What's New

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New Restaurant and Beer Garden at Miyako

Ise-Shima, which first opened at the Miyako Hybrid Hotel in December 2014, reopened this August as a traditional Japanese restaurant with an entirely new menu and beer garden. Here, visitors can now enjoy a variety of flavorful dishes made with Kurobuta pork, Angus X wagyu beef and jidori chicken. The restaurant’s commitment to serving quality ingredients is also evident by the vast sushi bar, which features oysters and delicacies such as abalone, turban shell and sea urchin. Ise-Shima’s breakfast buffet, lunch menu, café items, happy hour and dinner menu are available to both hotel guests and other visitors. The new outdoor beer garden is another welcome addition, enabling guests to enjoy their meals or drinks while basking in the Southern California sunshine or taking in the rejuvenating evening breeze. The beer garden features Kirin draft beer and is open seven days a week from 5 to 10 p.m.

Media Contact:
Molly Okumura

Public Contact:
Linda Amato
Discover Torrance

Santa Maria-Inspired Steakhouse to Open January 2016

SeaSalt Woodfire Grill, an innovative steak house and weekend breakfast eatery featuring the “farm-to-fire” tastes of Santa Maria-style barbecue, is set to open in January 2016 in Huntington Beach. Created by award-winning SeaLegs Wine Bar Owner Alicia Whitney and her team, SeaSalt Woodfire Grill is designed to make clients feel like they’re dining in a rustic farmhouse from another era. Chef Alexander Dale leads the menu, based on the infusion of house-made flavored sea salts, pepper and other simple seasonings, for diners to experience the natural flavors of selected meats, such as bone-in ribeye steaks, tri-tip and lamb chops. Skilled pitmasters will grill meat over an open fire to capture the seared-in smoke flavor from red oak wood. The meat dishes can be paired with wines from the Santa Maria region, Orange County-based craft beers and craft cocktails with house-made savory and sweet sea salts. For more information, visit www.seasaltwoodfiregrill.com.  

Media Contact:
Kait McKay
Reveille, Inc.
(949) 933-0768

Public Contact:
Omar Khashen
SeaSalt Woodfire Grill
(714) 225-5926


Santa Catalina Island Company Brings New Restaurant Concept to Avalon

Santa Catalina Island Company, Catalina Island’s longest-running operator and premier resort-service provider, continued the revitalization of the destination’s culinary scene with the June 15 opening of a new restaurant concept. Descanso Fresh, located on the beautiful Descanso Beach cove and adjacent to the newly opened Catherine’s Terrace, features a gourmet espresso bar and cafe serving homemade breakfast pastries, fresh pressed juices, buffalo milk ice cream and spiked ice cream confections for adults. A throwback to the classic ice cream shoppe on the beach, Descanso Fresh reflects the island’s historic charm, featuring traditional décor elements including artwork from the famed St. Catherine Hotel and antique wall decorations. For more information, visit www.visitcatalinaisland.com/activities-adventures/descanso-beach-club.  

Media Contact:
Shelly Levin
Murphy Obrien
(310) 586-7115

Public Contact:
Shelly Levin
Murphy Obrien
(310) 586-7115


Boar Dough Tasting Room Opens in Conejo Valley

Boar Dough Tasting Room in Agoura Hills recently debuted in Los Angeles County, featuring handcrafted flatbreads, salads and other plates made with seasonal ingredients from the Conejo Valley. Guests also enjoy sampling a variety of local and international cheeses and charcuterie paired with local and international wine, beer and cider. The establishment generated a buzz with its alcohol-free cold-pressed juices, house-made sodas, gourmet coffee and tea, and locally-made gelato and chocolates. The tasting room also offers a variety of classes and events as well as a selection of unique wine-centric gifts. For more information, visit www.boardoughtastingroom.com.

Media Contact:
Victoria Benz
(916) 774-9600

Public Contact:
Boar Dough
Boar Dough Tasting Room
(818) 889-2387


New Cabaret Show to Debut at Pirate's Dinner Adventure this Fall

Teatro Martini, a new cabaret-style show, seating up to 210 guests, will be opening inside Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, California this fall. The show offers an energetic evening of non-stop comedy, daring acrobatic acts, live music and unique performances paired with fantastic upscale dining in a show like no other. To create the exciting and edgy experience, their crew has shanghaied world-class chefs, mixologists, beautiful dancers and amazing performers from across the globe, providing adults a captivating and tantalizing getaway from the ordinary. The show is tailed for a more matured audience, 18 and older. For more information, visit www.teatromartini.com.

Media Contact:
Melissa Luna
Pirate's Dinner Adventure

Public Contact:
Melissa Luna
Pirate's Dinner Adventure


California Craft Beer Summit

The California Craft Beer Summit and Brewers Showcase, a two day event in Sacramento on September 11-12, is a first-of-a-kind opportunity for craft beer enthusiasts, home brewers and industry members to experience a hands-on education on the vibrant craft brewing community from their favorite California brewers. Craft beer enthusiasts from across the state will be able to meet leading brewers, taste new styles of beer and expand their knowledge and appreciation for the art of brewing, pairing and tasting craft beer. The California Craft Brewers Showcase is the culmination of the two day event, drawing more than 150 craft breweries from across the state for a tasting tour through California’s craft brewing landscape. This premier festival represents the first and largest collection of hand crafted, California-brewed beer ever served in one location. Key events at the Summit include; food and beer pairings, brewing 101, a step-by-step guide to opening a brewery, advanced courses on beer styles, tastings and promotion, tap talks on the history of the industry, women in brewing and how to age beer. For more information, visit www.cacraftbeersummit.com.

Media Contact:
Leia Ostermann
Perry Communications Group
(916) 658-0144

Public Contact:
Leia Ostermann
Perry Communications Group
(916) 658-0144


What's New in California 2015 Edition

There is always something new and exciting in California. As your resource for statewide news, Visit California is pleased to present this release describing new developments taking place in the various regions of the Golden State. Please note that dates listed are subject to change; confirm with appropriate media contacts. 


Visit California Launches Dream365TV this Spring
California is a place of inspiration; a land of dreamers and innovators who dare to try. On March 2, Visit California launched Dream365TV, a new video hub on VisitCalifornia.com dedicated to California and the promise of dreaming big through inspirational video content. Dream365TV was conceptualized from the idea that chasing dreams is a year-round pursuit in California, and that Californians see every day as an opportunity for the unexpected, the amazing, the innovative, the crazy, the cool. No dream is ever too big, and Dream365 captures that spirit. Visitors to the site can view original series such as California Dreams, documentaries that profile people in California who are chasing their dreams and making them come true; and California, Always in Season, a Food & Wine original series that shines a spotlight on the bounty of California grown agriculture and the chefs who work their magic. Also highlighted are thematic video clips that focus on experiences, whether they are California’s unique culture, amazing culinary experiences, abundance of outdoor activities or more. Visit California’s Dream365TV invites viewers to find a dream, fuel a dream or just watch something awesome.


Amgen Tour of California Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Inclusion of Women’s Events
This spring, the Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest and most prestigious cycling event, will celebrate its 10th anniversary by expanding to include four days of women’s events. The world’s top 20 female cyclists will showcase their cycling power to a global audience, demonstrating the passion and force women also have on a bike. The women's race will travel through South Lake Tahoe on May 8th and 9th, and conclude in Sacramento on May 10th, the same day of the overall start of the men's race, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. For eight days, the nation’s top male cyclists will race across nearly 700 miles of California’s breathtaking scenery and travel through 12 additional host cities, including Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena. Excited fans can cheer these competitors each leg of the way, with celebrations taking place in the host cities at each of the start and finish lines. An individual time trial will take place on May 15th in Big Bear for both men and women, giving cycling fans a chance to see them in action at the same time.


Visit California Relaunches Consumer Website
Visit California recently relaunched its consumer website, making it more inspiring and visually engaging than ever before. The new, fully responsive VisitCalifornia.com leverages the latest in website design, best practices from today’s cutting edge consumer brands and high-quality visual assets to inspire visitors to “Dream Big” in the digital space. The website redesign is an inspirational introduction to California, showcasing the diversity and abundance found throughout the regions of the state, creating excitement for a California vacation. Once that excitement is created, consumers are directed to best in class third-party sites to complete the planning and booking process. Twelve global sites will launch later this year. Highlights of the new VisitCalifornia.com include:

Mobile/Responsive Design: The website was built to be fully responsive to ensure the best possible browsing experience for today’s increasingly mobile consumer.

Renewed Strategy: The site will refocus Visit California’s digital identity and will not try to tell the entire story, but instead provide relevant information to move consumers to a decision and then pass them to partners, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Disneyland Parks and Resorts and Universal Studio Hollywood, for deeper content and eventual booking.

More Flexible Structure: An easy to navigate back end infrastructure will allow for more up-to-date relevance, spotlighting seasonal or brand new offerings.

Utility Features: The new site will offer new utility features, providing consumers with relevant regional information like current and average seasonal temperatures, high level maps for geographic context and easy access to mapping technology.



Anaheim Resort District Investing $200 Million in New Hotel Rooms

To keep pace with growing visitor demand, Anaheim Resort District’s hotel development is moving at the speed of light, with nine brand new hotels recently or soon to be added. Collectively, these diverse properties—totalling $200 million dollars—will introduce more than 2,100 additional guest rooms and suites to the Anaheim Resort area. Recently, three of these hotels opened with the following number of rooms: The Hyatt Place Anaheim Resort (178); and two SpringHill Suites by Marriott (172 and 120 respectively). Five hotels will open in 2015, including: The Hyatt House Anaheim Resort (262); Residence Inn (274); Homewood Suites by Hilton—Anaheim Convention Center (215); Holiday Inn Express & Suites Anaheim Resort (96); and Courtyard at Maingate (221). The Great Wolfe Lodge, a 600 guest room waterpark hotel, is set to make its Orange County debut in 2016.


