Established 1978

New Hotel and Restaurant Open in Palo Alto

by Teresa Rodriguez

February 26th, 2014

The Epiphany Hotel, Joie de Vivre Hotels’ newest property, is about to open its

restaurant, Lure + Till, in March. Led by executive chef Patrick Kelly, who previously

held the same position at top-rated Gitane in San Francisco and at Angèle in Napa, Lure

+ Till will be a laid-back, all-occasion restaurant serving innovative Northern Californian

cuisine and high-quality cocktails. Located on the hotel’s ground floor, Lure + Till will

be the neighborhood’s most inviting place to meet, eat, and drink. The 80-seat indoor-
outdoor restaurant and bar will take advantage of California’s enviable weather and draw

from the energy of Palo Alto’s vibrant downtown, while inviting locals and visitors alike

into a rustic setting that feels like home.

“Surrounded by Palo Alto’s unfolding restaurant scene, Lure + Till will be fun and

charming with a welcoming ambiance, progressive cocktail program, and–of course–

great food,” says Lorenz Maurer, general manager of The Epiphany Hotel. “Chef Kelly

brings small town sensibilities, a wealth of experience, and an innovative spirit to this

latest endeavor, which we hope will be the go-to spot for just about any occasion.”

Lure + Till will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and will provide guests

with room service around the clock. The Epiphany Hotel is an eight-story luxury

boutique hotel located at 180 Hamilton Avenue, a block from Palo Alto’s prime retail

street, University Avenue–home to the likes of the Apple Store and Design Within Reach

–and one of only two hotels to open downtown in more than a decade. Shaped by the

surrounding start-up zeitgeist, The Epiphany will afford guests and locals an authentic

experience, including meeting spaces created by the design and innovation firm, IDEO,

smart amenities, friendly service, and a casual spirit.

March 15-16: It’s Easy Being Green at Hotel Vitale

February 12th, 2014

San Francisco’s only luxury waterfront boutique hotel, Hotel Vitale, is offering “La Dolce Vitale Wellness Experiences” at its signature spa, Spa Vitale. The all-day spa experience is on March 15 and 16. The theme is “It’s Easy Being Green!” These special one-day retreats at the hotel’s elegant, penthouse-level spa emphasize wellness activities such as massage, movement, meditation, and healthful eating as a way to nurture body, mind, and soul.

Each experience features a selection of carefully curated healing and revitalizing treatments, and products to help you reach new levels of inner balance, vital energy, and inspiring beauty. Consciously selected meals, luxurious spa treatments, wellness sessions, one-on-one consultations, product samples, and a relaxing wine and cheese reception are included in each program. You can select either the Saturday program, which takes place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., or the Sunday program, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It’s Easy Being Green!” includes a presentation on stress management; green foods with high antioxidant properties; a private chat with a prosperity counselor; a meditation “tea party,” and an interactive joke-telling session to lift the spirit. Also included are a Green Tea Oil-Infused Massage, Green Apple Facial, Enzymatic Honey & Seaweed Hand Treatment, and Green Tea & Vinegar Detoxifying Foot Bath.

The spa days are $475 per person ($399 for Joy of Life Club members), available by calling (415) 278-3786 or via email at

Macau Means Money

by Teresa Rodriguez

November 20th, 2013

Gambling dates back to 2,300 B.C. with the Chinese and the game of Mah Jong, which involved betting. It’s fitting that Macau, the gambling Mecca of China, has succeeded Las Vegas in revenues. Macau (also spelled Macao) was governed by Portugal from the mid-16th century until late 1999. It was the last European colony in Asia. Because of the juxtaposition of colliding cultures and its closeness to Hong Kong, Macau is worth a visit.

Centrally located on the Cotai Strip, Sheraton Hotel is a new hotel that is creating a great reputation for service and its spa. The hotel is brand new and has all the amenities you’ll need to have a wonderful stay. Every day your room gets refreshed with a new toothbrush and comb, along with free bottled water.

