Pamper Yourself with a Week at The Golden Door

Anyone who reads my musings know I’m a huge fan and supporter of the Golden Door Health Resort in Escondido, California. It’s simply the best spa in the world as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been fortunate to have spent many weeks enscounced in the Japanese-style splendor of this pamper, fitness, health and spiritual sanctuary.  I used to go twice a year–back in the anti-recessionary days.

 Sure it’s expensive but it pays off big time to lose yourself — along with any excess weight, stress or negative thoughts–at this brainchild of spa doyenne Deborah Szekely who opened its gilded doors decades ago and immediately attracted a rich and famous clientele who also became loyal supporters/return guests and friends of the Golden Door like myself. 

 What Makes the Door Special
(Let me count the ways)

1.  A handpicked staff who pampers and coddles

2.  The best exercise regimen on the planet including awesome mountain hikes combined with state of the art equipment and a top notch fitness staff.
3. Gourmet, calorie, fat and salt -controlled food.
4.  All-inclusive amenities: daily massage, facials, manicure, pedicure, body treatments, herbal wraps, makeup, hair, skin care.

5. Pretty Japanese-style rooms that are kept spotless by able-bodied attendants who seem to come and go seamlessly when you’re not looking to fill your water pitcher, plump your pillows, straighen out your bed and more.

6. And the warm and wonderful staff to bring it all together.

 
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Reserve a week
May 31 to June 14 or September 6 to December 27, 2009
and receive our 2008 rate of
$7995

Other special-rate weeks include
Memorial Day Week May 24 – 31 $7495
Summer Focus Weeks June 14 to September 6 $7495
3-Day Spa Interlude July 5 – 8, August 16 – 19 $3625
4-Day Spa Interlude July 8 – 12, August 19 – 23 $4725
Thanksgiving Coed Week November 22 – 29 $7495
New Year’s Week December 27, 2009 – January 3, 2010 $7495

**Bring-a-Friend reservations must be made after January 1, 2009 for visits between January 4 and May 24, 2009 and friend’s name must be referenced at the time of booking. Not valid February 15 to 22, 2009.

Call Debby- at 800-424-0777
or e-mail reservations@goldendoor.com
 visit www.goldendoor.com

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The Diva Checks out Ritz Carlton Palm Beach

Your Diva on the Go has a fondness for Palm Beach, Florida where she vacationed and even lived with her family back in the day. Much has changed since, like new restaurants and hotels like the Ritz Carlton. While your Diva hasn’t checked it out personally, she plans to soon, especially since hearing about a wonderful spa packaged called “Esscape to Eau Spa at The Ritz-Carlton”. The management is offering little extras like  Saturday Night Fever techno tunes in the steam rooms, specially concocted potions from the Scrub and Polish Bar’s resident mixologist, invigorating aromas of fresh lemongrass and orchids outside in the Self-Centered Garden and customizable mood lighting, sounds and scents in the nineteen spacious treatment rooms.

 Treatment menus 

Sound yummy, but I’ll be judge and quite creative.

The Ideaimage002

For each night booked, you get  a $150 Eau Spa credit, which may be used toward treatments, spa retail items, bubbly refreshments and other edible treats, as well as various services available at Eau Spa’s full-service salon, such as manicures and pedicures.

 Accommodations include an ocean view or ocean front room and daily breakfast for two at the hotel’s Temple Orange restaurant, plus a copy of the exclusive Eau Spa soundtrack and full use of the spa’s facilities.

 “The Escape to the Spa offer invites guests to sample our new treatments and experience the liveliness that defines Eau Spa, which is a drastic difference from the usual and anticipated spa ambiance,” said Spa Director Amal Elbahnaswy. “At Eau Spa, we focus on whimsical fun, with elements such as the Scrub and Polish Bar, an interactive buffet for the body, which is designed for the playful spa enthusiast. Guests can prime their skin with an array of scrub ingredients – everything from vanilla, ginger and mint to citrus eucalyptus and pumice – and receive pristine head-to-toe exfoliation while relaxing through a heat stress detoxification in the sauna or steam.”

