SKEdaddle Has Evolved And Is Now ~ No Ordinary Resort

I want to say thank you to all my SKEdaddle supporters, and to those who continue to view my page and contact me even though I haven’t posted in months. I have evolved and refined my vision and have started a new blog called No Ordinary Resort, www.noordinaryresort.com, that is strictly luxury resort related. I would love to have you follow me on over to my new site and keep in touch with me there.

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Zion National Park ~ Journey on over to No Ordinary Resort with me! :)

For those of you who keep contacting me regarding contributing a guest post to SKEdaddle, I am no longer accepting guest posts on this site, nor do I accept them on my new site at this time.

Thanks to all of you for your support!

Ventana Inn ~ Big Sur, CA

In my opinion, there isn’t a more beautiful coastline than the Big Sur region. The rocky bluffs and turquoise blue waters are mesmerizing.

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I frequent this area a lot when I feel the need to decompress and balance myself. There is something about the remoteness of this area and the Pacific Ocean that is so healing and relaxing. This is probably a good reason why a lot of celebrities venture up this way when they want to escape the rat race. And there are two resorts that will meet their luxurious lifestyle needs, The Post Ranch Inn and The Ventana Inn ~ actually located directly across Highway 1 from each other. I have stayed at both locations (see Post Ranch Inn review here), and they are both lovely, luxury properties.

The Restaurant PatioThe Property

This property, The Ventana Inn, sits on the hillside above Highway 1 in Big Sur, CA and boasts some incredible panoramic ocean views from many locations throughout the property, especially from the restaurant patio.

The property is so serene with its ocean views, majestic redwoods, and the wildlife that roam the property. Along with the many deer that populate the area, I actually saw a bobcat during my stay as well. I highly suggest taking advantage of the informative guided walking tour offered in the mornings. It’s an enjoyable walk around the property trails and you will learn a lot about the indigenous habitat.

The Check-in Process

I can’t tell you how accommodating the front desk staff was to me. Because I had stayed at this resort before, I had a specific room in mind and when I found out that I was not in that room, I questioned it. The staff gladly gave me the ability to actually view a couple rooms before I checked-in in order to guarantee my satisfaction. And boy am I glad they did, had I just gone with the room I originally wanted, I would have missed out on the incredible room I got. As an added little perk, each guest gets a glass of wine at check-in.

Guestrooms

This is a small property with 60 rooms total. For as small as this resort is, there are many different types of room categories offered. There are units facing the woods and some facing towards the ocean, some with fireplaces and/or spas, but a good fact to know is that there is a category of rooms called Pacific House and these are the resort’s newest units.

@2013 Susan EdelI have stayed here a couple of times and have had the opportunity to stay in different locations. My first stay was in the Big Sur Spa Suite. The room is quite spacious with natural wood paneling and stone accents. I found the room to be a little dark but I enjoyed the very private location and the fact that it blends in well with the natural setting.

On my last visit, I had the opportunity to stay in a Pacific House room which was a completely different experience. The Pacific House rooms, as mentioned above, are the resorts newest category and the rooms are incredible!

The rooms are light and bright, with beautiful stone accents and contemporary finishes and fixtures. These rooms have a soaking tub, large separate shower, dual sinks, fireplace, coffee bar, and a good size patio with a spa. These are also ocean view units and great for sunsets. I stayed in unit #37 and think it was one of the best units because there were no trees or bushes blocking the view.

On a side note: An unplanned event helped to make this stay magical. I witnessed my first meteor shower. I happened to be on my patio and started noticing shooting stars, when they kept coming one after the next, I had to Google it to see if there was a meteor shower going on that evening and discovered there was. I ended up sitting out on the patio for probably 2 hours watching this amazing show.

The amenities are nice in both style units, it comes down to your personal preference as to whether you want a more earthy, natural feel or a light contemporary feel. A fact to keep in mind is that this resort sits up on a hillside on the opposite side of Highway 1 from the ocean, and the property is very wooded ~ meaning, even if you’re in an ocean view room, your views are from a distance and usually obstructed by some type of landscape. There are very few rooms that have full, unobstructed ocean views.

The rooms that possibly have the best ocean views might be the Ocean House units which are located on the second level of the reception building. Keep in mind, there will be a little more people traffic in this area and even though you have a great ocean view, your deck won’t be as private with people walking in and out of the reception building, as well as the Spa which is located in the same general area. However, if you don’t mind that fact, these units are great for the view.

