I’ve just returned from one extremely packed trip in San Francisco where I was working with the fine folks at Marriott Hotels as they kicked off their Travel Brilliantly Campaign. You can read more about it in my previous post as well as on their main site, where you can also submit your most innovative travel ideas to Marriott. They are truly re-imagining the future of travel and you can be a part of it!
Returning to one of my favorite places (and a city where I lived for 4 years), I joined my fellow hosts Shira Lazar, Cass LaValle and Stefanie Michaels for a day of fun, exploration, food, and adventure. Emphasis on adventure, but more on that in just a few.
Using Marriott’s new Mobile Check In app, I was able to check into my room quite easily. Sidenote: I LOVE PEOPLE. I really do. And I love meeting folks. I’m happy to introduce myself when I arrive anywhere, so my love of this electronic feature doesn’t signal the ability to avoid interaction. It’s just, well, after traveling, sometimes you just want to get to your room as quickly as possible, right?
Nestled comfortably on the 21st floor of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis with a jaw-dropping view of downtown, I was so happy to see the little nibbles waiting for me on my desk.
Cheese? Fruit? Crackers? Who told you those are my favorite snacks? Thank you! Also, putting two ripe, fragrant, COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY PERFECT PEACHES from Frog Hollow Farms in my room? Thank you. They were gone in 4 seconds.
After a lovely dinner that night at AQ, it was off to bed for my day of adventure.
Our morning began with breakfast and a presentation from Peggy Roe, Vice President of Global Operations Services. Titled “Future Of Meetings,” we learned about Marriott’s Workspace on Demand and Workspring programs which incorporate new ways of using meeting spaces. Key items that interested me were the focus on natural light and good food when it comes to work meetings. Peggy’s presentation also included images of newly designed bright, accessible, and cheerful meeting rooms that say goodbye to the stuffy, boring, energy-zapping conference rooms of the past. Thank goodness.
And the breakfast? Heck yea.
After our meeting we met up with Matthew Hearns, community manager for Uber. Are you an Uber user? Well, you should be. It’s a phenomenal way to get around. And get around we did, thanks to Matt and Uber!
We made our way to the Path Offices, but first: the view from their office.
At Path, the private social network that limits your contacts to 150 people only, we met with Matt Van Horn and discussed Path’s community, its users, new features and the company philosophy. It was great to see it all in action.
After Path we Ubered it on over to Union Square for our next activity. Hosted by Adventure Girl Stefanie Michaels, we drove GoCars from downtown to the Golden Gate Bridge. I’m not gonna lie: I was terrified of the thought of zipping in and out of traffic on the San Francisco streets in a go kart, but my worries disappeared once we began. It was such an amazing way to see San Francisco, and my carpooling companion Cass LaValle kept me in great company.
After our driving adventure, we headed to the Ferry Building for lunch at Chef Traci Des Jardin’s Mijita for a spectacular lunch. Famished and chilled, we inhaled bowls of guacamole, watermelon aqua fresca, albondigas, tortas, and tacos with a few margaritas thrown in for good measure. It was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time, instantly taking me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. Thank you, Traci!
For our last adventure, hosted by Cass LaValle of coco + kelley, we headed to South San Francisco to visit Studio Choo, the floral studio of Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo. I wasbeyond thrilled to visit as I love their book The Flower Recipe Book (I should have brought my copy to be signed, darnit!) and could have spent all afternoon in their space. We all tried our hand at the Studio Choo style of arrangement, well, everyone but me as I was too busy running around snapping photos. But that’s ok, I was happy to stand out of the way and let my traveling partners create magic with flowers.
After heading back to our hotel rooms for a quick second, we made our way to the 39th floor for Marriott’s interactive cocktail party. The view from The View? Unbelievable.
After pulling myself away from the windows, it was time to enjoy the party. It was an energetic evening of innovation as guests were able to design their own hotel guest room layouts on an interactive table, test four new banquet chairs and vote on their favorite, the winner could be rolled out and implemented in Marriott Hotels’ properties throughout the world. We learned all about the Travel Brilliantly campaign from Matthew Carroll, Vice President of Global Brand Management. Sidenote: Am I the only one who noticed that all our meetings today were with “Matthews?”
I was so happy to see friends and familiar faces, including my dear friends Anita, Michael, Tracy and Mika. Signature cocktails were shared, along with delicious passed appetizers created by David Hollands, Marriott’s Executive Chef. All local, all seasonal, and all delicious. Delicious enough for me to ask if I could smuggle some of Chef David’s arancini back to my room after the party, where I sat in bed and ate them all, yesIdidthankyouverymuch.
Thanks to Marriott’s Travel Brilliantly campaign for allowing us to go beyond the 4 walls of a hotel and experience our many adventures brilliantly. I’m thrilled to see what’s around the corner and experience all the new initiatives, and I thank Marriott for inviting me along!
Don’t forget to visit Travel Brilliantly to submit your own game-changing ideas. Thanks to my co-hosts and to Marriott Hotels for bringing me along! Full disclosure: Accommodations and events provided by Marriott Hotels. All opinions expressed are my own.