La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

 Family Travel Contributor – Hillary Helsing

This week, we welcome our first Family Travel Contributor, Hillary Helsing, as she takes us to sweet SoCal for some stelllar family fun. No stranger to surf luxury, Hillary, an ex-pharmaceutical sales executive and one-time Quiksilver employee, resides in Huntington Beach and lives for luxe family vacations that don’t always break the bank. If a destination is going to cost a pretty penny, she believes that quality must reign supreme. After all, her little darlings are worth it.

Grilling with the Family

Location, Location, Location… with laid back luxury in kiddie heaven! A historic icon, La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club first opened in 1927, but today still carries with it that classic clout. With newly renovated rooms and suites, I recommend the north end of the private cove and an ocean front suite. The suites all have full kitchens (make bottles, pb&j, butter noodles… because I hate paying for that crap), and living/bed rooms all have cruise ship views.

Don’t expect opulence or marble tubs – sandy feet are welcome. The club includes: kiddie pools, big pool, private beach, hot cabana boys, best tennis ever, pitch and put 9 hole golf, minutes to downtown La Jolla, a playground with swings and slides and all the other resort hoopla you would expect. Leave your Burberry bikini at home and save that for the Montage in Laguna when you’re on vacation with your nanny. To stay here you have money, but there’s no need to flaunt it.

Wear your kid friendly outfit, forget the bling because you’re going to want to hit up the complementary sand toy box and dig in the sand with your kids. Reserve a BBQ (they set it up for you on the beach) grill away and go buy the s’mores kit from the gift shop. Your kids will love it! If I am going to leave the OC with my kids it better be great, and this is, in one word, great!

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Rates from $339-$1629/night

www.ljbtc.com

Doing Business. Croatian Style.

Hotel Lone's Sexy Pool

Check it out, ballers! Hotel Lone, Design Hotels™ first member in Croatia, is now open. Okay, yes, we’re obsessed with Design Hotels, but we’re also obsessed with Croatia. Not only did we rub elbows with the ex-PM’s daughter in Grad School (talk about a stunner!), but we also think Croatian men are hunks. So, what better reason to hit the road, Jack, then to head to the 248-room property located in the picturesque Mediterranean town of Rovinj, in the exclusive Monte Mulini neighborhood. Built to resemble a sleek white ocean liner floating on the hillside, the hotel also offers a range of places to wine and dine including three restaurants, three bars and… you guessed it… a night club. It also features a Mediterranean-inspired wellness center, a 600-seat auditorium and nine other meeting and conference spaces with state-of-the-art technology (since those of us who’ve had to put on events know just how critical good A/V equipment can be). So we say, Hotel Lone’s design focus, together with first-rate event and leisure facilities, create the perfect symbiosis of work and play.

Hot Tubbin' It at the Hotel Lone

As Design Hotels explain, “The ancient woodlands and wave-lapped coves of Croatia’s Adriatic coast have long been attracting sun-hungry tourists, leaving business travelers with no choice but to seek refuge elsewhere. Now though, after years of meticulous planning, there’s a proper design-focused place for them to stay in. The Croatian architectural firm 3LHD teamed up with Studio Numen and freelance conceptual artists to create an exterior and interior that ooze tailor-made design.

Wrapped by the emerald trees of the Zlatni Rt forest, and marked out by seductive minimalist curves, Hotel Lone is a conference hotel with a difference. Owned by Croatian hotel company Maistra Inc. and just a 10-minute walk from one of the most picturesque towns on the Mediterranean, Rovinj, it bends away from the coastline in a distinctive Y-shape, which means all 248 rooms and suites have views of the island-speckled coastline. Some of the hotel’s six meeting rooms benefit from this unusual profile, too, with high ceilings and wide spaces giving guests the freedom to think.” And, when you’re off galavanting around Europe for work and play, that’s exactly what you need.

The Swanky Spa

Locally grown rosemary, lavender and olive oil only add to the temptation of the Mediterranean-inspired wellness spa, while the open-plan lobby – decked in mirrors and cool white stones – allows the outstanding natural beauty of the surrounding area to flood inside. The project, led by Croatian architect Silvije Novak of 3LHD and inspired by the typology of 1970s Croatian hotels, brings the idea of terraced hotels with large lobbies to the scene and all rooms have spectacular sea or park views, with a dramatic hotel lobby opening up towards the sky with an atrium spanning six levels.

