Credit: Bernardus Lodge & Spa
Credit: Bernardus Lodge & Spa

5 Reasons to Escape to This Lesser-Known California Wine Country

Bernardus Lodge & Spa Is a Charming and Intimate Carmel Valley Retreat

Bernardus Lodge & Spa consists of 73 rooms tucked neatly into a 28-acre vineyard of vines and lavender (from which they harvest to produce soap for the resort) in Carmel Valley, CA. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed with living areas, down beds and Frette bedding; our room faced the courtyard lawn, where we enjoyed both bocce ball and croquet while sharing a complimentary bottle of house wine. We started a second bottle touring the rose and vegetable garden and finished it fireside after enjoying the adults-only, hillside infinity-edged Jacuzzi. Bernardus Lodge & Spa Carmel

Credit: Bernardus Lodge & Spa

 

Keep Quiet at the Adults-Only Outdoor Recovery Spa 

Credit: Refuge Spa

Only a few minutes’ drive from the resort is Refuge, an adults-only, outdoor hydrotherapy spa at the Carmel Valley Athletic Club. We were all about the strict “no talking” policy and were reminded by several signs as we entered the spa. This tree-lined facility is scattered with a dozen separate small pools. There is a dry sauna, steam room, eucalyptus room (with anti-gravity chairs), fire pits, Adirondack chairs and hammocks.

Bernardus Lodge & Spa Carmel

Sit Stoveside Among a Wall of Celebrity Signatures

Credit: Bernardus Lodge & Spa

You can enjoy a front-row seat to serious cooking inside the kitchen at Lucia at Bernardus Lodge & Spa. Tucked neatly behind the cooking stations is a booth with seating for five and chandeliers strung above that let you witness the art and skill of Chef Christian Ojeda. The resort is rooted in cuisine, and the addition of Chef Ojeda (most recently of Montage Deer Valley) is furthering that tradition with a fresh take on classics and an integration of local Monterey resources. The wall behind the booth has been signed by countless celebrities, including Julia Child, Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Drive the 17-Mile Drive in a Mercedes Convertible

Driving the world-famous, 17-mile drive is certainly fun, but touring it for four hours in a complimentary Mercedes from Bernardus Lodge & Spa undeniably trumps your standard rental car. The cars are available on a first come, first served basis, and we highly recommend doing this one morning before the wine tasting begins.

Bernardus Lodge & Spa Carmel

Have a Storybook Brunch

Credit: Zan / Unsplash

Brunch will feel like a fairy tale with a wine tasting inside Folktale Winery & Vineyards. Folktale’s whimsical building design looks like it must have been designed by D. L. Ashliman himself for the opening chapter of Grimm’s “Rapunzel.” Their Sunday brunch is the antidote you will require after Saturday night’s bottle (or two) at dinner. 

Head to the Moto Talbott Museum

A short drive (or ride) from the hotel is the Moto Talbott Museum, which boasts 170 vintage motorcycles from 17 different countries. There is a $10 admission fee, but it’s a great way to spend an hour marveling at the cycling heritage.

Bernardus Lodge & Spa Carmel

Bernardus Lodge & Spa
415 W Carmel Valley Rd
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
831.658.3400

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Erik Hale is the visionary and publisher behind LOCALE Magazine. He launched the magazine in 2010, wanting to give the community of OC a premiere lifestyle magazine that knew all the native knowledge behind OC. “Six years ago Ashley and I sat at a table scratching the name LOCALE (among some other names) onto a sheet of paper,” says Erik, “coming up with story ideas and basically dreaming. Everything we imagined has happened and we have been blessed with so much more. I am so grateful as we start another year for my family, my two wonderful children, my health, our amazing writers, designers and photographers, our advertising partners and you.”

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