The hotel is home to a world-famous spa with some incredible services. Shine Spa was created with the help of a feng shui master from Hong Kong, and the treatments are based on the five elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. The spa offers the most amazing treatments based on your answers to a few questions relating to your birthdate and your current mood, via an iPad. Depending on your answers, you are offered two different treatments that will align your body, mind, and spirit. For example, for those who chose the element Metal, a massage with gold leaf will be part of your 90-minute treatment.

Dining options are extraordinary; the hotel offers three restaurants on the property:
Xin is Macau’s one and only hotpot and seafood restaurant. It offers an incredible dining experience–you get to choose the ingredients you want to cook in your private pot with the broth of your choosing.

Bene is their Italian restaurant where you can get traditional Italian dishes that include homemade pastas. For those who are not too adventurous, this is the perfect venue.

Feast is a market-style, casual buffet that is open all day. There, everyone can get whatever type of food they want. Fresh salads, fruit, cheese, and desserts are in endless supplies. Some of the highlights include Asian, Portuguese, and Macanese delights.

How to get to Macau: The Taiwanese airline, Eva Air (, is a Star Alliance member, so if you have points, you can upgrade to the Elite Class. It is not as fancy as First Class, but it is very comfortable and makes the 14-hour flight easy. Flights from LAX to Taipei, then Macau run daily. If you are lucky, you might get to ride on the Hello Kitty plane.

Sheraton Macau
Nightly rates starting at $179 USD
You can redeem your Starpoints:

Eva Air Economy Class ticket from LAX to Macau starting at $998 USD

You can redeem your Star Alliance points for an upgrade.

Tiburon, California–A Slice of Heaven

by Teresa Rodriguez

October 7th, 2013


Although Tiburon means shark in Spanish, there is nothing frightening about this quaint little town just a few miles north of San Francisco.

Actually, it has become the latest chic destination for San Franciscan urbanites who want to escape the hectic days and foggy nights of the city.

Getting to Tiburon is delightfully easy. The first option is driving there. From Nob Hill, it’s 15 miles away, that’s less than 30 minutes by car. Of course, the more romantic mode of transportation is by boat. The Tiburon Ferry runs daily from San Francisco Ferry Building and drops you off right in the heart of restaurant row.

On just one tiny lane, there are dozens of places to enjoy a libation, eat a delicious meal, or shop for a few favorite things. An impressive lineup of restaurants includes Guaymas (known for its Perfect 10 margaritas), Main St. Wine & Bottle Bar, Salt & Pepper, Servino, and the famed Sam’s Café.

For the perfect getaway, retreat to The Lodge at Tiburon, which is a five-minute walk from the ferry. Recently renovated and under new management, the Tiburon Lodge is creating its own buzz due to its new restaurant, Tiburon Tavern. Jamie Prouten, executive chef, has created an delicious menu, which includes deviled eggs with chorizo, mussels in a light curry sauce, and everybody’s favorite–Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwich. The setting is intimate, yet approachable, and the use of fire on the terrace is incredibly dramatic. Wonderful amenities include the outdoor swimming pool and the cabanas. So, while it’s chilly and windy in San Francisco, know there is a little slice of heaven just waiting for you just a few miles away.


The Lodge at Tiburon
1651 Tiburon Blvd.
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-3133 | 800-762-7770

Putting on the Ritz

by Teresa Rodriguez

October 7th, 2013

The holidays are just around the corner, so before the crazy hits, take some time to relax and treat yourself to a little opulent retreat. One of the hidden gems of the California coast is the quaint town of Half Moon Bay. And, right now is a pretty special time there because it is pumpkin season, and soon they will be celebrating their annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 19-20.

First stop – The Ritz Carlton. It is an incredible resort built on the side of a cliff, overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay provides a magnificent backdrop for the perfect getaway from Nob Hill.

The spa at the Ritz is considered one of the best in the country, so having a treatment there is a must. Try the Thai Poultice Massage. It is a special treatment that helps with detoxing and relaxing the muscles and mind. Best part is you can enjoy the other spa amenities there, including the steam room, sauna, and whirlpool.

