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It's peak harvest season for winemakers, where they're getting grapes prepared for their next vintage. Depending on the climate and part of the country, the process can begin in August, but it usually lasts right to until the end of October.
This is when wine lovers are excited to witness the magic and sheepishly live out their "I Love Lucy" fantasies and stomp some grapes. While the practice isn't really done anymore for hygiene reasons, there are a few wineries that will do it as part of a festival or kitsch.
Still, the autumn splendor, fall foliage, and rows of vines are reason enough for us to have a crush on these hotels in some of the country's top winelands.
1. The month-old Salamander Resort & Spa, just 40 minutes from Washington D.C., is lucky enough to be surrounded by almost 50 wineries. On Saturday October 12th, chef Todd Gray can pack guests a gourmet picnic basket as they head to the Fall Crush festival at the Winery at Bull Run. There, one can literally help stomp out poverty by taking part in grape stomping activities. There's also corn holes and live bands for added entertainment, all while trying local Viogniers and Meritages. 100% of the proceeds from the event will support Meant 2 Live Foundation and FACETS, which helps parents, their children, and individuals suffering the effects of poverty in Fairfax County and also Orphans of Zambia. Rates at the resort begin at $425.
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We hate to keep going on about summer ending soon and all but, as if to prove our point, time’s running out on some of these fave seasonal cocktails. You better get ‘em while you can.
The bar downstairs at the Andaz 5th Avenue has some summery cocktails on offer until September 30. The two most popular are the Taken to Task, containing Aylesbury Duck vodka, lemon, Cochhi Americano, berries and orange bitters, and the Scarlet Rum Old-Fashioned, with Flor de Caña 7 year rum, Scarlet Ibis rum, Clear Creek Pear Liqueur and Angostura bitters. Mmm… boozy.
The Waldorf Astoria New York has U.S. Open fever and is offering a grand slam of a cocktail during the run of the matches in August and September. The Tennis Ball features the hotel’s Top of the Waldorf Honey produced by the six apiaries on the 20th floor along with Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, Cocchi Americano, Midori melon liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
Two more "can't misses" below!
When it comes to picturesque properties, The Salish Lodge & Spa in Washington certainly needs no introduction or explanation.
Back in 2009, we gushed over a really pleasant experience, enjoying the ridiculous, romance-enducing setting as well as one of the Lodge's infamous moonlight massages. The Salish did away with the moonlight massages for a while, but they're back, along with the opening of a new "yoga tent" called the "Hidden Terrace."
This new temperature controlled canvas and glass enclosed tent sits atop the 268-foot waterfall and allows for killer views even on the coldest days of winter (or a damp, wet Northwest day). You can check out a few photos in the gallery below.
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TGIF! It’s no secret we at HC love hotel rooftops, inventive cocktails, and inexpensive happy hours (though we’re fond of non-boozy afternoon tea, too!). Still, how awesome is it when we get a trifecta of all three, namely Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails--the new restaurant and bar just opened at the Red Lion Hotel in Downtown Seattle?
Set on the fifth floor of the Fifth Avenue building above the bustling streets below, Frolik guests are in for a treat when they come to the city’s largest outdoor deck—4,000 square-feet worth—and indulge in the all-evening happy hour (from 4-10pm). One can choose to chill by the firewall or the communal fireplace table, all while enjoying the Puget Sound views and bumping music.
People pretend to come for the drinks, but we know better. What they really want? A hearty game of ping-pong and shuffleboard. Don’t do a double take, there’s a reason why people get aggressive with that paddle and tiny ball, and Frolik knows it.
That's why they're well prepared for sports and serious sipping.
It's one thing for your hotel to have its own swimming pool or, if you're seeking to get "out in nature," perhaps a pond or lake for boating. It's entirely another thing for that hotel to boast a waterfall in its side yard.
Well, that's actually the case at Washington's Salish Lodge, a small five-star retreat 30 minutes outside of Seattle. While it's all Pacific Northwest-typical dark leather couches, wool and stone on the inside, the exterior of the main building is awash in the green and granite of the raw parkland and Snoqualmie River, into which the Snoqualmie Falls drop.
We love to taste our way around the Pacific Northwest wine appellations. So when we finally visited the quintessential Northwest style Willows Lodge in Woodinville, we were really happy to find out that in addition to delicious local wines, there are three more reasons to stay here.