 The offer is valid  March 1 thru April 30. Rates begin at $599 per night for an ocean view room and $1,099 per night for an ocean front suite (includes a king bed, an adjoining living room with a sleeper sofa and two full bathrooms). Balances or unused spa credits will not be re-issued for future treatments or stays. Spa credits may be accumulated during the same stay. Credit cannot be used to pay for room and tax charges, spa tips, retail in the hotel gift shop or any other incidental charges and must be used during the dates of the reservation. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts, packages or promotions. Spa appointments must be made by calling the hotel directly after booking.  www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/palm_beach.

The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach

In addition to celebrating a more than $100 million transformation, the five-star Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach has recently joined the 2009 AAA Five Diamond Award list. The resort welcomes guests with breathtaking ocean views immediately upon entry and a gorgeous oceanfront terrace with evening ambiance and fire pit. The hotel features 310 spacious guestrooms and luxurious suites – including the 2,755-square-foot Presidential Suite – and 23,000 square feet of indoor meeting space. Three restaurant concepts include Angle, upscale modern American seafood with regional influences; Temple Orange, an indoor/outdoor setting offering casual Italian and Mediterranean cuisine; and Breeze, situated ocean side and specializing in Caribbean-influenced fare. The Business Lounge and Poolside Business Cabanas cater to travelers who wish to combine work and play. 

Honeymooning in Hawaii

Patti’s Guide to Honeymooning in Hawaii

A lover’s retreat at Hotel Hana Mauihanaroom

 (My husband and Ihave been to Hawaii  several dozen times–each visit unfolded like another honeymoon). 

 Aloha all newlyweds and future brides and grooms heading to Hawaii for the big honeymoon celebration. No doubt you’ll love this tropical paradise with its swaying palms, sensational sunsets, verdant mountains, azure-colored seas and aloha spirit. 

Like all Divas your Diva on the Go knows all the best places to go. 

