on the headboard to remind guests about the clean linens? Or is there another way to do this? Sound off in comments below!

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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A Look at 4 of South Lake Tahoe's Newly Renovated Hotels

March 27, 2014 at 1:31 PM | by | Comment (1)

South Lake Tahoe's newest hotel, the Landing.

Despite eight ski resorts in the greater Tahoe area, winter is actually the region's offseason and, this year, it has seen an impressive amount of renovation take place in anticipation of the busy summer season. Below, we take a look at some South Lake properties that have been brushed up of late:

The Landing

It's the newest hotel in Tahoe having just opened at the end of last year, and it's also South Lake's most high-end boutique resort. We told you about the bathrooms that sport the manliest hotel amenity ever, and that novelty is just a tiny aspect of what makes the lake-front Landing impressive. Its in-house, wood-fire Greek restaurant, Jimmy's, is perhaps the best dining in town (we recommend going with the tapas), and its position on the lake results in killer views. A full-service spa, free wine tasting, valet parking, and in-room fireplaces round out the perks. Rates start at $199/night.

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Yosemite Launches Package at Four Park Properties to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

March 20, 2014 at 5:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Our bro Jaunted is pulling back the curtain on Yosemite's 150th Anniversary this week, diving into the park's history and showing off some of its natural wonders, such as a waterfall that becomes a "firefall" for two weeks during February.

The winter months have their charm in Yosemite, but that said, spring, summer, and fall are without question the times of year when you can fully enjoy the outdoors. In celebration of its birthday, Yosemite has put together a package that will run at four park hotels from April 1st to September 30th.

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