Best “Weekend Getaway” From Los Angeles?

Best “weekend getaway” from Los Angeles?

Here’s a Q&A from another saved draft. This is a Travel Blog.

IMG05396-20130627-1415

Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: My mom is coming to visit me in Venice for a week in April and we want to getaway! We’re looking for a destination to relax, hit up the spa, wine taste or have a great meal, do some boutique shopping, and maybe go for an easy hike? Since this will be for 1-2 nights, would like to keep it within 3 hours (one way). Out of all the amazing places, if you have to pick 1 destination for a visitor to see, what is the best destination for a weekend getaway from L.A. and why?

A: A fantastic Spa Weekend “Getaway” that meets your description can be experienced at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. It’s a beautiful full-service, luxury four star resort just north of Los Angeles with free self-parking.

The hotel has an amazing spa and pool facility with all the amenities. There’s fine dining on-site and in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura, Moorpark, Malibu or the Pacific Palisades (and the hotel also provides a shuttle that will take you to the beach).

Watch the sunset and enjoy a cocktail on the deck at Moonshadows Malibu or have an amazing $u$hi meal at Nobu Malibu. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the Saddle Peak Lodge, Cafe Firenze or one of the many fine restaurants nearby. We’ve heard about (and seen pictures of) the fabulous desserts at CHOCOLATINE Café French Pastries.

There is great easy hiking nearby in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. We recommend the Paramount Ranch (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” filming site), Malibu Creek State Park (“MASH” filming site) or Point Dume State Beach.

There are also some nice wineries to visit nearby: Malibu Wines, SIP Malibu, Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, Cornell Winery & Tasting Room and others are open to the public.

Horseback riding, shopping of all kinds, beach activities, nightlife options and more are all available locally. The hotel also offers cooking classes, other educational programs and fun activities.

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Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Good hikes in LA or surrounding areas?

Q: I have done a few in Malibu and Hollywood but looking for more ideas!

A: A great place to hike in Los Angeles is the Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills and other trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Park entry and parking are free! Topanga State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Rocky Oaks Park, Stunt Ranch State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, Temescal Canyon Park and Point Dume State Beach all have great hiking. Entrance fees and parking vary by location.

To Paramount Ranch: Exit Kanan Rd off the 101 freeway, turn left towards the beach, just past Agoura Rd make a left on Cornell Rd and drive to the park entrance. Park near the Ranger Station and enter through the Western Town film location.

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Paramount Ranch Park in Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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More pics from the Four Seasons Westlake Village:
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Throwback Thursday! Four Seasons Westlake Village!

Throwback Thursday! Four Seasons Westlake Village!

Handmade chocolate truffles after lunch. Love the Four Seasons!

Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

READ THE BLOGS & SEE THE PICTURES FROM 2013!
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Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)



“Vegas Baby! Las Vegas!”

“Vegas Baby! Las Vegas!”

Las Vegas, Nevada in August on a two night trip to “Sin City” for my birthday!

NOTE: This Blog is unfinished…and will likely remain unfinished.

Enjoy!

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – Bally’s, Paris & The Cosmopolitan

“ROAD TRIP!” We left Los Angeles on Thursday Morning, made two stops along the way, and arrived in Las Vegas a few hours later. It was a beautiful day to make the drive.

Glendora Sky at the Donut Man

Glendora Sky at the Donut Man

Our first stop was in Glendora at the famous Donut Man shop just off the 210 freeway. They are known for their Strawberry Glazed donuts, but all of their creations are great.

Strawberry Glazed Donuts at Donut Man in Glendora

Strawberry Glazed Donuts at Donut Man in Glendora

We bought a half dozen, a strawberry glazed, 2 chocolate custard filled, 2 glazed old fashioned and a cinnamon roll. We enjoyed the custard filled and took the rest “To Go”.

Half Dozen Donuts

Half Dozen Donuts “To Go” at Donut Man in Glendora

We stopped for gas and to stretch our legs somewhere between Barstow and Vegas, and I ate the strawberry glazed donut…it was a good donut, but they make such a fuss about them, I guess I expected something more.