Inn at Benicia Bay Gets Million-Dollar Makeover

The Inn at Benicia Bay is scheduled to complete a $1 million renovation this spring. The project recently introduced six completely transformed rooms and will soon debut two more refurbished rooms. The new property will feature upgraded carpets and the rooms now boast a distinct theme, such as “Orient Express” and “Captain Dillingham,” the latter of which is named after a famous sea captain who once lived there. Jack London, who once visited the area, is honoured with a room bearing his name, while the largest room, “Commandants Quarters,” will feature a sauna, a plush couch and a canopy bed. Vito Pallagrini, the re- imagined restaurant, will significantly expand in size and will unveil its new, Italian-inspired menu, complete with a full bar by fall. The Inn, which is located downtown and just a half- block from the scenic marina, will also offer an expanded breakfast following the reopening.


San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Getting $18 Million Overhaul
Overlooking the San Francisco Bay, the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront is investing approximately $18 million to completely renovate its 685 guest rooms and suites. As part of Marriott’s “Guest Room of the Future” initiative, three sample guest rooms were developed during the design stage for guests to experience and, in turn, critique. Baskervill Architecture & Interior Design utilized this feedback when creating a locally authentic guestroom product. In mid-April 2015, the hotel will debut stylish contemporary guestrooms and suites that maximize the hotel’s stunning views with a blue and grey colour scheme that beautifully unites the exterior environment with the new stylish interior. All of the rooms will receive new furnishings and fixtures including hard-surface flooring, area carpeting, platform beds, plush duvets, 48” flat screen TVs and a spa-like shower experience.


DoubleTree San Francisco Airport Getting Multi-Million-Dollar Update

The DoubleTree by Hilton San Francisco Airport North Hotel is undergoing a multi- million dollar renovation—scheduled for completion in late February 2015—which includes a complete guestroom transformation, a new wireless Internet network, an upgraded lobby and restaurant renovations. Guestroom updates focus on new luxury bedding, carpet, furniture, artwork, paint and updated bathrooms. The beautiful lobby will feature a new desk, lighting and artwork, and on-site dining is being redefined at Xebec Lounge & Restaurant with upgraded décor, new big screen televisions, a new Chef’s Table and built- in Breakfast Buffet. Guests will continue to enjoy brand exclusives including an assortment of gourmet in-room tea and coffee offerings by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a refreshing array of Aroma Active from Aromatherapy Associates, and an industry-recognized service culture which is built around the idea of CARE, demonstrated from the moment a guest checks in and receives a warm, chocolate chip cookie welcome.


Four Seasons Aviara Conducting Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation

The Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, which offers fully-furnished resort residences for any length of stay, recently launched a multi-million-dollar renovation which is scheduled to finish by spring 2015. The project will include a reimagined lobby and arrival experience and completely new restaurant and spa. The new Driftwood Spa at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara will feature three uniquely designed treatment rooms, a visually-stunning nail salon, state-of-the-art fitness room and a yoga and Pilates studio. Boasting modern, Spanish mission-style architecture, the property is nestled in the scenic and centrally located city of Carlsbad, a charming beach resort town.


Ocean Palms Beach Resort Completes $5 Million Renovation
Ocean Palms Beach Resort, located along the coast of Carlsbad Village, recently completed a $5 million renovation that spanned the past four years. The beachside property’s update included: the renovation of full kitchens with custom cabinetry, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances; a mix of tile and wood flooring; wall detailing with full baseboards and crown moulding, coffered ceilings and hand-painted custom murals; Dutch doors; and bathrooms with cabinetry and granite. The grounds received a renovated meeting/party space along with tropical gardens, plants and trees. The resort’s motto— “Experience Hawaii in Carlsbad”—inspired the addition of fire pits, teak tables, thatch/teak chairs, BBQs, a heated pool, a Jacuzzi and a fitness centre.


Bernardus Lodge & Spa To Debut Multi-Million-Dollar Transformation

Bernardus Lodge & Spa, lauded by Condé Nast Traveller as among the best resorts in the world, recently began a multi-million- makeover that will transform the hotel from the ground up with an April 2015 debut. The property, which received a Forbes Travel Guide Four Star rating, will remain closed throughout the update. Project plans include upgrading the 57-guestroom luxury accommodations, creating a new lobby space, reinventing the pool experience and reinventing the dining concept. The transformation will deliver fresh contemporary architectural and design elements, state of the art technology and spectacular new meeting and event space. The lodge is located on 26 acres of sprawling lavender and vineyards in the heart of Carmel Valley.


Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite Launches $5 Million Remodel

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite launched a $5 million remodel that will refresh 240 of the main lodge’s rooms and suites. The first phase of the AAA Four Diamond resort’s refresh is scheduled to be completed in spring 2015, with the entire west wing—119 rooms and three floors of corridors—ready for their debut as Premium Rooms. The update, which features a rustic contemporary flair, will include new bathrooms with granite countertops and barn-inspired doors; an all new luxury bedding package; new lamps; new sofa sleepers in suites and extended queen rooms; fresh paint; plantation-style window shutters; new plush carpet; and refinished bar cabinets in suites. The corridors will boast new wallpaper, hardwood flooring and wood panelling. The project will wrap up in spring 2016 at this stunning mountain resort, which is located two miles from the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park and features many recreational activities; the world-class, 10,000 square-foot Ascent Spa; indoor and outdoor pools and five seasonal dining venues.


Laguna Cliffs Inn Undergoing $1.5 Million Renovation
Laguna Cliffs Inn will re-launch in April 2015 after a $1.5 million renovation which reflects the hotel’s new laidback California vibe. Twenty accommodations will feature private balconies with garden tables and chairs and coastal views. Other guest room enhancements include beach succulents, vintage surf books, small handcrafted instruments, canvas totes and coastal-inspired accessories by Australian brand Sunnylife and Venice Beach-based Convivial. Custom-made surfboards will hang over the beds, and outside, the expanded pool area will feature casual lounge furniture and a fire pit, making it a perfect place to relax under the sun or stars. The poolside shower is also crafted out of custom-designed surfboards. A chalkboard in the lobby will offer the daily surf report and the expanded lobby will act as a gathering area for guests to mingle during nightly wine hours with the general manager. In addition, a new boardroom will sit just off the lobby for small meetings.


Ranch at Laguna Beach Conducting Multi-Million-Dollar Upgrade
The Ranch at Laguna Beach, formerly Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course, is scheduled to re- open in April 2015 after a major renovation. Set in secluded Laguna Canyon in a golf course setting and just a short walk from Aliso County Beach, the 83-acre property will return to its rustic roots with a nostalgic classic, beach cottage feel. The original 64 guest rooms will expand to 97, including 64 spacious hotel rooms, nine studios, three suites and 20 cottages boasting 1,125 square feet. Much of the room furnishings will be ‘found’ items and mid-century antiques. The hotel will unveil a new indoor/outdoor spa, a 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness centre near the pool, a lobby embedded in the restaurant Harvest and an enlarged banquet room extending onto a 3,000-square-foot deck. New flexible meeting and event spaces abound indoors and outdoors totalling 58,000 square feet while 1.5 acres of new organic working gardens add a locavore flair to the restaurant.


La Quinta Resort & Club Completes Multi-Million-Dollar Restoration
La Quinta Resort & Club, the first resort to debut in Palm Springs, just added another gem to its crown—a multi-million dollar milestone restoration befitting a legendary classic. Shouldered by the rugged Santa Rosa Mountains and a storied Hollywood past, the iconic 1926 landmark recently completed a face-lift, giving the property a fresh, contemporary look while retaining the glamour and architectural elements that anchor what has always been an authentic experience. Ready for its close up, the resort-wide renovation encompasses upgrades of all guest casitas, starlight villas and suites as well as a re-imagined pool experience. The ambitious project also infuses the resort’s lush 45 acres with a bevy of additional bougainvillea, roses and citrus trees.


New Glamping Experience Debuts in Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Mary Smith Campground on Lewiston Lake recently introduced luxury camping for visitors who want to savour an outdoor adventure without roughing it. Tucked away in Trinity County, the campground now offers six glamping tent cabins all situated near the shoreline of the rugged Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Untouched by the campers and anglers of other more popular lakes nearby, like Trinity and Shasta, the experience is designed for those who prefer the road less travelled. Guests can enjoy splendid views of Lewiston Lake from a private redwood deck and then step inside to a cosy room outfitted with rustic peeled-log furniture including a queen bed with linen, pillows and a down comforter; nightstands; arm chairs; a café table; and a boot bench. Each tent cabin site includes a fire pit and picnic table for enjoying private dining. A boat can be moored near each cabin along the shore, and guests can also rent a motorboat, kayak or canoe further up the lake. Visitors can take advantage of all this at a much lower cost than a traditional motor lodge.


Hotel Maya Opens Two Major Event Venues

Hotel Maya — a Doubletree by Hilton in Long Beach aims to reinvent the Southern California events industry with Lagunita, a new 6,400-square-foot event venue that sits like a majestic Mayan temple alongside Queensway Bay, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Long Beach skyline and Queen Mary. Lagunita, which means “ancient Mayan city,” features a cathedral-style ceiling, oversized chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The space can host 600 guests for standing receptions, 400 guests with a dance floor and up to 450 seated guests. To enter Lagunita, guests pass through “Vista del Mar,” a 10,000-square-foot outdoor space with a VIP entranceway, stage, compelling water and fire display, beautiful landscaping and alfresco bar. Vista del Mar can host 700 guests for a standing reception and up to 350 guests in rounds. Together the spaces, which cost more than $1.4 million, can host more than 1,000 guests for standing receptions.


Farmer’s Daughter Hotel Undergoing Multi-Million-Dollar Redesign

The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel in LA’s Fairfax District recently launched an exciting redesign to its guest rooms, dining establishments and public spaces. Slated for completion by June 2015, the hotel will boast new touches in their signature “Robin Rooms”—named for their robin’s egg blue wallpaper—which include custom bed frames and headboards made from Acacia wood and upholstered with the Farmer’s Daughter logo embroidered in silhouette; tile- wrapped walls; tech updates such as electric mirrors, additional reading lights, extra electrical plugs and multiple USB connections; original artwork from Jesse Azarian, who created “illustration pop-art” paintings throughout the hotel; and unique, custom art installations for each guestroom by Los Angeles-based artists. Updated public spaces will feature a new coffee shop, a game room with a custom billiards table that can convert to a ping pong table, a modernized lobby and pool area, and a refreshed courtyard featuring a covered group seating area inspired by southern porches, two fire pits and a new exterior bar.


