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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
An American style of an upmarket Center Parcs with all the facilities you could ask for. On arrival at the security gates, they check you are on the guest list and the gates open! The Lodge, which is the centre of the resort is a lovely wooden lodge, huge, friendly and warm which reminded me of Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds in UK. Bustling with families and weekenders it was a nice welcome.
We had a Bluff Suite, a short drive from the lodge and a beautiful room overlooking the golf course, trees and surrounds. Well appointed, comfy bed, fully stocked bathroom and shower.
We were here for 2 nights, which I think is enough, unless you are exploring the surrounds and it makes for a good base. Food and drink quite expensive, but again good quality, and well presented. We used the Fitness Studio and pool called the Ranch (I think) which was really excellent as they have two pools, one for under 16's and one for over 16's.
It's a tick in the box, done, and unlikely to return but a good stop over for a 2 or 3 night stay max. the surrounding scenery is truly spectacular and the grounds and properties immaculately kept.
For what we paid we expected a much higher level of service. Staff were unwilling to go above and beyond to provide an exceptional guest experience. Would not recommend to those seeking a 5-star experience.
You have everything in one location. What a great property for short and long vacation. The food, from breakfast to dinner is excellent. The price is right as well. The portions are big enough to share but after a long hike, you may want more.