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14 Days Luxury Culinary Vacation in California & Mexico

14 Days Luxury Culinary Vacation in California & Mexico

  • San Francisco - Calistoga - Los Cabos

Luxurious California & Mexico Food and Wine Holiday

Join Scott Dunn in this luxurious 2-week holiday in the heart of California continuing on to Mexico. Whether you would like to learn to cook farm-to-table on a local ranch or dream of drinking vintage Opus One on the terraces of their estate, Scott Dunn can help tailor your wine experience with their partners in the valley. Experience the authentic Mexican cuisine in restaurants where delicious food combines with views of the ocean or pool making it the perfect recipe for your wonderful evening.

Highlights

  • Wine tours and tastings
  • Authentic Mexican cuisine
  • Convertible car in San Francisco
  • Cooking classes with local chefs in Mexico
  • Flights to and from London
  • 13 nights accommodation
  • Flight to Los Cabos
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 13 days with instruction
  • English
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Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Mexico

Las Ventanas al Paraiso is a chic boutique retreat that embraces its Baja desert environment and offers a real wow-factor, allowing couples and families to experience the nature and riches of Los Cabos in utter luxury. Las Ventanas al Paraiso embraces its desert environment with stunning architecturally landscaped gardens of cacti, aloe vera and succulents that flow down towards the azure Pacific Ocean. The philosophy here is if you want it, we will get it for you, and the service is relaxed but exemplary.

Suites are extremely spacious and beautifully decorated with hand-picked Mexican furnishings and fabrics, with fabulous beds, fireplaces, dry agave trees and a telescope in every suite for whale watching or night time star gazing. There are two signature restaurants that champion Mexican cuisine; the restaurant is an inspired, regionally ordered menu with dishes from the states of Mexico, and the Sea Grill serves the freshest catch as well as simply but expertly grilled meats served up with an ocean view. While you cant swim in the Pacific Ocean in front of the hotel, the surf is mesmerizing to look at from the seven pools on property, and the white sand beach is wide and endless for walks.

It also doesn't mean ocean adventures don't abound; the hotel can organize adventures from whale watching trips to see humpback whales (November-April) to summer time diving, snorkeling on coral reefs in Cabo Pulmo National Park; kayaking and swimming with playful sea lions or with gentle-giants whale sharks (October-April); world-renowned sport fishing and beginner to advanced surfing at nearby hot spots Costa Azul or Los Cerritos. Baja offers a unique combination of culture and nature and Las Ventanas embraces its Baja roots in an elegant, understated way.

Its privacy and service make it a favorite, exclusive winter hang-out for the Hollywood a-list, but it is also an excellent choice for families looking for some winter sun where their beach front villas are the most sought after on the coast. Expansive and richly appointed, all suites have marble showers and Conchuela limestone floors. At the end of the day, share the warmth of a seaside fire and be lulled to rest by the rhythm of gently washing waves. Or, turn your personal telescope toward the heavens to gaze at the shimmering stars.

Many suites and Villas feature - separate bedroom, very large living room, private patio, full kitchen and master bathroom with Jacuzzi bathtub, king/queen sized beds, stunning views of the ocean and the resort landscape, fireplaces and much more. Beach view and beach front villas with one to three bedrooms offer incredible Pacific views, with full kitchens, entertainment spaces and indoor-outdoor living with stunning private pools and fire-pits. Villas also come with a villa host who will deliver breakfast, make pre-dinner margaritas or watch the children while you dine.

The award-wining The Spa at Las Ventanas allows guests to enjoy indoor and outdoor treatment rooms with private terraces. The luscious vegetation and calming natural decor help you to feel relaxed and renewed. In addition to a large selection of treatments on offer, the spa also has saunas, hot and cold hydrotherapy pools and steam rooms. If you can drag yourself away from the hotel, signature experiences include shopping for ingredients and cooking with a chef at a local hacienda Barbacoa style.

Dine family-style that evening to savor your dishes and enjoy a lively meal (with Mescal paring of course!). The ultimate treasure hunt with off-road Polaris rangers is great fun and will see couples and families (as young as 8 years) racing through the desert canyons and Pacific beaches in search of clues! Guests can also enjoy water sports including snorkeling, diving, windsurfing and sea kayaking, sport fishing, tennis, marine wildlife expeditions, horseback riding, and desert excursions and there are also three private yachts for hire. Whale watching excursions to see giant humpback whales are also available from November through April.

Solage Calistoga, Napa Valley

Located in the heart of wine country, Solage sits on 22 acres of Napa countryside. Boasting a modern farm aesthetic, it's recommended for families and couples looking for a chic retreat, where award-winning food, health and wellness are high priority. Nothing is too much trouble at Solage Calistoga; warm and friendly staff is standout here. Single level studio style suites are dotted through this 22-acre property, with high ceilings, recycled walnut furniture, muted natural fabrics and every little comfort considered.

