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Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, San Diego, CA

I came to San Diego often as a child, and we always stayed on the ocean side of either Pacific or Mission beach. My parents had some friends who stayed on the bay side and as a kid, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to stay on the bay side.  I was familiar with the Catamaran, as it was across the street and a block away from where I often stayed on the ocean side. So I decided it was time to visit the Catamaran and find out more about it and the bay side appeal.

As an adult, I can better appreciate the peace, tranquility and quiet slower pace of the bay side now, and yet, the Catamaran is not just for those who want to lay by the pool or on the beach next to the bay.  Yes, the resort offers that lush hidden feeling of being in a secluded jungle and yet it has it’s own restaurants, exercise room, spa, numerous water sport offerings and even a steam boat to board to listen to music, grab a drink and dance!, And, since it is located right on Mission Blvd. it is just across the street from the ocean,  walking distance to stores, and numerous restaurants and night clubs. These are a bay side photo of the resort and another photo of the entrance.

 

CATentrance_lr TowerBayboards

The hotel and surrounding property were originally the summer estate of the Scripps family. and in 1958 William D. Evans bought it. He has remodeled it and added to it using Colonial Hawaiian architecture, materials from around the world, and art pieces especially from the South Pacific. There are more than 1000 species of plants and flowers, 100 varieties of palm trees, a Koi pond, 30 types of hibiscus flowers and exotic birds. The resort is even green certified!

There are 312 rooms, suites and deluxe studios, some with ocean and bay views, some with garden views. 151 of these are standard rooms, 110 are studios, and 51 are suites with full kitchens. These range in size from 329 sq ft to 604 sq. ft. The studios are 430 sq. ft and have kitchens, too. Prices range from $143.65 to $245.65 a night. Unlike most resorts there is no resort fee for internet, use of the pool, fitness center, etc.  Plus there is a complementary passage on the Bahia Belle historic river boat, with live music, cocktails and dancing, and a tour of the bay.  The Bahia Belle runs every night in the summer months and on Fri. , Sat. and Sunday during the fall and winter months. Here is a photo of the lobby and a bay view room.

Waterfall

BayviewPatio

Like I mentioned earlier, there are many activities available at the resort. There is a business center,  fitness center,  outdoor whirlpool tub,  heated pool, video arcade and gift shop. During the summer there is a kids camp, live music, bird shows, and a Polynesian luau with music, food and entertainment.  Other activities offered are sailing, surfing lessons, biking, skating, water skiing,  wake surfing, kayaks, paddle boards, boogie boards, power boats, ski boats, segways, all available to rent right on the property. My favorite is the fun cats, which look like big lounge chairs but they are powered and you can just lounge and cruise the bay!  Chairs and umbrellas are also available for lounging on the beach.  You can also access the bay sidewalk and walk for miles. Photos are of the lounge chairs next to the whirlpool which is next to the spa. You can see the water sport rentals in the background. Also, photos of the pool, pier and beach chairs.

SpaLoungers Pool_throw CAT_Peir_2 BeachLoungers2

As a long time holistic therapist I always enjoy seeing the spa, and the one at the Catamaran did not disappoint!  I loved the beautiful tiled floors, lovely cabinets, steam and dry sauna rooms, tranquility room, beautiful locker rooms and all the wonderful spa treatment offerings. The spa was built in 2005 and is 9300 sq. ft.  It has 10 individual treatment rooms, a ritual room for combination treatments, a Vichy shower room and a couples treatment room. The treatments all have marine and botanical elements.  There are skin and body treatments offered, along with a hair and nail spa. There are hydro therapies, scrubs, wraps, water therapies, and they all have a South Pacific or Asian influence.  There are monthly specials and locals are encouraged to come and partake in the spa, too. Along with a spa treatment, locals can enjoy the use of the pool and beach chairs, making a day of it.

During the summer, the pool bar and grill is open.  The Atoll restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a Sunday Champagne brunch.  Morays lounge has live music and offers a bar and food as well. This is a photo of the fire pit in the outside seating area of Moray’s lounge.

