Tours, travels, hikes and journeys!

Posts tagged ‘vacation’

Colorful Characters in Old Town, San Diego

Last Saturday, Oct. 18th, I decided to head over to Old Town, San Diego, CA, in the late afternoon. I hadn’t been there for over a year and hadn’t really explored it much since 1999 when I was in San Diego after my Mom died in Oct. 99, in AZ.

I headed to a part I’d never been before, near the corner of Taylor and Juan Streets. First I headed into Fiesta de Reyes, a newer development with a restaurant and shops. Music was playing and the place was crowded. These are pictures of the fun characters at the entrance and scattered near the stage.

Old town oct 18 2014 d

Old town oct 18 2014 c

Old town oct 18 2014 b

Old town oct 18 2014 a

Then I headed over to Bazaar del Mundo, and found this metal quartet as I headed toward the shops. Another time I am going to go back and explore the museums and historic buildings. This place is rich in history, but is also filled with restaurants, hotels and shops to entertain and delight tourists and residents alike. Come enjoy!

Old town oct 18 2014 f

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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.

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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!

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