Hotel Lone's Infrared Spa

From Gastronomy to Wellness
With seven restaurants and bars, each with a different concept and cuisine, the hotel is a must-visit for food and wine enthusiasts. A la carte restaurant “L” offers traditional Croatian cuisine and over 200 old and new world wines. “ON” focuses on Mediterranean and central European cuisine through buffet and live cooking stations. Restaurant “E” features traditional Eastern cuisine infused with Mediterranean flavors; a highlight is the seafood tapas.

The Wellness Center boasts eight treatment rooms, some with large glass walls with stunning views. The offerings are varied including facial and body treatments, massages, invigorating baths and sauna with scented steam, Finnish, Turkish, salt and infrared sauna options. Infrared, what? That’s right… infrared sauna. We don’t skimp on our suggestions now, do we?

Inside the Wellness Center is also a gym, an aerobics room, a relaxation room, water beds, experiential showers and a swimming pool with hydro-massage therapy. There is also a specially designed space dubbed “sunken room” where guests float on hydro massage beds and chairs. LOVE sunken rooms. You too?

A View from the Hotel Lone

Bespoke Art and Furniture
Hotel Lone also features a collection of furnishings from renowned designers like Patricia Urquiola, Richard Schultz and David Rowland. Specially commissioned visual art installations can be found throughout the hotel’s public spaces. “We wanted guests to feel comfortable in vast spaces without being intimidated,” explains Croatian artist Silvio Vujicic. On the walls as well as along the lobby, spatial mixed media installations draw guests into the story and concept behind Hotel Lone. The rooms and suites are also decorated with graphics by Vujicic. As a screen-printing, textile and mixed media impresario, Vujicic drew his inspiration from Istrian cultural heritage and 15th century frescoes.

Location and Rates
With a private location near the sea of the Golden Cape Nature Park, Hotel Lone is surrounded by the historical Mediterranean Park Forest Zlatni Rt and is a 15 minutes walk from Rovinj’s historic town center and marina.

Rates range from EUR 186 – 1813.

The hotel is currently offering a 3 for 2 Summer Special. Available for a short time only, from now until September 1, 2011, guests booking three nights will only pay for two. 

www.designhotels.com/lone

Porto, Portugal: A Palacio Among the Trees

InterContinental Hotel Room: Porto, Portugal

We say, “Drink Port, hang in Porto.” And now… there’s even more reason. The first InterContinental hotel has opened in Porto! After a $43 million-dollar renovation… that’s right, $43 million bones, the InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas is the first upscale hotel in Porto. Designed by Russian architect, Alex Kravetz, and situated in the city’s main square, this fine palacio is housed in a refurbished 200-year-old palace with 105 guestrooms and 16 suites. How suite is that? We must also admit… it’s the little things in life and we love the fact that there’s free WiFi throughout the property (because we think EVERY hotel should have FREE WiFi). You hear that, stingy hoteliers? We also like their re-opening 20% discount, late check-out, and complimentary breakfast from July 14th through the end of September 2011.

Located in the heart of Porto and within the boundaries of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas is in an area brimming with historic cathedrals, markets, museums, local bars and restaurants. And I can say this much… I’ve known quite a few Portuguese in my time and they’re some of the warmest, most beautiful people around. Often a niche vacation (due to the proximity of their bull-toting neighbor), Portugal – and her people – are the next big thing. The property is a quick distance – 30 minutes by car – from the international airport Francisco Sá Carneiro as well as the Ribeira, where travelers can enjoy – if they do desire a little Spain in their trip – a cruise up to the border to explore the wine-producing cellars for a scenic tasting. Pssst… “port” wine historically takes its name from Porto from which it was shipped.

Why we also like the Porto Palacio das Cordosas? Because they’ll also be taking part in InterContinental’s new and unique ‘Insider Collection,’ offering eco and wine excursions, personalized guided tours, helicopter trips, access to personal shopping services, and more. So we say, get thee to Portugal (and pick up a bottle or two of port, just for us).

www.intercontinental.com/porto

Romance & Luxury: A Four Seasons Los Angeles Steal

The Four Seasons Los Angeles Entrance (Sigh)

One of my favorite all time LA classics is The Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills. Oh sure, I could tell you why it’s one of my personal favorites (random run-ins with Sean Penn and Liam Neeson over drinks, the time I sat at a table with Kevin Spacey to watch the Golden Globes, or when Janet Dickinson cracked jokes and munched on an apple in her black monokini by the pool). Hell, there’s no shortage of stories or a scene, but it’s not one of those typical LA obnoxious attitude laden places. Here, business really does get done and the staff always treats you with respect. In short, it’s a classic staple for the Hollywood working crowd (even if you don’t drive a Bentley). You really can’t go wrong with the Four Seasons no matter where you are in the world. They just know service. It’s their ‘thing.’