 Great Beaches—The sugar coated sands of Kailua on the eastern shore of Oahu. “Airport” (which the locals named to protect their secret), Maui’s top swimming-snorkeling-sunning beach, snuggled along a sandy quarter-mile strip next to Kaanapali Resort. Lanai’s Hulopoe Beach where you can lose yourselves in a tranquil cove while watching pods of dolphins play in the surf. Any one of the contiguous tiny beaches on Kauai’s sunny southern shore at Poipu-Baby-Brenneke where gentle waves and soft sand sedate the senses. Hapuna Beach at the Hapuna Prince Hotel with its soft sands and crystal clear waters. Hamoa Beach at Hana Maui, “the most perfect crescent beach” according to author James Michener—reachable by a breathtakingly beautiful 2-½ hour drive to Hana Maui. Romantic Dining–A romantic repast lovingly created super Island chef Gerard Reversade, at Gerard’s in the charming turn-of-the-century Plantation Inn in Maui. Choose a cozy table inside the intimate dimly lit dining room or outside under starry skies on an adorable patio set with white wicker tables and chairs. Your taste buds will tingle with every bite of dishes like Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms in a puff pastry, roast pork, filet mignon or fresh Island fish prepared to perfection and ooh la la, a chocolate mousse filled with profiteroles. 174 LaHainaluna Rd., LaHaina, Maui. 877-661-8939, (www.gerardsmaui.com). Dreamlike fantasy feasts served at a Kauai beach of your choice catered by Heavenly Creations (www.havenlycreations.org, 877-828-1700). You’ll feel like you just stepped of the set of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous while your personal attendant pours the wine, and serves an aphrodisiacal spread like pineapple shrimp kabobs, grilled fish or chicken with Macadamia nut sauce, filet mignon, Macadamia nut baked Brie, chocolate decadence and other savory dishes. Sensational Snorkeling—Head over to Black Rock at the end of Kaanapali Beach where colorful tropical fish swim straight up to your mask and nibble bread from your hands. On Maui go to Laperouse Bay; on the Big Island nothing beats Mauna Kea and Hapuna beaches’ crystal clear, lava-encrusted waters. Waikiki’s best snorkeling spot, San Souci Beach, across from Kapiolani Park, also known as “dig me” beach for the bikini-clad eye candy is also favored for the clear water and great view of nearby Diamond Head. Consuming Shopping–Shop ‘til you drop at Ala Moana, Oahu’s prettiest and most illustrious mall. You have a choice of 200 shops and pricey boutiques like Chanel, Juicy Couture, DKNY, ESCADA etc., along with plenty of places to fuel up with everything from sushi to hot dogs. (ww.alamona.com). Pound the pavement along Maui’s famous Front Street. The place to go for funky stuff and souvenirs, this century-old street teems with adorable boutiques, jewelry shops, art galleries and souvenir shops (www.visitlahaina.com). For higher priced goods browse (that may be all you can do at those prices) The Shops at Wailea (Fendi, Gucci et al). But there’s also a Gap and Banana Republic and even an ABC Store for tighter budgets. (www.shopsatwailea.com). Marvelous Mai Tais—Enjoy Hawaii’s national cocktail under a towering Kiawe tree at the Halekulani Hotel’s enchanting House Without a Key seaside terrace fanned by balmy breezes and entertained by gentle hula dancers swaying to the rhythms of live musicians. The murderous Mai Tai is so potent you’re guaranteed to see that green flash as the sun hits the sea. Just one of these potent potables is guaranteed to motivate your mojos. To try it at home mix 1/3 Orgeat syrup; 1/3 orange Curacao; ½ rock candy syrup; ¾ Amber rum, ¾ dark rum; 1 ¼ lemon juice, ½ oz of lemon heart and ½ oz of Bacardi 151 (float). (www.Halekulani.com), (808-923-2311). Super Spas – Captivating, cozy, sensuously swank, the honeymoon-friendly, outrageously romantic Honua Spa at the Hotel Hana-Maui raises the bar for discerning couples who prefer solitude and personalized service. Tucked away in a lush, tropical paradise at the end of Hana Highway on the eastern coast of Maui the stylized sanctuary offers native treatments using spiritual local plants, minerals and waters that arouse the senses to new heights. (www.hotelhanamaui.com), 808-270-5290 or (email:spa@hotelhanamaui.com). Bliss out at the knock down gorgeous Spa at Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island with a romantic side-by-side Lomilomi massage in an open air thatched roof hut. (www.fourseasons.com/hualalai.com), (888-340-5662). Or at the Four Seasons’ fab facility in Maui with rapturous, mood-enhancement Hawaiiana treatments like a Wai Aulia—a floating massage performed on a cocoon bed, guaranteed to motivate your mojos. (www.fourseasons.com/maui), 808-874-8000 or 800-332-3442.

The Spa Moana at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort And Spa, another pamper pleaser indulges couples with opulent body treatments that combine coffee, sugar, honey, seaweed, lavender, macadamia and kukui nut oils. Massage lessons are available in case you’d like to do each other. http://www.Maui.hyatt.com (808-661-1234, ext. 4500; (800-55-HYATT). Picture Postcard Pool—Aesthetically attractive, the oval-shaped Ryo Urano-designed mosaic pool at the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki–the most romantic man made swimming hole in the Islands with its colorful Hawaiian orchid, comprised of more than a million tiny tiles, painted on the bottom. The ocean side pool is so inviting that couples often spend countless hours just sitting on the side of the pool, arms tightly wrapped around each other or holding each other in the water. (www.halekulani.com) Cool Culinary Treat– Shave Ice rules as the statewide delicacy. And get this, one of the best can be found at W&F Washerette in Kahului, Maui (125 S. Wakea Avenue, 808- 877-0353). Order the pineapple, cherry or rainbow spiced with a scoop of Azuki beans and/or ice cream on the bottom of the cone. Yummy. Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore is another local favorite serving scrumptious flavors such as mango, papaya and lemonade. Rad Rooms with a View—Any ocean front room or suite at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, especially those on the private Club Floor–where on a clear day you can catch glimpses of the uninhabited island of Kahoolawe, the lush West Maui mountain range curved gracefully out into the sea and even ti8ny Molokini, Molokai and Lanai. (808-874-8000 or 800-332-3442, http://www.fourseasons.com/maui). Waterfront rooms at pretty Hapuna Prince with spectacular views of the Big Island’s rugged Kohala coastline and the sea. (800-882-6060) All beachfront accommodations at the Halekulani Hotel where visions of Diamond Head dancing off the blue Pacific are so magical you’ll never want to leave your lanai. (800-367-2343, http://www.halekulani.com). Fun Stuff— Feel the fireworks for real at an Aloha Friday’s King Jubilee celebration at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Showtime begins at sunset with a Village Guard Precision Rifle Drill followed by a poolside jubilee show and after an hour or so fabulous fireworks illuminate the star-filled Hawaiian sky. 800-HILTONS. (www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com). Snowboarding — (yes you read this correctly) over pu’us (volcanic cones) on magical Mauna Kea on the Big Island you can do two mile runs with 2500’ to 4500’ of vertical, coupled with a 360-degree panoramic view of Mauna Kea’s moonscape, the Pacific Ocean and Maui’s Haleakala. Polish off your snowboarding excursion with a dip in the warm surf at one of the many beaches below. (www.skihawaii.com, 808-885-4188).

