The Bernardus Lodge and Spa in Carmel Valley
The Bernardus Lodge and Spa dazzles its guests with a combination of elegance, comfort and thoughtful presentation into how guests would actually like to spend their stay. It’s home away from home appeal doesn’t clash at all with its luxurious Central California woodsy meets vineyard aesthetic. Pulling up to its front doors, we were greeted by four shiny black Mercedes Benz with the Bernardus Lodge logo emblazoned on there sides and smiling valets ready to park my car and carry my bags to our room. It was later that we learned that those Benz’s were for the guests' use and anyone could take them out on a day trip for up to four hours with a simple signing of a waver.
From the moment we walked in, Bernardus Lodge and Spa made sure to take care of our every need. Our bags were handled for us and we were handed a glass of their signature Sauvignon Blanc from their own vineyards. A pleasant guest service manager escorted us to our room as we were told about the property and all of its varying amenities, including the Bocce Ball court right outside our room. From there we were left to our own devices to relax and unwind before dinner.
They gave us a gorgeous suite that was overlooking the Bocce court. It was woodsy and had a lodge-like feel, even with stone floors. The three most notable things that I loved about our suite was 1) the gas fireplace across from the bed, which cast a romantic light on the room the second you flipped the switch. 2) The magnificent bathroom with heated tile floors and a claw bathtub and rain shower. 3) how well stocked it was! In fact, included in the price of the room were a ton of healthy, wholesome snacks, a bottle of their wine, beer, natural sodas and teas. I loved how much thought went into providing their guests with those sorts of comfort. It really is the little things that make you feel good about a place.
We had a 6:30pm reservation at the famed Lucia Restaurant and Bar within the main lodge. It wasn’t until later that we learned that it was headed by famed Chef Cal Stamenov who has been visited by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Julia Child. Our server was definitely one of the highlights of the night, as he provided such a warm, inviting experience. My boyfriend and I both decided on the Filet Mignon’s and he quite confidently assured us that it was going to be the best we’ve ever had. He wasn't exaggerating, it was melt in your mouth; absolutely decadent. We pretty much spent the entire dinner in awe at our plates and silent as we savored every bite. We also paired it with crab salad and their housemade rosemary bread, both of which was so fresh and flavorful.
Bernardus Lodge and Spa was whimsical and beautifully designed. Throughout the property there were warm hearthy fires and comfortable seating to relax and chat with friends and family over drinks and dinner. There were fairy lights strung up on the deck, which added to its woodsy demeanor. Of course, what is lodging without a pool and Bernardus made sure to deliver with a heated one surrounded by hammocks, chaises and day beds. They also had an adult-only hot tub separated and located atop a hill for a spectacular view of the property. You can order drinks and food there and of course enjoy the warm fireplace right next to it.
During your stay, don't forget to check out the gardens, which are filled with blooming roses, as well as vegetables used in the kitchen and even resident bees. Strolling through the gardens is so romantic and definitely a pleasant experience you can't miss.
The Surrounding Area
Carmel Valley is often forgotten next to its neighboring Carmel by the Sea, which is a shame because of its lush Napa-like beauty and agreeable weather. In fact, the neighboring coast, only 20 minutes away, is typically covered in a marine layer and 10 degrees cooler. On the other hand, Carmel Valley is known to get the most sun in the area. In fact, residents often staycation at Bernardus to enjoy some much needed sunshine and warm weather. It is also quite unique to be surrounded by vineyards, but only a short 20 minute drive from the beach. If you're so inclined, you can take out one of Bernardus's Mercedes Benz for a quick beach day or even to explore Big Sur.
If you would like to try some of the flagship and in-house wines crafted by Bernardus Lodge then simply make a reservation at the front desk for their tasting room found about 5 minutes off property. You can sit and enjoy an intimate wine tasting and learn about the types of wines sold by Bernardus. Our Sommelier was extremely knowledgeable on all the wines and even gave us a back story on the beginnings of the lodge and its wine making endeavors.
I didn't get to experience the spa at Bernardus, but was able to take a peak in. They have it wonderfully set up so you can relax by a fire or warm yourself in their private warming pools before heading in for a massage or facial. Close by there is also an exercise room for those who would like to stay in shape during their respite.
Convinced? Make a reservation here!
Disclaimer – The room was provided to me free of charge, all opinions are my own though.