It may measure less than 50 square miles, but San Francisco ranks as one of the greatest cities in the world. Famous for grand-dame Victorians, classic cable cars, dynamic diversity, a beautiful waterfront, and a soaring crimson bridge, the “City by the Bay” truly has it all. Trend-defining cuisine ranging from Michelin-starred dining to outrageous food trucks; world-renowned symphony, ballet, theatre and opera; plus almost boundless outdoor adventures, San Francisco justifiably stands out as one of the ultimate must-sees on any traveller’s wish list.
With some of the nation’s best produce at their fingertips, chefs in the City by the Bay create edible magic, often changing menus nightly to reflect what’s freshest and tastiest that day. Many chefs work closely with local farms and food purveyors to get exactly the ingredients they want. Early morning trips to one of the city’s year-round farmers’ markets are part of the routine for these wizards of the kitchen. Special occasion restaurants, many sprinkled with Michelin stars, abound, like the smooth sophistication of double-starred Coi, Atelier Crenn, and Quince. Lively, crowded, and trendy options line the streets of The Mission District, particularly along Valencia Street. But inexpensive options are easy to find, too: consider Clement Street for outstanding pho and other Asian foods, or track down food truck gatherings sponsored by Off the Grid. And for one-stop you’ll-definitely-find-something grazing, walk (slowly) through the Ferry Building Marketplace, where permanent booths sell local delicacies like crusty sourdough (Acme Bread) and artisanal cheese (Cowgirl Creamery), and sit-down restaurants, like Charles Phan’s celebrated Slanted Door, offer amazing food and waterfront views.
Hotel Zetta, San Francisco
Hotel Zetta is a perfect choice when choosing luxury combined with cutting-edge technology. Vibrant decor with a creative vibe runs throughout the hotel with high-tech conveniences and oversized rooms. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s SoMa district, across the street from Westfield Shopping Centre and a short three-block walk from Union Square with a fabulous range of theatres, exclusive shopping, restaurants, nightlife, historic sites and museums. The Hotel Zetta inspires style-seeking guests with its sleek interior design and cutting-edge amenities.
Sip cocktails at S&R Lounge located in the lobby, a Manhattan-style lobby bar oozing sophistication. Take a walk up to The Playroom, a unique space with pool table, shuffle board, Nintendo WiiU, 30 ft Plinko game wall and more. Unwind on the low-seated sofas as you enjoy an hour or so of relaxation and games. The Cavalier is the place to eat, an upscale British brasserie and bar with four intimate spaces to enjoy fine fare and delicious wines or dine in with a sumptuous room service menu.
Even though Santa Rosa is Sonoma County’s largest city, Santa Rosa still feels pretty cozy. Certainly, you never forget you’re in wine country, with tasting rooms right in the heart of the city. One good place to start is Santa Rosa Vintners Square, a collection of wineries set in an industrial area on Cleveland Avenue next to U.S. Highway 101. It’s home to spots such as D’Argenzio Winery, Sheldon Wines, Krutz Family Cellars, and Fogbelt Brewing Company – all set around a lovely playground.
Rediscover your inner photographer and snap some memorable holiday pictures in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Perfect for hikes, this stunning reserve offers trails which weave between the giant Redwood trees, allowing you to reconnect with nature in this inspiring setting.
The SOFA arts district on South A Street is another off-the-radar gem, which has developed into a fashionable island for creative types like chef Liza Hinman and her Cal-Mediterranean Spinster Sisters restaurant. Stroll the historic neighborhoods around here too—like McDonald Avenue, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed Shadow of a Doubt in the summer of 1942.
You’ll also notice several larger-than-life statues of Snoopy around town, as well as statues of Charlie Brown, Woodstock, and Lucy. That’s because Charles Schulz lived and worked in Santa Rosa from 1969 until his death in 2000, claiming Sonoma County as the inspiration for his iconic Peanuts comic strip.
Flamingo Resort & Spa, Santa Rosa
Designated a historic landmark by the city of Santa Rosa in 1996 the privately owned and family run Flamingo Resort & Spa enjoys its well-deserved reputation as one of Sonoma County’s favourite romantic Wine Country Getaways. Combining the most modern of amenities with the glamour and charm of the 1950’s the resort retains the same atmosphere it had when it was a favourite retreat to the Hollywood stars of a bygone era.
The retro- style décor of the hotel’s rooms and suites reminds you of the resort’s rich historical origins as a classic Californian summer resort. All of the accommodations feature cable TV, free Wi-Fi, refrigerator, coffee making facilities, hair dryer, eco-friendly toiletries and more. The newly designed Pool View Suites have separate areas for eating, sleeping and relaxing and their larger footprint and wet bar makes them ideal for entertaining friends and family. Children under 12 stay for free when sharing the same room as their parents.
