Ever heard of Bernardus Lodge & Spa nestled in Carmel Valley‘s hills? While this luxury property may be surrounded by lush valleys and trees, it’s still only a stone’s throw from the stunning California coastline. We hadn’t either until about a year ago when we were invited to experience and review it and yet it still took us a seven months to get it on our calendar. While I kept thinking that May or September would have been the perfect months, November was simply glorious.
The Bernardus Lodge & Spa Lobby
We love the elegance of the lobby area which includes a grand piano that is played often during the evenings.
The beautiful thing about Carmel Valley is that as you approach the winter months, the evenings get cooler, so you need to sit alongside a firepit if outside or have a blazing fireplace going if indoors at night, but the days are spectacular. Before the rainy season hits, you still get clear blue skies during the day and on the temperatures range from the mid-fifties to the low seventies.
Four star property Bernardus Lodge & Spa is all about where luxury meets serenity in the countryside. While it may not be a five star stay, they get plenty of celebs throughout the year, upscale wedding bookings and boast award-winning Chef Cal Stamenov, who is behind their restaurant Lucia. Specialties include foie gras prepared four ways, Wagyu beef and signature brick oven pizzas as well as a 15,000 bottle wine cellar.
While we didn’t dine at Lucia for dinner (hopefully next time as we would really love to experience their Chef’s Table in the kitchen — this is so up our alley), we did have breakfast here each morning. The morning menu offered a mix of healthy concoctions such as freshly made juices and more traditional plates, like pancakes, omelets, eggs, toast, sausage and bacon.
This oh so lovely property sits amid vineyards in Carmel Valley (yes, really) as Bernardus also makes wines, which you may have heard of if you’ve spent any time in northern California. While we’ve yet to taste the splendor of Bernardus Wines, we do have a sample of Pinot we’ll pop open sometime this month.
Only about 11 miles from downtown Carmel, there are plenty of other divine restaurant offerings as well if you want to are planning to stay for awhile, or simply want to explore. Be sure to read our 3 Fun Restaurant Picks in Downtown Carmel for a few suggestions.
Although there are many great shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants in the cute little town of Carmel, this creative and luxurious haven will so stir your senses and trigger your body to simply shut down and relax, you’ll be hard pressed to leave.
Bernardus Lodge & Spa spreads out across 28 acres of rolling vineyards, orchards and gardens. The property mixes a bit of old world attitude with new world style, elegance and charm. Think epicurean spirit and rustic ranch country chic meets nature and a soothing soul.
The rooms are mostly modern (Euro-style) and because nature is such a big part of this resort, there are french doors that lead out onto patios or balconies (some with vineyard or mountain views), and fire pits so you can relax and unwind with a glass of wine at the end of your day. OR, better yet, start your evening on the patio breathing in the sunset before dinner.
- Bernardus Lodge & Spa Rooms: to the left is the area just outside the bathroom and to the right shows a villa suite similar to the one we had facing the mountains.
There are also limestone fireplaces, 2-person soaking tubs — ours was made of copper — antiques, and feather beds with Italian linens. Also worth noting is the wine bar, fully stocked fridge and snacks, as well as iPod docks and Nespresso machines. We had a suite, so there was an adjoining living area lounge area and a full kitchen.
There are two pools, one of which is adult only as is the heated jacuzzi outside. The outdoor pool is lovely and oh so relaxing — I hung out here before heading into the spa before my afternoon massage. (be sure to read my spa review as it’s a special one in the area). The ambiance is simply divine, especially in the relaxing lounge area that leads out onto a smaller terrace.
What’s on that terrace you wonder? A smaller warm pool that is somewhere between a heated pool and a hot tub at a super comfy temperature of 100 degrees. In other words, perfection! It’s certainly cozy but large enough to do shorter laps if you choose. I simply relaxed into it and found myself dipping in and out for a couple of hours — not a bad way to spend an afternoon I couldn’t help but think on more than one occasion.
Fireplaces add warmth to the rooms and suites and there is air conditioning for hotter summer months. Anthony loved the fact that there were two 42″ LCD flat screen TV’s although I try to avoid anything with a screen when I escape to the country. Nature is the prize here.
Bernardus Lodge & Spa for Groups
Since Bernadus Lodge & Spa has many special occasion guests throughout the year, it‘s worth noting that they have twelve suites, each at a luxe 1,050 square feet, and two 2,100 square foot two–bedroom Villas, which include a Queen sleeper sofa as well. All of their Carmel Valley suites include a terrace or balcony with a dining table, lounge chairs and either a fireplace or fire pit.
Their eight Villa Suites and both of their two–bedroom Villas feature an additional private patio off of the master bath with an outdoor shower – we LOVED this add-on, so if you can get one of the eight Villa Suites, do it. If you’ve never showered outside, I‘d strongly recommend it — there‘s nothing like showering in the middle of nature with trees surrounding you.
We love the idea of celebrating a special occasion here because there‘s a whole lotta serenity with its rose gardens, lawns and hills that you could spend even more time outside than in any of the available banquet or private rooms. They also have an impeccably manicured lawn which is used for bocce ball on occasion, two tennis courts, a fitness center and a meeting space.
While the Bernardus Lodge may sound perfect for that romantic, a quiet serenity getaway, or for an event as noted above, it’s also a great option if you have a family in tow, especially given their spacious suites. Their two-bedroom Villas feature an intimate dining or meeting space for 12 with cozy indoor and outdoor fireplaces – there’s so much “intimate wow” here!
Other great features are the radiant heated bathroom floors, the dual Italian Carrara marble double vanity sinks, a walk in closet and the massive walk-in shower that faces that fabulous copper soaking tub I had a hard time leaving. It was oh so heavenly!
Below are a few shots of the outdoor pool area.
Outside at night.
And, NATURE and the View
Bernadus Lodge & Spa
415 West Carmel Valley Road
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
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Note: we were hosted by the hotel but all opinions expressed are entirely our own.