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip”

The drive was without incident, and we arrived in Las Vegas and drove directly to our destination. We stayed both nights at The Palazzo Hotel at The Venetian-Palazzo Resort.

The Venetian Hotel & Casino (pic from a previous trip)

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel & Casino (this pic from a previous trip)

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Bypassing the regular line for Invited Guest Check-In

We valet parked the car, and proceeded to the Invited Guest (VIP) Check-In desk. After a short wait we were given our room assignment and keycards.

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Invited Guest Check-In

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Invited Guest Check-In Front Desk

Guest Suite at The Palazzo:

The Palazzo Hotel - 9th floor

The Palazzo Hotel – 9th floor

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel -

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel – “Wanna take a bath?”

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View! The view from my room.

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Poker Room at The Venetian Hotel

The Poker Room at The Venetian Hotel

The Race & Sports Book at The Venetian Hotel

The Race & Sports Book at The Venetian Hotel

After the long drive into Las Vegas, and after checking in at the Palazzo and dealing with the room, luggage and housekeeping, we decided to grab a bite at the Grand Lux Cafe.

READ THE BLOG NOW! Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel: (Right Click and “Open in New Window”) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1P4

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe – Fried Chicken Strips & Waffle with Maple-Pecan Syrup

READ THE BLOG NOW! Late Dinner at Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar Original Buffalo Wings at The Venetian Hotel (Right Click and “Open in New Window”)  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Qb 

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Food Court at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel – Original Boneless Buffalo Wings $12

Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino on Friday Night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

READ THE BLOG! Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s CARNEVINO Italian Steakhouse at the Palazzo Hotel (RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW)  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1NX

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Carnevino Bar at The Palazzo Hotel

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

“Vegas, Vegas, Vegas!”

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – I can see the “High Roller” from here!

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Linq (Wanna knish?)

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

HAIL CAESARS PALACE! (they ruined this place). Evel Kneivel ate it big time on this spot:

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – Caesars Palace

Welcome to Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Welcome to Caesars Palace Las Vegas!

The Poker Room at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

The Poker Room at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The

The Statue of “David” at Caesars Palace (NSFW or is it Art?)

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Cosmopolitan & Bellagio from Caesars Palace

Craps!

Craps!

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Flamingo

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View at Night!

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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The

The End… “David” at Caesars Palace – Nice Butt. “Take a picture it’ll last longer.”

Had a great time. Will return shortly…

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View!

Vegas baby! Vegas!

Here’s the view from my suite on the 9th floor of the Palazzo Hotel:

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View!

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of the Pool & Treasure Island Hotel!

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of Trump Hotel & Fashion Show Mall

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of Treasure Island & Trump Hotel at night!

MORE TO COME!

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Party at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel 20 March 2014

Beverly Hills, California – Thursday 6pm

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hosted Event at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire = Great Party!

We’re a Four Season’s Preferred Partner and we get special incentives, upgrades and amenities for our clients when booking accomodations worldwide!

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby of the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Front Desk at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby of the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Marble everyway! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Ballroom – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beautiful Detail on the Elevator Doors:

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Elevator Door at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Up to the Second Floor, the Rodeo Plaza Patio and the Travel Industry Reception Party!

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View of Rodeo Drive – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View from the Patio – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Party on the Patio! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On The Menu: Grey Goose and Seven-Up, Mini sliders with cheese, crab legs in sake-mushroom broth, shrimp dim-sum, chicken potstickers, skirt steak in orange sauce, chicken in sauce, ceviche with all the fixings, a potato/goat cheese foam with black truffles and celery root puree, creamy crab in sesame cones, smoked salmon on crackers and then dessert….

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Top Shelf! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Tiny Slider! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Crab Legs! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

FOAM! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And then DESSERT:

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert sampler: cannoli, lemon meringue tart, raspberries and cream in a chocolate cookie, milk chocolate hazelnut truffles and milk chocolate salted caramels.

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And then MORE.