MoryasFirePit

The Catamaran is a lovely place for business meetings, weddings and other gatherings.  There are 14 function rooms available; 20,000 sq. ft. of contiguous space; and room for 30-450 guests.  In addition to the beach area and function rooms, you can even book one of the two 19th century 100 ft. Sternwheeler boats  and host up to 575 guests on it!

I am so glad that I took the time and had the opportunity to widen my views of the delights of staying on the bay.  You can find out more about the Catamaran on their website http://www.catamaranresort.com/san-diego-resorts/. 

Come and explore it for yourself!.

Photos are all courtesy of the  Catamaran Media relations manager.

Aerial_CAT_New_LR

 

 

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The Grand Del Mar Resort, Del Mar, CA

On Tuesday my friend and I received a wonderful tour from the delightful German assistant front desk manager.  We were lucky to be shown several rooms and suites including the palatial Presidental suites.  This resort is one of only 6 resorts in the world to be given 5 diamond/stars for their spa, resort and restaurant and one of only 23 five star spas in the country. It was built in 2007 and elegant touches are everywhere from the walls, ceilings, floors, floor coverings, lighting fixtures, furnishings, windows, and even mini-bar offerings.

The resort is located next to the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.  It has several green initiatives and works to support the preserve.  The resort uses energy efficient lighting; recycling; water conservation; china/glass/cutlery/cloth in all business retreats and large gatherings to avoid waste; organic/in season/local/sustainable/fair trade food as much as possible; chemical free dry cleaning; organic fertilization on the landscape; re-use of green waste for mulch;  minimize over watering; use a filtration system at their wash station; and work to protect the wetlands using native re-vegetation and other initiatives. They even have a manager for green initiatives and sustainability.

There is an 18 hole Tom Fazio designed golf course, 7 acres of practice areas, a junior academy and a 50, 000 sq. ft. clubhouse with the Club M restaurant that offers food and entertainment.

Golf course

There are 4 heated pools in the resort, including an adults only relaxation pool located next to the spa.  There is a bar next to a couple of the pools, offering light casual dining. There is also white sand seating.

View of pool from room Adult pool

There are various guest rooms and suites to choose from along with over 4500 sq. ft. Villas.  The guest rooms range in size from 550 sq. ft for $495 a night, to 2840 sq. ft Presidential suites that rent for $5000 a night. The Villas rate is $6000 a night. There are various packages available.

Villas Aug 27 2013 Presidential suite Room 1 Room 2 Room 3 Room 4

There are several dining options including the 5 star Addison, the more casual yet still very elegant Amaya Restaurant,  the lounge that serves afternoon tea and light offerings, pool dining, Club M next to the golf course, and several private dining venues in the wine and Champagne cellars. Here is a photo of Amaya. A friend ate there and was quite impressed with their large vegetarian menu. Of course they have other food as well.

Amaya restaurant

As I mentioned, the spa is also 5 stars. I was unable to tour it.  They have 11 treatment rooms,, have wet and dry areas for treatments, whirlpool, scrubs, Vichy shower treatments, massage, lymph massage, wraps, facials, waxing, a salon, and various packages available combing scrubs, massages, facials and wraps.

There is a fitness center with fitness and movement classes, including yoga and meditation and tennis.  There is an explorer club for children ages 5-12, beach service to transport and set you up at the beach, surf school, kayak tours, picnics, lawn games, and horseback riding and instruction offered.

There are many events available such as: wine tasting; behind the scenes food and wine secret classes at the Addison; a painting and wine event; happy hour; Sunday concerts; movie night; sand castle building on the beach; hikes; Italian movies; perfume making; and an art and architecture tour.

The various ball rooms can be divided or opened up for various size venues for weddings, corporate retreats and other large events.   I love this large lawn area that is available for weddings and the gazebo known to be a place for romantic engagements. The Capella is another beautiful chapel like area available for weddings and business meetings.

The Capella Gazebo Inside the Capella Lawn for weddings

Everywhere you look from the picturesque driveways to the elegant seating areas in the foyers to the luxurious hallways connecting the guest rooms, to the striking stairway, it is all designed to provide a high end resort experience, and yet is still very warm, inviting and friendly.

