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.

Seychelles idyll for Royal Couple

The British media reported this morning that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge–the two young lovebirds you may know as William and Kate–arrived in the Seychelles earlier today to kick off their long anticipated honeymoon.

After touching down at Seychelles International Airport in Mahé, the Royal Couple boarded a helicopter and took off for a private, unidentified island.

The location of the Royal honeymoon has been a matter of intense speculation in the UK over the last several weeks. Jordan, the Isles of Scilly, and Barbuda have all turned up as potential destinations.

The Seychelles, a cluster of islands in the Indian Ocean, are a top upscale destination, with tourist inflows coming mostly from Europe. Surely the Royal Couple’s decision to honeymoon in the country will not damage the Seychelles’ reputation as a playground for the rich.

[Image: Flickr | Olivier Cochard-Labbé]

After the royal wedding: a boost for travel to UK

The big event is over and the attention of the world has moved along to other stories but the verdict is in: the Royal wedding brought a huge spike in travel to the UK.

“Travelers from across the globe arrived in London to watch and be a part of one of the biggest events in history, with visitors from Europe, to Australia and Asia. Londoners and tourists camped outside Westminster Abbey for two days, hoping to get glimpse of Kate and William and the royal family” reports Breaking Travel News.

It looks like all the attention via television, websites and print media should bring more travelers to the UK over the long haul too.

“The royal wedding is a gift – it’s an accelerator. It takes the brand of Great Britain up people’s consideration list. The key is everything else you do after that,” Zaid Al-Zaidy, marketing specialist at the U.K.-based marketing firm TBWA told CBC news.

Our friends at AOLTravel covered the event extensively and told us the Palace released a statement as the newlyweds walked the royal grounds, saying: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen not to depart for a honeymoon immediately. Instead, after spending the weekend privately in the United Kingdom, The Duke will return to work as a Search and Rescue pilot next week. The locations of both their private weekend and their future honeymoon, which will be overseas, will not be disclosed in advance.”

If you were climbing a mountain, hiking, out of the loop for some reason or just can’t give up that royal wedding mania feeling, here is a sampling of stories leading up to the big even as well as some video and photos you might enjoy either viewing or ignoring:

Photo of the day – Non-royal wedding

Well, it’s all over. Whether you woke up in the middle of the night to watch Will and Kate get married or ignored the deluge of media coverage, today’s historic Royal Wedding has said “I do” and we can all breath a collective sigh of relief that we can stop hearing about it. We’re still feeling a bit romantic here at Gadling, so today’s Photo of the Day is of another wedding couple leaving the scene of the ceremony, taken by Flickr user e.r.g.o. in Sri Lanka. He notes that the wedding was on a Wednesday morning, to coincide with the most astrologically auspicious time.

Photograph any happy couples on your travels? Add your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool and we may use one for another Photo of the Day.

Recap: Our ten favorite royal wedding stories

We’ll admit to jumping on the media blitz and exhaustively covering just about every angle of tomorrow’s royal wedding. And, like some of you, we’ll be up early tomorrow tweeting (#RW2011, thankyouverymuch) and watching the event unfold on TV.

Want to catch up on all of your favorite travel coverage? Here are our favorite Gadling and AOL Travel royal wedding stories from the past few months:

  1. Want to know what your favorite hotel is doing to celebrate? We track royal wedding packages here, here and here.
  2. Are you on a cruise ship tomorrow? Don’t worry, they’ll be streaming the coverage live.
  3. Sick of it all? There’s a royal wedding barf bag for that.
  4. In the words of the great Austin Powers, does the royal wedding make you horny, baby? The wedding has spawned a commemorative beer with Viagra in it.
  5. Did you know there’s a second royal wedding this summer in Monaco? Yeah, we didn’t either.
  6. Want to pretend you’re Kate Middleton? Check out this creepy/awesome exhibit where you can pose with Wills.
  7. easyJet held a Will and Kate lookalike contest.
  8. Using the royal wedding as inspiration for your own? How about these great romantic wedding locations in England?
  9. Are you in London? You’ll have to pick up a royal wedding souvenir.
  10. Last but not least, a concierge from Dukes offers ten tips for visiting London.

[Flickr via shining.darkness]