Unique Resort to Open Near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Located at the southwest gateway to Lassen Volcanic National Park, the new Highlands Ranch Resort in Mill Creek is set to open in May 2015. The 7,400-square-foot lodge, built in 1978 but never opened, was recently restored using reclaimed and re-purposed materials creating an upscale, rustic chic vibe. Seven newly built cottages will open near the Lodge on the meadow’s edge, surrounded by the lush Lassen National Forest. The lodge features an open floor plan with a separate 1,200-square- foot banquet room and large kitchen area, as well as a new American Bistro restaurant and full bar with a large wood-burning fireplace. To provide guests the option to stay overnight, the owners developed seven rustic cottages— all designed to fit in with the surroundings and offer ultimate views in every direction. Several barns built in the 1800s are located throughout the property and used by local cattle ranchers and cowboys, whom guests can observe working from the lodge deck.


Historic Murphy’s Welcomes New $3 Million Courtwood Inn
Visitors exploring the historic Gold Rush town of Murphy’s can now stay in a newly constructed $3 million cedar log home— much like settlers of days past but with all the comfort and amenities of a luxury bed and breakfast. Located 1.5 miles from Main Street Murphy’s, the intimate inn offers just five rooms, all with private outdoor seating overlooking the Sierra Foothills or the valley. The rooms boast California King beds, free Wi- Fi, flatscreen TVs, fluffy bathrobes, Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities and Jason Microsilk spa tubs. Guests can choose among a pet friendly room, suites or mini-suites for private time, and socialize in the great room area, loft and game room. Owners Chris and Larry Parker— former award winning USPTA certified tennis professionals—have brought their love of tennis and wine into the mix, featuring tennis grand slam guest room names, a wine bar boasting local Calaveras county wines and Wine Camp packages. The couple began constructing two tennis courts on site, which are scheduled to be completed summer 2015.


The Garland to Debut this spring after $20 Million Makeover

The Garland, a boutique hotel in North Hollywood, will celebrate its grand re-opening spring 2015 following an extensive $20 million renovation. The upgrade, which began fall 2013, encompasses the entire property, including updates to the 243 guest rooms, 14 suites, lobby and meeting spaces along with a new restaurant and enhanced amenities. Staying true to the hotel’s authentic Hollywood history, the designers have preserved the classical California architecture while adding décor and furniture that create a retro-chic vibe. With pops of The Garland’s iconic, bright orange throughout the property and great attention to detail, the property boasts a Mad Men-like style. A refreshed pool bar and updated outdoor furniture awaits travellers, as well as a new 4,000-square-foot outdoor event space with a fire pit and water feature, 11,000 square feet of indoor event space and a new Front Yard restaurant.


Residence Inn Embarks on $2 Million Upgrade

Seeking to enhance the comfort of its guests in the New Year, the Residence Inn San Diego Oceanside recently began a floor- to-ceiling $2 million renovation project. The renovation, which is slated for completion in late February 2015, includes makeovers of its 125 rooms, an expanded lobby boasting cosy seating and communal tables designed to inspire socializing. Guests can enjoy flat-panel TVs, fully-equipped kitchens and free Wi-Fi in their rooms, as well as new plush bedding and contemporary décor featuring soft, relaxing hues. In addition to the lobby, the designers also refreshed other public areas, installing new carpeting in the fitness centre and 571-square-foot meeting room and new pool furniture that invites visitors to soak up Southern California’s famous rays. The hotel is close to Camp Pendleton as well as the charming beach town of Carlsbad.


Kona Kai Resort Debuts New Destination Spa

Kona Kai Resort & Marina recently introduced a new level of luxury and pampering with the opening of SpaTerre, a 7,020-square-foot oasis and signature spa brand of Noble House Hotels & Resorts. Blending exotic Indonesian spa treatments, Thai rituals and ancient spa traditions, SpaTerre offers a complete spa experience, promoting health and well-being for the mind, body and soul. Set amidst the resort’s captivating beach and marina, SpaTerre features six treatment rooms, two manicure stations and three pedicure thrones, as well as a couples suite, “Zen Den” relaxation room, Vichy wet room and state-of-the-art fitness centre with MATRIX and TechnoGym equipment. Guests can take advantage of various fitness classes and exclusive products in the spa boutique. Unique signature treatments include the Sandor Poultice Therapy, performed on a heated Crystal Quartz Table as a nod to the ancient Greek concept of “psammotherapy,” which uses warm sand to promote comfort.


Hilton San Diego Completes $1.1 Million Upgrade

Hilton San Diego Bayfront recently completed a $1.1 million renovation of its Odysea Lounge, which aims to be new gathering hotspot for locals and visitors. Guests can take “A Liquid Adventure” at the bar with the lounge’s new signature Moscow Mule menu, as well as other hand-crafted cocktails, San Diego craft beers and selective wines, which pair perfectly with the new local fare menu. Notable additions to the menu include west coast charcuterie and cheese plates that are made in front of guests at the chef’s counter in the Galley. Diners can play on installed iPads on the bar while dining and watching the chefs in action. The various nooks, terraces and lounge seating throughout Odysea Lounge create a synergy for business and social gatherings. The lounge also features a multi-media library with plasma televisions, PC and Mac computers and traditional books, all while overlooking the San Diego Bay.


Historic Payne Mansion Reopens after $7 Million Facelift

After a $6.5 million restoration, the historic Payne Mansion recently opened for the first time as a hotel and event venue on San Francisco Nob Hill. Built in 1881, the mansion remains one of the few Victorian buildings to survive the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. The Painted Lady retains its original façade, but has experienced many incarnations over the years—from a restaurant and a “House for Drunks” in the 20s to the first Private Gay Men’s Club—and can now be enjoyed by the general public. Boasting ten luxurious 19th- century-style rooms and suites, overnight guests can step back in time while enjoying modern comforts such as deluxe bedding, satellite TV, Ferragamo toiletries, free Wi-Fi same day wash-n-fold laundry and on-demand car service. The mansion has also evolved into a unique 4,750-square-foot event venue for up to 300 people, featuring two professional chef’s kitchens and an additional VIP Club for 70 guests.


Hotel Zephyr Fisherman’s Wharf to Shake Up the San Francisco Hotel Scene

Currently undergoing a $32 million transformation, the former Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf will reveal this spring its new incarnation as Hotel Zephyr, an upscale hotel property with a fresh and irreverent twist. Davidson Hotels teamed up with acclaimed international design firm Dawson Design Associates to offer a one-of-a-kind hotel experience in the heart of the city’s iconic tourist attractions. As one of the rare waterfront hotels in San Francisco, the design team was inspired by the spirit of rough and rowdy sailors of the wharf’s past. Turning the maritime narrative on its head, Hotel Zephyr Fisherman’s Wharf’s character is brought to life through the use of unexpected materials, from recycled corrugated metal and cargo containers to up-cycled nautical materials and shipping crates. Guests will be amazed and delighted by scrap transformed into treasure at every corner. The hotel will feature 361 stylish waterfront guest quarters, including 63 with personal balconies. Spirited travellers will find fun and comfort among Hotel Zephyr’s smart, chic accommodations and engaging community spaces—including an 11,600-square-foot interactive yard featuring classic games with unique twists, social activities and laid-back lounging alongside one-of-a-kind fire pits.


Hotel G in Union Square Opens New Eateries

Trendy boutique Hotel G, which recently opened in Union Square, just introduced two new restaurants to San Francisco’s culinary scene. Klyde Cafe & Wine Bar adds European flair to the traditional American bistro, with a menu created by renowned Executive Chef and San Francisco native, Sam Fechheimer. The eatery—which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner—has been lauded for its upscale menu and diverse local and international wines offered at refreshingly accessible prices. Next door, 398 Restaurant & Bar boasts a chic Euro-American vibe and menu, featuring a variety of fresh, classic dishes such as grilled scallops in a cream mushroom truffle sauce. Similarly to Klyde, 398 Restaurant & Bar features more than 60 global wines. The restaurant also offers a selection of creative handcrafted cocktails from the team behind San Francisco’s beloved shuttered bar, BIG.


Palace Hotel Undergoing Multi-Million-Dollar Upgrade

The iconic Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel in San Francisco, will reveal a new look in May 2015. The construction and design teams will soon complete an extensive renovation to the hotel’s 553 guest rooms, reception and lounge areas, fitness centre and sky-lit indoor swimming pool—creating a seamless transition between past and present. Historic elements from 1909 are being restored and incorporated in the new design, including Italian marble floors, solid oak doors adorned with brass monogrammed knobs, lattice marketry vented bathroom doors and original interior moulding and trim. Modern amenities for well-travelled global explorers include custom furniture and amenities accessories exclusively created for the Palace, including embroidered throw and luxury linens, creating a chic, city-residence feel. The expansive meeting facilities are continuously upgraded, featuring 53,000 square feet of space including three elegant ballrooms, four high-calibre boardrooms and 23 flexible options for conferences.


The Ritz-Carlton Getting Multi-Million-Dollar Makeover

The recipient of the prestigious AAA Five-Diamond award of excellence for 20 consecutive years, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco will complete the final stage of its multi-million dollar renovation, revealing newly designed guestrooms and suites in March 2015. This follows the beloved city landmark’s recent unveiling of their redesigned meetings and events spaces in September 2014. Led by the world’s largest hospitality design firm, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), the hotel’s neoclassical landmark façade has been preserved and will contrast with the interior’s sleek, contemporized detailing. Inspired by Men’s suiting and fine tailoring, the re-design of the 336 rooms and 60 suites includes specially woven pillows, Roman shades featuring details reminiscent of classic men’s suspenders and layering of wall coverings which create a sense of drama. The city’s dramatic fog and couture fashion will be reflected in the rooms’ palettes of steely blues, greys and silvers. High tech flourishes include guestroom Smart TVs streaming movies and music, while artwork and photography reflect a unique take on city culture and landmarks.


