Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Lisa Reports from the Californian Coast

Recently Lisa travelled to the beautiful state of California along the infamous Route 1 and visited some of its most impressive towns along the stunning coastline. Here she reports on the week she spent there and the new opportunities available to our clients away from the usual tourist traps...

We flew direct from Heathrow to San Francisco with British Airways experiencing their transatlantic Club Class; the service on board was excellent, with fully flat beds and an excellent choice of entertainment and food. 

We arrived in San Francisco in the early evening and were transferred to a very modern, friendly airport hotel, perfect for any clients who want to stay close to the airport for a relaxing night before the onward journey the next morning.  If you prefer, we can arrange our recommended hotel in the centre of San Francisco to spend a few nights to explore this wonderful city.

We began our Californian coastal tour after breakfast, heading to San Mateo county, approximately 25 miles from San Francisco; the coastal route was incredible. Upon arrival in Half Moon Bay we were shown one of the most luxurious hotels in the area, with great views of the Pacific ocean and a brilliant golf course, perfect for keen golfers. 

After leaving Half Moon Bay we travelled along the pristine coast of California's scenic Highway 1, approximately 1 hour south from San Francisco.  It is connected to four state parks, 30,000 acres of hiking trails and a fabulous wildlife reserve.  Costanoa offers the unique opportunity to experience outdoor living in comfortable, stylish surroundings with the choice of accommodation in lodges, bungalows or tents. Perfect for outdoor activity stays.

We then departed for Santa Cruz, which is about an hour’s drive. On arrival we had a tour of the Santa Cruz boardwalk, which has an arcade and a few rides. Santa Cruz is the home of surfing and most people are either surfing, paddle boarding, playing volley ball or having picnics on the beach. There is also a small surfing museum. Santa Cruz has a very relaxed atmosphere and is very beach- and surf-orientated. Here there was the option to stay in hotels located on the beach front, giving you excellent panoramas of the coast.

From Santa Cruz we departed for a tour of the famous Spanish Bay. Here you can stay in world-class accommodation with excellent dining and golf facilities, however, if you would rather stay somewhere more modest, the Bay offers a wide choice of alternative accommodation.

We then departed for Carmel and visited a beautiful hotel for a Champagne tour.  The whole place had a very French, European feel and is located in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea; just a short walk from the beach. Carmel is a lovely picturesque village. A short distance from Carmel is one of the most relaxing and beautifully located spas I have ever seen, located in the woodland it has a peaceful wilderness feel to it.

In the evening we slept at the Monetary Aquarium which was an excellent experience, we woke up to huge turtles and sharks swimming past and after breakfast helped to feed the stingrays. 

We departed Monterey for Hearst Castle on Highway 1, via Big Sur, which has excellent scenery the whole way. On arrival we had a tour of the castle which is a national and Californian historical landmark mansion located on the central coast of California. It is built high in the mountains and the views are amazing. Many famous people have stayed there in the 1930s and it is now a museum; the grounds and rooms are fantastic. From here we headed to Pismo Beach where there are some very good hotels in brilliant locations.

After breakfast we arrived at Pismo Beach for a dune buggy experience which was great fun. Pismo Beach has lots of activities and is more suitable for adventurous clients. From here we headed to Solvang which is a lovely Dutch town. It was very quaint and everything there was Dutch; the restaurants and the bakeries, plus there was even a windmill. A very pretty town and well worth the visit.

In the evening we stayed at a beautiful harbour hotel just opposite Santa Barbara beach, a perfect location for the 2 nights stay. Very relaxing and definitely a location to consider when staying in Santa Barbara.

We dined in a very luxurious restaurant, a favourite with many celebrities, and had our own chef to cook for us. 

Having breakfasted at a luxurious hotel in nearby Biltmore, where dolphins are often seen in the water close by, we set off for our next day's adventure. This morning was spent  kayaking for 2 hours, where we saw lots of wildlife and was very good fun; there are lots of beach activities to do here. In the afternoon we went on an Urban Wine Trail Experience and visited the Farmers' Market where there were street entertainers and a real buzz in the atmosphere. The Shopping is also very good and the evenings have a great vibe with brilliant restaurants and cool bars. 

Today we headed for Santa Monica where we stayed at a very well located hotel, making the sights of Santa Monica and Venice Beach easily accessible.  

We were transferred to Universal Studios Hollywood where we had a private behind the scenes tour which was excellent, allowing us to see where many films and famous TV series had been filmed. We then had the afternoon to enjoy the rides.

We had breakfast at a hotel in a perfect location, opposite Venice Beach. Venice beach is  very active, with everybody working out, running and doing yoga, there is even a little gym on the beach. Santa Monica is quite exclusive, there are lovely restaurants and shops and a good access point for LA should you want to visit. From here we made our way to San Diego airport which was approximately a 3 hour scenic drive.

Throughout our journey the scenery was amazing and there was lots to see along the whole of the central coast. A truly beautiful location that should be on everybody's 'to do' list.

As everyone's interests and taste's are different I suggest discussing your needs and requirements in depth first, and then I can create the most suitable itinerary choosing ideal number of nights in each area, and hotels to suit your preference and budget.  Whilst there are a range of beautifully luxurious hotels, there are also more basic, smaller but still very comfortable properties that we can recommend.

Here is an example of what we can offer our clients...

We are able to offer a superb 12 day tour of the Californian coast, taking in many of the locations Lisa visited. Prices start from £1959 per person and includes:
  • Return flights from Heathrow (flying to San Francisco and coming back to the UK out of Los Angeles International) 
  • 12 nights accommodation including staying in: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Carmel, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
  • Car rental for the duration
Price is based on 1st October, 2013 departure as an example.

For more information, and to book, contact Robert Broad Travel on 01543 258631 or e-mail

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