A luxury boutique hotel and winery set amid the vineyards of Carmel Valley
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Food & wine | Relaxation | Spa
Fifteen minutes inland, Carmel Valley is Carmel-by-the-Sea’s equally relaxed younger brother. Indeed, swapping a seaside for a 'vineside' location has made it an excellent choice for wine enthusiasts. The lodge itself is tucked neatly away in the greenery of the valley making for idyllic walks. Taken with the picturesque Santa Lucia Mountains as a background, it won’t come as a surprise that the area was founded as an artistic retreat in the late 19th century. Now, it’s an ideal getaway from the bustle of California’s cities.
The lodge’s exterior, modelled on the stone chimneys and pitched gable roofs of the Comstock cottages that dot the region, sets a quiet, almost country-club, tone to the place. Inside, however, guests are treated to a decidedly more new-world level of sophistication with two-person soaking tubs and contemporary furnishings as you tread on herringbone mosaic tiles and ash wood flooring. For a taste of days gone past, each room features warming fireplaces while suites offer a complete residential experience with full-sized kitchens and heated floors.
Chef Cal Stamenov’s two decades of championing locally sourced fresh and meticulously-prepared fare shines through in his creative menus. Ingredients from the lodge’s 28-acre estate, which includes organic herb and vegetable gardens, vineyards and fruit trees, feature heavily in dishes such as artichoke and basil ravioli and seared scallops, all of which are masterfully paired with one of the cellar’s 25,000 bottles. For a special experience, the Chef’s Table seats up to five diners and has hosted such notable celebrities as Julia Child, Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Other than the fine dining experience of Lucia, there’s the hotel’s convivial bar where guests can tuck into light bites washed down with a selection of craft beers, cocktails and fine wines. Alternatively, pick up a picnic hamper to be enjoyed in the lodge’s estate. After a day’s wine touring, relax with a range of treatments in the lodge’s spa, play a round of croquette or dip in the lodge’s pool.
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