My dog Carlos and I celebrated the recent holiday weekend by taking a road trip to a trio of Kimpton properties in Southern California. I’m always happy when an invitation to check out a new property includes a “dog welcome” plus one. And I’m sure many dog owners attending corporate meetings are, too.

Kimpton, a collection of more than 65 boutique hotels in 34 cities across the United States—and their first-ever European property, in Amsterdam--truly puts the “friendly” in “dog friendly.” Dogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome; there is no extra fee if a canine guest accompanies you, and pet bowls along with a doggy bed are delivered to your room. Oh, and Carlos wants me to make sure to mention that doggy treats abound, and are cheerfully handed out by everyone from valet parking attendants to check-in staff and hotel managers.

We started our journey at the Shorebreak in Huntington Beach, where we only needed to cross the street for a stroll along the dog-friendly (leash required) beach. From that property with its mellow surf vibe we drove up the coast to the Canary Santa Barbara. Here the style was Spanish-inspired and sophisticated, and our walks took us through the heart of Santa Barbara’s downtown, past chic boutiques and wine tasting rooms.

Then, it was off to Goleta, just a few miles north, where we checked into The Goodland Hotel. This hotel was hip, happening and Carlos’ favorite. The retro-cool lobby was filled with dogs ranging from small (mini poodles) to medium (Boston terriers) and large (a pony-sized great Dane), and Carlos, acting as an unofficial canine concierge, made it his business to offer a friendly hello, and a sniff, to each and every one.

Next on Carlos’ bucket list: the Kimpton Solamar and Palomar in San Diego and the newly renovated Kimpton Hotel Palomar Beverly Hills, just down the road.

Perhaps your attendees have hopped on those electric bikes and e-scooters that are scattered all over metropolitan areas throughout California. That’s old news, no question. Yet it’s a sure bet they’ve never been on a Vintage Electric Cruz Bike, because only 250 of them ever have been made. Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop in Carmel has a fleet of these smile generators, as well as a fleet of knowledgeable guides to lead scenic group tours. 

 

 

Set between Pacific foothills and the sparkling San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is a spirited city that will surprise anyone who still considers it only as the counter-culture center of the ‘60s. Home to the University of California, Berkeley, the city features an authentic (if endearingly off-beat) college town vibe that is perfect for meetings and events.    

In the absence of a dedicated convention center, Berkeley offers unique venues that reflect the vibrant local scene while at the same time, offer big-city service and amenities.

 

When corporate groups gather in California, boosting health and well-being is on the agenda.