Mayercraft Carrier 2 to sail

American Express is offering exclusive packages for John Mayer’s four-day concert cruise, “Mayercraft
Carrier 2,” which sails March 27-31, 2009 from Los Angeles aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’
newest and biggest ship, the Carnival
. Music fans will enjoy concert performances by John Mayer,
O.A.R., Guster and over a dozen other bands for a music festival at sea. Cardmembers
can purchase balcony or ocean view cabins with an American Express Card and
enjoy the following exclusive offers:


  • VIP check-in at port
  • Exclusive access to
    attend a Q&A with John Mayer
  • Invitation to an on-board
    VIP cocktail party
  • A special gift from
    American Express and Sixthman


sales are until February 15, 2009,
while cabins remain available. The cruise will depart from the Port of Los Angeles
in San Pedro
and visit Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
This offer is available
to all American Express Cardmembers at the price of $1,298-$1,498 per person depending on cabin choice.*


To make reservations for this cruise,
please call
and refer to promotion code: SXMAE, or visit
for additional information.


*The reservation for a
balcony or ocean view cabin must be made by phone to take advantage of this offer.
All cruise payments must be made on an American Express Card.


That’s so LA

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
joined Universal Studios President Larry Kurzweil and Mark Liberman, CEO of
LA INC. to roll out “That’s
So LA” – a new marketing campaign designed to attract visitors to local landmarks, expand tourism, and create good-paying jobs.


“Tourism is the lifeblood of our economy, and we
cannot afford to let the benefits of this industry stop flowing to the heart of
our City,” Villaraigosa said. “This campaign is L.A.’s latest
blockbuster hit, and standing center stage and playing the leading role is a
new set of ads and images that lead tourists and Angelenos to think to
themselves: ‘That’s SO LA’.”

The campaign features a series of ads that highlight unique
sites around the City and showcase major attractions and top personalities in
new and exciting ways. This effort includes images of basketball stars Kobe
Bryant and Baron Davis; Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson; Lauren Conrad, star of
“The Hills”; and soccer phenom David Beckham.

“Tourism is the second largest
industry in Los Angeles
For every 4 percent increase in tourism, we get an additional $12 million for
the General Fund,” Councilmember Janice Hahn said. “That is why, particularly in this
difficult economy, we need to focus on attracting visitors from around the

The campaign will be marketed through a mix of media
channels consisting of a robust on-line marketing strategy, and regional print
and radio buys. Specific focus will be placed on Southern
and the San Francisco Bay Area, LA’s largest
feeder market. Locally, visitors and residents will soon be seeing ads at LAX
terminals; and over the next few months, it will be rolled out on-line to key
domestic and international markets.

“Initially, the new campaign will target regional
visitors and promote cost effective vacation alternatives for Southern
California visitors looking for an adventurous ‘staycation’ or
getaway closer to home,” said Mark Liberman. “Our plan is to take
advantage of the 21 million people living right here in Southern
because the regional visitor offers the greatest
potential for LA tourism in the coming months.”

Timed to coincide with the launch of this campaign is the
debut of LA INC.’s expanded and revamped website,, where
visitors and Angelenos can find local attractions, make reservations, and book
hotel rooms throughout the LA area. The website also offers residents the
opportunity to help build the tourism effort by creating their own
advertisements online.

Tourism represents the second-largest industry in Los Angeles, supporting
more than 250,000 jobs and bringing in $14.2 billion in the past year. In
addition, the City attracted 26 million visitors in 2008 and continued to serve
as a primary destination for travelers from South
, Japan,
China, Mexico, El
and locations throughout Europe and the United States.

Andaz West Hollywood opens

monumental artwork that has concealed the south-facing exterior of the building
for the last month
has come down as Andaz
West Hollywood begins to reveal its many layers in preparation for Thursday’s opening.


been quite a journey, but we’re delighted to have the doors opening on
Jan. 8,” said General Manager Michel Morauw. 
“We look forward to welcoming our first guests and the community to

Andaz West
Hollywood has gutted the 14-story former Hyatt
on Sunset.  While guests may still find subtle hints from
its earlier days, the new hotel focuses on unique details and locale of West Hollywood.

Thursday also marked the opening of the highly anticipated RH restaurant.
French-trained chef Sebastien Archambault has
been working tirelessly with local vendors and growers to create his
“market to table” menu focusing on regional, seasonal ingredients
and personal choice.

In addition to a menu of signature dishes, RH will
offer a market list.  Guests will be able to choose items off this list
and customize their own dinner. 

The restaurant will also showcase local
wines inspired by boutique vintners celebrating the best of California.

Sebastien and his team
work in a kitchen completely open to the 100-seat bar and restaurant.  The
walk-in coolers even feature glass doors so guests can observe their entire
meal taking shape from storage and preparation to cooking and plating. 

Artist Jacob
Hashimoto added final details to his aluminium and stainless steel public
sculpture that adorns the faade of RH and the hotel.