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View of Wilshire Blvd – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View of Rodeo Drive – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mini-Bar! (Very tempting, even after all that food!)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Wilshire Blvd and Rodeo Drive (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beverly Hills – Thursday 8pm

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On Rodeo in Beverly Hills (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Not just a fun event, I was working!

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel

Luxury Food, Wine and Theatre Experiences in Ashland, Oregon!

Ashland, Oregon Visitor's Map

Ashland, Oregon Visitor’s Map – http://www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Britt Music Festivals, the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, the Craterion Theatre, the Camelot Theatre and Southern Oregon University.

The Green Show with Dirty Cello (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Green Show with Dirty Cello (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Check out the 2014 Season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival! “The Tempest”, “Richard III”, “The Comedy of Errors”, “Two Gentlemen of Verona”, “A Wrinkle In Time”, “The Great Society”, “Into The Woods”, “The Cocoanuts”, the (free) Green Show and much more! Right Click for more information: www.osfashland.org

Taste the Fine Wines from the Umpqua, Willamette, and Rogue Valley regions.

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Enjoy Unique Foodie Finds and Elegant Dining.

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Walk in Lithia Park, Ski Mount Ashland and Visit Medford, Klamath Falls, Historic Jacksonville and Crater Lake National Park.

Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Please enjoy the pretty pictures and insider information on our new facebook page:

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel

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Contact us now for more information! email joshwilltravel@yahoo.com

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Party at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City 20-NOV-13

Bravo! What a great event! Big Thanks to everyone at the InterContinental!

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel – Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party in the InterContinental Hotel Grand Ballroom (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Candy at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Vodka cocktail and tray passed appetizers at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Gaming for raffle tickets at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grand Ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grand Ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grand Ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Open Bar at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Endless Sushi at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy Tuna Sushi Platter at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Noodles in Martini Glasses at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Ramen Bar at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Steamed Buns, Pork Bao, Shu Mai and Chicken Potstickers at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Japanese BBQ Baby Back Ribs at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grilling Station at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy Tuna Ahi and Blue Crab Sliders at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert Table at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Fresh Made Ice Cream and toppings at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Fresh Made Ice Cream at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Platter and Shrimp on a spoon with aoli mustard at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Magic Boy Collins Key at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Live Music and DJ at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Champagne at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Cheese and Crackers at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tour of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

View from the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

View from the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

View from the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

SWAG from the Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas!

The Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show 2013 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. (See other peoples posts and pictures at #Signaturesales2013 on facebook)

NOTE: This Blog post is currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION!  I want to put it up now, but please come back and check it out again when I finish it!  You can get updates if you “LIKE” my facebook travel page: http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel

Wednesday 1pm:  Road Trip!  Off to Las Vegas, Nevada for the annual Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show! Finished my last minute work and ran a few errands, packed up the car and hit the highway. 101 south to the 134 east to the 210 east to the 10 east to the 215 east to the 15 north.  Other people from my office chose to fly but I prefer to drive.

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Right Time to Road Trip to Las Vegas! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Going east to Nevada, with the setting sun in the mirror (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Going east to Nevada, setting sun in the mirror (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Stopped in Barstow for gas and a Double-Double burger at In-N-Out.

In-N-Out Burger, Barstow, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

In-N-Out Burger, Barstow, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Weird rainbow and purple desert skies at sunset and the approaching lights of Stateline:

Sunset! Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sunset Behind Us! Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Road Trip to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Stateline - Primm, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Stateline – Primm, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“Vegas Baby, Vegas!”

MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

New York-New York and the MGM Grand Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The first thing you notice about the MGM Grand is it’s money green color.  The second thing you notice is that it’s HUGE!  You’ll notice this as you drive around the self parking structure and as you try to navigate your way to the registration desk, and as you stand in the long line to check in.  You’ll be reminded during your stay of how huge it is just trying to get from point A to point B, in particular the distance from your room to the Conference Center where your sales meeting and trade show is being held.

