My Quick Kimpton Getaway

When I was invited on a combination staycation and quick getaway by Kimpton Hotels I quickly said yes. These boutique properties are among my favorite places to stay, especially since they welcome dogs of all sizes and breeds. That meant my golden retriever Carlos could come with me.

The Hotel Wilshire in Los Angeles' midcity district is just a few blocks from my home, so I walked down there for lunch at The Roof. This is one of LA's hidden gems. The views are spectacular, as is the food by Chef Eric Greenspan, an Iron Chef America champion.  He elevated the grilled cheese; gruyere with date marmalade served on chewy sourdough bread.

That evening Carlos and I checked into the Hotel Palomar in Westwood. Our suite was spacious and well appointed, including doggie bowls and biscuits for a very appreciative pup. While Carlos enjoyed his treats, I went down to Blvd 16 for a farm-to-table dinner prepared by Chef Richard Hodge. On my to-do list: replicating his cauliflower salad with crispy garbanzo beans.

The next morning Kathy A. McDonald, a frequent contributor to the magazine, joined me for the drive to Santa Barbara's gorgeous Canary Hotel. While I strolled into town for some shopping, Kathy took advantage of the Canary's Urban Wine Trail, a self-guided bicycle tour. Here's Kathy's account of that adventure:

The Urban Wine Trail by Bike

Perched right out front is the Canary Hotel’s fleet of bright yellow, beach cruiser-style bikes available for group rides. Head towards the ocean via a dedicated bike lane on State Street (the main thoroughfare); it’s an easy ride for most levels and provides a charming street-side view of downtown Santa Barbara. Within an approximately two mile radius of the hotel is the city’s Urban Wine Trail and 23 wine tasting rooms that present a taste of Santa Barbara’s famed wine country right in town.

Close to the beach, the Funk Zone was is a natural first stop: the industrial area is in the midst of a makeover as more tasting rooms and restaurants, like newly popular The Lark, which opened in August, transform former industrial spaces into eateries, art galleries and both a distillery and brewery. At Kunin Wines, one of the first tasting rooms to open in the area, our group of nine tasted through the spring releases. Pours are small so the visits are more about learning about wines and styles available, which ultimately facilitated a lively conversation amongst the group.

Several tasting rooms (such as Municipal Winemakers) have private rooms for group tastings and Conway Family Wines Deep Sea tasting room (on the Stearns Wharf with arguably one of the best views of the coastline) welcomes group events. Although the ride back is slightly uphill to the hotel, it is not strenuous and after several winery stops, pleasant and painless. 

THERE ARE FEW THINGS BETTER THAN AN AUTUMN DAY in Bucks County. Sure, the bucolic setting, complete with stone farmhouses, rolling hills and classic main streets, is charming any time of year, but fall is when it really shines. It may be only under an hour from Philadelphia, but Bucks County offers a breath of fresh air—and it’s not just for couples seeking romantic getaways. With inns, full-service hotels, restaurants and plenty to do, Bucks County is an ideal choice for meetings and events.

 

IT’S A QUESTION HE GETS ASKED at least four times a week. “Everyone wants to know where the President’s home is,” chuckles Maurese Nelson, director of sales for the brand-new Hyatt Place Chicago South/University Medical Center. “It’s become quite an attraction around here during the last few years.”

 

Photo courtesy of Park City Mountain Resort/Dan Campbell Photography. 

I love fall mornings when you wake up and find clouds hanging low on the mountains and once they lift, snow-covered peaks are revealed. One such morning happened recently and happily coincided with a plan to hike Mt. Baldy near Crested Butte, Colorado, with friends. The views from the top were stunning, and we started getting the itch for winter sports in the town we call home.