Yes. Yes. Yes. A few steps from the Ferry Building and Embarcadero, a few streets (or short ride) to North Beach, a Marriott Bonvoy point qualifying property… we give this property a resounding yes.
Le Meridien San Francisco is a steal for any last minute SF vacation or the staycation feels. At around $200-$300/night (depending on the lucky lower rate you get), you’ll be smack dab in the city (but far enough from the Tenderloin sketchiness). With modern, bright, and wonderfully spacious rooms (bigger than my old midtown NYC apartment!), there’s a lovely front door staff and cocktail bar downstairs (Bar 333). Although there’s no longer valet, there’s parking for $35 overnight across the street in the garage beneath the Shops at the Embarcadero which works just fine. The room service menu is limited, but okay. One note: there’s no kid’s menu and not much for dessert so we had to Door Dash as my 8 year son couldn’t find a single thing he wanted to eat. What can I say? He’s used to having warm chocolate chip cookies sent up. The Dream Inn in Santa Cruz, California did a nice job spoiling him with their warm chocolate chip cookies. For moms like me, who want to get the little ones something special on a holiday, warm chocolate chip cookies with milk seems like a staple.
Pros: They have Bravo (hotels need to get with the program and get their Bravo TV!), there’s a decent bar downstairs where you can get a nice G&T (or two), the spaciousness of the rooms, and it’s so centrally located you can’t go wrong. Each of the 360 rooms have floor to ceiling windows and you’ll marvel at the remarkable skyline and unparalleled views of the San Francisco Bay. Win win.
Cons: Room service menu needs an option for kids and families traveling with them
Our favorite time of the year is around the corner! Also known as snow crab, champagne, and slope season! So, when this news hit our inbox we thought, ‘what better way to inspire others than to share these winter wonderland vibes? Sometimes we like to report on a town with a roundup, other times, we like to share property specific news because we’re a bunch of hotel hounds.
Enter: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. A luxe winter wonderland nestled mid-mountain at Northstar California Resort, they’re also presenting a veritable winter world of activities like après ski, gourmet dining, a Claus family meet and greet, Menorah Lighting ceremony, and traditional Christmas dinners.
As the only ski-in/ski-out destination in Lake Tahoe, the resort is also perfect for families because you can indulge with world-class ski valet services (yes, please!), award-winning dining and culinary offerings (let the diet start on Monday), and, of course, some of the finest hospitality in the world. Insider secret: they’re trained to always say hello to you in the hallways. It’s a small detail that pays off with kindness. The hotel will also host Holiday Days of Magic, special extravaganzas elevating the holiday vibes further. We just love the whole seasonal thing!
In addition to deluxe guestrooms and suites, the resort’s two and three-bedroom Luxury Residences are available to book for the ultimate home-away-from-home winter getaway.
Check out this year’s winter and holiday amenities and events below:
RESORT & DINING EXPERIENCES
Northstar California Resort
Guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe have privileged access to Northstar California Resort for all their on-mountain plans with its ski-in/ski-out access and ski valet services. This year, Northstar will not require advanced reservations for on-mountain activities, but face masks are required for all indoor activities. Additionally, proof of vaccination and advanced reservations are required for indoor dining.
A social and entertaining activity to enjoy after a day on the slopes, après ski in The Backyard is a guest favorite at The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe. This year, beginning November 18 and running throughout the ski season, the hotel will host a Whiskey & Waffles Cabin where guests can savor premium, select whiskeys from around the world paired with warm, fresh waffles loaded with gourmet toppings. OMG!! For an even more elevated après ski experience, weekend guests can also check out the Champagne & Caviar Bar, serving a selection of champagne complemented with an exceptional collection of caviar (we are ALL about caviar these days with interesting flavors from Uruguay and California).
The spa at The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe will also be offering seasonal treatments like the Chocolate Decadence Facial.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers a great selection of exceptional dining spots on site, from the casual Café Blue and The Backyard Bar & BBQ to The Living Room and the resort’s upscale restaurant, Manzanita.
The Manzanita menu serves up delicious California mountain cuisine like rustic “Woodlands” entrees such as branzino with Caponata, fennel and cucumber chimichurri, pork ossobuco, venison accompanied with sweet potato, blackberry demi and roasted heirloom carrots, braised lamb, and more.
With ski-in/ski-out access, The Backyard Bar & BBQ serves up Texas-style BBQ from Thursday through Sundays. Beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken, all smoked in-house with the resort’s onsite smoker and served with an array of traditional sides and house-made sauces. Yeehaw!
The Living Room, for when feeling like you’re at a posh hotel in the mountains and deserve fun posh fare. It will feature elevated, shareable dishes including cheese and chocolate fondue and creative seafood towers from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can also sip delicious cocktails here.
Another fun idea they’ve added to the “make it special and easy” vibe: the little ones in the family can enjoy a daily dinner buffet curated just for them with their favorite foods in mind. Priced at $35 per child, the rotating kids’ menu will consist of one cold dish option, choice of two kids’ favorite meals, and two entrée selections.
If that’s not cool enough, located at the Fireside Terrace, the hotel will be featuring an outdoor airstream bar – open daily – where guests can stop by to enjoy a warm bowl of soup, while sipping on their favorite winter-inspired cocktail.
