Carmel Valley Ranch offers upscale getaway
Downtown Carmel, roughly a one-square-mile village, features small cottages, modest homes, upscale art galleries, plus both trendy and homespun restaurants.
Situated in picturesque Monterey County, Carmel is one of those places people designate as a "must visit." The main lure, of course, are the ocean views. Stunning might not be descriptive enough to characterize the rugged coastal scenery that makes Carmel and Monterey two of the most alluring destinations worldwide.
Ocean Avenue is the appropriately named main drag in downtown Carmel. Follow it heading west and eventually one winds up staring face-to-face at the gorgeous green-blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
And if you care to do some star gazing, drop by the Hog's Breath Inn for a possible glimpse of famed Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood, its owner. He'll be the guy sipping on a beer or glass of wine, maybe even sitting next to an empty chair, having an imaginary chat with President Obama!
One more thing about eclectic downtown Carmel - it has no street numbers. Its early occupants were mainly artists who built their homes and preferred naming them rather than having numerical addresses.
Although rarely referenced, the official name for Carmel is Carmel-by-the-Sea, which seems pretty ridiculous. We get it, Carmel is by the ocean! Obviously the most well known and frequented areas of Carmel are its ocean enclaves. But there's actually a much less-traveled area of this famed California city that's also a great tourist destination.
The 'Other' Carmel
Literally tucked away in the majestic forests of the San Lucia Mountains is the Carmel Valley, a 20-minute drive from Monterey. Unlike the costal weather, which is often overcast and ensconced in a sun-blocked marine layer of clouds, the Carmel Valley receives approximately 300 days of sunshine and the temperatures are naturally warmer.
To totally escape the masses, visitors can choose one of the many lodges, garden inns and small accommodations that reside just off scenic Carmel Valley Road.
If the goal is finding luxurious accommodations, that can certainly be accomplished at Carmel Valley Ranch, a beautiful 500-acre upscale getaway. It's one of those places where you can park the car upon entering and never drive it again until check-out day.
One of the great things about a stay at the "Ranch" is it's a great spot for numerous activities or it can be a location to simply relax and be pampered.
- Golf, 18-hole, Pete Dye-designed course
- Guided or unguided hiking trails that double as running and walking trails
- Tennis courts, featuring seven hard courts and two clay courts
- Cooking classes
- Salt-water swimming pool (adults only)
- Separate family area, includes swimming pool, basketball courts, Bocce ball area
- Huge fitness center
- Organic garden area to explore
- Kids Camp
- Free S'mores every evening
For guests wishing to be indulged, there's the newly built Spa Aiyana, which resides in a tree-lined area and is 10,500 square feet. There are three VIP double spa treatment suites with fireplaces, eight deluxe spa treatment rooms, and a manicure and pedicure salon. The Spa treatments costs between $51-$135, and the area is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
For unusual activities, the Ranch offers lavender balm and soap making, a yoga class in a hilltop forest, or try hopping on one of the six old-fashioned wood-plank swings, which hang from ropes attached to 100-year-old oak trees. It's one more reason to "hang out" at Carmel Valley Ranch.
And for something totally off-the-wall, try the property's beekeeping program, offered Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
The Ranch starts harvesting honey from its colony of Italian honeybees in early June. Guests can receive a hands-on experience, putting on protective suits for this educational experience about the habits of bees. If that's a little too close, visitors can observe from a distance through a plexi-glass window. The Ranch has more than 7,500 lavender plants spread around the property and estimates a harvest of 100 pounds of honey per year.
Scenic Golf Course
For golfers, the par-70 course is short (6,117 from back tees) and the mostly flat-land front 9 is an exercise in target golf with some penalizing holes. However, the hilly backside is a major treat, featuring dramatic, elevated tees on three holes, including the 141-yard par-3 at No. 13.
