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If we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us out of the imminent night” – D.H. Lawrence

 

We Westerners are spoiled beyond imagination. Unless you’re in France, Spain, or Italy, there are few places where flavorful wine is more widespread or profoundly abundant than California. And while there are innumerable resorts and boutique bed & breakfasts scattered throughout California’s various wine regions, there is something quite special about one particular resort in California’s Carmel Valley – the Bernardus Lodge & Spa.

 

Location

The Bernardus Lodge & Spa is easily accessible as it’s located in the heart of Carmel Valley, about 20 minutes from the coast and the Monterey Airport; which for an airport of its size, offers a surprisingly varied number of flight options. You can also easily access the property by car from the north, south, and east. Click Here to view the location on Google Maps.

 

The Property

The Bernardus Lodge & Spa is an extension of the famous Bernardus Winery, whose vineyards provide a dramatic and breathtaking backdrop to the property.  The property recently underwent a multi-million dollar remodeling, and the finished product is absolutely stunning – grand architecture, shimmering lights and natural stone, and unstated elegance. Here are some images, photo courtesy of the Bernardus Lodge & Spa:

Here are some images of the property from my visit:

 

Dining

The culinary heartbeat of the Bernardus Lodge & Spa is its signature eatery Lucia, deftly directed by Chef Cal Stamenov. Lucia combines fresh, local cuisine with the extensive offering of wines (a mind-numbing 25,000 bottles) in the Bernardus wine cellar. Lucia is cast beautifully in Italian stone and elegant appointments. Here are some images of the lovely Lucia:

Lucia offers an impressive array of menus and varied menu items, and I wish I had more time to enjoy multiple meals on property. Click Here to view the various Lucia Menus. I’d like to especially thank Morgan, our lovely server – she was stellar – and Jeff, our superb sommelier, who was incredibly knowledgeable and helped us select some amazing and flavorful wines. Last, thanks very much to Chef Cal for a sublime meal. Here are the images of some of the dishes that we enjoyed at Lucia:

 

The Spa

The Spa was at the heart of the property’s renovations, and the results are sublime. The Spa exudes relaxed luxury with clean lines, oodles of lovely natural stone, and the sort of subtle spa scent that makes you forget your day-to-day existence. My favorite part of the newly remodeled spa is the stunning indoor fire feature, which is topped with a breathtaking copper flue.

 

Accommodations

The Bernardus Lodge & Spa features a total of 73 guest rooms, suites, and villas over the entire property. Each of these includes “a two-person soaking tub, plush bathrobes, fireplaces, formal dining tables, plus lavish king-sized featherbeds with goose down comforters and Italian linens.” Our suite was elegantly appointed, yet felt comfortable and welcoming. Here are some images:

 

Cool Stuff

One of my favorite parts of visiting luxury properties is seeing those uniquely interesting aspects that set the property apart. The Bernardus Lodge & Spa has a couple of these cool things that I’d like to highlight. First, this property has some incredibly cool history, and has been the destination for many movie stars and luminaries such as Julia Child, Leo DiCaprio, and Clint Eastwood – and they all sat at the old Kitchen Table, which is directly in the kitchen. Even better, these famous folks have signed and marked the wall above the table. How cool is this?

The other cool feature of the property is the Wine Cellar Table, which is available for private dinners for Lucia, and the table seats 10. My favorite aspect of the Wine Cellar Table is that it feels authentic, just like you’re sitting in the middle of a wine cellar. Very few luxury properties offer this type of unique and classically inspired experience. I love it.

 

Closing Thoughts

One of the best parts of visiting luxury properties is discovering the number of truly unique hotels and resorts all around us, and that many of these properties are very close, but yet, I had no idea that they existed. So, one of the main reasons that I write about these properties is to spread the word to others that these properties exist, and that they demand to be visited.

The Bernardus Lodge & Spa is a true treasure in that it is a resplendent luxury resort that is easily accessible from just about anywhere; and the best part? It’s owned by a famous winery! How great is that? Luxury accommodations and high-end wine? Yes please!

I highly recommend that you visit the Bernardus Lodge & Spa, order a glass of wine, close your eyes, and you might even hear Julia Childs whisper in your ear her recommendation for your dinner selection at Lucia. Enjoy.

 

Bernardus Lodge & Spa – Location and Social

Bernardus Lodge & Spa (Website) – 415 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, CA 93924 (Google Maps)

Please click below to connect with the Bernardus Lodge & Spa:

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More Pictures!

 

 

Thanks so very much to Ko, to Jose for his expert bartending and friendly conversation, and to everyone at Bernardus for such a lovely and memorable visit!  Thank also to Bernardus for the use of the high resolution images!

Please take note that I was welcomed to Bernardus as a special media guest, and that my opinions, as always, are entirely my own.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this article, and Happy Traveling!

#agp