A Family Adventure Bear Grylls-Style in California

I am going to have to put my adventure pants on — this might be too crazy for me — but I would do it for my family. Bear Grylls, the man behind television shows such as “Man vs. Wild”, has launched an adventure program for families and adults. The Bear Grylls Survival Academy offers a rare chance for a lucky few outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe to learn Bear’s extreme survival techniques. And, lucky for us Californians, it’s not far away. The academy is located in Oakhurst, Calif., near the entrance to Yosemite National Park. 

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First launched in Scotland in 2012, the Bear Grylls Team is bringing the adventure to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and further afield in New York’s Catskills and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains in Spring 2014.  The Academy, designed by Bear Grylls himself, will be run by his close team of highly trained experts and professional mountaineers.

Dates are scheduled from June through August for 24-hour adult, 24-hour family as well as the more intensive five-day course for adults. There’s even time to get that adventurous gift for mom on Mother’s Day — gift certificates are currently available.




Retreat of the Week: Loews Hollywood Hotel

This week’s escape is a bit of a staycation. The kids are still in school, and it’s that awkward time between spring break and summer vacation where you want to get away but you don’t want to go to far. The recently renovated Loews Hollywood Hotel is the perfect place for some glitz, glamour and nearby escapism.

A staycation at the Loews Hollywood Hotel // (c) Loews
A staycation at the Loews Hollywood Hotel // (c) Loews

Loews Hollywood Hotel offers 628 luxurious guestrooms, including 113 suites, which underwent a redesign completed in October 2013. Towering above the intersection of Hollywood & Highland, and drawing upon the neighborhood’s vitality, the new rooms feature custom-designed furniture and textured fabrics that strike a balance between urban glamour and tranquil sophistication. Completed in March of this year, the vibrant new lobby presents a grand sense of arrival with a new dramatic outdoor curving staircase and sleek, modern materials such as white marble floors, gray agate front desk and marbled-mirrored columns. The new lobby design offers a lobby lounge, a concierge desk, a bell desk, retail space, a Hertz Rental Car office and new bathrooms. The centerpiece of the hotel’s renovation, H2 Kitchen & Bar, opened in February and offers a social and relaxing space to plug in, conduct meetings or grab a cocktail. The innovative small plates from Executive Chef Mark Ching include signature Egg2 dish, Bulgogi Joe’s Sliders and Apple Pie Taco. H2 also boasts an impressive wine list and fresh hand-crafted cocktails from Matt Biancaniello, such as the Blackberry Basil Mojito. The hotel is directly connected to Hollywood & Highland shopping and dining, as well as the Dolby Theatre next door. However, if you are into a more relaxing, energizing escape, the 7,000-square-foot Exhale Spa awaits. The spa therapies and services leverage ancient and new spa practices alike, with signature treatments including the “Illuminate Facial” and “Flow Massage.” What’s not to miss you ask? If you still are looking for a reason to visit Loews Hollywood Hotel, just check out their rooftop yoga…

Rooftop yoga at the Loews Hollywood Hotel is for the adventurous. // (c) 2014 Loews Hollywood Hotel
Rooftop yoga at the Loews Hollywood Hotel is for the adventurous. // (c) 2014 Loews Hollywood Hotel