Lakehouse Hotel & Resort Completing Multi-Million-Dollar Update

Lakehouse Hotel & Resort (LHHR) in San Marcos has unveiled the second stage of a multi-million-dollar makeover to its 142 rooms and cottages and public areas. Located on 250 acres on the shore of northern San Diego County’s Lake Marcos, the hotel debuts completely redone accommodations, a new outdoor meeting space, CAMP at Lakehouse and a new clubhouse and restaurant, Tap in Tavern at St. Mark Executive Golf Course. CAMP is a trend-setting new development up the shore from the main hotel property, designed to meet consumers’ growing need for distraction-free space in nature. Only accessible by boat, CAMP boasts multiple elevated canvas safari tents facing the lake, as well as several tucked-away benches and hammocks. The third phase, slated to open in early 2016, includes a full renovation of the restaurant, Quails Inn. Plans include a dramatic outdoor dining pier extending into Lake San Marcos, as well as updated décor and a new menu. The updates come on the heels of a 2013 upgrade of its meeting spaces and outdoor spaces, the latter of which included new BBQ picnic areas, fire pits throughout the property, two saline pools and oversized Jacuzzis.


Santa Barbara Inn to Reopen Summer 2015 after Major Update

In late summer 2015, the Santa Barbara Inn will re-open after a complete renovation. The hotel will feature 70 deluxe guest rooms and suites, each with its own balcony, offering stunning ocean and mountains views. Most of the hotel’s 70 rooms will feature five fixture enlarged bathrooms with a separate tub and shower. The guest rooms will be decorated in earth tones such as tan and light green. In order to make room for the new on-site restaurant and bar, guest rooms were removed from the main floor and moved to the third floor where they now have spacious private decks with ocean views. The new restaurant will accommodate up to 180 people indoors and outdoors, and it too will offer spectacular ocean views. The hotel will also boast a new conference and banquet room that will seat up to 80 guests for meetings and social events. Additional amenities include a fitness centre, complimentary Wi-Fi and high-definition flat screen televisions in all rooms.


Seascape Beach Resort Unveils New Renovations

Seascape Beach Resort, recognized as one of the top coastal conference centres in California, completed a seven-month, $1.5-million refurbishing that includes a dramatic redesign to the property’s entry lobby and front desk. In addition, many of the property’s conference rooms, as well as Sanderlings Restaurant and Lounge, received significant facelifts. The all-new front desk was manufactured from recycled wine barrels, while the new tables in the lobby were constructed from a 100-year- old local elm tree. As part of the refurbishing, several of the resort’s 15 conference and banquet rooms have been redone, complete with new furniture and furnishings. Sanderlings Restaurant now features all new wood tables, while the accompanying Lounge has a stunning, new bar table—made from another elm tree—and all new wood flooring. Seascape Beach Resort features 17,000 square feet of meeting space as well as 285 spacious suites and beach villas with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes, fireplaces and private balconies with ocean views. The four-diamond resort sits on a wide, sandy beach that runs the length of the property, with a host of resort options such as in-suite spa treatments, beach- fires-to-go, and much more.


Tahoe South Debuts Revamped Hotel

The Fantasy Inn on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore is finishing up a $1 million renovation and rebrand that will debut this spring. The boutique hotel, formerly a risqué getaway destination, will be transformed into a tasteful luxury brand featuring expanded rooms and European amenities. The number of rooms will be reduced from 54 to 50, each boasting new paint, upgraded carpeting, granite counters, luxury bedding, spa tubs and European showers. Although the hotel’s new brand has not been formally announced, the name is expected to contain components of “boutique mountain lodge.” Fantasy Inn is located in South Shore along Highway 50 near the Ski Run Marina shops and restaurants, which is two miles south of the Heavenly Village/ Stateline casinos.


Charlie Palmer Reveals Plans for Harvest Inn in Napa Valley
Palmer City-Core, the hospitality firm spearheaded by celebrated chef Charlie Palmer, announces the ground-breaking of the highly anticipated transformation of Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer, the historic St. Helena property the group acquired in early 2014. Phase one of the new plan takes the Main House, Harvest Inn’s central building, from standard check-in and common area to a fully revamped reception area, a welcoming bar, and a signature Charlie Palmer restaurant, Harvest Table. The eatery’s food and beverage offerings provide a refreshed approach to California- fresh, farm-to-table cuisine with ingredients predominantly sourced from the property’s culinary gardens and the surrounding areas, a Napa-centric wine list and inventive seasonal cocktails with house made tinctures and syrups. In addition to the ground floor updates, a total of four guest rooms are under construction on the second story, and an updated landscape plan that includes botanical and culinary gardens along with a 24-piece sculpture garden is in progress. Phase one, the first of three, is targeted for completion in spring 2015.


Carter Estate Winery & Resort Opens in Temecula

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa owner/ vintner Jim Carter recently debuted his latest award-winning harvest: the all-new, luxury Carter Estate Winery and Resort, which opened its doors in March 2015. The luxury resort features 42 Mediterranean-inspired bungalows—each boasting patios, soaking or Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, gated entry, Jacuzzi, in-room dining and a vineyard view. Rooms also feature premium mattresses draped in plush down comforters, custom duvets and cotton-rich linens complimented by thoughtful amenities and services. Guests can unwind by the pool and relax with al Fresca spa services. At the resort’s signature food and beverage outlet guests can experience the chef’s inventive spin on organic California cuisine. The resort, which was 10 years in the making, is tucked among 107 acres of pristine vineyards and a decadent tasting room premiering its finest award-winning Carter Estate wines.



Séka Hills Tasting Room Opens in Yolo County

The Séka Hills Tasting Room recently opened in Yolo County’s Capay Valley wine region, an area known for its incredibly rich soil, warm days and mild Sacramento Delta breezes. Located northwest of Sacramento, the winery is owned and operated by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, which has sustainably farmed the land for centuries. The tasting room, located inside the 14,000-square foot Séka Hills Olive Mill, offers an insider’s view of how the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation—whose name means “home by the spring water”—grows, mills and processes olives into award-winning Séka Hills extra virgin olive oils. Guests can taste finished olive oil and fruit-blended balsamic vinegars as well as a growing line of local agricultural products including estate-grown wines, wildflower honey, seasonal nuts and fresh produce. The tasting room also offers artisanal products from other Native American tribes, such as pantry staples, cookbooks, and gifts for the home and kitchen.


Stake Chophouse & Bar Opens on Coronado Island

The eagerly anticipated Stake Chophouse & Bar recently opened in San Diego’s Coronado Island. Already a local favourite, the 4,600-square-foot, second-story venue offers a modern take on the classic chophouse of decades past including an expanded culinary, pastry and wine team. The menu boasts the finest filets, chops and dry-aged prime steak, an expansive selection shellfish and crudo, healthy salads, fresh seafood entrees and wood fire-roasted side dishes. Appointed with generously sized chairs arranged in intimate conversation clusters, the second-floor balcony lounge is lined with a gas fireplace that adds cosy ambiance and surprising warmth while also blocking out the lights and noise of vehicles passing below. The eatery also offers more than 2,000 bottles of wine from around the world.


Capay Valley Grown Launches New Farm Trails Map

Agritourists looking to explore California’s abundant Central Valley, California’s most productive agricultural region, can download the new Capay Valley Farm Trails Map, a four-color, fold-out guide that provides complete information on more than 50 farms, agritourism businesses, restaurants, B&BS and shops. Created by Capay Valley Grown, a partnership of farmers and ranchers, the map focuses on the Capay Valley, a fertile agricultural region located west of Sacramento. The map also features a listing of top annual events, historic points of interest, driving tour ideas, tips on hiking and outdoor recreation, parks and other activities available throughout the year. Free print copies are available at Capay Valley Vision, the Esparto Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Yolo County Visitors Bureau.


Brewery Opens on Humboldt County’s Lost Coast

The Lost Coast Brewery, a quirky craft brewery in Eureka’s Old Town, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this spring by unveiling its new $18 million brewing facility, which will expand its microbrew offerings. The oldest female-owned and operated microbrewery in the nation, The Lost Coast Brewery will continue to operate in Old Town while the new facility will focus on tours, tastings and a retail store on the outskirts of Eureka. Beerphiles will marvel at the new German-built, state-of-the-art plant overlooking Humboldt Bay, which will now be the 33th largest brewery in the country and serve up tasty elixirs as Great White Lager, Downtown Brown and Indica Pale Ale. Visitors can also enjoy the quirky ambiance of the tap room, which includes interesting art pieces such as the hulking sculptures standing sentinel by the Hwy 101 entrance, an indoors giant dangling spider, a surf board with real Great White shark teeth marks and a beer logo with an elephantine deity.


Savor Healdsburg Launches New VIP Tour

Savor Healdsburg, a culinary walking tour company focusing on the best local chefs, artisans, and winemakers in one of the nation’s hottest wine and food towns, just launched Delicious Discoveries Tour—a VIP Experience on Feb. 1, 2015. This three-hour tour offers culinary travellers a chance to go beyond basic tastings and instead offers visitors the chance to experience this Healdsburg like a local. The Delicious Discoveries Tour is a progressive dining experience that allows guests to meet with leading local chefs and artisans and sample their offerings. These wine and food experts—from hotspots like Café Lucia, Taste of Tea, Bravas Bar de Tapas, Healdsburg SHED, boutique winery Gustafson Wines and Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie Bar—will spend time with each tour group and share the inspiration for their creations and how they connect to the local bounty of Sonoma County ingredients. Tour costs $95 and is offered daily at 11 am.