Like many cities, California’s state capitol is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this low-key city, with microbreweries, gastropubs, and trendy boutiques popping up to serve them. Award-winning chefs are gaining attention for their focus on hyper-local ingredients, and relationships between restaurants and surrounding farms and ranches have become not a novelty, but the norm. Hot summer days create some of the nicest evenings anywhere in the state, where locals sit on porches in elegant Victorian-era homes, and kids scamper in leafy parks until the sun goes down.
As the state capital, there’s plenty going on, and gatherings of various colourful groups around the cupola-topped Capitol are common. Museums are centred largely around the Capitol Mall area and in historic Old Town Sacramento, the renovated area along the Sacramento River that was a core hub during the Gold Rush. Getting around to all these different locations is easy, and traffic jams are fleeting. Granted the gold award for bike-friendliness by the League of American Bicyclists, Sacramento is also a great place to explore by bike, with wide designated lanes, and paved trails along the American and Sacramento Rivers. There’s also a convenient light rail system linking popular sites around town. Enjoy capitol comfort at Sacramento’s fashionable Hyatt Regency Hotel. With a fantastic location right in the heart of California’s vibrant state capitol, the Hyatt Regency provides easy access to Sacramento and the surrounding area from the peace and comfort of your well-appointed hotel suite.
Featuring stunning views of the capitol’s, park or city skyline the contemporarily decorated rooms and suites, Hyatt Regency Sacramento combines comfort and space with thoughtful modern amenities. Standard rooms and suites all feature Hyatt Grand bedding, 42” flat screen HD TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, IPod dock, coffee maker, mini bar, climate control, in room safes, hair dryer , and Portico bath products. Regency Club rooms and suites have their own private access floor, concierge service and private lounge serving breakfast, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Blue as a topaz and circled by majestic peaks, this High Sierra gem straddling the California-Nevada border is a bucket-list essential. Where else can you get a chance to inhale air that is “very pure and fine…it is the same the angels breathe,” as celebrated author Mark Twain put it. One look around, especially from drop-dead-gorgeous overlooks like the one above Emerald Bay State Park, and it’s easy to see why Twain was so smitten. Lakefront towns dot the shoreline, each with their own appeal. Winter and springtime snow lets you carve it up at world-class alpine resorts. Summer brings out the water toy sailboats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and almost anything that floats. Fall paints the hills with golden aspen leaves. But no matter what the season, this is the kind of place that makes you plan the next trip back before you even leave.
The Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, Lake Tahoe
Located at the Stateline on the south shore of Lake Tahoe the friendly staff, well-appointed suites and excellent amenities at The Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel make this resort-hotel the perfect choice for your Lake Tahoe vacation. With top class casino action, dining, shopping and a host of seasonal sports including skiing, ice skating, hiking, biking, golf and water sports close to the hotel it’s easy to see why this resort is so popular with Lake Tahoe visitors.
All of the resorts 400 well-appointed accommodation is based on two room suites each of which have with separate living and bedroom areas. Bedrooms have either one king or two queen beds and the bathrooms are stocked with soaps, shampoo, plush towels and a hairdryer. All rooms also feature refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker and large flat screen TV’s.
Yosemite National Park
Boasting serene sequoia forests with some of the largest and oldest trees in the world, as well as spectacular granite landmarks, including El Capitan and Yosemite Falls, the beautiful national park makes a magnificent backdrop for a relaxing, or adventurous stay. Beyond photography and hiking, there are many other ways to explore the 3,000km2 wilderness, such as a breath-taking air tour of the national park, or even Yosemite ‘Close Up’ tours, allowing visitors to experience unique guided tours varying in themes from ecology to photography. There are even stunning Sunset Dinner Tours, which often include star-gazing and astrology. To unwind, there are luxury spas like Yosemite Health Spa, complete with a yoga studio and range of massage treatments, as well as a calm garden deck area with panoramic views of the valley below.
Yosemite View Lodge
In a superb location, just steps away from Yosemite National Park’s entrance, this family-friendly hotel will provide you with a cosy, comfortable backdrop to your stay, along with magnificent views of Yosemite National Park.
Offering guests access to an indoor pool, as well as three outdoor pools, and both indoor and outdoor spa options, you can really let your worries drift away in this blissful haven. There is also an on-site restaurant (The River Restaurant & Lounge) with scenic views of the wild Merced River and classic American meals.
There are a range of different room sizes, including King rooms, connecting rooms or family rooms, and each room features its own exclusive kitchenette, coffee maker and TVs, making them ideally suited for families or small groups. Rooms with private balconies or tranquil river views are also available.