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By Michael Hepworth

The Bernardus Lodge Hotel in the Carmel Valley in California is owned by a former  Grand Prix driver and Olympic Clay Pigeon Shooter, and an all round gourmet and bon vivant. That spirit is reflected in this terrific 57 room hideaway hotel, where the ratio of staff to guests is almost 2 to 1, and where rules and restrictions are virtually non existent. I have been to the hotel twice recently, once in February and the other time in May, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how the mood at the hotel changes from season to season.   I loved staying here both times, and it is no surprise either to find out that the hotel is invariably fully booked each weekend.

Located about ten miles from downtown Carmel and 120 miles south of San Francisco ,  Bernardus Lodge is a perfect base for exploring the area such as Monterey , Big Sur, Pebble Beach and Salinas , home of the Steinbeck House. This is also one of the prime wine growing regions in California , and the Bernardus Lodge is an excellent base to explore the many wineries in the general area. There are a lot of little extras here that sets this hotel apart from a lot of similar establishments. A wine reception greets every new arrival, and the “snack pantry” in the room is inclusive in the room charge, along with tea and coffee. There is twice daily housekeeping, and with 24 hour room concierge available, you can check in any time of the day or night. Rooms range in size from 525-1875 square feet, and all have French doors leading to an outside patio, one of many places at Bernardus you can relax. Stone fireplaces, very comfortable feather beds and large bathtubs make the rooms even more relaxing, and guaranteed to enhance your stay.

Elegance and style are the rule here, and with a gourmet restaurant on the premises and an award winning spa on site, you can spend a whole day here eating, relaxing, pampering or hanging out in the rose garden, or even playing croquet or bocce on the perfectly manicured lawn. Two tennis courts and a heated outdoor swimming pool round out the amenities here, the patio remains a popular attraction for the Carmel locals who can be seen enjoying a leisurely lunch.  There is also a 24 hour exercise room to work away those calories, and with a host of championship golf courses in the area, the concierge can probably arrange a round, especially if it is in the weekday. Probably best however to book a tee time the same time you book the hotel, to ensure getting into the more popular courses. Throw in hiking, kayaking, deep sea fishing and scuba diving, and you have a plethora of things to do during your stay.

Executive chef Cal Stamenov has created a California-French cuisine a Marinus Restaurant, with an emphasis on such dishes as Foie Gras, Duck, Veal and many more absolutely delightful choices. The award winning Bernardus wine is served of course in the restaurant, including the latest Sauvignon Blanc that was voted the best in America by the Wall Street Journal.  The Spa is also the recipient of many awards and accolades, and with eight treatment rooms and a special room just for couples. There are sauna and steam rooms for both sexes, and a variety of full body treatments, facial treatments and many other up to date services available. They sell their own products as well, and the soap for example is some of the best you will find anywhere.


Fact Sheet

Bernardus Lodge and Spa-415 Carmel Valley Rd , Carmel .

Tel 831.658.3400



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