It truly is a “mega-resort” and has something for just about everyone.  It also has the two biggest problem of a “mega-resort” operation: nobody is directly in charge and the important details get missed and/or overlooked!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Wednesday 6pm: Standing for 30 minutes in line at Check In until an “on the ball” Manager came and helped speed things up.  You can see your tweets on the big screen while you wait…

The line at Check In at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The line at Check In at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There was a good Group Rate offered to our convention with substantial savings on the Friday and Saturday rate, but the Casino Rate was better for Wednesday and Thursday night. Be sure to get your “M Life” Players Card to take full advantage if you’re a gambler!

Lobby at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

After finally checking in, I checked out my Grand King room (with a view) on the 24th floor. It was down a very long mega-hallway.  I had requested a refrigerator with my reservation, which was promptly delivered, as were the extra towels and pillows when I called down to Housekeeping.  The room was very clean and comfortable, but the bathroom was a little small.  I was also comparing it to my recent stay at the Venetian in an Executive King in September for LTX (the Luxury Travel Exchange) which was great.  See the Blog!

I want to compliment everyone at the MGM Grand.  Everyone I talked to in person or on the phone was friendly, courteous and professional.  When I complained about a problem they were quick to apologize, tried to correct it or offered a F&B Credit.  Eventually, my F&B was comped by my “M-Life” Casino VIP Card, so I made the request and they comped one night of my stay instead.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hallway at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I went to get my luggage and when I got back to the room, a Welcome Amenity was waiting!  Snacks and bottled water from the “on the ball” Manager at Check In, very well done!

MGM Grand Welcome Amenity (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Welcome Amenity (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I had a $50 Food and Beverage Credit so I decided to try the MGM Grand Buffet $30 plus tip paid in advance. I was left wondering who oversees the food quality.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: BAD FOOD ALERT!!!)

The worst buffet ever!  Everything was overcooked and under seasoned!  I really didn’t eat that much, but I tried to taste most of the food and ended up feeling sick to my stomach for all three days I was there.  When I say everything was bad, I mean EVERYTHING WAS BAD except the fried chicken.  Here are pics, the food looks okay but it had little to no taste and wasn’t prepared well (mostly overcooked or cold).  How do you ruin crab legs?

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi and Crab Legs at MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Mexican chicken and rice, pepperoni pizza, pineapple, and a roll at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Baby back ribs, macaroni and cheese, oriental chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potato at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Steak w/peppercorn sauce, chicken potstickers, and one crab leg at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Fried chicken, mashed potato with brown gravy, turkey with gravy, and mashed potato at the MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Desserts: various types of flavored plastic cup desserts, baked goods (brownies, cupcakes, muffins all overbaked, hard and tasteless), shortcake, and ice cream.

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Quite a selection, and I love dessert, but I tried a lot of different things and was amazed that even the deserts were mediocre to just plain bad.  As I told my friends, there are great buffets in Las Vegas, this isn’t one of them.

MGM Grand Buffet (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Leaving the MGM Grand Buffet! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

After dinner I explored the hotel and casino, went across the street to the Tropicana and eventually ended up “working” back in my room.

Tropicana Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tropicana Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

New York-New York Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

New York-New York Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Yes, I did a little gambling. Played some video poker and had some fun winning:

ACES! Video Poker at the MGM Grand Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

ACES! Video Poker at the MGM Grand Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Working in the Room at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: The pillow stuck in the bedframe!  I banged my shin on the sharp corner twice, the second time drawing blood!  So, I was forced to improvise and used the pillow to prevent further injury.  When the room service waiter came she laughed when she saw it…because she and everyone she works with have banged their shins too.

Must Prevent Further Injury! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

DANGER! Sharp Corner! Must Prevent Further Injury! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Day One – Thursday – Signature Sales Meeting and Networking Session #1

Woke up to find out the TV and WiFi wasn’t working hotel wide.  No internet makes my work as a travel agent very difficult.  I got ready for the first day and walked the mile to the Conference Center and arrived at Registration at 8am.  There was a continental breakfast buffet and coffee service for attendees.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast was hosted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and offered muffins, danish, fruit, and fruit juice served on carts in the event lobby. Coffee and tea was also available all day long.