The Spa

Ventana Inn 12-13 241The spa is quaint and offers many treatments, however they do not offer salon services such as hair and nails. They can call a technician in for these services but it can get quite costly as there is a flat minimum fee just to get them out and then the cost of the service is on top of that fee.

The resort also has a gym open to the guests, along with some Japanese soaking tubs. There are two main pools, one of which is clothing optional for you free-minded individuals.

The Restaurant at Ventana:

Ventana Inn 12-13 166There is one restaurant onsite called, The Restaurant at Ventana, and it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The resort offers a complimentary continental breakfast which is served here each morning. The food is very good and, as mentioned earlier, it boasts the best ocean views on property. There is a bar lounge inside the restaurant, as well as on the outdoor patio. This is a perfect spot to catch the sunset.

I had one strange encounter that does not usually happen at a luxury resort. One morning at breakfast when the hostess went to seat me on the patio, which was completely empty except for one other couple, she tried to seat me at one table and I asked if I could be seated one table over. I was told that I could not because they needed to balance the waiter flow. Huh? Reminder luxury hotels are about service, service, service. I do believe this was more of an individual issue than a resort issue because i did not have any other service issues during my stay.

A word of warning about getting to the restaurant, it is on property but it is a short distance from the resort. There is a gravel path that connects the resort to the restaurant, but if you are in dress shoes or heels and/or going for dinner in the dark, you will want to get a bellman to cart you over. This path is a really nice walk for breakfast or lunch during daylight hours when you are in casual walking shoes.

For people who might be interested in hosting events here, the resort has a great staff for coordinating events. The reason for my last visit was for a holiday party I planned for a group of 100 people where I booked 50+ rooms. The event staff coordinated the booking of the rooms, the evening cocktail reception and dinner, along with all the other tiny details to a T! The staff members working that night were friendly and went the extra mile to make the event a great success ~ even so much as pulling out a telescope to entertain some interested guests.

In summary, this resort is definitely worth the trip out to Big Sur and will treat you to some peace, rest and relaxation.

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Find this and many other resort reviews at my new site www.NoOrdinaryResort.com.

If you would like more information on this property or help in booking a stay, please contact me using the contact box below.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!

I hope this first day of January 2014 finds you all well and with renewed hope for the coming year!

 

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I’ve been MIA for a little while now because I’ve been working on a project that I’m very excited about. I am so happy to announce that on this 1st day of January 2014, I am launching my new luxury hotel review site called No Ordinary Resort! www.noordinaryresort.com 

 

It is still in its conception, so there are only a few resorts up on the site right now but I am hoping to add several each week until I’m caught up. As I get further into the details of the site, I’m sure the format of it will change some as well. My hope is to set it up in a magazine-style format. At this early stage, I would love for people to give me feedback on what they would like to see on this site.

 

I may eventually turn this into a paid site, so anyone who registers via the email sign-up on the site will receive a free subscription, if that happens.

 

Go out there and make it a great 2014 ~ there are so many exciting possibilities awaiting you!

 

5 Tips on Throwing The Best 50th Birthday Party Ever…

1. Have a fabulous birthday girl to celebrate. This one is easy, it happens to be my sister, Vicki.

 

 

2. Decorate with the birthday girl’s favorite items. Incorporate items that the birthday girl loves into all the decorations. There was no detail left undone here by the fabulous Laura Ziffer of Studio Ziffer. Personal touches were incorporated throughout the entire room ~ the table had layers of burlap, succulents, persimmons, fish eye branches, white hydrangeas, down to nested bird eggs.

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Hand made name tags were tied to each chair with burlap strips and greenery.

Vicki's 50th 058Vicki’s favorite flower ~ white hydrangeas, were scattered throughout.

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3. Adorn the room with favorite vintage and current photographs and create a Tree of Life. 

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Thanks to Michelle Bogdan from Inpritz for the large posters.

4. Have fabulous food and libations. This party was hosted at Nick’s Next Door in Los Gatos. They created a menu of items for the party and everything was delicious, and what’s a party without its luscious libations.

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Perfect venue for an intimate group luncheon.

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5. And last but certainly not least, invite a group of the birthday girl’s closest friends who fill the room with warmth, love and laughter.

And as a party gift, the guests take home a frame with a picture of the birthday girl and themselves as a keepsake.

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A big thank you to Laura Ziffer, Kim Ratcliff and LynnAnne Heil who worked so hard to make this party amazing!