Heavenly Hana Maui–drive to romantic road to heavenly Hana–miles of picture postcard vistas of waterfalls, verdant mountains, the blue Pacific smashing its waves against the rugged shoreline. Then bed down in a hotel designed by Eroshana

 Get a Massage- in your room (my husband and I had side-by-side rubs that were simply the best), or in the pretty facility spa-hana

Most Hawaii-Romantic Means of Transportation—Snuggled up in comfy seat in First Class on Hawaiian Airlines where you feel the Ho’onanea (welcoming, pleasure) the minute you step on the plane. Feast on Hawaiian Menus, created by top Island chefs like Beverly Gannon, that might begin with crab stuffed jumbo prawns and follow with grilled Maui onion salad, bacon wrapped turkey filet, sesame crusted scallops, or rack of lamb-born and end with a white chocolate cranberry cheesecake. Yum. Relax dreamily while flight attendants pamper you with champagne, wine or other adult beverages. What’s more your baggage if the first off the plane and you have privileges at the airlines Premium Club waiting lounge. 800-367-5320, http://www.hawaiianair.com.

Facing Facts About Facials

Let’s face it, everybody, including Britney, Paris, Hilary, Angelina, et al, will eventually show signs of aging. Some with opt for drastic action like plastic surgery, lifts, nips and tucks. However you really can stave off Mother Nature’s ugly side with regular facials, especially if you start taking steps when you’re young. Your Diva here has been having regular facials since I was 22. Part of it was for research for my beauty writing, but I also learned earlier enough that this was a good thing and way to trick the clock.

So whether you’re 22 or younger or older, it’s never too early or too late to start taking care of your skin. Here’s the realy skin-ny on the subject:

  

 

The Truth About Facials

 Face it.  Save for the genetically blessed, most of us need extra help in caring for our complexion.  This goes double for anybody with sun damaged or maturing skin. While following a skin care regimen at home is a good start, cleansing and moisturizing alone won’t do the trick.  Keeping your complexion in tiptop shape requires professional care.

 

“The perfect facial begins with a complete skin analysis to determine the proper applications for each individual, and unfolds like a beautiful orchestration which focuses on every detail,” according to Ole Henriksen, internationally renowned face-saver of the stars whose client list at his Los Angeles, California day spas reads like a lineup of Oscar presenters at the Academy Awards. We’re talking famous figures like Kirk Douglas, regular since 1975, Lauren Bacall for about as many years, and fresher faces such as Rene Zellweger, Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Campbell, Charlise Theron, Jessica Alda, Sly Stallone, Maria Carey, and Hillary Swank.  “A true complexion treatment thoroughly eliminates impurities in the skin, tightens the pores, tones the muscles and texturizes the skin through the use of gentle peeling agents and special massage techniques like lymphatic drainage and acupressure.”  “But we must never forget the importance of continued pampering throughout the treatment, “ emphasizes the soft-spoken Danish-born dynamo.  “I don’t believe in gimmicky fluff and fold facials that don’t deliver what the customer deserves,” he warns.