Toll House Hotel Set to Open New Destination Restaurant

The Toll House Hotel — featuring modern, sleek accommodations on the edge of Silicon Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region—plans to take its popularity to new heights with the opening of its new destination restaurant, Verge, this March. The new eatery will serve contemporary Californian-fusion and an extensive cocktail menu highlighting America’s artisan spirits, house-made bitters and archaic syrups. Verge will also transform the hotel lobby by adding an expanded bar, a newly-enhanced courtyard and stylish indoor lounge clusters perfect for conversation. Cheekily named Verge for being “on the verge of” town, Verge is poised to bring new energy to this charming wine country town.


Mono County Welcomes New Restaurants

travellers road-tripping through the Eastern Sierra on Scenic Byway US 395, a highway passing by spectacular scenery such as Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park, are in for a treat. Amazing new eateries unique to the area have recently opened in Mono County. Billed as the region’s only “fish wagon,” the Sierra Smoke Shack Food Truck in June Lake offers smoked trout and salmon sandwiches, wraps and salads. Already a local favourite, they’re even willing to smoke patrons’ freshly caught trout. For visitors looking for a quick bite, the Ohanas 395 food truck, often parked at the Lee Vining Shell Station, serves up Hawaiian-style sausages, seafood tacos, sliders, local organic greens and organic homemade Hawaiian shaved ice. Mammoth Rock ‘N’ Bowl in Mammoth Lakes—part bowling alley and part restaurant—offers upscale but family-friendly entertainment offering up unlimited views of the Sherwin mountain range and French-California Cuisine. Nearby, the Mammoth Tavern features gastro pub menus, while the East Side Bake Shop in Crowley Lake offers baked goods, artisan farm-to-table style dinners and live bluegrass music.


Plank Opens in Jack London Square

The 50,000-square-foot plank, a destination restaurant and entertainment centre, opened last fall in the popular Jack London Square in Oakland, which has been making news in recent years for its wave of notable eateries. The Trifecta Management Group (TMG), known across the nation for its compelling restaurant and entertainment concepts, invested more than $7.5 million to renovate the space, which features a 125-seat indoor restaurant and an outdoor bar and beer garden that can together accommodate up to 1,200. Guests can enjoy interactive gaming, bowling, bocce, billiards, and arcade as well as The Boardroom, an adult-only area for 21-and-over VIPs looking for an intimate bar and lounge paired with music and private bowling lanes/billiards. Diners can savour food and drinks overlooking the picturesque waterfront, from 50 handcrafted local beers and fusion cuisine.


Visit Oceanside Launches Interactive Brew Map

To leverage San Diego’s reputation as the “Craft Beer Capital of America,” Visit Oceanside recently launched a dedicated microsite and interactive map featuring a wide variety of beer venues located in Oceanside. San Diego County is home to nearly 100 breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, and boasts a specialty beer style known as San Diego Pale Ale, which is served in many locations in Oceanside. The microsite aims to inspire beerphiles with recommended “pub crawl” itineraries, including: the Coast Highway Crawl, which features hot spots offering both sensational beers and delicious local eats; Brews on Shoes where visitors can explore the diverse beer scene in downtown Oceanside’s walking district; South O Swing that takes visitors to the charming neighbourhood of South Oceanside, which sports a fun and eclectic vibe and is frequented predominately by locals; and Back Alley Brews featuring popular brew spots off the beaten path, but worth checking out.


Magnolia House Restaurant Opens in Pasadena

Boasting more restaurants per capita than New York City, Pasadena’s dynamic culinary scene turns up the heat with the opening of Magnolia House restaurant and lounge. Created by local celebrity restaurateurs John and Chris Bicos of Bicos Hospitality, the newly opened hotspot offers guests an internationally-inspired menu and full bar. Cocktail craftsman Colin Shearn, who has worked at some of the finest watering holes across the country, created a customized drink menu that rivals the over-the-top cocktail culture of Los Angeles. Magnolia oozes charm with its 1912 craftsman bungalow architecture and historic South Lake Avenue location. Nationally recognized architecture and interior design firm Ralph Gentile Architects drew inspiration from the structure’s rich history to create a modern, yet nostalgic bungalow accented by a large Magnolia tree, plush couches and gallery wall filled with vintage black and white photos and antique knickknacks.


Paso Robles Welcomes New Wineries
The City of Paso Robles continues to experience new growth, enhancing the delicious wine offerings available to visitors and locals alike at select wineries and tasting rooms in the area, including Adelaida Cellars, Alta Colina, L’Aventure Winery and Tooth & Nail Winery. An already established winery, Adelaida Cellars unveils their new hospitality centre this spring. An amazing event space, plans have already been made to host future events at Adelaida Cellars’ new hospitality centre, offering visitors breathtaking views of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Visitors at Alta Colina’s state-of-the-art production facility and boutique tasting room can stay connected while sipping delicious vino with complimentary Tesla charging stations for those that need a quick charge. Or simply relax and take in gorgeous 360-degree views of L’Aventure Winery’s estate in the new cave and tasting room, slated to open this summer. Tooth & Nail Winery’s newly redesigned tasting room and library features an outdoor terrace with misters, heaters and couches, making it the perfect place to indulge by the glass or bottle.


Hotel Cheval Opens New Gourmet Food Purveyor

Hotel Cheval, one of the finest boutique luxury hotels in Paso Robles, recently opened Haymarket, the town’s newest gourmet food purveyor specializing in takeout items. Inspired by the area’s reputation as one of the fastest-growing culinary destinations, Haymarket features classic comfort food made with high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients. Offering guests, locals and visitors simple, made-fresh-daily gourmet food items, Haymarket is the perfect place to visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


Paso Robles Welcomes a Wave of New Restaurants

The dining scene in Paso Robles is quickly becoming one of the most sought after experiences in California. Offering innovative culinary adventures and gourmet cuisine, there’s always something new for foodies to savour. New to the food scene is Pop 46, a popup restaurant concept that is quickly becoming a local staple. Once a month, Pop 46 features extraordinarily creative, one-time-only dinners served at various local restaurants during off hours. Also new to Paso Robles is Mistura, a Peruvian-inspired restaurant serving locally-sourced produce, fish and meats. So far, local favourites already include the ceviche, sea bass and gelato.


Salerno Winery Expands Tasting Room and Cultural Offerings

Salerno Winery, a newly expanded wine and cultural destination in the Ramona Valley, now offers award-winning wines in their recently updated tasting room. Owned by the family of former Italian opera singer Herman Salerno, the updated wine tasting and dining areas feature an extensive collection of art and classical opera. Also new to the winery is the unveiled vineyard path, featuring 80 sculptures from more than 20 world-renowned artists and accented by streams, waterfalls and flowers. The winery is a hidden-gem in San Diego wine country and features operatic performances every weekend from international artists. Weekend guests can savour their wine over authentic, Italian brick-oven pizza as well as Herman’s famous, fresh-baked bread, artisanal cheese and Caprese trays.


Oceana Coastal Kitchen Opens in San Diego

This spring, San Diego will welcome Oceana Coastal Kitchen, an exciting new waterfront dining experience located on the city’s most scenic coastal alcoves at Mission Bay. With construction well underway, the multi-million dollar restaurant—located at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa—will introduce a new chef-driven concept that aims to elevate the rising culinary scene in Pacific Beach and the surrounding areas. Delawie Architects and Kristine Smith of KS Design Studio will redesign the 8,200-square-foot venue with a new configuration featuring additional indoor and outdoor seating with sweeping, unobstructed views of Mission Bay. The restaurant will run under the direction of Executive Chef Steven Riemer, whose resume boasts more than 25 years of culinary experience at two of Southern California’s most notable AAA Five Diamond resort hotels—The Lodge at Torrey Pines and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.


Bottega Americano Opens in Downtown San Diego

San Diego recently welcomed Bottega Americano downtown. This innovative new culinary concept is a $3 million, 8,000-square- foot marketplace that sits at the epicentre of the ongoing neighbourhood residential and commercial construction boom, featuring interactive culinary stations, a gourmet retail space, grab-and-go dining options, a bar, patio and private indoor/outdoor space for weddings, parties and corporate events. Named one of the 11 Hottest Italian Restaurants in the U.S. by Zagat, the menu features urban Italian dishes with an American twist, including pizza, cured meats, fresh seafood, handmade pasta, fresh mozzarella, Italian wine and specialty coffees. The interactive culinary bars boast a salumeria with Italian meats and cheeses, a pescaria with oysters and crudo, a wood-fired oven for handcrafted pizza, a pasta bar featuring from-scratch pastas and a swoon-worthy dessert bar.

San Diego Serves Up a Roster of New Restaurants

San Diego is hopping with the recent opening of several notable eateries. Carlsbad’s The Land & Water Co. restaurant offers sustainable, GMO-free and gluten-free dishes with Japanese cuisine, French and Hawaiian influences. Sol Cal Café, a San Diego vegan market café and juice bar owned by former NFL player Jacob Bell and Food Network chef Anne Thornton, features an on-site naturopathic doctor’s office. Downtown’s Parq Restaurant and Nightclub serves farm-to-table “progressive American” food by Chef Errol LeBlanc, winner of Food Network’s “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell.” Iron Pig Alehouse in Pacific Beach is serving up a modern take on traditional barbecue fare, pairing the BBQ with an amazing selection of local and mainstream beers on tap. San Diego’s Double Standard combines innovative California Americana cuisine and Italian specialties with a comfortable, modern open air concept. Helmed by Cutthroat Kitchen winner Chris Gentile, Double Standard’s menu boasts sustainable, organic and local ingredients. Gaslamp Quarter’s Rustic Root is the newest concept by RMD Group and Ken Lovi of The Knotty Barrel, scheduled to open in this spring and serve locally sourced “rustic American cuisine.”


