California Restaurant Month Kicks Off In January

The land of goat milk, arugula, and honey continues to prosper, and no surprise, given that California’s 81,700+ farms produce nearly half of all domestically-grown crops.

Thus, the third-annual California Restaurant Month kicks off in January, offering up 33 destinations where visitors and locals alike can savor the flavor of the nation’s most cutting-edge culinary state (sorry, New York).

Select California restaurants will offer special dining promotions such as prix-fixe menus, wine pairings, and other treats designed to promote the state as both food and vacation destination. Add-ons to culinary tourism are available, including skiing, surfing and spa visits.

Nine new dining destinations are a part of the 2013 promotion, including Berkeley (above photo is of the legendary Chez Panisse, now in its 40th year), Beverly Hills, Downtown Long Beach and Santa Monica. Established locales include the wine regions of Temecula Valley, and Santa Maria, Monterey, and Santa Ynez Counties, and small-farm epicenters such as Marin and Shasta counties.

[Photo credit: Robert Holmes]

California hotels rolling out the royal red carpet for William & Kate’s visit

Want to live it up like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge? Hotels in California are rolling out “Royal” packages in anticipation of William & Kate’s visit to the state July 8 -10. Here are a few our of our favorites:

Mission Inn & Spa
Book this Riverside Inn’s “Royal Wedding Celebration Package” ($1,449) and enjoy overnight accommodations for two in the Presidential Suite, a champagne, caviar and cupcake amenity, a signature candle, private in-suite dinner service, a coffee table book about the Royal Wedding, his and hers bathrobes, a couples-massage in a private villa, in-suite or spa high tea service for two, and complimentary valet parking.

Maison 140
Want to truly live it up? Reserve the entire hotel in a Royal Celebration. For $50,000, rent the entire 44-room hotel for up to 50 guests. The overnight package includes a champagne welcome, afternoon at the Neil George Salon (including blow dry, scalp massage with hair treatment, style, gift bag and $50 gift certificate), high tea service, cocktail reception, dinner at Petrossian Restaurant on Robertson, turndown service with a special gift, night cap and a continental breakfast the next morning.

[Image via Maison 140]
Paso Robles Inn
Explore the famed castle in the “California Royalty Hearst Castle” package. You’ll enjoy a special day tour of Hearst Castle and a picnic lunch in San Simeon, overnight accommodations, a visit to Piedras Blancas to see Elephant Seals and sightseeing and wine tasting in Cambria. From $315.

Montage Beverly Hills
This always luxe hotel is offering a “Royal Summer Escape” featuring two nights of accommodations in a private residence or suite with personal butler (not quite like a full time coterie of servants, but it will do), tasting menu and wine pairings at the Chef’s Counter at Scarpetta Beverly Hills, 60-minute Couple’s Massage for two at Spa Montage, a Royal Presidential Shave at our full-service men’s barber shop, Gornik & Drucker, for him, a Regal blow out at Kim Vo Salon, for her, afternoon tea for two, and of course, luxury transportation in the Montage Maybach by Mercedes-Benz to and from Los Angeles International Airport. Prices range from $3,750 for a Grand Deluxe Suite to $15,500 for a residence.

Safari West
Make like William & Kate (who got engaged in Africa) with this wild “Safari Nights” package from the Sonoma hotel. The package, starting at $2,000, includes a private sundowner exploration into the “Sonoma Serengeti,” with rhinos and cheetahs, plus a VIP ‘Behind the Scenes’ peek into the workings of Safari West. The package includes dinner, wine and evening port around the fire pit with the owners, Peter and Nancy Lang, a photo with one of our cheetahs (if they slow down long enough for a snapshot), plus a Swedish massage along with wine and chocolate in the privacy of your own tent.

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
A-listers are used to the royal treatment at this Newport Beach hotel, but the “Royal Treatment” summer package takes luxury to a new level. Live like royalty in one of the hotel’s three-bedroom villas. You’ll enjoy a private four-course dinner by your pool, complimentary treatments spa treatments (two) and a $150 gift card to to Fashion Island.

