Snapshot: Skyview Los Alamos | Los Alamos, CA

From your cowboy roots to retro-chic…Skyview, you had me at “MOTEL” {the sign that is}. I have driven by it 100 times or more while traveling between Northern and Southern California. I am referring to the larger-than-life bright yellow and black “MOTEL” sign, located high on the hill right off Highway 101 in Los Alamos, just north of Santa Barbara. If you have traveled this stretch of road, you have most likely also seen it.

On this particular trip, I spontaneously decided to follow the sky-high yellow sign to see what the motel behind the iconic marquee was all about. The motel opened in 1959 and successfully operated as a roadside establishment for decades until the eventual abandonment and disarray of the property.

In 2016, the Nomada Hotel Group purchased the iconic motel with a fresh new vision for it. After a complete renovation, the motel reopened its doors in 2018 as the Skyview Los Alamos. The owners took great strides to meticulously renovate the entire property to offer all the current amenities while maintaining the original “bones” of the property and integrating some of the authentic 1950’s-era architectural elements already there. The interior spaces reflect a well-done retro, mid-century vibe with a modern rustic flair. Newly created outdoor common areas offer seating with fire pits, surrounded by a relaxing succulent garden.

The pool is a defining characteristic and the heartbeat of the property. The pool area has a fun, playful motif with its colorful umbrellas, “bubble” iron gate, and painted cactus art with the iconic motel sign proudly presiding over it all. {Insert Instagram moment here}

A pleasant surprise on this small property is the onsite restaurant, Norman. On this short visit, I only had time for a quick tour and a glass of wine at the bar; however, I look forward to returning to this boutique property so I may fully experience it and share it in all its glory.

If you find yourself in the Los Alamos area and you happen to see those large yellow and black letters that say MOTEL, turn off to stay the night or grab a bite to eat…either way you won’t be disappointed.

How A Spontaneous Leap Of Faith Led To The Opening Of A Luxury Hotel In Spain

Sometimes you hear a story that lifts your heart and spirit. A feel-good story that lights a little spark of hope and motivates you to believe you can aim a bit higher in your own life. This recently happened to me when I connected through LinkedIn with Christine Cunanan, Publisher/Editor of Travelife Magazine and Owner of La Esperanza Granada.

I do not personally know Christine, but I am always happy to connect with colleagues within my industry as you never know where it might lead…and little did I know that by connecting with Christine, I would discover this inspiring story of how her spontaneous leap of faith led her to purchase a private hacienda in Spain that she would transform into a small luxury hotel naming it La Esperanza Granada. And during these times, what a prophetic name it is as the meaning of La Esperanza is Hope.

Image Courtesy of La Esperanza Granada

While the majority of us amid the 2020 COVID 19 pandemic were in our sweat pants streaming Netflix, Christine Cunanan was on a flight when she had an out-of-the-blue idea to purchase a property in Spain. Arriving home from her flight and before even unpacking her bags, she went online and googled “properties for sale in Spain”. Upon finding a private hacienda online and purchasing it sight unseen, Christine renovated the property and had it operating as a small luxury hotel within a year. One short year after opening, the hotel has received glowing reviews, has recently been named one of the six best new hotel openings in Spain, and is currently a member of the prestigious L.V.X. Preferred Hotels and Resorts. Is anyone else besides me feeling a little lazy right about now?!

I am posting this story because I find it hopeful and inspiring. No matter how small or large our dreams are, shouldn’t we sometimes choose to take that leap of faith? Maybe one of us has a story like this in ourselves as well. I cannot begin to tell Christine’s story as well as she can, so if you want to read the full story of her journey, click the link (here). I hope you find it as uplifting and inspiring as I do. Happy Dreams my friends…and if you do have a similar story, please share it!

Several New Luxury Hotel Openings Spark A Buzz In The Napa-Sonoma Wine Region

The Napa-Sonoma Wine Region…just hearing those words conjure up visions of rolling countryside vineyards, Michelin Star restaurants, and beautiful luxury retreats. And just when I thought this region might be settling in and beginning to rest on its laurels, *wham* here enter several exciting, high-end luxury resorts to shake things up.

Some of the more notable openings are the Montage Healdsburg, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, and the Stanly Ranch Auberge. The openings of these luxury brands have created excitement and a renewed exhilaration for those seeking the pampered lifestyle in wine country.

See the article below published in Sunset for more details on these and other new wine country hotels.

Four Seasons Las Vegas | Las Vegas, NV

Planning a trip to Las Vegas always promises to be a fun endeavor prompting so many decisions…what shows can I see? who has the hottest restaurant? where’s my sequined dress? and where will I stay?

When I go to Las Vegas, I know I’m in for some high-energy fun and excitement, crowds of people, and all the intensity the strip has to offer. However, after an evening out in Sin City, I want to retreat to a peaceful and serene environment where I can relax and regain my sanity. For one of many reasons, this is why I chose to stay at a “non-gaming” hotel {hotels that do not have casinos} while in Las Vegas.

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Rosewood Miramar Beach | Montecito, CA

The mere mention of Santa Barbara, California conjures up images of sunshine, pristine beaches lined with Palm trees, lavish Mediterranean-style homes and the beautiful people and celebrities that live inside of them. This appeal has long enticed visitors to this area and, as such, resorts have been stepping up to the demand by providing upscale accommodations and a portal into this luxurious lifestyle…even if only for a weekend.

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Rancho Valencia | Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Rancho Valencia is an award winning, Relais & Chateaux luxury resort located in Rancho Santa Fe, a suburb of North San Diego, CA. The resort has garnered a reputation as one of the most highly-rated five-star resorts and spa destinations, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. The property is annually recognized as one of the top resorts on numerous distinguished award lists such as Forbes Five Star, Travel + Leisure, U.S. News, Conde Nast, AAA Five Diamond, and has the unique distinction of being the only Relais & Chateaux property in Southern California.

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