Andaz delivers an innovative hospitality
experience blending personal preferences with attentive and uncomplicated
service. This unique collection of hotels reflects the personality of each
locale, and is dedicated to creating natural and vibrant living spaces where
travelers can indulge in their own personal sense of comfort and style.

first property, Andaz Liverpool Street, launched in London, in November 2007.  Subsequent
property openings scheduled include Andaz
West Hollywood
, Andaz Wall Street,
Andaz Fifth Avenue (all in 2009)
and Andaz Austin (autumn
2010).  For more information, log on to

Beer Week coming to San Fran

Got to love it! More than
100 San Francisco breweries and pubs are organizing
SF Beer Week, Feb. 6-15, 2009, to celebrate the early roots of the modern
Renaissance in artisan beers. Count us in!


The 10-day celebration will
showcase the Bay Area’s brewing heritage with 150 events. It will be anchored by the Bistro Double IPA Festival, and the Toronado Barleywine

Beer week will end with a new full-blown Bay Area Beer Festival. In between
there will be beer dinners, cheese and beer pairing events, gourmet food
events with world-class cuisine, special releases, meet the brewer evenings,
homebrewing demonstrations, music, films, and even a museum exhibition exploring
the history of Bay Area brewing, from Monterey to Sacramento and


We want the public to know that San Francisco is a hot spot
for artisan and craft beers. It is an artisan environment,” said Dave McLean,
owner and brewer of Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, and the Alembic bar.
San Francisco
has the top examples of artists – from cheese, to wine, to arts and culture –
and beer is a part of that excellence.”


Many local breweries and pubs will contribute to the
event, including Magnolia, the 21st Amendment and Toronado.
“Independent businesses celebrate a cause that is larger than themselves,” says
McLean about the brewing community. “It’s
always been that way – in the old days there were guilds. Beer promotes sharing
of ideas. We freely share ingredients. It’s an amazing industry. There’s
something about beer that brings people together.”


The Alembic will feature brewers who distill fine spirits
and focus on beer cocktails. Gordon Biersch will host a Bavarian Beer Breakfast
showcasing Hefeweizen – there will be four or five varieties, which is brewer
John Tucci’s specialty.  “It’s the
most authentic style of German beer. It makes GB unique. A lot of craft beers
are hoppy English styles.  We are
the opposite side of that perspective and I think that’s good,” says


America‘s craft beer movement
began in the San Francisco Bay Area as far back as the 19th Century.
San Francisco
was the brewing center of the west with close to 50 breweries.

With Anchor
Brewing’s rescue by Fritz Maytag in 1965 and the founding of New Albion Brewing
in 1976, craft beer grew into the silver age of American brewing, with more than
1,400 small craft breweries today. Northern
alone has more breweries than most states and enjoys an
unrivaled reputation for the quality and diversity of its craft


Microbreweries represented
a new strategy in the brewing industry: rather than competing on the basis of
price or advertising, they attempted to compete on the basis of inherent product
characteristics. They emphasized the freshness of locally produced beer; they
experimented with much stronger malt and hop flavors; they tried new and
long-discarded brewing recipes, often reintroducing styles that had been popular
in America decades earlier. For example,
Maytag used West Coast hops instead of English hops and West Coast IPA emerged.
Now British and Belgian brewers now use West coast hops.


Events are listed on the SF
Beer Week Web site at For visiting beer lovers interested
in best-rate accommodations and other activities, visit the San Francisco
Convention & Visitor Bureau’s Web site at

Cabo vacations for $102 a night

$102 per person, per night RIU Hotels & Resorts is making a warm,
relaxing spring vacation affordable in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This
special can be booked through Jan. 30 for visits from April 13 to April 30, 2009. To book the vacation, visit or call 888-RIU-4990.

Riu Santa Fe

RIU offers two beachfront, all-inclusive resorts in Cabo San Lucas; Riu
Santa Fe and Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. Located on one of the most beautiful beaches on the Baja California peninsula, each
resort offers a disco, multiple bars including pool bar and sports bar,
internet cafe, day and nighttime entertainment, tennis courts, gym,
sauna and jaccuzi. Snacks and beverages are available at both resorts
24-hours a day.

Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas

than three miles from the town of Cabo, the family-oriented Riu Santa
Fe offers 902 rooms, a children’s club and two swimming pools. In
addition to the spacious buffet restaurants, Riu Santa Fe offers three
a la carte dinning rooms: “Torote” the poolside grill and steakhouse,
“La Misin” featuring Mexican cuisine and “Carusso,” featuring Italian
delicacies and dishes. 

Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas boasts 642
deluxe guestrooms and select suites feature hydro-massage bathtubs and
a Jacuzzi on the terrace. Unique amenities at the Riu Palace Cabo San
Lucas include 24-hour room service and Riu’s renowned mini-bar and
liquor dispenser that features full-size bottles of liquor. This resort
offers four a la carte restaurants including “Misaki” which offers
Japanese cuisine, a poolside grill and steakhouse, a Mexican dining
room and “Krystal” which features a special menu developed by
Michelin-star Spanish chefs.

Spa services and motorized
watersports are available at both resorts at an additional fee. For
more information, visit