Carmel Valley Ranch
What We Love
- Chef Tim Wood’s Valley Kitchen’s focus on local organic fare
- The full-service Spa Aiyana’s couples suites, complete with fireplaces
- The Pete Dye championship-level golf course is open year-round
What To Know
- Carmel Valley is very quiet, residential, and rural, so don’t expect local businesses to stay open late
- The resort is a 10-minute drive from Carmel-by-the-Sea
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
In the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains, this sprawling 500-acre Carmel Valley Ranch is an activity-filled resort offering world-class golf, clay-court tennis, mountaintop yoga, gourmet cooking classes, and a luxe spa. The wood swing hanging from the thick oak tree outside the main lodge sets the stage for a playful escape in this sun-drenched rural refuge where the Cali-chic look is pervasive and the access to the valley’s wineries, art galleries, and boutiques is unbeatable. Suites are spacious, with sloped ceilings, leather upholstery, fireplaces, private decks, and spa-like bathrooms. When John Pritzker, son of the late billionaire Hyatt founder, bought the 139-room Carmel Valley Ranch in 2009, the purchase and subsequent multimillion-dollar renovation caused quite a buzz—and not just because it added a 120,000-bee, honey-producing apiary to the grounds. The renowned Pete Dye–designed, championship-level course still anchors the resort to the valley, with its rolling fairways weaving through vineyards, lavender fields, and oak groves. There’s much more to do here than just golf, though: eight tennis courts, two state-of-the-art fitness centers, three salt-water swimming pools and an equestrian center. Opportunities to learn abound as well, whether working in the honey-producing apiary, harvesting herbs in the organic garden or taking cooking lessons with gourmet chefs. It’s all sure to work up your appetite for dinner at Valley Kitchen where Chef Tim Wood, local culinary darling and Bernardus Lodge alumnus, pairs hearty, hyperlocal seasonal cuisine with the best California vintages, including The Ranch’s own wines from its four-acre vineyard.
In the Area
In-the-know foodies make the winding 45-minute drive up the mountain to Cachuga Store on Monday nights for chef Michael Jones’s fresh, innovative fare and the always-convivial ambience. Winery-hop without the worry about getting behind the wheel with the Grapevine Express (24 Carmel Valley Transit bus) between Carmel Valley Village and Monterey Conference Center — an all day pass costs $8. Tip back whiskey, beer or locally made wine in a saloon scene straight out of the Wild Wild West at the Running Iron. For hiking and horseback riding, visit the 4,500-acre Garland Ranch Regional Park, 8.6 miles east of Highway 1 on Carmel Valley Road. Stop by the Farm Stand at Earthbound Farm for organic produce, ice cream, salad bar, bakery goods, flowers and cut-your-own herbs.
How to Get There
My wifey and I stayed here for our 20th wedding anniversary and really enjoyed our stay. The grounds are beautiful with a lot of wildlife: deer and turkey roaming around. They have gardens, a vineyard, goats, and chickens. The guy running the goats was cool and chatted with us a lot. The ranch has several trails that we hiked, watched sunsets, and sun rises. I spent every morning running the trails overlooking the valley, and watching the sun rise. It was pretty awesome. We participated in a lot of activities, but not the SPA, swimming, or golf, which is all available. We did drinks a couple of times at the lodge, but didn’t eat there or anywhere on grounds. They do have a s’mores station in the evenings by the pool, pretty cool. Our room was cozy with fireplace, comfortable bed, heated bathroom floors, shower, soaking tub, coffee maker, frig, safe, etc. Parking was free, but limited spots so you could have a little walk to the room pending its location. Our room had an amazing view, and Heather/team assisted in making our anniversary special with pre-ordered flowers and sparkling wine. I really do appreciate those at Carmel Valley Ranch who participated in making our anniversary special.
Now please note… my wifey fell in love with Carmel Valley Ranch because of its website. The pictures of the ranch are beautiful, rooms look grand, every room has a view, and they do a great job of selling the ranch itself. However, not all of the rooms have these views nor are they that grand inside. We got a room in the Vineyard Oak View category. The inside of the room was great with separate seating area, fireplace, porch swing, nice square footage, etc. However… it had no view. Upon walking out to the patio the view was of 20 oak trees, which blocked the view of everything else, and absolutely no vineyard. Again, my wifey fell in love with this place based off the website pictures of its views and rooms. So I asked if we can change rooms and luckily they accommodated, thank you! We got a room with an amazing view, the view we saw on the website, but smaller and less grand inside. No biggie, the view was enough! But I honestly believe Carmel Valley Ranch really needs to break up their room categories, edit the descriptions, and set proper expectations with their potential quests. Maybe have an Oak View room and a Vineyard View room? Take new pictures of the rooms and views; update the website so customers know what they’re getting. End result… my wifey and I would come back in a heartbeat; we love the Carmel/Monterey area. But we wouldn’t stay at the ranch unless we were guaranteed the same room/view as we had this time around.
This was a golf vacation through Golf Moose, Stay and Play package. The price was wonderful for golf and lodging. Our room however, although large, it was very worn and windows and sliders were filthy and doors did not lock.
2nd stay here and it's always a great one. Love hanging by the pool and walking the grounds. Strongly recommend for anyone looking to relax or looking for a jumping point to explore the Carmel Valley!
Pleasant stay. Deer everywhere, smelled like lavender on the property. Enjoyed the fire pits and smores at night. Also rooms with fireplace were a nice touch. A few housekeeping issues, but I would stay here again!
My wife and I celebrated 20 years together by visiting Carmel and Napa for a week. Carmel Valley Range was simply one of the best resorts we have ever experienced and we have traveled extensively... this resort simply gets it! The service is top notch and the staff (from A to Z) provide what appears to be some of the most genuinely positive service we have ever experienced... literally 100% of the staff we encountered appeared to be totally content with their role on the staff... simply a must visit resort!