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
The two most notable things about this place were the grounds and the staff. It's 500 beautiful acres with a lot of wildlife, especially deer and turkeys. Because the property is so large, they run excellent shuttle service. Every interaction we had with staff was polite, courteous, friendly, and helpful. There are plenty of scheduled activities, both included and at an extra charge, and every one that we did was totally enjoyable. Most notable was the beekeeping experience. Spencer and Mariah were passionate about their bees, and they made it so interesting. The lobby, restaurant, and pool areas were beautiful. Our suite was a little dated, but it was large and comfortable.
We've been home for two weeks and we can't stop thinking about our amazing weekend at Carmel Valley Ranch. Chantel was extraordinary on the phone when making reservations. From my understanding I reached her by mistake instead of reception but she kindly helped me plan a romantic stay for my boyfriend's birthday. She recommended a bungalow on the hill with a bathub on the balcony for the best view of the ranch. Wow, what a view it was! HE was surprised to find chilled champagne in the refrigerator waiting for us when we arrived. Our dinner was outstanding and our server, Ernesto was both jovial and professional. I was thrilled to have a dinner option that was incredibly delicious and in line with my dietary choices. Watching the sun set behind the hills and enjoying the ambience of the restaurant made the night very special. AND THEN...there were s'mores!
We dined in the next morning for breakfast and had the famous French toast (among other things as you can see in the picture). He had work to do so I read my book... in the bath... on the balcony!!! I could go on and on and on... Carmel Valley Ranch is an amazing place to stay. Thank you for the world class customer service. We may have found our favorite getaway.
This was one of many visits we've made to this hotel over the years and since my last review, they have improved service and amenities.
We decided to do a spur-of-the-moment last minute Saturday night at the resort and found a good deal online. We loved using the hot tub and pool by the hotel when we arrived. We enjoyed dinner at the restaurant and the next morning, we went down to the club house to do some yoga and swim.
Peace, quiet, nature!
The rooms are beautiful and the products very nice.
Will definitely return.
Love love love this place -- the hillside rooms with tubs offer the best views and privacy, and are worth the walk from the main lodge/restaurant/pool. Outstanding service, typically great food in the restaurant and an excellent wine menu; casual and unpretentious vibe with a generally younger-than-50 something crowd. The surrounding grounds are expansive and gorgeous - try a walk through the vineyards down to the pool (a bit of a hike, but that's what we liked) or grab a shuttle if you get tired. Outstanding golf course, and separate family vs adult pools.
Generally very good quality facility and service. Fun golf course. Interesting surroundings. Minor issue with the facility fee at check out. No one was available to resolve the matter. Remains unresolved.