They also don’t hand out specials willy nilly so, when they do, I’m there (and they’re worth it). To that end, they’ve just launched a new summer ultimate romance package called “Just the Two of Us,” which includes (read it and weep): four hours of spa treatments, dinner at Culina with wine, a poolside cabana, cocktails at Windows Lounge, unlimited mini bar snacks, pajamas, and more!  As Kim Kessler, their Director of PR says, “It’s unlike any package they’ve created in the past and represents a 40% savings!”

The Pool (and where the magic happens)


Their award-winning restaurant Culina, Modern Italian also comes with the Maitre D’s choice of wine, daily breakfast or Sunday brunch for two, a Tory Burch gift set, valet parking, in-room movies and all local and domestic calls.  Wait. Did they say Tory Burch gift set? OMG. Spa treatment selections include massage, facial, manicure, pedicure or personal training session.


The other best part? “Just the Two of Us” is tailored for each couple.  Prior to arrival, the guest relations team creates an itinerary based on specific preferences.  Upon arrival, guests may enjoy aromatherapy candles, pillow spray, pajamas and optional romance kit and couples books complimentary.  The team can also arrange excursions to top Los Angeles attractions such as museums, concerts, restaurants, night clubs and shopping.  


“This is an exceptional package for couples to reconnect and enjoy all that Four Seasons Los Angeles has to offer,” General Manager Mehdi Eftekari purrs. We agree, Mehdi. Couples, take note, because it doesn’t last long. And Angelenos… talk about a great Stay-cation!

Starting at $995/nt it’s valid through August 28, 2011with a two-night minimum stay.

So, it may not be peanuts, but it is super savings in a super swank place (where you’re bound to make super sweet memories). 

http://www.fourseasons.com/losangeles

Jamaica, Mexico, Africa, France… I see your underpants!

Casa Sandra - Holbox Island, Mexico

We thought that title might get your attention. And hey, who knows? Maybe a trip to these hot spots might make you go wild and throw your undies to the wind. With that in mind, when we think of our favorite hotels, we’re often reminded of our favorite loves – their faces, their smells, and, of course, their names.

What’s in a name, you ask? We think quite a lot. After all, people wouldn’t be singing my name to me if my parents hadn’t fallen in love over a little Clapton. To that end, naming a person – or a hotel suite – certainly makes a statement. Names might evoke a famous figure, locale or emotion. So, teaming up with her Wanderlogue bloggers from AMPR, Andria Mitsakos, lifestyle publicistdesigner and wanderlista, spotted five suite names from around the world that have caught her attention enough to spend a night… or two.

Here goes:

Illusion SuiteCasaSandra, Holbox Island, Mexico

Owned by Cuban screenwriter, painter and full-time artist, Sandra Perez, CasaSandra on Holbox Island is a reflection of her love for the arts. She has lined the walls of the 20-room whimsical, beachfront retreat with original works—hers and other Cuban artists. She has personally designed the furnishings and named the rooms after her inspirations: Ilusión (Illusion), Amanecer (Dawn), Sentido (Feeling). No illusions here, the spacious and well-appointed Illusion Suite is dripping with whimsical details.

Jamaica's Geejam Hotel - Port Antonio

Drum & Bass: Geejam, Port Antonio, Jamaica

A signature suite, housed on the ground floor of this tiny gem hotel’s recording studio (some pretty famous artists have slept here too), Drum & Bass is a music head’s most far-flung fantasy. Brazilian cherry wood foldout panels turn the Geejam room into a virtual outdoor veranda. Almost a room in itself, the oversized bathroom is furnished with a steam shower and a Philippe Starckbathtub. Foldout windows give way to an oceanic panorama. You can literally soak in the tub to the sound of the waves.


Tintswalo Atlantic - Cape Town, South Africa

Robben Island SuiteTintswalo Atlantic, Cape Town, South Africa

Perched on stilts above a pebbled beach at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, Tintswalo Atlantic is an exclusive lodge with ten richly appointed suites, each with views of the Atlantic Ocean. Freedom is undeniably embraced in the gleaming Robben Island Suite as it pays tribute to South Africa’s esteemed leader and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela, who was liberated from what is now one of UNESCO’s heritage sites.

