You know when you walk into a hotel and the beautiful surroundings just make you exhale? Well, that's the feeling I got walking into the reception area of Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel, California. The drive through the Carmel Valley to get there didn't hurt; it has to be one of Northern California's most beautiful areas.
But back to Quail Lodge. It is a low-key oasis set in the valley on a beautiful 18-hole golf course. The main building is two-stories but everything else is built in a very low profile on one level. Given the severe drought conditions I don't know how the grounds still look so green and lush. And there are flowers everywhere.
About the amenities, in addition to the golf course (which seems to do brisk business) there is a nine-hole putting green, bocce ball court, swimming pool, and fitness center. I'm a swimmer, and while I would have been happier with a lap pool, this was the cleanest pool I've ever been in. The water was crystal clear all the way to its nine-foot bottom. The fitness center is divided into three separate, small buildings. One is devoted to cardio, another to weights, and the third is a stretch studio.
The rooms are Fantastic with a capital F! Enormous, our room really was two two rooms--a bedroom and a separate sitting room. There were two large flat screen TVs, and the bedroom had a stone gas fireplace. We arrived in the midst of a heatwave and we had some trouble with our AC, but the staff was diligent in trying to repair it. One technician went as far as leaving a vase of fresh flowers for our inconvenience, definitely a first! The hotel also compensated us for our troubles by comping our dry cleaning bill. If I had one issue with the room, it was the fact that a ceiling fan could have been useful given the tall height of the ceiling. I know it wouldn't have been as aesthetically pleasing, but from a practical point of view it would help circulate the air in the room.
The bathroom was enormous with a separate tub and huge walk-in shower. As a woman I particularly appreciated the tiled bench seat--I shave my legs in the shower and finally had a platform. I can't tell you how many hotel showers I've been in where there's not even a shelf to out a razor on let alone a place to shave your legs!
My husband read in a magazine in the room that the lodge had to make some serious changes as a result of the economic downturn. They undertook a major renovation but to keep costs down, guests are not greets by a bell captain, and there's no concierge. There are no spa services although there's a nearby spa guests are directed to. Guests bring their luggage to their own rooms, which is really no big deal because parking is readily available near the guest rooms. A lovely continental buffet breakfast is served daily with an array of yogurts, juices, fresh fruits, cereals, hard boiled eggs and breads for toasting. Their organic strawberry and raspberry jams are a real treat.
As far as location,Quail Lodge is located in the Carmel Valley but only a short 10 minute drive to all the restaurants and galleries of Carmel-by-the-Sea. We went into town almost every evening to catch the sunset over the Pacific (there's an entrance to the famed 17 Mile Drive right there), and then go to dinner. We can't wait until our travels take us back to the Monterey Peninsula and to the incomparable Quail Lodge.
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