Staircase Driveway to Villas Part of Foyer

Come check it out as a local or a guest! You can find out more on their website:

http://www.thegranddelmar.com/

Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Ocean Pearl Spa, Carlsbad, CA

On Tuesday I received a tour of the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and the onsite Ocean Pearl Spa in Carlsbad, CA. http://www.sheratoncarlsbad.com/    http://www.oceanpearlspa.com/home 

I have been a holistic therapist, trainer and coach for over 34 years, and have worked in various resorts, so being able to tour a spa is always a special treat. And what a treat this small yet elegant spa is to see. They are  dedicated to using mostly  organic products in all of their treatments and a few of the lines are produced locally.  The spa director, Carol Holguin, described the Kimberly Parry Organics line produced locally, how Kimberly makes up the batches when ordered so they are fresh and how they’ve been able to go to the facility and ask for additions and alterations to the various ingredients to produce signature products for their treatments.  All body treatments are done with Kimberly’s line and all facial treatments are performed with either the Kimberly Perry line or the Hungarian line, Ilike, which is made up  of fruits, vegetables and herbs.  Several lines are carried in the lobby for purchase, too.

Carol also showed us a device used for non-invasive face lifts, called nuface, using a microcurrent.  She has used it and says in five minutes it produces visible results. This is available for purchase in their lobby. She also showed us poultices filled with herbal pearls that are used to perform both massages and facials, a signature treatment.

The spa has 2 facial rooms, 6 massage rooms, including a couples massage room; a manicure/pedicure station that looks out to the lovely pool;  locker and relaxation areas for both men and woman; a eucalyptus steam room.

Various massages, body treatments, and facials are available alone or in a package.  I love how dedicated they are to organic product;  water conservation and other green initiatives;  and all they do to support local guests as well as guests of the resort.  During the summer they have bi-monthly happy hour offerings with various treatments, vendors, and food. During the off season these are offered monthly.  Oct. 4th-6th, they are offering a weekend of wellness with classes, workshops, treatments, and wellness consultations.  My favorite was the special of a  lunch, use of the pool, steam room, outdoor hot-tub and fitness center, all for only $5 added to the purchase of a 50 min. treatment. Most resorts charge a fee of $25 for spa, pool and fitness center use alone.  They also cater to small groups, wedding groups, etc.

Here are some pictures of the spa. All are photos taken from their website except for the photo of the women’s locker room.

Women rest area website photo fitness center website photo Lobby websit photo Manicure station website photo Women locker room

I was quite impressed with the Sheraton Carlsbad resort as well. They are connected with the MarBrisa time share, too, so guests are welcome to use the main pool as well as pools connected with the time share.  They are in the process of building some new timeshare units which adjoin the new two pool area called “The Cove”. The cove is a lovely area with what will eventually be a family pool and an adult pool, a bar, outdoor pool and ping pong tables, and food service at the pool, plus several lounge areas. The pool can be partially rented out for groups.

The first and last photo are of the main pool. The last photo is taken from the website and includes a picture of the rooms.  The other three photos are of the Cove and the new MarBrisa time share units.

Main pool aug 27 2013 More Cove New MarBisa time share The Cove poolCarlsbad-Hotel-Pool and rooms website photo

The Sheraton Carlsbad is located right next to Legoland and has a private entrance to it, plus special rates to explore it.  I love the Mediterranean architecture and how lovely the landscaping is throughout the property. They are also next door to the Crossings Golf course. The resort has ocean views and all rooms have patios and balconies that face beautiful scenes of flowers and gardens, the ocean, the canyon or the fairway.  There is a large conference center and many companies hold meetings and retreats here as well as having business travelers stay here. There is 40,000 sq ft of meeting and event space for corporate retreats, weddings and other large gatherings. There are several outdoor spaces available as a sweet wedding setting.

Looking toward conference center and entrance Conference Center

Their Twenty/20 restaurant has recently been remodeled and has 5200 sq. feet of space, of which 1700 is outdoor dining with views of the Pacific Ocean. The setting is elegant yet casual.  They use local organic produce as much as possible.  I love the resorts dedication to green initiatives such as the Blink recharging system for electrical cars, use of recycled paper products, organically grown flowers, green transportation, sustainable food options, china service for meetings to avoid all the waste that often accompanies these events.  They even donate left over food.   These are photos from their website.

twenty20- restaurant website photo

The rooms range from 488 sq. ft to 915 ft. for the Presidential suite.  Prices start at $199 per night and go up to $639, plus a $12 fee for internet, paper, resort activities, and use of fitness center.  There are 250 rooms. They are pet friendly.