HOLIDAY DAYS OF MAGIC – December 18 – January 2
Full Holiday Days of Magic Schedule
Manzanita & The Ballroom | November 25
Advance reservations required
A pre-fixed five-course festive meal will be offered at Manzanita for resort guests only. Menu items include roasted Brussel sprouts, heirloom roasted carrots, roasted turkey, porcini and coffee rubbed-roasted prime rib, and more. The five-course menu is priced at $180 per person.
A holiday buffet with chef-action stations, harvested vegetable dishes, artisan pastries and kids’ selections will be offered in the resort’s ballroom. Priced at $180 per guest adult; $50 per child the buffet option will be served from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Menorah Lighting Ceremony
The Living Room | December 5 at Sundown
Manzanita & The Ballroom | December 25
Advance reservations required
Manzanita will be presenting a five-course Christmas menu. Dishes include baby beet salad, seafood duo – featuring scallops and sea bass, Piedmontese filet and more. Priced at $180 per person, guests can book dinner reservations from 4:00 – 9:30 p.m. Kids’ menu option available.
The holiday buffet will also be offered at Christmas and feature harvested vegetable dishes, artisan pastries and kids’ selections offered in the resort’s ballroom. Priced at $180 / per guest adult; $50 per child the buffet option will be served from 12:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
New Year’s Eve Dinner
Manzanita | December 31 | 4:00 – 9:30 p.m.
$210 per person (bubbles included) | Advance reservations required
Pre-fixed, five-course meal in Manzanita. Kids menu option available.
New Year’s Day Brunch
Manzanita | January 1, 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
$225 per person | Advance reservationsrequired
Guests can start the new year off right and savor a special recovery brunch menu featuring unlimited bottomless drink selection.
Additionally, the resort will play host to special appearances from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, daily live music, and gingerbread house-making activities for families. The resort will also display a giant replica of the resort made entirely of gingerbread in the lobby, crafted by the resort’s talented pastry team.
Germany. From bratwurst and Beethoven’s birthplace to beer and some of the best art and music in the world, it’s time to check out Rhineland-Palatinate’s Summer of Culture, taking place every year from May 1st – October 3rd. Featuring well over 200 projects covering all kinds of different cultural aspects, the theme is revised annually to reflect new focuses for the content, and the venue for the grand opening also changes every year. A large cultural festival on the first weekend in May also offers families their first peek at the summer’s program of events held across the state covering cultural, religious, artistic and social themes.
In early 1992, the Rhineland-Palatinate state government announced the staging of the first Rhineland-Palatinate Summer of Culture, the aim of which was to increase people’s awareness of the region’s culture. What the organizers had – and continue to have – in mind was a sort of ‘citizens’ movement for culture’. The Summer of Culture is, in fact, characterized by the large number of small projects and ideas at its core that were themselves developed out of local or regional initiatives. With almost 250 events including concerts, readings, exhibitions, children’s activities, theatre and more, it’s an incredible melting pot of people and ideas.
From example, throughout August 24, 2019, the Mayen Burgfestspiele Theatre Festival is the cultural highlight of the Northern Rhineland-Palatinate. Every summer, the quiet town Mayen, located about 1 hour north of Mainz (another little colorful gem) turns into a colorful theater city.
There’s also a nearby wine festival for the parents. The Rheingau Wine Festival has around 100 winemakers offering the acclaimed Rheingau riesling wines, as well as sparkling sekt and regional fare. The ten-day wine festival includes a varied program of entertainment in Schlossplatz and Dern’schen Gelände squares in Wiesbaden too!
We’ve been hearing about Sirenis Hotels and Resorts’ family-friendly, all-inclusive resorts for awhile and we hear they’ve just done a great renovation at the new Grand Sirenis Punta CanaResort. A $30 million dollar renovation and repositioning. Home to one of Punta Cana’s largest water parks (what?!), the all-new resort welcomed guests in December to experience the reimagined hotel just in time for those looking for a last minute winter getaway.
The transformation includes a complete renovation of guestrooms, lobby, common areas and restaurants, in addition to improvements of its amenities.
As part of the big reveal, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana Resort will unveil two new buildings that are home to a kids club, fitness center, medical center, pharmacy, beauty salon, local craft shops, and more. They’re also introducing a 7,000 sq ft spa, upgraded pool, and beach area featuring a 120-seat picnic table section.
The upgraded resort has also elevated its all-inclusive dining options with the introduction of new restaurant concepts including Tex Mex and La Gira Rodizio, a Brazilian steakhouse where foodies can dine on traditional Brazilian fare. In addition to new restaurants, there’s a health bar, sports bar, ice cream & coffee shop.
On the majestic Uvero Alto beach, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana is the ultimate playground for the entire family. Children can spend time at the all new Sirenios Kids Club which features a range of activities including a Lego building zone, “master chef” section, arts & crafts activities and more. Adults can test their luck in the casino, have a drink at a swim up bar, or dance the night away at El Bonche lounge. Families can slide into fun together at the Aquagames Water Park which features water towers and slides. With 7 themed restaurants, 3 buffets, 11 cocktail bars, 2 pools with beach-style access, and watersports. What more do you need?
February rates:For the month of February, guests can save up to 35% off average nightly rates of $318, based on double occupancy.