What do you look for when choosing a hotel for vacation? Price? Location? Choices seem to grow every day and it’s not just about the destination anymore. Hotels are cooking all sorts of ways to reel in guests.
Hook & Cook, Pueblo Bonito
First up, the beaches of Cabo San Lucas and Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort.
Guests hit the sand to catch their lunch. With the help of resident expert anglers, you learn how to cast into the surf and hopefully reel in a big one. If you’re like me and the big one always seems to get away, don’t worry, the chef comes prepared with back-up supplies to save the day and lunch. (Those same expert anglers that teach you how to cast, are on the beach before sunrise, reeling in the fresh catch of the day.) Using a portable ceviche bar in the sand, Chef Luis Gonzalez, who goes by the nickname, “Investigative Chef,” prepares and array of seafood to feast on while sitting in the sand. The activity is offered at least once a week, and along with being tasty, it’s complimentary for guests.
Seaside Sizzle, Ka’anapali Alii
Not wanting to spend your vacation in the kitchen cooking is a common request.. but eating out isn’t the only option for folks visiting Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach
A little different than a hotel, the Ka’anapali Alii rents condos, so guests have the benefit of a kitchen, but come dinnertime the Alii Grill Master mans the eight oceanfront grills offering a variety of rubs and spices, cooking tips and when he senses fear.. even happy to do the grilling for you. I had veggies, ahi and meat and was trying to figure out the timing. With some salt and pepper here and some canola oil there, he had dinner on the nearby tables in record time. All the tools needed are there, including paper plates and plastic cutlery, so no dishes to deal with afterward. If you don’t want to go shopping the property will do that for you too!
A vacation on the Southern California coast naturally comes with seagulls, unless you’re staying at Terranea. The skies above the 102 acre property are free and clear thanks to a team of birds including this gal, Jacinta, a Gyrfalcon from Alaska. They don’t hunt, they just make an appearance and other birds, like seagulls decide it’s best to go hang out elsewhere.
Falconers hold meet and greets with guests a few time a week to explain the sport of falconry. It’s not hunting – the birds are trained and well fed. You get to see their daily work routine first hand and sometimes even hold one of the birds. The activity is free for guests. The public can pay a fee to attend.
Stargazing at the Hyatt Regency Maui
Stargazing can be overwhelming for the novice, but with the help of numerous telescopes on the rooftop at the Hyatt Regency Maui on Ka’anapali Beach, everything becomes amazing clear. Like this footage of the Supermoon in mid-November. Eddie Mahoney, the hotel’s Director of Astronomy, has been leading the tour for more than 20 years.
Don a pair of Rainbow Glasses (that look a lot like those 3D movie glasses), and the moon takes on a whole new look thanks to what is called diffraction grating. A prism is created, spreading the sunlight, which is the source of the moonlight, into a rainbow of colors.
The Tour of the Stars at Hyatt Regency Maui is offered nightly at 8 and 9 p.m. on the hotel rooftop. Prices are $25 per adult, $15 per child, and $30 for non-guests.
Spa Bar, Farmhouse Inn
Because I love talking about local spots and I have a sweet tooth.. Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma County had me with their s’mores bar. Valrhona dark chocolate, vanilla bean marshmallows and artisan cinnamon graham crackers. But located just across from the s’mores bar in guest services is the spa bar. It’s a collection of local spa products for guests to sample and enjoy in their room. There’s a lavender sea salt for the bath, a brown sugar–honey scrub, and 3 different soaps. All the bath bar products come from Sumbody, a local company just down the road in Sebastopol.