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Fall Colors

A last minute trip to Washington DC fell in my lap and I had the wonderful opportunity to see our Nation’s Capital in all of it’s Fall glory. The trees were on fire!

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I took so many photographs, I haven’t had the energy or time to write a full post but, for simplicity reasons, I have been posting numerous images on my Facebook page. If you are on Facebook and would like to see some of the photographs, go to www.facebook.com/SKEdaddleWithMe. Otherwise, I hope to write some posts up soon.

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Open The Door To Faith

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Stanford University Memorial Church

Bella Dama

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On my bike ride a few weeks ago at the Stanford University campus, I came across this vision of loveliness. There was a photo shoot going on for a magazine. This woman looked so lovely in her beautiful gown and adornments in front of the gorgeous architecture that I felt compelled to snap a photo of my own. I wish I had asked the name of the periodical so I could have seen the final product, it must have been stunning.

Although this is not a Halloween costume, I thought it might be a good way to start this festive week. Watch out for all the ghosts and goblins flittering about!

Guest Post: 5 Amazing Ways to Spend a Weekend in New York

By Joshuah Marshall

New York is perhaps the most famous city in the world and certainly one of the most overwhelming and bedazzling. In a single stroll around the block you can see restaurants selling every different cuisine as well as all manner of attractions from the sublime to the bizarre.

It has to be said though that this city is a lot to take in and seeing it all in a single weekend is not easy. So for the discerning traveler we thought we would put together a sample menu of some of the best that New York has to offer.

So, are you ready to see New York in style?

Take A Helicopter Tour

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Image Credit: Madison Square from above

The New York skyline is spectacular at any level, particularly at night when lit up and on show. But the only way to truly take it all in is to view it from above. A helicopter tour of the city gives you the chance to rise above all of the chaos and enjoy the scale of it all in a way that is peaceful and serene.

Tours start at around $150 per person, but if you pay a little more you can have a helicopter to yourself with a loved one (plus pilot of course). There are few better ways to rise above the noise of the city below.

Or Maybe A River Cruise

It has to be said that getting around New York by road is just too inconvenient to be worthwhile and there are certainly more stylish ways to see the sights. So once you have seen the bird’s eye view of the city, taking a river cruise is a great way to get a peaceful look at the sights close up.

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Image Credit: Statue of Liberty from the River

Simple river tours can cost $100 or less, but if you want to splash out then chartering a private yacht is the way to do it. There are also less expensive options such as taking a more exclusive cruise which includes dinner by the harbor.

Depending on the route you can see all of the sights such as the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the New York skyline without having to navigate through any traffic or crowds of tourists.

See A Broadway Show

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http://www.musicalmidi.net/

This is arguably one of the things that New York is best known for and if you are going to see a live show anywhere than Broadway in New York is the place. As you walk down Broadway in your smartest evening attire you will see countless tributes to the stars who have walked there before you and on the night of a big show the atmosphere is simply electric.

Top Of The Rock

Top of the Rock is the named dubbed to the observation deck of the GE Building, which is itself a skyscraper and the center piece of the Rockefeller Center in the center of New York and going to the top to enjoy one of the most inspiring cityscapes in the world is practically mandatory.

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Image Credit: View south from Top of the Rock

The real advantage of Top of the Rock compared to the observation deck of the famous Empire State Building is that from the Top of the Rock you can see the Empire State Building as part of the panoramic view.

Chef’s Table, Brooklyn Fare

Once you’ve had enough of sight-seeing you will undoubtedly want to experience some of New York’s famous food culture. This is a city where practically any type of cuisine is available 24 hours a day, so choosing where to eat can be tricky.

One real gem though is Chef’s Table in Brooklyn, this is a 3 Michelin starred restaurant but with a twist. The Chef in question is Cesar Ramirez and the restaurant consists of just 18 seats around one table.

For around $255 per person you will be fed a seemingly endless stream of small courses, all prepared right in front of you by Ramirez. The Cuisine is mostly Japanese but it really depends on what Cesar feels like cooking at the time and the details of the menu change on a daily basis

About The Author

Hi there, my name is Joshuah, I work at Quintessentially.com and I am something of an expert in luxury travel. I love finding and writing about the most exclusive and unique sights to see and things to do around the world. New York is certainly one of my favorite cities in the world and I recommend anyone to pay it a visit.

All statements of fact, images and opinion are those of the guest authors.