San Diego’s Beer Scene Continues to Expand
Beer lovers are in for a treat with the opening of new tasting rooms and brewpubs in San Diego County. Ballast Point just opened its fourth and largest tasting room/brewery in Miramar, featuring daily tours, 78 beers on tap indoors, 37 taps outdoors and 12 draft beers for growler fills to go. The new brewery’s 107,000-square-foot location also includes a retail area and a restaurant. The Culture Brewing Co. tasting room in Ocean Beach just opened its doors, pairing amazing beer with local art in a 1,600-square-foot facility. The tasting room offers 18 beers on tap and is perfect for beer lovers who appreciate art. The local, family-owned Cohn Restaurant Group recently opened Draft Republic in La Jolla, offering visitors a beer garden-style space to relax, watch spots and enjoy gastro-pub cuisine. The eatery offers 36 beers on tap, four house-made keg cocktails and a special selection of wine.


San Francisco’s Chinatown to Unveil Unique Dining Destination

Set to open this summer, China Live San Francisco will be among the city’s next must-visit culinary and cultural destinations. Founded by restaurateur George Chen and his wife Cindy Wong-Chen, the 30,000-squarefoot space will include a curated culinary retail store, a café and a variety of marketplace dining options prepared at exhibition kitchens. Above the marketplace will be Eight Tables by George Chen, an intimate fine dining restaurant offering a seasonal 12-course Chinese tasting menu in addition to a craft cocktail bar and lounge. The 105- seat China Live Market-Restaurant will serve bold interpretations of traditional Chinese dishes prepared with sustainable, organic products, prepared at five specialized exhibition kitchens including a noodle bar; dim sum and dumplings; charcuterie and barbecue; a seafood and raw bar; and a rice table and seasonal vegetable kitchen.


Cutting-Edge Pop-Up Restaurant Debuts Downtown

The next culinary experience in Downtown Santa Cruz is on the horizon from celebrity gourmet food purveyors Kendra Baker and Zach Davis. The pair’s new Assembly restaurant—a sleek bistro serving rustic Californian fare with a local, seasonal focus, and serving wine and craft beer—recently introduced a new eating concept called Pop Up, which will serve as a showcase for up-and-coming rising chefs from the Bay Area. Each chef will rotate in and out on an eight week basis, creating their own customized menus from local ingredients sourced from nearby farms and markets only. Guests can enjoy these rotating menus, in addition to the regular rustic-California menu featuring fresh-baked bread, large leafy salads, roasted vegetables and hearty meats, at the long communal table or in a private, quiet corner. The owners are known for launching the area’s famed Penny Ice Creamery—which makes artisan ice cream from scratch using locally-grown ingredients—and The Picnic Basket, an organic, gourmet deli.


New Tasting Room Opens at Nicholson Vineyards

Nicholson Vineyards recently debuted a 750-square foot tasting area adjacent to its vineyards. At the heart of the tasting room— formerly the winery’s barrel room—is a bar crafted from a majestic redwood tree. This California-rustic tasting room is nestled on the grounds of the boutique, family-run winery, which produces Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Other noted varietals include Viognier, Syrah, Grenache, Old Vine Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. An idyllic region in South County, Nicholson Vineyards is located on the Corralitos Wine Trail, which features four other family-owned wineries—Pleasant Valley Vineyards, Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery, and the soon-to-be-open Storrs Winery & Vineyards tasting room—surrounded by redwood trees and apple orchards.


Santa Monica’s Culinary Revival Continues

With at least a dozen new restaurant openings in 2014 and more slated to open in 2015, Santa Monica’s culinary revival is definitely on the rise. Centred around Santa Monica’s eclectic Main Street, visitors flock to the area to enjoy its trendy eateries, boutiques, cafes, design galleries, bars and laid-back beach lifestyle. After years of living in the shadow of the adjacent Abbot Kinney Blvd, Main Street has recently undergone a gastronomic overhaul with its recent injection of new dining options. Hot new restaurant concepts, up-and-coming chefs and a firm commitment to farm-to-table dining options make this neighbourhood one of the latest go-to culinary destinations in Los Angeles. The trend will continue with these new eateries and purveyors, with more to be announced later this year: Three Twins Ice Cream, Komodo Café, The Anchor, Fork in the Road, Aussie Pies, Bare Burger, Ashland/Hill, Jinya Ramen Bar and Rita’s Frozen Ice and Custard.


Brew Brothers Brewery Tours Expand Offerings this spring

Sonoma County’s Brew Brothers Brewery Tours, which gives beer lovers the chance to taste safely with an insider’s perspective, is expanding their tours to include local distilleries now through April 26, 2015. The new “Brew Brothers Booze Tours” will visit a local brewery and two to three local distilleries including Sonoma County Distillery, one of California’s premier whiskey distilleries. Founded by a craft brew enthusiast, this tour company specializes in guided, educational and interactive tours of Sonoma County beer destinations for groups ranging from four to 28 people. The tours also feature fun stories about the area’s rich brewing and distilling history. Hops, which once put Sonoma County on the map, were as good as cash from the 1870s to the 1950s, which shows just how important beer was to the region then and now.


Sonoma County Welcomes New Tasting Rooms
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, producer of California’s most awarded sparkling wines, is updating its tasting room and Vista Terrace, a project designed to expand capacity and tasting options with glorious views of San Pablo Bay. In Windsor, the new Tilted Shed Ciderworks pours artisanal hard ciders made from local apples. Its new tasting room offers guests a chance to taste and learn more about the artisan cider in a fun, ongoing Cider Salon series. The educational seminars include Cider Appreciation 101, which feature interactive, intimate tastings in the barrel-aging area with Ellen Cavalli, the owner of Tilted Shed Ciderworks, and Tom Wark, local cider critic, writer and publisher of The Cider Journal. Attendees will enjoy a guided tasting of a flight of five ciders while learning about the history of U.S. cider, production methods, cider varieties and tips for evaluating cider.


South Lake Tahoe’s Chateau Debuts New Brewpub
McP’s Taphouse Grill — formerly McP’s Pub Tahoe—recently moved into the Chateau, a 27,868-square-feet of boutique shops and restaurants located just across from the Heavenly Village and steps away from the Stateline casinos. The Irish restaurant and pub boasts expanded seating capacity and a larger, more modern kitchen that can prepare more dishes in a quicker amount of time for skiers who are famished after a day on the region’s scenic slopes. With more than 40 beers on tap, wine and spirits, and many updated and expanded pub favourites, McP’s Taphouse Grill has become one of the hottest après spots to recharge. Free live music plays throughout the week with popular local bands like Deep Fryed Mojo, Groove Box and Cash Only.


Napa Valley Welcomes New Winery and Culinary Village

Cairdean Estate, a new Napa Valley wine and food destination, will fully open this spring, giving visitors more reasons to visit the charming hamlet of St. Helena. Located at the base of Spring Mountain, this family-owned and operated winery and wine and food village has been opening in phases starting last spring with the opening of their public tasting room and Winemaker’s Den, a private tasting room. The Farmer & The Fox, the onsite restaurant of Cairdean Estate and the winner of a 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand-award, recently opened earlier this year and was followed by the opening of Butterscots Deli, Bakery and Culinary Market. Cairdean Estate currently offers guests various tasting, dining and retail experiences, but plan to expand their offerings with the anticipated openings of Redolent Mercantile and Rosgal Gallery, slated to open this April. Upon completion, Cairdean Winery will boast the largest grass roof in Napa Valley and an impressive 17,369 square feet of caves.


Truckee Offers New Dining and Entertainment Options

Truckee, a popular gateway destination for travellers to the North Lake Tahoe resort area, has recently expanded their dining and entertainment options, giving visitors the perfect excuse to stay longer. New to the town is 1882 Bar & Grill, a new riverside dining experience. Located in the historic Riverstreet Inn, an iconic bed and breakfast built during the Gold Rush era with amazing alpine and river views, the Grill offers American comfort foods such as zucchini fries and mouth-watering tri-tip. To enhance visitors’ dining and shopping experience, the city recently built a plaza to connect Old Town Truckee with the Brickeltown neighbourhood along Donner Pass Road. Directly across from the plaza is the new Lake Tahoe Brewing Company, a tasting pub set within the old building, offering guests a wide variety of brews and gourmet pub fare.


Matchbook Wines Opens in Dunnigan Hills

Matchbook Wines, located just 25 miles northwest of Sacramento and Davis in the emerging Dunnigan Hills wine region, recently opened its new tasting room, inviting wine enthusiasts to discover new wines produced under the company’s Matchbook, Mossback, Chasing Venus and Sawbuck labels. The new tasting room boasts a wine bar made from wood salvaged from an old barn and a 400-square-foot covered patio where guests can watch the sun set beyond the estate’s scenic vineyard. Coming soon, the new tasting room will host a variety of events including live music, barrel tastings and tasting lessons with winemaker Dan Cederquist. Matchbooks signed brand and label harkens back to owner John Giguier’s childhood tendency to set just about anything on fire, and the inspiration for quirky wines such as The Arsonist Chardonnay.



Bishop Paiute Tribe Reopens Owens Valley Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Centre

The Bishop Paiute Tribe, located at the foothills of the Eastern Sierras, recently celebrated the grand re-opening of the Owens Valley Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center & Museum. Designed to highlight the unique and beautiful cultural heritage of the indigenous people of the Owens Valley, the centre and grounds underwent a major renovation, expanding its existing exhibits, cultural and environmental displays, and collections of artefacts and literature that focus on the life way of the Nuumu (Paiute) and Newe (Shoshone) people. The Centre also boasts a special memorial hall, paying tribute to Native American veterans and their families. Guests can enjoy the Centre's new walking trail through the Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Conservation Open Space Area (COSA), a 25-acre conservation land for wildlife habitat, education and recreation. The Center also launched a Bishop Paiute Tribe Native Plant Garden, developed by local elementary school students. Visitors who wish to take a piece of local culture home with them can purchase crafts and keepsake items made by local Native American artisans at the museum gift shop.


The Autry to Unveil New Civil War Exhibition

The Autry National Center, a museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West, will unveil a new Civil War exhibit this spring in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park. Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West, which will take place April 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016, will be the first major museum exhibition to illuminate the causes and legacies of the American Civil War from the vantage point of Westward expansion. Visitors to the exhibit will be invited to explore the conflicts and connections of a growing nation through an astonishing array of more than 200 significant artefacts, including Texas slave sale documents, an Andrés Pico’s war drum, the battle flag carried by soldiers of the California Hundred, a Buffalo Soldier’s revolver and Cherokee General Stand Watie’s bowie knife.