These are photos taken from the website:

Executive-suite website photo traditional-guestroom-choco website photo

I highly recommend these facilities for locals as well as guests either visiting Lego Land, or wanting a mid-range lovely resort option for their ocean vacation.  The airport is close by and soon there will be major airline service there, in addition to the computer jets.  It is very close to the ocean near the I-5 interstate and there is transportation offered to the beach and other local attractions!

Paradise Point Resort and Spa, San Diego, CA

I grew up often coming to San Diego for vacation but always stayed on the ocean side.  Family friends of my folks would sometimes stay on the bay and I could never figure out why anyone would want to be staying on the bay when they could be next to the waves every minute!  Now that I’m older I can understand what the draw is for adults…quiet, calm, peaceful; and families…quieter, safer more gentle swimming for the children.

Yesterday I received a wonderful tour of the Paradise Point Resort and Spa, with Dana Flower, the marketing manager.  I ended up springing this on her and she was more than gracious and generous with her time.  I LOVE this place.  When I first got there I was driving around looking for parking and that led me through the various groupings of lodgings. I was struck by how private it all felt.  Here is this 44 acre resort with 462 Balinese influenced rooms (including 162 hotel suites) and yet, it felt cloistered, quiet, peaceful and so private.

In 1962, Jack Skirball, a  movie producer, was introduced to this land and decided to create a resort that would be a “set” that he didn’t have to take down after the movie was made.  He created this property to be a fantasy tropical island. He used various touches such as mementos from the movies he had produced and historic objects scattered around. It was originally called Vacation Village but has been Paradise Resort for over 50 years.   With Jack’s involvement that original resort was quite popular with the Hollywood set. Now it is a popular destination for families, adults, weddings, conferences and an entire company has even taken over the whole property before for it’s international meeting.

There are 5 dining venues from Baleen San Diego, fine dinner dining with one of the most beautiful views in outdoor dining in San Diego,; a Mexican cantina; the popular Barefoot Bar and Grill that was originally a bomb shelter and now shares space with  Cave Man Pizza, which delivers all throughout the property; a coffee and pastry counter and in room dining.  All rooms come with  a mini-fridge, and many of the rooms come with a microwave.

There are 4 wedding venues including a beautiful bay and beach venue surrounded by luscious tropical plants.  There is 32,000 sq. ft of inside meeting and wedding venue space and this includes a rare water view. It is one of the top 10 venues in size in San Diego.

There is enough to keep anyone as busy as they’d like to be.  You can walk around the entire bay on a 27 mile path; take the water taxi to the back door of Sea World and avoid parking and lines; practice your putting on the 18 hole mini golf course (no cutesy windmills here); buy a bon fire kit in the onsite market and cook up some s’mores; take the water taxi to the surf academy and learn to surf or walk a block and go to the ocean; rent a bicycle or surrey quadracycle; play on one of the 5 lighted tennis courts; shoot some hoops or play ping, pong, sand volleyball or croquet;  go to the kids or teens club; swim at one of the 5 pools or take in a summer dive in movie;  take a tour of the bay; stroll through the gardens;  work out at the fitness center or take a private class; or head over to the marina where you can rent a jet ski, sail boat with lessons, speed boat, paddle board, kayak, fish, or go water skiing or wake boarding. You can even dock your own boat here.

For those who would rather just relax, there is a 7050 sq. foot spa offering treatments influenced by Hawaii, Bali, Thailand, Fiji and the mainland. There are treatments for your toes to the top of your head and a salon and make up application to polish you off at the end.  There is a steam room and dry sauna and special private Jacuzzi you can rent out for your own little group.