Carmel Valley Ranch is a fun track overall, that's tight on the front side, but opens up on the back, where every hole is unique. A bonus is the frequent deer sightings, which on this October day included several dozen on the nature-preserved, tree-lined back 9. Guests pay $145 and $85 for afternoon tee times.
The resort has 139 guest suites that are spacious (average 800 square feet) and were upgraded during the $39 million resort renovation that took place two years ago. Most of the suites feature a sizable outdoor balcony with gorgeous views, thanks to their hillside locations. There are fireplaces, separate living rooms, flat-screen TVs, and large bathrooms. One thing lacking are kitchen facilities.
The lodging is not cheap, ranging from $425 to $800 per night, plus $25 a night resort fee. Bring a pet and it's another $100 for the duration of the stay.
No kitchen facilities means breakfast, lunch, dinner or a poolside snack at the Ranch. And that's not a bad thing, considering the delectable menu selections and the beautifully laid-out dining room and spacious outdoor area with fire pits.
Executive chef Tim Wood may even come out to your table and discuss the menu selections, which are very diverse. He's a hands-on chef who sometimes makes his own trips to purchase from area fishermen, farmers and organic growers. The Lodge Restaurant is definitely a farm-to-table cuisine.
Although there is no real need to leave the Ranch, a pleasant escape is visiting Carmel Valley Village, a six-mile drive. This quaint area, located off scenic Carmel Valley Road, has 17 wine-tasting rooms and is a noted Pinot Noir region. Wineries include Talbot, Boekenoogen, Bernardus and Figge.
The Village also includes a number of shops, galleries and restaurants, most of them with outdoor seating.
For more information on Carmel Valley Ranch, visit www.carmelvalleyranch.com or call 855 687-7262.
Author Jeffrey Weidel, an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region, can be spotted skiing the powdery slopes at Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts or trying to lower his handicap at local golf courses. He can be reached at email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesTransportation Sales Tax Closer to Ballot MeasureThe Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) Board of Directors, acting as the Placer County Local Transportation Authority, unanimously adopted the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan
Beach House Restaurant in Pacific GrovePacific Grove, CA- Gazing upon the ebb and flow of the cool, clear Pacific waters as they lap against the shore of Monterey Bay as the sun gently descends toward the horizon is a damn fine way
Placer County Grand Jury Report Critical of Local Government Operations This year's Placer County Grand Jury Final Report contains some individual reports which are critical of local government operations
Placer County Fair in Roseville 2016ROSEVILLE, CA. Just in time to head off the summer vacation blues, the Placer County Fair, June 23-36, comes to life with fabulous fair food, swirling carnival rides, farm animals
Summer of Free Museums in Placer CountyMuseums throughout Placer County will offer free admission on select days all summer as the Heritage Trail Museums Tour returns for its ninth year
Python Snake on the Loose in Rocklin LocatedRocklin, CA- The Rocklin Police Department was informed the snake that escaped from its owner was located.
Rocklin Police Investigating Suspicious CircumstanceRocklin, CA- On Monday, June 20, 2016, Rocklin Police responded to a report of a suspicious person inside a gated community near Hillcrest Drive.
Lexus RX 350: Revised and Not Just for WomenRoseville, CA- Although enamored with this Lexus model in previous years, the thinking here was the Lexus RX was a luxury, midsize crossover sport utility vehicle
Placer County to Limit Medical Marijuana CultivationCommercial medical marijuana cultivation and sale will not be allowed in unincorporated Placer County, after the board of supervisors voted 3-2
California Fires Update Summary (6.22.16)Over 5,000 firefighters are battling 4 large wildfires in California, while firefighters around the rest of the state battled dozens of new fires
Roseville Gas Prices Holding SteadyRoseville, CA- Roseville gas prices have been holding relatively steady this past week. As usual, Costco, Sam's Club and ARCO dominate the low price leaderboard
Students Impacted by Walsh Family ScholarshipsRocklin, CA - Sierra College students who received the John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship say that it encouraged them to come to Sierra College
NEWS: In Case You Missed It