 

Contrary to popular belief, facials are not exclusive to women. More men than ever are getting facials, according to Henriksen, who claims 25% his clientele are male.”  Men also want to look good in today’s youth-driven society. And since men are more prone than women to neglect their skin, many seek the services of a professional to get them on the right track. So you guys out there reading this shouldn’t slough it off. And gals it wouldn’t hurt to give may want to give your boyfriend or husband a nudge. I convinced my mate to get facials about 10 years ago. He kicked and screamed at first. “Facials are for women,” he moaned, but quickly changed his tune after his first experience. “Wow, that was great,” he cooed, “I actually fell asleep.” 

 

I began my frequent facial regimen nearly 20 years ago (I started young). For me, it’s an indispensable indulgence. Especially now that facial treatments have evolved from what were once perfunctory, cookie cutter procedures into more individualized treatments. Estheticians are better trained and have more advanced tools to perform their skills like highly developed power products that peel, oxygenate, restore, exfoliate and rejuvenate, and specialized machines such as microdermabrasion and Lasers that dig deeper into the dermis to generate more definitive results.

 

According to the experts, everybody beginning from about age 16 and on, should have a professional facial at least once a month to help slow down the signs of aging. Of course we can’t stop the aging process, but regular facials will help reduce deep lines and wrinkles. Think of it like brushing your teeth, we need to after meals, we go to the dentist to have them professionally cleaned so use the same rule to maintain your complexion. 

 

Louise Bianco, a veteran esthetician known as the  “miracle maker of the stars” for her unique facial contouring treatments, credited with keeping some of Hollywood’s most famous faces looking good, is a firm believer in facials as both a preventative measure and educational tool.  She insists her clients follow a professionally designed regimen at home in-between appointments. “Because everybody’s skin is different, it’s important to consult an authority to prescribe products most suitable for your skin,” Bianco advises.  “It’s essential to cleanse and moisturize your skin twice a day, but some skin types require more intense serums and applications,” she continued. Bianco contends that regular facials by a skin care practitioner provide relief from stress; helps firm facial muscles, holds the pull of gravity at bay and even delays or averts the need for cosmetic procedures.   “However,” she adds, “healthy, vital skin also requires regular exercise, drinking lots of water, eating right and getting your beauty sleep,”—a mantra she repeats regularly to her clients.

 

Sidebar

If you’ve never had a facial, it’s not too late to start.  And if you happen to be reading this while sailing on one of the Yachts of Seabourn, it’s as easy as visiting the onboard Spa.  The inviting sanctuary is the perfect place to begin taking care of your skin. You can select from an extensive menu that includes luxurious offerings as: La Therapie HydraLift Facial, a 50 minute session that helps reduce lines and wrinkles; Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Facial, which offers a similar boost by the use of a specialized lifting massage and Japanese silk mask saturated in collagen booster serum; Elemis Aromapure Time for Men Facial, a 50 stress-reducing minutes of unadulterated luxury that cleanses and rejuvenates. It also includes a heavenly scalp massage.

 

Contact the gurus:

OleHenriksen face and body products and treatments can be found at more than 350 spas throughout the world.  His flagship day spa provides a little oasis nestled in an upscale mini mall at 8622A Sunset Boulevard, 310/854.7700 and at the deluxe Shutters Hotel at 1 Pico Boulevard, 310/458.0030. OleHenriksen international locations include: the Hotel Side—a favorite stop-over for rock stars and musicians on tour– at Drehbahn 49, 20354 Hamburg Germany, 49-(40) 30-99-9562; The Bluebird in London, 350  Kings Road, 020 7351 3873,  situated in a hip and trendy mall;  OleHenriksen Face/Body Bangkok in the GMM Grammy Building 50 by the Four Seasons Hotel, 66-26 65 99 45; and the Cromwell Hotel on Copenhagen’s charming waterfront. For additional information call:  800/327.0331 or on the web: www. OleHenriksen.com

 

 

Louise Bianco, after nearly 30 years in her Beverly Hills days spas, Bianco moved shop into his charming San Fernando Valley home where she continues her miracle making on the faces celebrities, writers, producers, moguls and ordinary folk such as yours truly.