For dinner, go into town via the Ritz Carlton car service and dine at It’s Italia on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Some of its specialties include ahi crudo, mesquite grilled local calamari, and scallop capellini. A must is kayaking in the bay with the Half Moon Bay Kayak Co. In about an hour, you can paddle out in the bay, and get a first-hand look at the local wildlife, including seals and pelicans.

After all that hard work on the water, head to Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, where the company brews it own beers on premise. Try the beer flight, which includes great beers with memorable names, such as Bootleger’s Brown Ale and Pit Stop Chocolate Porter.

Tucked behind La Nebbia Winery is Half Moon Bay Art Glass. Doug is the owner, and he offers glass blowing lessons. It is a wonderful experience to blow your own glass creation with the help of such a knowledgeable glass blower.

An hour before sunset, the Ritz has a bagpiper who plays while the sun slowly sets. Grab an Irish coffee and take in the beauty of Half Moon Bay. The Ritz Carlton has just renovated its main restaurant, Navio. The focus is on fresh seafood and local, seasonal produce. Two of the house specialties are the 48-Hour Braised Pistou Beef Short Ribs and California King Salmon.

Whether you’re roasting marshmallows or making S’Mores in your own terrace fire pit–or relaxing on the bluff after a rejuvenating spa treatment, the Ritz offers a stunning destination for your next luxurious getaway. And, for you golfers, there are also two award-winning gold courses on the property.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay
One Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, California 94019 USA
(650) 712-7000

It’s Italia
401 Main St Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 726-4444

Half Moon Bay Kayak Company
Johnson Pier Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 773-6101

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
390 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA
(650) 728-2739

La Nebbia Winery and Half Moon Bay Art Glass
12341 San Mateo Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 726-9463

Navio Restaurant at Ritz Carlton
One Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, California 94019
(650) 712-7000

Click here for more suggestions on what to do, where to stay, and places to eat in Half Moon Bay.

Five Things to Do at Lake Tahoe this Memorial Day Weekend

May 16th, 2013

Yes, it’s almost that time of year when ladies can officially start wearing white shoes and gentlemen can where seersucker. For those who prefer a little action in their weekends, here are five great things to do at Lake Tahoe.

Road Cycle Around Lake Tahoe
“America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride,” the immensely popular summer road bike ride
around Lake Tahoe, is already sold out. But cyclists can circumnavigate the lake on their own, and for free, this spring, taking advantage of the spring shoulder season that means less traffic around the Lake Tahoe and perfect weather for a long road ride. The 72-mile ride is perfect for strong, recreational cyclists. Cyclists can take it slow by stopping at a lakefront restaurant for lunch or lounging on one of North Tahoe’s beaches as a rest stop.

Paddleboard Through Crystal Clear Waters
North Lake Tahoe’s clear waters are internationally famous, but most visitors experience Big Blue during the height of summer, when the lake’s clarity is not at its apex. In spring and early summer, North Tahoe still retains much of the winter’s stunning, gin-clear clarity, while the warming weather makes it comfortable for a lengthy paddle. Remember North Tahoe’s waters are still very cold, and only confident paddlers should venture well out into the lake.

Mountain Bike Dust-Free
Spring and early summer is the secret mountain bike season in North Tahoe. The trails are dust-free and “grippy,” and the meadows are lit up in iridescent green. While much of the Tahoe Rim Trail might still be under snow, low-elevation trails and south and west facing trails are primed for mountain biking. The world-class Flume Trail on North Tahoe’s east shore is melted out, and trails around Truckee, such as the Emigrant Trail, are primed for early season riding.

Golf Under Snowcapped Peaks
Most of North Tahoe and Truckee’s many golf courses are open for business, and in
immaculate shape after a very forgiving winter. Sunny skies and snowcapped peaks make a perfect backdrop for an early summer round of golf at North Lake Tahoe courses. Enjoy the thinner crowds and greener fairways before summer’s high season ramps up.

Go Fish
Stream fishing season is now in full throttle, and a day spent reeling in Rainbows
and Browns on a tranquil section of the Truckee River is an unforgettable mountain
experience. The Truckee River offers it all—slow water between Tahoe City and Alpine Meadows, and a wild trout fishery below Truckee that harbors large, wild Rainbows and Browns. Or, fish for the big boys, by trolling the waters of North Tahoe, Donner Lake, or Stampede Reservoir for hungry Mackinaw that can grow up to 30 pounds.