Their style is pared-down as the resort is for sociable sorts who will enjoy hanging by the pool, playing a game of bocce ball or out in the valley enjoying a concierge-led wine tasting experience, or at a local ranch cooking with ingredients farm to table. Solage boasts a Michelin Star-rated restaurant, with an informal state of mind. A locally sourced, ingredient driven menu serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with indoor and outdoor dining areas complete with fire-places, Solbar is a favorite of locals and guests a like.

True to Napa Valley form, the food menu is complemented by an extensive wine list, and each dish can be perfectly paired with a glass to enhance the flavors and nicely round off a delicious meal. If its relaxation you are after then Solage is the Napa hotel for you. The spa has a true wow-factor from the moment you arrive. The spa utilizes the hotel's natural geo-thermal pools, guests can enjoy a pre-treatment soak in the rejuvenating waters, before indulging in a massage from the extensive spa menu, or experimenting with a detoxifying treatment at the hotels signature Mud Bar.

Aside from the three geo-thermal spa pools there are two main pools; one exclusively for adults and one for families, each with a hot tub and relaxation area, and complimentary fitness classes are offered at the yoga and movement studio daily to help you unwind. Each studio comes equipped with bicycles, and a range of trails can be found within easy reach of the hotel for hiking, biking and jogging. Nearby Calistoga provides a number of shops, galleries and alternative dining options making it a pleasant place to while away the hours.

Pilates and fitness classes are offered daily in the Yoga & Movement studio and with 20000 square feet of dedicated health and wellness space, the award-winning spa Solage is sure to cater to all your restful and indulgent treatment desires. The concierge at Solage can also organize private tasting and dining experiences, kayaking on the Russian river and you can borrow one of their dedicated Mercedez-Benz for a spin around the valley. Each of the Solages 83 studios and 6 suites is furnished in natural hues with soft Italian linens and original artwork to create a relaxing and comfortable environment.

Plush robes and slippers are provided, along with all-natural bath and body products, and Capella Suites come equipped with an outdoor hot tub for ultimate relaxation in a perfectly private setting. Products are all-natural and locally sourced. Extras are included such as Wi-Fi, complimentary coffee, tea and mint infused-water. Solage has several suites located near the pool that have connecting doors ideal for families and secluded suites with hot tubs nearer to the Oak Grove recommended for couples. A pair of cruiser bicycles is parked outside every studio room for spontaneous cycle rides around the surrounding wineries and nearby downtown Calistoga.

Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Located near exclusive Nob Hill and close to the heart of downtown San Francisco and Union Square, the historic Ritz Carlton offers guests a timeless escape into luxury. With a cable car stop right outside it's also perfectly placed for exploring too. Originally built in 1909, this Neoclassical landmark has been beautifully renovated to offer a classic yet contemporary luxury offering for guests visiting the city. Perfectly located, the hotel has one of the historic cable car stops right outside. With a journey though Nob Hill down to sights such as Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Aquatic Park and the ferry building, the cable car is one of the definitive San Francisco experiences.

Union Square with its superb shopping is also within an easy walk of the hotel. Families are very well catered for at the hotel with a dedicated children's menu at the superb Parallel 37 restaurant, children's in room amenities and interconnecting rooms available. However, luxurious accommodations and surroundings ensure there is no compromise on quality. Once you have explored the city by day, retreat for a pampering treatment in the spa, a workout in the state-of-the-art fitness center of indulge in a cocktail or treat in the newly renovated lounge.

The Club Level at the Ritz Carlton is the largest in the city and offers wonderful extras such as city views from the exclusive guest lounge and most of the guest rooms, dedicated concierge and check in as well as delicious food and beverage presentations throughout the day. The Ritz Carlton San Francisco features 336 luxurious rooms and suites each tranquil oases from the city outside. Superior and deluxe rooms feature one king or two double beds as well as luxury amenities such as 32-inch flat screen TV, iPod dock, 400 thread count cotton linen, marble bathrooms, in room gourmet coffee and tea presentation and high speed Wi-Fi.

Deluxe rooms are on higher floors. One-bedroom suites feature a master bedroom leading through French doors into a separate elegantly furnished living room. The Ritz Carlton Club Floor offers the exclusive hotel within a hotel experience, with exclusive check in and concierge service as well as a beautiful lounge with spectacular city views. Guests staying on the Club Floor enjoy complimentary food and beverage presentations throughout the day and on Friday and Saturday evenings, special tastings with local award winning wineries. Guest rooms on the Club Floor also afford stunning city views.

