VIDEO: Welcome to… California. 

Courtesy Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas

As we shifted our focus domestic for Legend Awards 2021, one thing became clear: California had a standout year for hospitality, food, and beverage. Despite COVID-19-rooted challenges that spurred hotel and restaurant closures, and wildfires across the state that irreparably damaged some of our favorite properties, California showed admirable resilience this year. Across our 23 Legend Award categories, California made the list 21 times, in categories including best hotel openings and renovations, wine releases, wellness experiences, private adventure packages, over-the-top suites, ski resorts, and hotel bars.

To take you on the California adventure of a lifetime, we paid a visit to four of those honorees, starting on the Southern California coast and venturing up to wine country in Northern California. Check out our Welcome to… California video below to start planning your next West Coast adventure.

We started at Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas, which is just outside San Diego and opened on March 17, 2021. One of our honorees in our Best New Resorts and Lodges category, Marea is a 130-room resort and the Alila brand’s first new build in the United States.

After basking in the SoCal-chic decor and phenomenal cuisine by chef Claudette Zepeda, we hopped on a private jet to venture to Northern California. Our video team captured the Set Jet experience — from the private terminal to the gorgeously appointed cabins reserved only for Set Jet members. Companies like Set Jet, and our other private transportation honorees, have seen their membership numbers skyrocket (pardon the mediocre pun) over the last year. And many jet companies, including Set Jet, have opened new hangars to keep up with demand. Set Jet operates on the West Coast, flying their members to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Las Vegas, and offering seasonal charters to Los Cabos and Apen, Colorado.

Upon arrival to Northern California, we went straight to Sonoma County, where one of the most anticipated new U.S. lodges, Montage Healdsburg, was just unveiled in January. Not only is Montage Healdsburg one of our honorees for Best New Lodge and Resort openings, but we’re also honoring their Guest House as an Over-the-Top Suites honoree. Their largest suite on the property, Guest House, has three standalone rooms, 4,600 square feet of indoor-outdoor living space, and an outdoor hot tub overlooking the 258-acre property.

Finally, we ended our California adventure at Mayacamas Vineyards, a Napa Valley winery known for exceptional cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays. Mayacamas’ 2016 cabernet sauvignon is one of our Legend Award Best Wine Releases this year, and the vineyard is a testament to the exquisite Napa terroir.

This video was sponsored by Mercedes Benz S-Class, directed and edited by Randall Palmer, produced by Deanne Kaczerski, and written and hosted by Maya Kachroo-Levine. Special thank you to Vince, Farfetch, Khaite, Altuzarra, Marie France Van Damme, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas, Montage Healdsburg, Set Jet, Mayacamas Vineyards, Eric Palmer, and Jenna Blaha.