For more information visit:

Kenwood Inn and Spa

by Teresa Rodriguez

April 29th, 2013

2013-04-14 18.39.31

Tucked away between the rolling hills of Sonoma’s wine country, there is a little spot of heaven called Kenwood Inn and Spa. It is nestled up against an oak-filled knoll hidden away from the hustle and bustle of busy urban life. There, only 29 beautifully appointed rooms grace the property. Each boasts a fireplace and a big cozy bed with gazillion-count cotton sheets.

In the main courtyard, you will find the private dining room, reserved only for use by the guests. The venue serves up an incredible breakfast of fresh-baked pastries and traditional breakfast items made with a twist. Just as impressive are the lunch and dinner menus with a delicious Italian flare. Nearby on the square, a charming wine bar with an impressive and sophisticated list of wines is a nice surprise on such a quaint property.

Follow a vine-filled pathway to the beautiful pool that is lined with blooming plants and relaxing water fountains. Spend the afternoon in the pool, enjoy the hot tub with a glass of Champagne, or indulge in a spa treatment at the inn’s award-winning spa.

For more romance, stroll across the property to the private hot tub that is open 24-hours a day and is always toasty at 107 degrees.

Along with its impeccable service, the inn hosts regular private wine tastings for guests. You get to spend time with a showcase winemaker, tasting the wines and learning about the winery being featured.

For an absolutely perfect weekend getaway–just far enough away from Nob Hill, but close enough to make traveling there a relaxing journey–spend a couple of splendid days at Kenwood Inn and Spa.

Where: 10400 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA
Price: Starting price $450 per night
HOW: Call 800-353-6966 or go online

World’s First Wine-Inspired, All-Inclusive Resort Opens in Cancun

by Teresa Rodriguez

March 25th, 2013


For the savvy traveler, all-inclusive resorts can seem a bore. Same food, same cheap mixed drinks, and uninspiring accommodations. Well, that all changed with the opening of Secrets The Vine in Cancun.

The resort is adults-only, so you won’t hear or see any screaming children on this
high-end property. Next, the resort was built only six months ago, so when it comes to innovation and amenities, everything is top-shelf. Top-shelf also describes the resort’s wine collection of more than 4,000 wines from around the world.

Each month, the resort offers wine lessons and tastings with enologist Hugo D’Acosta. D’Acosta is considered the Robert Mondavi of Mexico. He was born and raised in Mexico and trained in Bordeaux. He owns four wineries in the Guadalupe Valley and consults for a number of others in the region. D’Acosta is considered one of the best winemakers in Mexico.

What’s great about this resort is that Cancun is a relatively short flight from San
Francisco, you will be picked up at Cancun airport, and there is absolutely no reason for you to leave the property during your stay. Everything is at your fingertips. There are eight dining venues on the property, each catering to a different style, from high-end luxury to casual beach dining. Cuisine options include Mediterranean, Peruvian, Asia, and international seafood. And, like the wine–it’s all included. Each chef was brought in from his country and cuisine of origin to create the menus.

The Secrets Spa by Pevonia offers wine-inspired treatments including: d’ vine Wine
Facial, d’ vine Ultimate Wine Massage, and d’ vine Pinot Noir Escape Exfoliation. For the ultimate in spa experience, book all three for an afternoon of bliss (spa treatments are billed separately).

Rates for Secrets the Vine all-inclusive resort start at $334 per person per night;
transportation to and from the airport is additional.

For more information visit:

Slip Away to the Shore

by Teresa Rodriguez
Teresa Rodriguez is author of FLY SOLO and BODY, MIND, and SOLO

February 12th, 2013

Don’t let this winter pass you by without a trip to Tahoe. For a cozy winter experience off the beaten track, check out the West Shore Café & Inn. It is located on the shores of Lake Tahoe, mere steps from the slopes of Homewood Mountain Resort on Tahoe’s west shore. This little gem is located right on the lake’s edge and has only six lodge-inspired guestrooms and suites that provide you with deluxe comforts, lake and mountain views,authentic Tahoe hospitality, and conveniences such as a daily continental breakfast, boat and car valet, and on-demand shuttle service to nearby destinations.