Charlie Chaplin Suite: Hotel du Palais, Biarritz, France

Originally built in 1855 by Napoleon III as a summer mansion for Empress Eugenia, Hotel du Palais has always attracted the rich and royals over the years including Leopold II, Stravinsky and Frank Sinatra. Plush Imperial suites are now named after these bon vivants as an honor of their frequent presence and their work to society. Without too many words, the Charlie Chaplin Suite brings much joy, similar to what its namesake screen legend offered to his audience.

The Beach in Front of Pink Sands Resort - Harbour Island, Bahamas

Yellow Heron Cottage: Pink Sands, Harbour Island Bahamas

Pink Sands’ 25 pastel colored cottages are nestled on 20 intimate acres along the famous Pink Sands beach on stylish Harbour Island. The resort may have a hot designer (Barbara Hulanickiof Biba fame)—and even hotter celebrity guest list—but this resort is all about privacy. It’s also a haven for birds, Pink Sands acreage is an official bird sanctuary approved by the Audubon Society. The Yellow Heron cottage pays homage to the property’s natural inhabitants.

Last Minute Fall Getaways

Rajasthan, India

Looking for some last minute fall getaways? Who isn’t? If you’re anything like me, you’re a workaholic often being told by your colleagues to just ‘get some rest already!’ So, as it’s just around the corner, fall is the ideal time to discover the world, with many destinations around the globe featuring cooler temperatures, colorful panoramas, abundant wildlife and a kaleidoscope of festivals. India, already a vibrant country, explodes in a riot of colors in the fall, when many festivals take place, including Diwali and Pushkar Fair.

Budapest by Night

Budapest, Vienna and Prague are also beautiful during the Fall, along with Berlin, China, and Tanzania.  So, when Abercrombie & Kent sent us a list of their special fall journeys (with added discounts and deals), we wanted to spread the word so that you, too, could experience your dream destination at its best. Solo travellers take note: you can also save up to 96% on the single supplement on: Treasures of Northern India from Oct 7 and Nov 11 and Essence of India from Oct 13 and Nov 17. Remember, Abercrombie & Kent is high-end so you won’t be skimping. This is 5 star all the way with guides that are some of the best in the world. We’re talking life changing travels, baby, and you could use a shift in your continuum, right?

Right.

Though I tend to be more of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda traveller, as I get older and wiser I find that sometimes it’s just easier to have someone in the know do all the legwork for you. At Abercrombie & Kent, the nice thing is that you can also search for tour options like the following:

August through November departures are filling fast so click the link below to see last-minute destinations for fall travel, and reserve a fall getaway now!

Abercrombie & Kent Last Minute Fall Getaways

The Marbella Masters

Marbella, Spain

If lounging by the beach in Marbella isn’t sexy enough for the likes of your hot bod, we caught wind of a Grand Slam competition cool enough for you to slip on those white tennis duds and have a swing. The Marbella hotel, Hotel Puente Romano, on the Southern coast of Spain, along with Northern Vision have announced the full line-up for The Marbella Masters 2011 taking place at the Puente Romano Tennis Club 25th-27th August. In addition to the 11 time Grand Slam Champion, Bjørn Borg (with the best name in sports ever) and former World Number 1, Yevgeny Kafelnikov ,will be joined by Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash and former top 15 players Younes El-Alanoui and Ronald Agenor. Iranian tennis trickster, Mansour Bahrami will also return to the Masters this year.  The club is particularly excited to welcome back Bjorn Borg to the hotel as he once managed the club after it first opened in 1979.

Where the Marbella Masters Magic Happens….

The resorts, located just 500 meters apart, are, therefore, inviting guests like you and me the chance to enjoy the Marbella Masters program (and maybe even hang out with those tennis pros too). As an alternative option you can always find great flights through Expedia to visit the Marbella Masters.

Starting from 395 Euros, VAT included, per night for two persons for a double room, the Hotel Puente Romano Marbella Masters Program includes:

•                   Upgrade to Double superior room guaranteed

•                   Welcome amenity upon check in. Could it be Cava and fresh fruit?

•                   Gourmet breakfast buffet for 2

•                   Complimentary entrance to the Marbella Masters

* Minimum stay of three nights required.

For slightly more dough, starting from 570 Euros, VAT included, per night for two for a Double classic room, the Marbella Club Hotel, Marbella Masters Tennis Program includes:

•        Complimentary room upgrade upon availability

•        Cava and fresh fruit upon arrival

•        Daily champagne buffet breakfast

•        One Dynamic Pool Session at the Thalasso Spa

•        Complimentary entrance to the Marbella Masters

* Minimum stay of three nights required.

Tickets are available from El Corte Ingles and Ticket Master or visit this link:

http://www.marbellamasters.es