A Slice of HeavenAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Indulge in lush fields of lavender, exquisite food and maximum relaxation at Bernardus Lodge & Spa.
Set amid 28 acres of vines, orchards, gardens and lavender in Carmel Valley’s Santa Lucia mountains, Bernardus Lodge & Spa is a quintessential California destination. Located approximately 2.5 hours from San Francisco, the rustic-ranch estate effortlessly blends its main guest lodge and nine buildings with the lush surrounding nature.
Originally opened in 1999, the lodge reopened in 2015 with a complete redesign in the Monterey territorial-style architecture (a blend of Pueblo and Victorian styles) by Los Angeles developer Ardie Tavangarian of the Arya Group. Rich Italian stonework, mosaic tiles, grass cloth, French oak floors and dramatic chandeliers are scattered throughout in neutral tones amongst pops of oxidized copper and seagrass accents, making guests feel right at home. “Given our beautiful Carmel Valley wine country location,” says Sean Damery, vice president and general manager, “we felt a contemporary residential design fit the surroundings best. Alfresco showers, ambient lighting, multiple fireplaces and inviting fire features—it all works to provide a luxury comfort level our guests expect.”
The expansive guest homes, equipped with Frette-covered beds, hand-crafted copper soaking tubs in private outdoor shower rooms in select rooms, heated marble floors, full living rooms and spacious patios with firepits, make it hard to leave. However, the aroma from dishes being served at Lucia Restaurant & Bar are sure to entice. Led by renowned chef Cal Stamenov, the vegetable-driven menu features fare from the on-site organic gardens paired with top wines from the 15,000-bottle wine cellar. “There is a certain wow factor,” notes Damery. “The white Italian leather, stonework and centerpiece fireplace are all reflective of our locally sourced menu.”
Having just celebrated their 20th anniversary, in 2017 Bernardus Lodge & Spa recently received the coveted Forbes Travel Guide four- star award for the lodge, the Spa at Bernardus and Lucia Restaurant & Bar. Damery notes, “There are only a handful of properties in California that can claim 12 stars, and we are proud to be among them.”