Harvest Inn
Enjoy wine country in Napa Valley with the “Royal Retreat” package. You’ll enjoy two nights accommodations, a welcome bottle of sparkling wine, chocolate truffles, two 60-minute spa treatments, a private four hour wine country tour in a luxury sedan, including an exclusive personal wine tasting tour with winemakers of two wine estates, two monogrammed bathrobes and complimentary wine and cheese tasting on Friday and Saturday evenings in the Inn’s Great Room.

Daily Pampering: Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills adds glamour to guests stay

In Beverly Hills, everyone is red carpet-ready, all the time. Photo ops are an art form and whether you’re in jeans or a designer gown, there’s always a reason to be red carpet-ready. Thanks to the Peninsula Hotel, Beverly Hills guests can also get their glamour on with the “The Red Carpet-Ready Experience.”

Just in time for the upcoming “Awards Season” in Hollywood, this unique Peninsula Academy offering is a unique opportunity for guests to be photographed in a style that captures the glamour of celebrities on the Red Carpet at a movie premiere, the Emmys, or the Academy Awards.

The “Red Carpet-Ready Experience” begins in the privacy of the guests’ hotel room or suite, with a hair professional stylist and makeup artist. The stylist will consult with female guests, who will have the unique opportunity to borrow exquisite pieces from the hotel’s exclusive Henri J. Sillam jewelry boutique to glamorize their gowns. The guests will then be photographed by award-winning Hollywood photographer Ryan Forbes, whose work has appeared in Town & Country, Conde Nast Traveler and Elle Décor.

For the full Red Carpet experience, guests can be photographed against The Peninsula Beverly Hills’ step-and-repeat banner, a backdrop like those used at Hollywood movie premieres and awards events. A week later the guests will receive a selection of proofs from which to select the perfect portrait.

The price for your red carpet debut? This Hollywood-style pampering costs you $950.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Daily Pampering: Red Carpet package at Spa Montage Beverly Hills

Awards season is fast approaching … and now you too can make like a Hollywood A-lister, thanks to Spa Montage at Montage Beverly Hills. Book the “Ultimate Pre-Red Carpet Spa Experience” to take care of every beauty need.

Begin with an anti-aging facial, designed to hydrate, firm, and offer immediate, photo-ready results. A connective tissue massage will help firm and contour, and you’ll also enjoy a penetrating Oxygen serum. Next, enjoy Body Sculpting therapy to assist in removing cellular waste and retained fluids. Customize the treatment for focus on your own personal “trouble spots” like the abdomen or thighs. If you dare to bare, follow with a back facial, where your therapist uses steam therapy to lift out impurities plus exfoliation and gentle extractions to ensure your back is as camera-ready as you are. The facial ends with a muscle-melting back and foot massage. Complete your day with an detoxifying body wrap and hypnotic scalp massage.

You’ll also get the oxygen serum, anti fluid gel, dry body brush and hydrating lotion to take home and continue your red carpet-ready glow for weeks to come.

The full day package starts at $1,050 (and can be spread over several days if desired) and includes four coordinating treatments designed to prep the body from head-to-toe. Naturally, the package also includes access to the Spa Montage facilities and rooftop pool, plus a welcome glass of bubbly or blueberry tea upon arrival. The treatment package is available through March 2011.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Daily Pampering: The Peninsula Beverly Hills partners with Tory Burch

What’s better than a luxury hotel room and a shopping spree? We can’t really think of anything, actually, which is why today’s Daily Pampering excites us to no end!

The Peninsula Beverly Hills has partnered with iconic American fashion designer Tory Burch to offer the “The Peninsula Girls Getaway with Tory Burch.” This luxury lifestyle experience provides a perfect way for ladies to share time together while shopping, spa-ing and sipping Champagne in gorgeous Beverly Hills.

Book a night and each guest will receive a $100 Tory Burch Promotional Card. If you’re so busy that you can’t get to the Tory Burch Boutiques in Los Angeles or Santa Monic during regular hours, The Peninsula will arrange for after-hours in-store shopping or for a personal consultation and mini-trunk show with a Tory Burch stylist in your hotel room. Your reservation also comes with daily Continental breakfast and a $50 credit toward treatments at The Spa at The Peninsula Beverly Hills. A bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé Champagne and valet parking are also included.

When: October 1 – December 15, 2010

Nightly Rates:
Deluxe, from $665/night
Grand Deluxe from $765/night
Superior Suite from $1,095/night

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.