I was very impressed with their dedication to sustainability, one of my passions.  They are part of the Destination earth program. Their irrigation system is set up to only come on when needed to conserve water and avoid run off into the bay.  They reuse their landscape debris and turn it into mulch.  In the bathrooms the shampoo, conditioner and body wash are in refillable bottles to avoid the waste of all those little plastic bottles normally used in other resorts and hotels. Green cleaning products are used by the housekeeping staff. They use electric carts onsite and electric cars and you can rent electric cars to drive to your destination and bring back or leave there to be picked up by the company who runs this program and even charge your electric car onsite.  They are partnered with the Surfrider foundation to protect beaches and waterways.

The rooms range in size from the standard room at 450 sq. ft to 3250 for the largest Presidential suite.  The standard rooms have a patio but no view. The Lanai rooms have either a garden or bay view. There are junior suites, bungalows and luxury suites. Also available are executive suites that have connecting rooms you can add to it to expand the lodging space. The standard room rate starts at $275. There is a $34 doorstep parking fee, and a $19 daily fee that includes internet, fitness center and recreational amenities. This is a pet friendly resort.

So come enjoy a stay here or come to one of the free summer concerts!  You will feel like you’ve left the country and arrived in a tropical paradise! For more information about the spa or to book a stay go to  http://www.paradisepoint.com/

This is the outside and inside of lobby and a very unique chair I had to try out!

Lobby Cool chair in lobby Inside lobby

This is the main pool next to the lagoon and the adult only pool. The pools are spread out so that each lodging group has an accessible pool.

TMain pool next to lagoon Adult only pool

This is the Baleen San Diego fine dining outdoor lounge, the cave man pizza and the Barefoot bar and grill with the Marina in the background.

Outdoor lounge of  fine dining area Cave man pizza Marina and bar and grill

This is the water view from the Conference center, the outside of the conference center and one of the wedding venues with the marina in the background.

Water view from conference center Conference Center Marina and wedding venue spot

This is the pedicure room, the spa entrance and a facial room.

Pedicure station in spa Entrance to spa Facial room

The first photo is the view toward Sea World, three shots of the mail lagoon and garden with one of the showing the observation deck you can climb (when it is renovated, and the tennis courts.

View toward Sea World Garden and lagoon walk Lagoon with observation tower in background Main lagoon Tennis courts

Here is a bay view from one of the bungalows, a garden view from a Lanai room, the inside of a Lanai room and the mini-kitchen in the bungalow.

View out bay view bungalow Garden view out of Lanai room Lanai room with garden view Mini kitchen in Bay Bungalow

Hope you have enjoying walking with me on the tour of this luscious Island Resort!

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Ojai, CA

I have researched Wellness centers and resorts for 34 years, interviewing people who started wellness/retreat centers, people who managed them, land developers, organizational developers, construction supervisors, real estate agents who specialize in selling large properties for this use, spa managers,  venture capitalists,etc.  Along with this, I have researched online over 70 resorts, spas and wellness centers/learning centers world wide.  I have done this research to not only prepare to one day create my own, but to also act as a consultant to people wanting to create wellness centers and refer my clients to resorts that fit their budget and desired experiences. The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa was one of the ones I researched and has long been one of my favorites due to their beautiful Spanish architecture and use of tiles. In July I finally got to visit in person and thanks to Ashleigh Tripp, a warm, generous and enthusiastic guide, who works in the marketing dept.,  I received a wonderful tour of the resort. I had walked around a little before hand and took some photos but Ashleigh really filled in the picture for me and was very patient with all my questions.

I loved learning the history of the place…that it was first conceived in 1923 and built as a country club and golf course but the first rooms for the Inn weren’t built until 1934.  I love that those rooms have still been kept intact.   In 1942 the land was used  by 1000 army troops for a training ground and they took over the golf course land, pretty much leaving it unusable as a golf course. The Navy also used the property after that for a recuperation facility.   In 1947 a new owner reopened it after restoring it. The golf course had originally been created leaving large trees and other natural areas left intact and that was kept in mind in restoring it. Through different owners and over the years, all the renovations have kept true to the history and the original architecture.