Thursday 8:30am: Workshop #1 – The Inside Track on Signature’s 2014 Hotels and Resorts Program.  Industry trends, recent hotel additions to our consortium, updates regarding to our hotel programs, and special offers and amenities for our clients were the topic of the seminar. After the first session there was a break with refreshments hosted by Hertz (baked goods, soft drinks, bottled water, and coffee/tea service).

Thursday 9:45am: Workshop #2 – Mexico: Grow Your Business with Destination Expertise presented by the Mexico Tourism Board.  More Americans travel to Mexico than any other destination! After the session there was another break with refreshments hosted by Hertz.

Thursday 11am: General Session (welcome) and Lunch hosted by Classic Vacations.  There was a general update, a tribute to Michelle Morgan the past President who recently died from cancer, and a keynote address by Shawn Achor “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance”.   

Lunch: Cheddar cheese, ham, swiss cheese, and turkey slices; bread and butter, lettuce, a quarter hard boiled egg and tiny tomatoes with an iced tea. Red velvet cheesecake (made with cheesecake flavored whipped topping not cream cheese).

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Networking Session

Thursday 1:45pm: Networking Session #1 with our Vendor suppliers.  I was assigned Blue Table 172 and was seated with three other agents.  We stayed seated and the vendors moved from table to table and gave a short 8 minute presentation and then answered questions before moving on.  At 4:15pm the session ended and there was another break.

Thursday 4:30pm: Workshop #3 – Selling Travel to the Millennial Generation.  A panel discussion moderated by Paul Wiseman the President of Trafalgar

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sunset View from my room at the MGM Grand – the mesh is the colored green screen over the window (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome Reception on Thursday night hosted by Mexico Tourism:

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Open Bar!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Mexican Food Buffet!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Mexican Dancing and Live Musical Entertainment!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Day Two – Friday – Sales Meeting and Networking Session #2

Breakfast, Sales Seminars,

Lunch

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Networking Session

Cocktail Party hosted by Tauck and Switzerland Tourism

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Cocktails and Appetizers for invited guests.  Cheese, crackers, crudite’ (carrots, celery and dip) and an open bar. Networking, short host company presentations and someone won a trip to Switzerland, but it wasn’t me.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

They took all the chairs out of the room, so it was a standing event after a long day and lots of walking.  There were two food tables and two bar stations, but the lines for food and drink got long very fast as the guests arrived.  It quickly became a lot of people in too small a space.

There was a guy blowing a Swiss horn for entertainment and he let a couple agents try to play it.

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Swiss Horn at the Party hosted by Tauck and Switzerland Tourism at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner hosted by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Cruises

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Presentations by the Host Companies and Dinner

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Two offensive cruise comedians and the BeatleManiacs entertained us!  The travel agents went wild, rushed the stage, and danced to the (almost) Beatles!  The guys were good musicians and the tunes were catchy, but their resemblance to the actual Beatles was questionable.  Great wigs and costumes!  Go ahead sing along, they know you want to.

BeatleManiacs! at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

BeatleManiacs! at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Room Service!

Bacon Cheeseburger and fries for breakfast! $18 plus tax and $4 room service fee and a $5 tip = $29 Craving for good food at 5:30am.

Room Service Cheeseburger and Fries at the MGM Grand (copyright 203 JoshWillTravel)

Room Service Cheeseburger and Fries at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Day Three – Saturday – Sales Meeting and Trade Show

7:30am Breakfast Session

Breakfast Seminars at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast Seminars at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast Seminar at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast Seminar with Lindblad Expeditions at the MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Trade Show

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch

Late Check Out at 2pm done by telephone with Guest Services, long walk back to the car and so looking forward to Saturday night in Las Vegas!

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

MGM Grand in Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Off to the Rio! COMING SOON: the next blog – the Rio All-Suites Hotel Saturday night and Sunday afternoon adventures in Las Vegas.

Business Cards, Collateral and SWAG from the Signature 2013 Sales Meeting and Trade Show (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Business Cards, Collateral and SWAG from the Signature 2013 Sales Meeting and Trade Show (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, California

Hard Rock Hotel – San Diego, CA

“If the house is a rockin’ don’t bother knockin’…just come on in!”
Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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