By Robert P. Farmer
Those of you who have traveled enough, and even those of you whose adventures take them away from home only occasionally, can attest that the little things a hotel does for its guest can go a long, long way. In today's world of travel incentives--ranging from free night's stays to tickets to the hottest shows, few such lures have the cachet or the staying power as the Complimentary Wine Reception.
This trend--in which a hotel pours wine for its guests each evening in the lobby or other common space, along with, typically, some sort of light fare--is actually something that has been around much longer than most of today's market-responsive hotel incentives. In fact, long before the economic maelstrom prompted hotel GMs to start giving away everything but the bed sheets, the wine reception was a popular means for acknowledging guest loyalty and for helping to make a hotel stay memorable. Now, however, the phenomenon is truly taking off.
By Courtney Cochran
Having just returned from a long weekend in Mendocino, I can reliably report the following: Mendocino is cold, Mendocino is windy and Mendocino is wet (did I mention it's cold?). So why do I like it so much?, I can recall thinking to myself as my boyfriend and I meandered under threatening clouds along the jagged cliffs that overlook the region's spectacular coastline. And that's when I saw it: a sign situated in front of a wind-swept cottage that read, "Weathering Heights."
Of course, I thought. Mendocino is practically overflowing with
romance, in a very Heathcliff and Catherine sort of way. It's got all
the makings of a perfect intimate weekend, after all: scores of
achingly cute bed and breakfasts, world-class food and wine,
breathtaking coastline and, yes, inclement weather. Personally, I can't
think of a better excuse (or setting, for that matter) for hunkering
down with someone special near a crackling fire, knowing that venturing
out will only bring a new kind of thrill - the possibility of getting
to know the wines of a region on the brink of becoming the next big
thing in American wine.
(Just be sure to take your umbrella when you go.)