818/786.2700, 800/782.3067, http://www.louisebianco.com

 

 

 

 

Deep Discounts Hit Travel Industry Big Time

On  Land, Sea,  and Golf Course

 
And so it begins….
Deep discounts to lure money strapped travelers like $9 Golf promo at La Costa & Cool Specials in Santa Ynez 

 

  

La Costa Resort and Spa is offering  $9 golf fees from now through February 28, 2009, to in-house guests. FYI: green fees typically begin at $175 per person.

 

Room rates begin at $259 per night for a plaza room plus  $22 daily resort charge. The $9 golf fee includes green fees and cart rental. Reservations can be made at 1-800-854-5000 or at www.lacosta.com.

 

Golf at La Costa

La Costa Resort and Spa has enjoyed an international reputation as the place for championship golf. It is the only resort in Southern California that boasts two 18-hole tournament-caliber courses on property, both designed by legendary golf architect Dick Wilson. Golfers who play La Costa’s courses walk in the footsteps of the greats – Nicklaus, Woods, Palmer, Trevino, Player, Miller and Crenshaw. Both North and South courses feature lush fairways, flawless greens and plenty of challenges, including large, high-lipped bunkers on many holes, expanses of water and sneaky streams with fast bent grass greens.  The North Course is 7,094 yards, par 72, with a slope of 141, while the South Course is 7,077 yards, par 72, with a slope of 140. Extensive practice facilities and an attractive club house complete the golf experience.

 

About La Costa Resort and Spa

Nestled among the  coastal foothills of Carlsbad, Calif., north of San Diego, La Costa Resort and Spa boasts the 43,000 square-foot Spa at La Costa, 552 spacious and well-appointed guestrooms and 76 deluxe one- and two-bedroom suites, a Clubhouse with a fitness center, two acclaimed restaurants – Legends and BlueFire Grill and two championship golf courses. The entire resort, linked by walkways and washed in color by lush vegetation and gardens, enjoys a village-like ambience. For more information on La Costa Resort and Spa, call (800) 854-5000 or visit www.lacosta.com.

 

 Visitors to California’s Santa Ynez Valley Get 2 for 1 Savings
The Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association (SYVVA) has announced a new offer today rewarding winter visitors with “two-for-one” savings at a dozen area businesses. “Winter is one of the best times to visit the Santa Ynez Valley,” says SYVVA president Douglas Ziegler, owner of the Santa Ynez Inn, “Our weather is warmer, skies clearer and hills greener than most of the country—and we’re only two hours away from LA. People need a break. This ‘Double Your Pleasure’ promotion is a great excuse for a getaway.”

          To obtain a copy of the “Double Your Pleasure Santa Ynez Valley Savings Certificate,” go to www.SantaYnezValleyVisit.com and click on the icon to view and print the savings. “It’s incredible to get two guest rooms or two wine tastings or two food items for the price of only one,” says SYVVA Executive Director Mary Harris, “It’s easy to click and print out the PDF that describes all the savings offered and visitors can print out as many savings certificates as needed to use throughout their stay.”

          These SYVVA members are offering “Two-for-One” savings Sunday-Thursday through March 19, 2009. 

TWO WINE TASTINGS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE

          FOLEY ESTATES VINEYARD & WINERY TASTING ROOM www.foleywines.com; LUCAS & LEWELLEN VINEYARDS TASTING ROOM www.llwine.com; MANDOLINA TASTING ROOM; www.llwine.com; SANFORD WINERY www.sanfordwinery.com; and WANDERING DOG WINE BAR www.wanderingdogwinebar.com

LODGING

          RANCHO OSO GUEST RANCH & STABLES www.rancho-oso.com (Two nights in a cabin, covered wagon or full-service cabin for the price of one night—valid any night except February 13-15; subject to availability, reservations required); SANTA YNEZ INN www.santaynezinn.com (Two hotel nights for the price of one (subject to availability, not valid for existing reservations); SOLVANG INN & COTTAGES www.solvanginn.com (Two nights for the price of one OR two rooms for the price of one (subject to availability, not valid for existing reservations).