The resort now has 308 rooms and suites ranging in size from 425 sq. ft to 1200 sq. feet and 1200 – 1900 sq feet for the penthouses.  Along with the rooms there is also a gorgeous villa, called Casa Elar which is 10, 407 sq. ft, has two two-room master bedroom suites, it’s own massage room, 2 bedrooms downstairs, staff quarters, its own pool and spa.  Room rates start at $389.  There are packages available and the resort regularly offers coupon and other offers to locals. The room rate  has an added $25 service charge which includes use of the golf practice facilities, tennis courts , fitness classes, Nest teen center, and activity center along with a few other amenities. The resort is pet friendly and even offers dog training classes.

Everyone I encountered was very warm and friendly, and it was obvious that the resort truly welcomes its guests, both local and from other locales.  The resort even has some onsite housing for employees.

Sustainability is a strong focus and the onsite apothecary makes all the bath products available in the rooms, and recycles any of them left over. Recycling containers are sprinkled around the area and strongly encouraged.  As much as possible they serve local and organic produce, even growing herbs in their gardens onsite and heirloom tomatoes.  They turned an old horse ranch and barn into an organic farm and split the crops with the growers and use the rest in their restaurants. The barn was turned into a wedding venue.  They use only certified fish on their menus as well.

Facilities include tennis courts and instruction, an 18 hole championship golf course and other golf training facilities, 4 pools, ping pong, a basketball court, a game room located at the adult only Herb Garden pool, activities and camps for the kids.  The golf course offers golf academies spread  throughout  the year, catering to different skill levels.  In the building that houses the apothecary and artist cottage, guests can paint glasses, tiles, silk scarves or use mixed media, in addition to personal assistance in creating a hand picked aromatherapy oil to be used in their body treatments or massages. The spa offers the usual massages, facials, salon offerings, along with several spiritual therapies and a unique Native American flavored sweat and clay ceremony/treatment that honors the history of the local tribes.  Guests can choose a room near the spa or golf course if that is their focus for their stay. There are six restaurants scattered around the resort and in-room dining.

With all of its array of facilities and activities, this is a great place for business events, reunions and weddings. There is a large expansive event lawn near the herb gardens and heirloom tomatoes. There is an arbor with seating under it for a cocktail or quiet place to gather.  I enjoyed all the spirited sculptures placed around the grounds and the beautiful landscaping.

The resort even hosts resident parrots that have their own trainer to care for them and educate the guests!  I was very impressed with this resort and it’s attention to sustainability, comfort, variety and beauty!  Come check it out.  It is close to LA, close the beach, close to mountains!

Approaching entrance Entrance Flower on tree in garden Herb garden pool Herb garden Outside patio in gardens Rooms near herb garden pool Rooms on south side of property Stairway to roomsSculpture in garden

Casa de la Luna Retreat, Ojai, CA

I’ve been talking to Margaret Elliott, the owner of Casa de la Luna Retreat for 5 years about ways we could collaborate.  I finally got to meet her and see her retreat center in early July.  Margaret started out renting a house on the property and then when the owner decided to sell, Margaret purchased it and has since then turned it into a retreat center. Her vision is to also include an organic farm near by, and expand the offerings of workshops, ceremonies, events and partnering at the center.  She loves to connect up with other eco-villages and wellness centers around the world.  She has offered up her space for free to various spiritual teachers off and on over the years.  She is very warm and generous.

Casa de la Luna sits on almost 4 acres with produce trees, organic gardens, horses, oak trees and redwood trees.  There is a residential compound consisting of  5 private lodging units with 10 large bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, 5 kitchens including a large industrial kitchen,  and a large event room that holds up to 60 people. The event room has recording, live streaming, editing, and screening capabilities and Margaret is skilled in all of this and offers its use to the public.  The rooms can hold up to 20 people for retreats, reunions and other gatherings. There is a large ceremonial/event lawn that has held many public ceremonies, weddings, and other gatherings.   There are other indoor/outdoor event areas. The retreat center is used for transformation, education, outreach and healing. There are treatment rooms located on the property, too.

Come check it out, or if you are interested in investing, please contact Margaret at http://www.casadelaluna.org/

The photos are not mine.

1-Bedroom-Living-room_9645 2-Bedroom_0485 another entry way Casa-Entry-La-Luna_0019 Ceremonial-Lawn-Area_0118 ceremony Entry Housing Lawn Main house Redwood_1842 rooms vegetation

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