Squaw Valley Announces “Spring Music on the Mountains” Series

The hills of Alpine Meadows will be alive this spring with the sound of music. The resort, best known for its amazing outdoor recreation and spectacular views, will host a “Spring Music on the Mountains” series every weekend March 21 through April 25. Local and regional bands will play at iconic locations around the mountain including the Roundhouse chairlift at Alpine Meadows. The bands will play current, chart-topping hit songs as well as oldies but goodies that will have skiers and riders stomping their boots. Skiers and riders will have the unique opportunity to ride a chairlift up to a live on-mountain concert that overlooks Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain peaks. The series will be free to the public and held at Alpine Meadows on Saturdays.


Palm Springs Art Museum Opens New Architecture and Design Center

Palm Springs Art Museum just debuted its new Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion in downtown Palm Springs last November, giving architecture buffs yet another reason to visit the region. Guests can explore the world of architecture and design through fascinating exhibits and educational and community programs, such as lectures, walking tours and research/archive access. The 13,000 square-foot glass and steel building, perched above the street and boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, offers visitors a breathtaking space to enjoy the exhibits and the surrounding cityscape and San Jacinto Mountains. The main level features gallery space for architecture and design exhibitions, curatorial offices, and a store located in and around the bank vault, which retains its original door. The lower level features a study centre as well as meeting and archive spaces.


Historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium Exhibition Hall Reopens

After a 40-year respite, the historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium Exhibition Hall, also called Exhibit Hall “C,” will resume hosting major consumer and trade events this spring. Pasadena Center Operating Company, which oversees the Pasadena Convention Center, Civic Auditorium and Ice Skating Center, invested $900,000 to transform the 17,000-square-foot hall back into its original glory as the town’s epicentre for major gatherings. Originally opened in 1932 to host conventions, dances and exhibits, the space was later repurposed as the Pasadena Ice Skating Center in 1976 until 2011, when the attraction moved to a new, stand-alone facility just east of the Civic Auditorium. Now part of the 55,000-square-foot Pasadena Conference Center, the hall boasts restored architecture, expanded space and modernized amenities designed to host big trade shows, consumer shows, conventions, banquets and other events.


San Diego Unveils Phase One of $31 Million Embarcadero Upgrade

The Port of San Diego, City of San Diego and Civic San Diego just completed a massive project to enhance San Diego’s waterfront and create a new public open space to welcome residents and tourists. This $31.1 million project beautifies the waterfront from Navy Pier to B Street Pier, adding dramatic, swooping streetlights to the new Grand Hall pavilion along West Broadway. Lush jacaranda trees adorn the area and a 105-foot-wide public esplanade invites visitors to stroll the waterfront. Visitors to the new waterfront can access the new information centre and enjoy iconic public art by the internationally acclaimed artist Pae White, whose work is displayed on the new pavilions and entertainment centre. His art will also embellish the walls of the café building, which will host a new Carnitas Snack Shack by mid-2015.


San Diego’s Little Italy Breaks Ground on New Public Piazza

Piazza Famiglia, a 10,000-square-foot public piazza designed to welcome visitors to Little Italy in downtown San Diego, just broke ground this past December. The space will feature classic Italian architectural details and design inspired by the grand piazzas of Italy and Europe. Once open in 2016, the community aims to have the Italian piazza serve as the cultural heart of Little Italy, entertaining visitors and residents with farmers’ markets, concerts and ethnic events. Like the romantic piazzas of Italy, the plaza will inspire people to gather with its lush landscaping, abundant seating, open meeting areas and water fountain. Located on West Date Street between India & Columbia Streets, the piazza will eventually be closed to vehicular traffic, creating a grand promenade with an Italy-inspired water feature, making it the perfect backdrop for the Little Italy Mercato and festivals.


Omnia Nightclub to Heat Up San Diego’s Nightlife this Spring

Hakkasan Group, a globally renowned hospitality company, plans to take San Diego’s lively nightlife to the next level with the opening of Omnia San Diego Nightclub this spring. Drawing on their experience of creating cutting edge nightlife across the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia, Hakkasan Group is transforming the former Stingaree Nightclub into a 22,000-square-foot evening destination, making the most of one of San Diego’s rare rooftop spaces. The group is designing Omnia San Diego to create a truly distinctive nightlife experience, offering guests unexpected and bespoke elements of intrigue. The new club will exude opulence, with classic designs and upscale finishes throughout its multi-level and indoor/outdoor spaces. Hakkasan Group is consulting with audio-visual experts who have worked with some of the biggest rock bands, including the Rolling Stones and U2, to design state-of the-art technology that will enhance A-list live and DJ performances at the Gaslamp Quarter-based club.


SFAI and SF MOMA Present World-Renowned Multi-Media Artist

The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA) will present internationally-acclaimed, multi-media artist Doug Hall’s seminal large-scale installation, The Terrible Uncertainty of the Thing Described (1987), March 28 through June 6 at the SFAI. The installation will combine dramatic sculptures—such as a Tesla coil, large steel chairs, and a steel-mesh barricade—with powerful moving images of nature in turmoil. Startling electric jolts extending from the coil completes the work, which reminds viewers that humans are subject to the forces of nature and the influence of media. This exhibition marks the first time the exhibit has been displayed in the Bay Area in 25 years, and it is part of the SF MOMA “On the Go” program.


Asian Art Museum to Unveil Two Major Exhibits

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, which boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the world, recently announced two major concurrent exhibits which will run Feb. 20-May 10, 2015. The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection introduces 88 works illustrating ukiyo-e or “pictures of the floating world.” Ukiyo-e refer to woodblock fantasy prints specifically made to celebrate the myriad pleasures and activities available to urban residents, particularly celebrities of the pleasure quarters and stage: courtesans, geisha, and Kabuki actors, during Japan’s long Edo period, which ran from 1615 to 1868. Seduction: Japan’s Floating World explores the creative explosion unleashed by the new entertainment districts, specifically the “floating world” of brothels and kabuki theatres, established in the same period. Including more than 60 works, the exhibitions offer viewers insight to Japan’s rich art culture, the influence of the floating world and its representation in Edo-era art, juxtaposing paintings and woodblock prints with textiles, ceramics, lacquers and other daily-life objects.


Historic Building Transformed into City’s Newest Event Venue

After a $4 million transformation, The Village, a new downtown San Francisco event venue, debuted this spring, unveiling 17,000-square-feet of event space spread over three floors. Housed in a formerly empty, historic building, the venue can accommodate up to 1,300 people. The first floor, or Underground, contains a dance club and a built-in projection back bar. The Experience Design Center on the top floor features a multi-purpose space with exposed brick, natural light spilling in from a custom sky light, brand new hardwood floors, and an exciting view of Market Street. The Ground Floor features a multi-purpose space, which also includes a kitchen for cooking demonstrations. A dedicated meeting concierge assists event planners every step of the way, from catering to video production.


San Francisco’s Famous Castro District Gets a $4 Million Facelift

San Francisco’s famous Castro District, known for its progressive stance on gay rights movement and one of the city’s top destinations, just completed a $4 million “streetscape” renovation project, transforming one of its busiest thoroughfares into a fabulous promenade. Castro Street between Market and 19th Streets now boasts extra wide sidewalks and leaning posts to encourage people to hang out and enjoy the added space. Rainbow-colored crosswalks add to the festive atmosphere, which is enhanced by celebratory lighting that can change colours depending on event. A new “Rainbow Honour Walk” features bronze plaques honouring prominent figures from LGBT history including Gertrude Stein and Oscar Wilde. Prominent Castro History Walk engravings tell the story of the neighbourhood, from its Native American origins up through the days of Harvey Milk.


The Huntington to Debut New Education and Visitor Center

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public near Los Angeles, just unveiled part of its new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center earlier this year. Designed by Architectural Resources Group, the new centre boasts 52,000 square feet of educational facilities and visitor amenities, and 42,000 square feet of underground space to house additional historical research materials. Visitors can enjoy the substantially expanded Huntington Store, the new specialty coffee shop, the new full-service admissions and membership area, and the new shady entry grove. In April, the rest of the visitor centre will open, featuring a 400-seat auditorium, a large café with indoor/outdoor seating with garden views, meeting and event spaces, and an orientation gallery, all arranged amid six and a half acres of new gardens. The Huntington Library is considered one of the leading centres in the world for studies of the American West, and its art galleries include one of the most comprehensive collections of 18th- and 19th-century British and French art in the U.S.



Vail Resorts Launches New Ski Lessons and Visitor App

Vail Resorts’ Ski & Ride Schools—located at Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood—recently introduced the Women’s Ultimate 4, a lesson for women where they can join fellow women and a female coach to learn or brush up on skiing in a small-group setting. The lesson covers everything from the foundation-building basics of a “first-timer” class (open to all) to navigating the easiest greens, sharing tactics and camaraderie on mountain green and blue runs. Northstar California also offers Primo Private Lessons, where guests can customize their perfect day on the mountain, including an off-piste tour of the beautiful terrain, exclusive parking access, meal reservations, spa services and more. To help skiers and snowboarders maximize their time on the mountain this season, Vail Resorts also released the fifth generation of its award-winning, multi-channel app, EpicMix. The app uses guest input to generate a customized, step-by-step navigational guide to experience each Vail Resort like a long-time local. Guests answer a variety of questions and the app pours over 350 possible itineraries.


Palm Springs Launches New BMW Performance Center

The new BMW Performance Center West is the company’s permanent performance driver training facility, giving those with a need for speed a place to test their boundaries. Located just outside of La Quinta, BMW partnered with The Thermal Club, the premier private motorsports club, to create a dedicated road course and training facility. Recently opened, the Center offers a variety of performance driving courses. The One-Day M School gives drivers the opportunity to practice the same skills that professional’s use every day, which includes learning how to drive smoothly and decrease reaction times. Other classes include The Ultimate Driver, Teen School and Motorcycle riding. Occupying 32-acres on the grounds of The Thermal Club, the BMW Performance Center West includes a dedicated 1.4 mile road course, 6.2 acres of paddock, a skid pad and an 8,500 square foot Performance Facility.