FOOD

          HADSTEN HOUSE RESTAURANT www.hadstenhouse.com  Two desserts for the price of one dessert.

OLSEN’S DANISH VILLAGE BAKERY www.olsensdanishvillagebakery.com Two Danish pastries for the price of one pastry of equal or lesser value. RED VIKING RESTAURANT Two entrees for the price of one entrée of equal or lesser value.

FUN

          PERFORMANCE FITNESS SOLVANG  www.PerformanceFitness.biz Two All-Day Fitness Passes for the price of one pass—includes use of 17,000-sq ft premier fitness facility & group exercise classes.

 

          The Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association is a non-profit membership organization formed in 2001 to conduct marketing activities promoting tourism in the communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang. For further information: contact Mary Harris, Executive Director at mary@SYVVA.com or call 805-686-0053; toll-free 1-800-742-2843 or www.SantaYnezValleyVisit.com.

Silversea Cruises Sweetens the Pot

$1,000 shipboard credit ain’t hay

Silversea Cruises sweetens the pot with a $1,000 per suite “Onboard Spending Credit” promotion on select voyages in Alaska, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean this summer.  

The  limited time $500 per person (or maximum $1,000 per suite) Onboard Spending Credit offer is food on bookings  made on or before March 31, 2009.  The special promotion is available on the following:

ALASKA:   Silver Shadow cruises departing May 28 through September 12 (Voyages 3912 – 3923).

NORTHERN EUROPE:  Silver Cloud cruises departing May 30 through September 19 (Voyages 1911 – 1923).

MEDITERRANEAN:    Silver Wind cruises departing April 15 through June 26 (Voyages 2911 – 2920) and Silver Whisper cruises departing May 19 through June 20 (Voyages 4912 – 4916).

To take advantage of the Onboard Spending Credit offer, the guest or travel agent must request promotional code WWSBC500 at the time of booking. 
The promotional offer  allows guests to apply the Onboard Spending Credit toward their onboard purchases without limitations; this includes any spa treatments and shore excursions (none are excluded).  In addition, the offer can be combined with other available discount promotions, including Early Booking Incentive, Advance Payment Bonus, Silver Sailing, and Free Air programs.  

For example, the Onboard Spending Credit is available on Silver Wind’s May 14, 7-day Mediterranean cruise (#2915) sailing from Barcelona to Nice with calls in Valencia, Corsica, Livorno (overnight stay) and Antibes.  Promotional cruise fares start at $3,196 per person — a savings of 50% — plus free roundtrip economy air transportation is also available from select U.S. and Canadian gateway cities.

“This new summer promotion is designed to reward travelers with an extra perk that provides added value and flexibility,” said David Morris, Silversea’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. “With the Onboard Spending Credit they have the freedom to apply the savings toward a rejuvenating spa treatment, a sumptuous gourmet dinner in our Relais & Châteaux Wine Restaurant or an enriching shore experience — the choice is theirs.”

The Onboard Spending Credit is being launched simultaneously with the introduction of new branding and other enhancements to the line’s shore excursions.  The changes have been created to emphasize the new flexibility, unique qualities and personalized service that characterize the tours.  Under the new umbrella name of “Silver Shore,” the optional tour programs include:

** Silver Shore Excursions — intimate and rewarding small-group touring.

** Silver Shore Collection — unique and exclusive in-depth explorations of local history and culture.

** Silver Shore Expedition — adventurous and educational tours for the active explorer.

** Silver Shore Concierge — during the cruise, the Tour Manager and, on many sailings,  the new Destination Specialist (a position created in conjunction with the upgraded Silver Shore programming) are available to assist with knowledgeable suggestions, personalized planning and hassle-free coordination of all private, independent touring, including sightseeing, sporting activities, and securing behind-the-scenes or after-hours access to exclusive designer shops, museums, cathedrals, and more.

