Archive for the ‘US Travel’ Category

The Resort at Pelican Hill

By Honey   Thursday, October 6th, 2011

The Resort at Pelican hill in Newport Coast is about a 45 minute drive from Los Angeles International airport where I was earlier this month prior to my cruise on board the Crystal Symphony to the Mexican Riviera.

Not one but two doormen  held the doors open for me to enter the reception area  to this extravagant resort which has magnificent expansive views of the Pacific ocean. The resort is set on a bluff  , but a complimentary shuttle( a schedule is given to you when you check in) provides transportation to the beach and Crystal Cove state park which are right below. Since I had just arrived from the “deep freeze” aka The Twin cities, I decided to have lunch by the ocean at the very popular Beachcomber restaurant which serves  delicious American cuisine with breath taking views of the Newport Coastline and Catalina Island.

 The resort at Pelican Hill is designed in a dramatic Tuscan-inspired Palladio style, with stunning man made landscape  with hundreds of elegantly swaying Canary palms, age-old olive trees, exotic flowering shrubs  and rose bushes. There are 204 bungalows and 108 villas.  My bungalow had an ocean view and was over 800 square feet, with a private terrace  and was very luxuriously appointed with a gas lit Italian limestone fireplace, which I did sit by in the evening.  If you do not feel like walking to the spa or restaurants on the property a shuttle will pick you up and take you where you want to go.

I spent both  evenings before dinner at the 23,000 square foot elaborate  spa in the warm Roman soaking pool as it was too cold to be outdoors at the the circular pool— the largest of its kind in the world . The spa boutique  carries Olivina skin products and  the founder of this company, Susan Costner-Kenward, was visiting for the weekend to talk about her products which are made from olive and grape seed oil.

There are plenty of dining options at the resort.  They have an Italian restaurant called Andrea and The Grill which is a distinguished Continental room and is known for  sampling thick aged beef and fresh-caught seafood, all while enjoying sunsets over Catalina Island. There is also a gourmet delicatessen  , a poolside venue and a 37th hole (there are two golf courses hereby Tom Fazio ) at the golf club. If none of these restaurants appeal to you then there are plenty of dining options in Carona Del Mar which is less than a 10 minute drive from the resort.

I have traveled the world and seen some beautiful resorts but there was something very special about Pelican Hill.  I was not ready to leave after a couple of nights of tranquility and luxury.  Everyone is made to feel special at the beautiful Pelican resort.  A perfect place to visit for a long weekend if you are within driving distance and are looking to get away or for longer if you are flying in.

Becoming Royalty in the Berkshires at Blantyre

By Paul Largay   Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Blantrye, One of the Berkshire's Best Kept Secrets

Last weekend I had the privilege of taking a quick trip north to the quaint town of Lenox, Massachusetts where I discovered on of the true gems of New England, Blantyre. Just 120 miles West of Boston and 138 miles from New York, this magnificent 110 acre Tudor-style mansion is sure to amaze even the most discerning travelers. The overall experience could best be described as ‘ Royal family-esque’.. after all, where else are you greeted upon arrival by a smiling ‘attendant/ escort’ dressed in a stylish tux and wearing a perpetual smile the size of a full moon. The pre-dinner presentation and reception in the main hall was a wonderful introduction and precursor into what was to come. Both with respect to the service standards and cuisine, the ever present, yet non-invasive service, thoughtfully and artfully presented our dining/consumption choices and subsequently delivered them with the artistry of a ballroom waltz and the accuracy of a Swiss made time piece. Our private dining venue, (3) course gourmet dinner, and the vintage, precisely and thoughtfully paired wines made for a remarkable, memorable dining experience. Our room in the main house was both spacious and ‘historically and cosmetically appropriate’ for a facility constructed in 1904. An exquisite breakfast was served in what could best be described as a quintessential conservatory replete with fine table linens, china, and glassware (if any of the water glasses are missing, look no farther ..we took em!) that made me want to delay our departure indefinitely . The head waiter was efficient, sophisticated (as the French always seem to be!) and an engaging conversationalist.

I think the grounds and floral gardens are a reflection and extension of the attention to detail so evident within the facilities themselves. The spa was intimate and inviting and the gym properly and appropriately outfitted.

Unfortunately for me, but fortunate (and understandable) for Blantyre, the property was sold out so we were not able to see the interiors of the other accommodations but I feel confident that each was just as wonderful as ours. The one exception being the duplex suites in the spa building..candidly I would not book any of those accommodations for my clients as they are just a bit too abstract in their design and configuration..the staircase leading up to the somewhat claustrophobic sleeping area would NOT ring my clients bell..sorry but I fee I must report what I see..

So, in conclusion from the precious jewels in the Blantyre crown that I was able to see and experience my opinion is it is a wonderful (2) day country getaway venue for discriminating clients interested in a historic venue, complemented by a world class culinary and wine experience. The surrounding towns, villages, and recreational and cultural menu of activities only add to the ‘floral lure of Blantyre !!

Unfortunately after a few days back I have begrudgingly surrendered my virtual crown.. and am now back at the professional salt mine of life.. Calgon take me away again..pretty please !?:)