Number one is the location. The hotel Willows Lodge is tucked into the Columbia Valley wine appellation about 15 miles northeast of Seattle making for a perfect base for exploring the surrounding wineries including the grand-mere of them all Chateau Ste. Michelle, which is conveniently just across the road.
Ready to take your next West Coast road trip to the next level? Check out this $0.99 iPhone/iPad app by GuideGecko, which organizes over 200 hotels—by state—along the 1,250 mile journey from San Diego to Seattle. And for all you jet-setting winos, there is even a special category built for California Wine Country.
While travel guidebooks can certainly be helpful in providing local info, listings, and some photos, no 500-page Lonely Planet can ever become as fully integrated (or as lightweight) as an app like this. Want to call and check availability? You're already on your phone. Want to book online? Tap away. Got lost along the way? All of the maps can be accessed offline.
The reputation of hotel restaurants as sad, overpriced affairs is quickly falling away as some talented chefs make the eateries destinations of their own. This week, HotelChatter contributor Katherine Spiers is taking us to some of the best hotel restaurants in the world.
The restaurant at the Inn at Langley isn't messing around: they're only open three or four nights at week. And dining here is a serious event, with seven or so courses. It makes sense, as there's not much to do on Whidbey Island but work up an appetite, and then indulge it.
Washington state has great natural products, from fruit to fish, and the Inn keeps the menu pretty local and seasonal: looking at today's seasonal menu, the only thing that couldn't have originated on Whidbey Island itself seems to be the coconut and mango in the dessert; you'll dine overlooking the herb garden.
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The Quinault rainforest, as seen by HotelChatter last week. Sadly we failed to find Edward Cullen
Sometimes you want to end the year by partying your brain into a gutter and sometimes you want to turn your back on all the fake-happy Christmas parties and ignore the fact that another year is about to finish. And if you’re leaning the latter way this year, then you’re in for a treat, because two of the properties within Washington State’s Olympic National Park are offering a pretty good deal for the tail end of the year.
Stay one night for $99 at either Lake Quinault Lodge, in the middle of the Quinault Rainforest, or Kalaloch Lodge, on the coastal road up to Forks, and you can book a second night for $20.10 (because it’s the end of 2010, see).
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It's that time of the year again folks--when the Twilight franchise puts out another movie. This time it's Eclipse, where Bella and Edward, with a little help from Jacob and his werewolf friends, battle an army of Vampires assembled by Victoria.
As always, when there's a new Twilight movie there's a Twilight hotel package and the Kalaloch Lodge in Forks, Wash., has revamped (heh) their New Moon package to reflect the new movie. The Twilight Eclipse package gives Team Edward and Team Jacob fans a stay in a log cabin, a map of Forks highlighting all locations listed in the series, Twilight water bottles and Twilight triva. Oh and a special Twilight dessert for you to sink your teeth into.
Update: Vampires in the Caribbean? They can be if you book the Westin St. John's New Moon package. Details after the jump.
We know that you already have your New Moon tickets safely tucked away inside your Hannah Montana wallet (just behind your "High School Musical" pocket calendar) but if you want the teen vampire love saga to last beyond the 90-minutes of the film, consider a New Moon hotel package from one of these hotels.
The Hotel Triton in San Francisco is inviting guests to explore the gothic side of Nob Hill with a pair of tickets to the Vampire Tours of San Francisco and then spend the night relaxing in one of their guest rooms (with blacked-out windows) with a bottle of red wine and cherry-filled chocolates. AMC movie passes, a New Moon welcome amenity and a strange choice of either sunscreen (if you're a vampire) or a garlic necklace (for mortals.) Package prices start at $103 a night and you can book them online here. While it is available next weekend, the package is sold out tomorrow and Saturday.
We hear the word "Rocktober," and we're instantly transported back to our Philly youth, when the 93.3 WMMR radio DJ's would belt it out with a reverb echo effect every chance they got. It kinda sucked, because October was (and still is) our favorite month, and the cheese factor of these overly schticky on-air personalities has stuck in our head for years. We'll get over it. Le sigh.
Instead of "Rocktober," some folks have, dare we say, more civilized visions of what this autumnal month means. For many, it's "Oktoberfest," a 16-day festival centered about consuming copious amounts of beer, schweinsbraten and sauerkraut. Oh yeah, and wearing sexy lace-up dirndls. But at Barking Frog at Willows Lodge in Woodinville (Seattle's answer to wine country, although most of the AVA's grapes are actually grown in Eastern Washington), it can only mean one, high-proof thing -- "Scotchtober."