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Carmel Magazine Digital Edition SU16

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comfortable to cook under the expert eyes and encouragement of Schooners' chefs. The new Helmsman Lounge in the main lobby is open Thursday through Saturday and features delicious small plates with items like roasted King Crab, tuna poke tacos, local cheese and fruit plates, Oysters Rockefeller and delights like housemade truffles and Baked Alaska. Dessert cocktails such as El Diablo of the Deep (Herradura Reposado tequila with housemade chili-cinnamon-vanilla syrup, dark hot chocolate and whipped cream) and a significant wine and spirits list round off the decadent menu. Live music from local favorites Lee Durley and Joe Indence on Fridays and John Harris on Saturdays make the lobby a fun gathering spot for drinks and appetizers with friends. For snacks and lighter options, Café La Strada offers coffee drinks, sandwiches, soups, desserts and pastries next to the large outdoor patio overlooking the ocean, and Scoops ice cream cart serves up delicious cones. The most consistently stunning aspect of the hotel is the proximity to the ocean. Whether on the outdoor patio sipping a cocktail around the fire pit, or at the Vista Blue Spa deck sitting by the fireplace, or in the hot tub over the ocean, the unsurpassed views and constant activity of nature bring the property to life. "We are the only hotel on Cannery Row sit- uated directly over the ocean," Narigi says. Spa treatments include the signature "Bliss on the Bay," where for 80 minutes, guests are gen- tly polished with a dry brush and a lavender and blue chamomile body scrub, then massaged to perfection. Recent spa offerings include a watermelon cucumber cooler pedicure with a glass of sparkling wine and a soothing sea facial that infuses the skin with minerals, vitamins and enzymes from the ocean. Locals can enjoy 30 percent off signature massage treatments on Mondays, and Sunday through Friday, a 20 per- cent discount on 50 minute or longer treat- 226 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 6 Coastal Curators V isitors come to the Monterey Pen- insula for many reasons: golfers for our legendary courses; divers and sailors for the challenging waters; outdoor enthu- siasts for our plethora of hiking trails and wilderness. Many Central Valley residents c ome simply for relief from triple-digit heat and to bask in the natural air conditioning that consistently rolls in off the Pacific. B ut many come for just one of those reasons, with no idea of just how many other activities there are available here. Many more still are unaware of the rich his- torical tapestry that has unfolded on this land in the past centuries. The management of the Monterey Plaza Hotel is on a mis- sion to bring that knowledge to its guests. To that end, the hotel has launched a program that aims to empower every guest-facing hotel associate to become a "Coastal Curator," able to converse elo- quently on the cultural, historical and recre- ational offerings of Monterey County. "We want our hotel to become the head- quarters for folks visiting the Monterey Penin- sula," says one of the program's developers, Jeffery Modaff, Director or Rooms Division. When training is complete, more than 100 employees will be able to proudly sport a custom-designed Coastal Curator lapel pin. Staff members are encouraged to learn each other's strengths so as to direct guests to an expert in a particular field. For instance, if a guest asks a non-golfing Schooners' bar- tender which course is the best, she will be able to refer the guest to someone at the front desk she knows is an avid golfer. If someone asks a Vista Blue Spa massage ther- apist what that old run-down looking build- ing near the Monterey Bay Aquarium, he or she can speak knowledgeably about Ed Rick- etts and his friendship with novelist John Steinbeck—the guy who, after all, put Can- nery Row on the map in the first place. --Michael Chatfield

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