Redwood National & State Parks to Upgrade Historic Parkway

Redwood National & State Parks, an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site that protects the world’s tallest trees, is set to unveil a series of impressive new interpretive displays along the Newton B. Drury Parkway in mid-2015. The ten-mile stretch of historic Hwy 101 showcases some of the park system’s largest champion redwoods, including Big Tree and the Corkscrew Tree, among others. Designed in partnership with the National Parks, California State Park and the Yurok Tribe, which maintains a broad swatch of traditional lands within the park system, the trailhead panels will not only let visitors know where they are and what trails they’re about to set out on, but will also serve as attractive, eye-catching stops along the drive. The panels will be more interactive and engaging than traditional interpretive displays. Besides telling the story of the redwoods, they will help explain the heritage of the Redwood Highway and shed light on Drury, the late conservationist who served as director of the National Park Service, director of California State Parks and co-founder of the Save the Redwoods League.



Disneyland Resort Debuts “Frozen Fun” Experience

The Disneyland Resort recently celebrated the grand opening of the spectacular new “Frozen Fun” experience, which kicked off earlier this year and features magical adventures with characters from the Walt Disney Pictures’ blockbuster film “Frozen.” As part of this experience, guests at Disney California Adventure Park can sing along with Anna and Elsa in the new “Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” and play in the Arendelle snow-themed wonderland, which includes a snow slide, the chance to build snow creations and an opportunity to share a warm hug with Olaf the snowman. Guests can also look forward to meeting Anna and Elsa in an elegant new location inside Disney California Adventure Park and chill out in the evening with a “Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party” in Hollywood Land. Families are invited to join the Royal Theatre’s resident storytellers, Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones, as they present the tale of “Frozen” in a fun-filled, fast-paced retelling of the story, featuring their own wacky performances in key roles along with Anna, Elsa and the Faire Maidens. Storybook Land Canal Boats in Fantasyland will feature excursions through the world of “Frozen,” offering views of Arendelle. This spring, the resort will kick off its Diamond Celebration, saluting 60 years of magic.


Knott’s Berry Farm® Theme Park to Debut New 4D Adventure

On May 15, 2015 Knott’s Berry Farm® will unveil an interactive media-based 4D adventure, “Voyage to the Iron Reef.” High definition 3D animation will surround guests at every turn as they are submerged under the Boardwalk to help save Knott’s from mysterious sea creatures. The cutting edge media-based battle features the Queen of the Kraken and her aquatic army, who have surfaced to feed on the steel of any attraction within their grasps. Guests who have what it takes to become brave deep sea navigators will climb aboard the four-person submarine-inspired ride vehicles and embark on a four-minute gaming adventure into the Iron Reef. Equipped with an interactive freeze ray, guests will compete with the other sailors to see who can blast the most creatures as they navigate through enchanting underwater forests, disorienting ocean current tunnels and mysterious mechanical wreckage.


LEGOLAND to Launch New Death Star and Star Wars Days this spring

LEGOLAND California Resort will premiere the eagerly anticipated LEGO version of the Death Star at its popular LEGO Star Wars Miniland attraction this spring. The Death Star model, which launches on March 5, will span six-feet across and include LEGO models of Stormtroopers, a Rebel X-wing fighter pilot and an Imperial Star Ship pilot in the display. Young aspiring Jedi knights can construct their own LEGO spaceships at on-site building stations. The installation debuts just in time for the Park’s annual LEGO Star Wars Days on March 7-8, 2015. Coming this summer, LEGOLAND California will debut LEGO Friends Heartlake City, a new area based on the LEGO Group’s “Friends” series of toys, which focuses on the lives and personalities of five girls: Mia, Olivia, Andrea, Stephanie and Emma. The new area invites guests to sing along with Andrea at her tour bus, stroll through LEGO horse stables, enjoy a building activity at one of the LEGO brick tables and go for a horseback ride on the carousel in Mia’s family ranch.


Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Introduces Sleepover Events

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park will soon give science fans the unique opportunity to do a techie slumber party on three select Saturday nights this spring and summer—Feb. 28, Apr. 25 and June 27, 2015. Kids and their parents or guardians can have the whole night to explore the science centre and camp out in one of their favourite galleries. One adult chaperone is required for every five children (ages 6-13), who can enjoy the evening by exploring eight exhibit galleries and participating in fun, educational workshops. They can also marvel at movies on the giant IMAX Dome screen, which gives the illusion of being suspended in space. The $55 per person admission also includes a scavenger hunt and a light continental breakfast. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center features more than 100 interactive science exhibits, including the chance to create coloured shadows, touch a tornado, examine the vibration of guitar strings and dive into a variety of intriguing scientific phenomena.


San Diego Air & Space Museum Adds New Interactive Math Exhibit

The San Diego Air & Space Museum calculated its way to launching a unique, interactive math exhibit on Jan. 30, 2015. The exhibit, 2theXtreme—MathAlive!, explores the world of mathematics, featuring 5,000 square feet of installations and experiences, including the chance to ride a snowboard in a 3D experience, design (and play) video games and capture a 360-degree self-image. Aspiring math wizards can celebrate their geekiness by jumping into a fractal dance party and designing a custom skateboard with “pop”– the quick, snapping motion that allows a board to do the best tricks. Through nearly 40 unique, interactive experiences, the exhibit takes math from its native form into the applied worlds of design, engineering, technology and science. The aviation and space exploration museum, located in Balboa Park, is housed in the former Ford Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


San Diego Museum of Man Opens New Monsters! Exhibit

The San Diego Museum of Man recently introduced a unique Monsters! exhibit where guests can learn about scary beasts and the truth about popular myths. Open through Dec. 2015, the exhibit features beasts familiar and strange, real and imagined, kind-hearted and troublesome from across the span of history and culture. Guests can make a monster, put on a play with strange creatures, learn the truth about monster legends, and explore monster habitats. Located in the iconic California Building, one of the original structures from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, the anthropology museum recently began renovating to reopen its iconic tower to the public. As of Jan. 1, 2015, visitors have been climbing to the top of the California Tower to enjoy spectacular views for the first time since 1935.


Two Major Attractions Debut on Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf recently welcomed two new major attractions, giving families new reasons to visit the city. The San Francisco Dungeon


San Francisco Marriott Marquis Completes Multimillion Dollar Renovation of Famous Sky Lounge

The San Francisco Marriott Marquis gave visitors inspiring new views with the February 2015 completion of their multi-million dollar transformation to The View—one of the nation’s most famous sky lounges. The View crowns the 39-story hotel and its Art Deco-inspired design now reflects the chic, contemporary ethos of its prime SoMa location. Renowned for its domed floor-to-ceiling starburst windows which showcase an unrivalled panorama of the Bay Area and beyond, The View features a sleek and sophisticated interior designed to unite the lounge with the exterior skyline. In the evening, low-level lighting, including jewel-like pendants, iridescent finishes and reflective surfaces capture the starlight to create an ethereal space evoking a sense of infinite possibility. Within The View, several distinctive lounges combine to create a club-like venue. A moody colour palette of platinum, slate and ebony accented by deep ruby tones set a sultry vibe heightened by the use of rich textural fabrics and leathers throughout the space. An eclectic mix of fashion photography, city images and sculpted metal artwork inject the décor with thoroughly modern yet timeless appeal. Executive Chef David Holland’s contemporary cuisine captures the vibrant flavours of San Francisco’s multicultural neighbourhoods. The menu of seasonal small plates complements a curated selection of regional wines and handcrafted cocktails. For more information, visit www.sfviewlounge.com.


Landmark Restaurant Gets a Million Dollar Makeover

After 21 years as a mainstay restaurant / nightclub at the centre of Santa Monica’s most popular tourist destination, Rusty’s Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier has begun a major expansion and remodel with the completion of its new front façade and surf image signage. Rusty’s, recently selected as a favourite Pier destination by Westside locals, serves lunch and dinner daily and features live entertainment and dancing most weekends. A full remodel, including the addition of a second floor dining area overlooking Rusty’s stage, a sunset-view balcony to the north and a terrace with views to Catalina and LAX to the south, is planned for next winter. When completed, the facility will include 455 seats, an expanded stage and accompanying dance floor, and a second floor kitchen to help handle the refurbished menu and better serve the many tour groups and international travellers who visit Rusty’s each year. The next phase of the $1 million renovation will be the second floor expansion, which is projected for completion this spring. For more information, visit www.rustyssurfranch.com.


New Eateries and Fish Market Coming to Ventura Harbor Village

A food and beverage renaissance is taking place at Ventura Harbor Village, where several new or newly renovated eateries are planning openings by late spring or early summer 2015. Coffee Dock & Post, the only coffeehouse in Ventura directly on the water, is undergoing a major renovation and is upgrading menu offerings and services, including free Wi-Fi. Set to reopen in late spring 2015, the café menu will feature fresh sandwiches, salads, coffees, pastries, smoothies and shaved ice. The 805, a new Cuban-American cuisine restaurant coming in late spring or early summer 2015, will feature nightly music and live entertainment by the water. Owner Andres Fernandez created The 805 by combining his 805 Bar and Grilled Cheese into one eatery, offering all the great grilled cheese dishes plus gourmet and classic Cuban dishes like rice and beans, chicken Cuban-style, paella and fried plantains, as well as full bar service. Visitors who want to cook up a fresh catch can venture to Wild Local Seafood Co.’s first brick and mortar location at Ventura Harbor Village, coming in summer 2015. Led by “seafood celebrity” Captain Ben Hyman, the market provides seafood that is caught under strict California and federal guidelines for size, season and by-catch, and only with sustainable practices. For more information, visit www.Venturaharborvillage.com.

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