At Homewood Mountain Resort you can take a tour or ride down the mountain at this
spectacular lakeside family-friendly ski resort. Boasting one-of-a-kind, breath-taking views of Lake Tahoe and trails that are easy to navigate, Homewood is a favorite among locals who appreciate its accessibility and simplicity. Homewood’s spectacular lakeside location gives skiers and snowboarders a rare, unobstructed view of Lake Tahoe, making the lake look like an infinity pool from the lifts and trails. Doesn’t this sound so much better than a day on the slopes at a packed ski resort?

The Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series Hosted in Mexico

by Teresa Rodriguez
Travel Expert, Author of FLY SOLO and BODY, MIND, AND SOLO

January 22nd, 2013

We just returned from The Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series, hosted at the El Dorado Royale in Mexico. For five days we were treated to a splendid array of events that focused on food and wine. These events, which are offered the first week of every month in 2013, spotlight a fabulous chef and winemaker who are working in conjunction with the resort’s team of Michelin star chefs and sommeliers. Special events included access and insight into highly sought-after wines, vertical tastings, educational classes with sommeliers and winemakers, cooking courses, special pairings, and exclusive Guest Chef and Winemaker Dinners.

For upcoming events, participants include Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates’ pastry chef Robert Buttercup in February; more than a dozen renowned chefs and sommeliers as a part of the Cancun Wine & Food Festival in March; Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates’ chef and cheese specialist Tracey Shepos Cenami in April; and Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates’ chef and contemporary cuisine specialist Eric Frischkorn in May.

The Culinary Series includes:

• Monday – “Wine Up”: Meet the international chef and honored winemaker of the
month. Get to know the personalities behind each wine as secrets are uncorked.

• Tuesday – Wine Class: Become a wine connoisseur as you delve into everything there is
to know about wine. The resort’s master sommelier will guide you through all the ins and
outs of wine and wine making while you smell and taste various varietals.

• Wednesday – Exclusive Guest Chef & Winemaster Dinner: Food and wine are the
main performers in this delectable teaser, which takes place in a culinary theater under a
90-foot-high thatched roof. Chef and winemaker will excite and entertain with culinary
tricks as your meal is prepared in front of you.

• Thursday – Cooking Class: Learn the cooking secrets of a world-class chef. An
international chef and master winemaker will explain various preparation methods and
culinary techniques. Leave with exclusive recipes to recreate these sumptuous dishes
back home.

• Thursday evening – “Yucatan Meets California”: This exotic culinary experience
celebrates the relationship between the Riviera Maya in Mexico and the Mayacamas
Mountains in California. An elaborate 5-course meal showcases the best of southern
Mexican cuisine and the California wines of Sonoma and Napa valleys.

• Friday – “Wine Around the World” 4-Course Dinner: Travel around the world in a
single evening during this gastronomic adventure. Dinner consists of a 4-course meal,
during which you will experience the best of Mexican, Asian, Caribbean, Italian, and
World cuisine.

• Saturday – “Wine Down: Sips in the Sand”: After an incomparable week of epicurean
encounters, treat yourself to a variety of wine keepsakes and escape to a secluded spot
on the magnificent white sand beach with bottle of wine and two glasses–where you can
lounge on the beach, sipping wine and enjoying gourmet tidbits to the sound of crashing
waves at your feet.

The Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series is an additional $300 for the weeklong program at El
Dorado Royale; à la carte rates for wines and ad hoc wine and culinary experiences start at $35.
Nightly rates at Karisma Hotels & Resorts begin at $229 per person, per night–including the
Gourmet Inclusive experience (all gourmet meals served à la carte, premium alcoholic and non-
alcoholic beverages, 24-hour room service, full service concierge, king-size beach beds).

Hotel reservations can be booked at 1-866-527-4762, or by visiting

For more information about The Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series, by Karisma, visit http://

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