The Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club is celebrating its 45th anniversary as the place to stay when you visit Redondo Beach. You will not find a more perfect setting to enjoy the ocean and everything that goes with it. The moment you enter the lobby and stare out of the two-story high windows, you will feel as if you are on a sail boat as you enjoy the ocean waves outside the window and feel the cool ocean breeze against your face.
The Portofino finished an $11 million renovation in March of this year that changed the look of the hotel from top to bottom. Everything about the Portofino is first-class. It has an obvious new, clean and crisp look, while keeping that classic almost out of a 1950's movie look. The one thing that struck me about the Portofino beyond the beauty of the hotel was the staff. Everyone working there was a delight and made you feel like you were the most important person in the hotel.
If you have an Oceanside room, you have the chance to step out on your balcony and view all the activities going on in the ocean just feet from your room. You also will be able to view the many sea lions that make their home outside the Portofino. In addition, the Portofino offers a 24-hour fitness center and just outside is a whirlpool and a heated pool. The pool is so warm that on a chilly evening late at night you can take a plunge and feel oh so refreshed, just keep your terry cloth robe nearby for when you get out of the water.
Part of the 45th Anniversary facelift of the Portofino is the addition of its new restaurant, BALEENlosangeles. The beauty of the BALEENlosangeles can most be appreciated in the later part of the evening, as guests enjoy an atmosphere that is filled with soft candle lighting, two fireplaces, as well as the fresh breeze and view of the marina. It is perfect for a romantic evening for two, but it is also great for the entire family.
The menu consists largely of fresh fish items and fabulous steak, but there is enough variety to please anyone. If you are looking for something a little different to start the evening, try the Hot Japanese Saku Sashami that comes with a variety of Eastern dipping sauces. A hot Saku stone is brought to your table and you are allowed to cook the raw meat based on how you choose right in front of you.
The great part about staying at the Portofino is you don't have to get in your car the entire time you are there if you don't want to. The Portofino is within walking distance of many great restaurants and activities, the hotel also allows use of bikes and that will allow you a different kind of tour of Redondo Beach.
Redondo Beach is filled with plenty of great restaurants and all the seafood you could imagine. One of the great local spots is Captain Kidd's Fish Market which lets you enjoy a great seafood dinner. And how fresh is it? Well you can see many future meals still alive and swimming in the tanks inside. Make sure to bring a cooler with you so you can take some of that fresh fish home with you for future use.
Another local favorite is Polly's on the Pier, and it is not just a clever name, it is right on the pier. You might have to do a double take as it is a bit hidden and a place you might not give it a second look or even notice it, but it is no exaggeration to say that they serve as good of a breakfast as you will find anywhere.
Both of these restaurants are just around the corner from the Portofino. In the same area you will also find Samba, which is a Brazilian steakhouse that not only offers you the finest in steaks and other meats, but also provides entertainment with a samba show, which is Brazilian dancing. Samba is currently remodeling and will re-open in June.
If you are looking for a world-class brunch Sunday morning, you can take a short walk and visit the Harbor Drive Restaurant and Lounge. The brunch has everything you could want and you certainly won't walk away disappointed. The highlight of the brunch would have to be the wide array of desserts, all coming from the hands of in-house pastry chef Bianca Morgan, who leaves her own personal mark on each item.
Without question don't miss the cheesecake or the bread pudding. In addition they offer a bloody mary bar with their own infused vodka. As of May 3rd, the name will be changing to Venezia, as they switch to an Italian restaurant. Definitely take a look when the change occurs and enjoy the fabulous food and atmosphere that is sure to remain first-class.
The Redondo Beach Marina and the Redondo Beach Pier and King Harbor are must visits. The marina offers you a wide variety of ocean-oriented activities including glass-bottom boat rides, paddle boats, water sports and sports fishing, just to name a few. The pier offers you a wide variety of shops and restaurants as well as the chance to just enjoy the scenery.
If that is not enough to keep you busy, you can head down the road to the Riviera Village. This alone could take up an entire day as you will find nothing but original shops that you won't find anywhere else and of course more great restaurants. A great start to the day would be at Harmony Works on Catalina Avenue, not only do they offer some very unusual and different items, but the owners know the village like the back of their hand, so they will be able to help get you started on your day.
Down the road from the Portofino is one of the great hidden gems of Redondo Beach, the Sea Lab. The Sea Lab takes in sea creatures that wind up near the power plant or are injured; they care for them and prepare for them to be released back into the ocean. This is a great place to take the kids, but also a wonderful experience for adults as you get to experience the free touch tanks and you can also participate in the fish feeding. For more information, contact the Sea Lab at (310) 318-7458.
To find out more information on the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club visit: www.hotelportofino.com or call (800) 468-4292. For reservations at the BALEENlosangeles call: (877) BaleenLA.
To find out more information on Redondo Beach visit www.visitredondo.com