The hotel offers a beautiful sweeping lobby and lounge area where guests can enjoy "kitchen to cocktail" mixology program and lighter fare. The signature restaurant, Parallel 37, offers globally inspired and seasonal California fare as well as a dedicated menu for younger guests. The Spa-de-Vie offers a tranquil and relaxed environment with a superb array of treatments to indulge in and there is also a 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center for guests to utilize at their leisure. Personal training is available on request.

This two-week adventure starts with three days in the vibrant city of San Francisco, check into the Ritz Carlton situated in the upscale neighborhood of Nobb Hill, home to historic mansions from the Pacific Railroad era. Jump onto the cable car from right outside the hotel, to journey down to Ghiradelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry Building. Be sure to visit Alcatraz Island, bike over the Golden Gate Bridge and chow down on clam chowder at Pier 39. Next, pick up your convertible and cruise 2 hours north to wine country, to the sun dappled vineyards of the Napa Valley.

Stay at Solage Calistoga with its hip modern farm aesthetic, award-winning Michelin-rated restaurant Solbar and sublime spa that revive guests with geo-thermal hot springs and its signature Mud Bar! Napa is a true mecca for food lovers as well as wine; from Michelin starred dining, tasting local cheeses in the Oxbow Market to cycling around local vineyards with a gourmet picnic lunch, Napa offers an indulgent culinary experience for everyone from couples to older families. Next it is onto Mexico, from the Golden Gate to the golden sands of Baja California.

A short 3-hour direct flight takes you straight to Los Cabos, where you'll be whisked straight to A-lister favorite Las Ventanas al Paraiso. Situated on a pristine beach, Las Ventanas is understated cool, embracing its desert environment with landscaped gardens of cacti and aloe leading down to azure blue surf. Baja's Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez invites ocean adventures; from surfing, diving and snorkeling to sport-fishing, exploring coral reef marine reserves and world-class whale watching (November-April).

For culture vultures, don't miss exploring the town of Todos Santos, rich in Mexican art, culture and music, walking the streets of El Triunfo, an old silver mining town, or visiting crumbling Missions further north. With a rich culinary scene in Los Cabos and wine from Valle de Guadalupe set to be the next Napa Valley in its success, this itinerary offers everything for the foodie and more.

This retreat will take place in San Francisco and Calistoga, USA, and in Los Cabos, Mexico. San Francisco and Napa are located in northern California, USA and Los Cabos at the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico.

Napa is a true mecca for food lovers as well as wine; from Michelin-starred dining, tasting local cheeses in the Oxbow market to cycling around local vineyards with a gourmet picnic lunch, Napa offers an indulgent culinary experience for everyone from couples to older families. The restaurant in Las Ventanas serves an inspired Mexican menu, their signature regional dishes to include grilled local ling cod fish fillet with cantina-style lentils in a green tomatillo and cilantro sauce, and braised beef ribs in Pascalito sauce, roasted pumpkin seeds, pico de gallo and with homemade tortillas are definitely worth ordering.

The Sea Grill, located at the ocean's edge offers a selection of dishes from grilled fare, to fresh ceviche and shellfish to traditional Mexican tapas. The Michelin Star-rated Solbar restaurant from Solage Calistoga resort is headed up by chef Brandon Sharp who honed his craft at some of the country's most highly regarded restaurants including French Laundry in Napa Valley and Gary Danko in San Francisco.

The food is inspired by the most fresh and ripe ingredients available locally, and the menu includes modern and innovative plates that feature true Californian style food. Some of the varied dishes include tempura-fried white shrimp with snow peas and Asian pear, grilled duck with pomegranate, and Loch Duart salmon with spaetzle and cauliflower Napa cabbage.

  • Cycle rides around the surrounding wineries and nearby downtown Calistoga
  • Explore Todos Santos town, rich in Mexican art, culture and music, walking the streets of El Triunfo, an old silver mining town, or visiting crumbling Missions further north
  • Farm-to-table cooking classes
  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking on the Russian river
  • Pilates, fitness, yoga classes
  • Spa treatments and massage
  • Swimming
  • The ultimate treasure hunt with off-road Polaris rangers racing through the desert canyons and Pacific beaches in search of clues!
  • Visit Alcatraz island, bike over the Golden Gate Bridge and chow down on clam chowder at Pier 39
  • Water sports like snorkeling, diving, windsurfing and sea kayaking, sport fishing, tennis, marine wildlife expeditions
  • Whale watching excursions to see giant humpback whales
  • Wine tours and tastings
  • 7 breakfasts in Las Ventanas
  • 13 nights luxurious accommodation
  • Convertible hire car in California
  • Flights between San Francisco and Los Cabos
  • Flights to and from London, UK
  • Private transfers between the airport in Los Cabos and Las Ventanas
  • Activities not mentioned
  • Meals not mentioned above
  • Personal expenses

Arrival by airplane

For arrival, the nearest airport to the location is San Francisco international Airport (SFO), while for departure Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) is the nearest airport.