Starting in the next few months, the Silver Shore Concierge service will also be available in advance of sailing.  The company will announce more details about this enhanced service at a later date.

** Silver Shore Privato — private car service that can be reserved on board or in advance of sailing via Silversea.com/MyVoyage.

Guests might choose to apply their Onboard Spending Credit toward a “Silver Shore Privato” tour of fascinating St. Petersburg.  They’ll spend the day exploring the city’s history, opulent palaces, and museums at their own pace, in a private, air-conditioned car with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide. Or, in Alaska, they might use their credit toward an exhilarating “Silver Shore Collection” air adventure over the spectacular Misty Fjords by private aircraft, or use it to explore Juneau’s glacier-carved fjords at their own leisure aboard a private catamaran with personalized itinerary.  These are just a few of the exciting optional Silver Shore adventures that await guests this summer.

 

USA Hudson River Emergency Brings Back Memories of Southwest Flight 1767

On April 30, 1996 I was in an emergency landing on a flight that originated in Las Vegas and was bound for Burbank, California. We never made it to our  destination but we did finally land safely. The landing gear was stuck, the pilot contacted headquarters and the decision was made to try various methods of  fixing the situation. Two of the scariest maneuvers I’d ever experienced. The first was series of “roller coasters” in the sky, in an effort to jar the errant gear. Didn’t work,but scared the you know what out of most of us passengers. The second was two “touch and goes”, the pilot  heads for the runway at full speed, bounces the wheels and takes off again in an attempt to jar the wheel lose.  We did this two times. After two hours flying around unsure whether the plane was going to land and dumping fuel into the Pacific Ocean the pilot and crew braced us for an emergency landing, much like the USA Air pax must have gone through. We landed on a wing and prayer, flat on the plane’s belly limping off to the side with a runway covered in foam.  It was scary, stressful, one of the worst flying experiences of my life save for the fact that we all survived physically. Which brings me to the point of this–anyone who goes through such an ordeal MUST SEEKS COUNSELING. The post traumatic stress is debilating and hits when you least expect it. I am still suffering the affects more than a decade later.

God bless Sully for getting everyone out alive and ditto to the Female captain and male co-captains on my flight.

Vega$ Baby, Wassup?

Well lots happening in sin city–the lascivious, lecherous, lusciously decadent gaming capital of the world. First Steve Wynn opened his new Encore hotel and while your Diva on the Go couldn’t attend the press opening, I’m planning a visit soon. It looks awesome.

Lots of hotels are sweetening the pot for players with deals, like MonteLago Village, Lake Las Vegas which recently created a new lodging rate structure. The longer guests stay at the hotel, the more they save. The new lodging pricing takes 10 to 30 percent off daily rates, depending on the number of nights booked. When guests book two nights, they get 10 percent off each night,  three night stays get you  20 percent off all three nights and four or five nights will earns a 25 percent off each night, a rate that is equivalent to receiving a free room night. Visitors who book 6 or more nights receive 30 percent off each night’s stay. For example, through March 5, a Luna Studio, which normally is $89 per night midweek, is now $80.10 per night for two nights midweek, $71.20 per night for three nights midweek, and $66.75 per night for four nights midweek (which amounts to one night free). 

MonteLago Village also is introducing substantially lower price points on its packages, good both mid-week and weekends now through March 5.  Per night prices start at only  $64.50 per person for a Luna Studio for the Bed & Breakfast Package, $174.50 per person for the Golf & Spa Package, $144.50 per person for the Tuscany Golf Package, $189.50 per person for the Gondola Dinner Package, $149.50 per person for the LLV Golf Package and $199.50 per person for the Spa Package. 

The unique new price structure will allow Southern Nevada travelers to enjoy the area’s abundant recreation at an ideal time of year. Activities such as water sports— including sailing, fishing and gondola cruises—a choice of golf courses as well as hiking and biking on the surrounding nature preserve make for a relaxing getaway. For lodging reservations at MonteLago Village,  call 866-399-2753/702-564-4700 or visit www.montelagovillage.com.