More about Bernardus Lodge
There is an abundance on vineyards in Carmel Valley. A weekend trip may be able to take advantage of all of them, but I can't guarantee it. You can stay at a hotel in Carmel Valley, or take one of the wine tours from Carmel-By-The-Sea and Monterey (I suggest the MST Carmel Valley-Grapevine Express).
Grab some info about a select few, or just wander through town and stop when you feel like it. Below are the names and websites for some of the tasting rooms/vineyards. Parsonage is my favorite.
Parsonage Village Vineyard & Winery www.parsonagewine.com
Georis Winery www.georiswine.com
Chateau Sinnet www.chateausinnet.com
Joullian Vineyards Tasting www.joullian.com
Heller Estate www.hellerestate.com
Bernardus Winery www.bernardus.com
Talbott Vineyards Tasting Room www.talbottvineyards.com
Joyce Vineyards www.chateauchristinawines.com
Chateau Julien Winery www.chateaujulien.com
Ventana Vineyards www.ventanawines.com
No, thanks. I won't be back
My husband and I wanted to stay in a small, intimate, romantic resort while in Carmel Valley. We chose the Bernardus Lodge based on reviews and photographs. We were disappointed in many respects. When we checked in, we were led into our room by the concierge who showed us a few things about our room. She pointed out the complimentary snacks (a bag of tortilla chips, chocolate chip cookies and a few bottles of water and soda). There was a small piece of brie and four crackers which seemed chincy. We commented to her about the additional resort fee (which was supposed to include gratuities). She quickly told us that she "wasn't allergic to money". We also noted the fruit on the table in a small wooden bowl. It was highly polished and we were sure it was fake! It was real however, and it looked as if it had been there for days or weeks. The bed and comforter were comfy but it was impossible to read using the very dim lights next to the bed. There was your typical armoire with TV and an ok bathroom (poor water pressure in the sink). I expected a more luxurious feel to the room. We were next to two families with young children. Although we couldn't hear them while in the room, it was noisy while sitting on our patio. Why would people bring babies to a place like this??? I had a massage (again, nothing special, just ok). The breakfast was ordinary, although the fruit plate was lovely and very fresh.
Again, our expectations were high and were certainly not met. It felt like an upgraded motel in many respects and I would look elsewhere if you are looking for a quiet getaway.
We just came back from a 3 night stay at Bernardus. I was very much impressed. It's a lovely inn. The service was absolutely wonderful. The moment we checked in they had a bottle of wine and cheese platter sent to our room. There were all kinds of little goodies for us to munch on. The place was very quiet and relaxing the entire time we were there. Concierge made wonderful recommendations for dinner. I highly recommend the Bernardus if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing place to stay and appreciate luxurious ammenities!
Superb Stay - Did Not Want To Leave
My husband and I stayed at Bernardus December 12-13, 2005. We were greeted with glasses of wine at check-in by warm and professional staffmembers. During our stay, we enjoyed excellent dining at its two restaurants; a relaxing spa (with sauna, steamroom, and refreshing teas); a comprehensive fitness room (cardio, weights, yoga equipment, and two TV's); and an inviting room with a fireplace and king bed so plush we were asleep within minutes. There are plenty of treats around the Lodge to enjoy during the day. Since we stayed during the Christmas season, we enjoyed fresh gingerbread cookies, hot apple cider, and hot chocolate in front of a beautifully decorated tree and fireplace. And all of our needs were met with a friendly "We'll see what we can do" from the staff. We were able to park our car in the Lodge's guest parking, which is a convenient and short walk from the front desk. We were also able to conveniently explore Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur from this location. We were also given a complimentary wine tasting at Bernardus' vineyard up the highway. Bernardus is a must stay. We really did not want to leave, and we cannot wait to return.
Bernardus was great. The staff was attentive, the grounds were well-kept, and the room had a nice view and was very comfortable. Unlike some luxury hotels where you have to pay $4.00 if you open the bottle of water in the room, Bernardus gives you many complimentary items (1.5 free bottles of wine, 2 large bottles of water, organic cookies and salsa, a tasting for two at the tasting room and 10% off wine purchases).
It is a lodge, so you should not expect the sophistication or perfection of a Four Seasons-type hotel. At the same time, that comes with its benefits (like free bocce and croquet on the lawn).
I give it 4 rather than 5 stars because it was very pricey (although all the hotels in Carmel are), the gym was just adequate (fairly old aerobic equipment and some free weights), and the large baths really need jets. Strongly Recommended.
Luxury in Carmel Valley
We spent Labor Day weekend at this beautiful, luxury resort and could not have been happier with the accomodations, the staff, the setting -- everything! Upon check-in, a gracious "host" takes you over to a beautiful seating area where you are offered a glass of chardonnay and you start relaxing almost immediately. Then, when you get to the room, you realize why this property is so in demand -- the large marble bathroom, the Frette linens on the bed the beautiful views of Carmel Valley from your balcony all work together to make this one of the most amazing places my husband and I have ever stayed! Our room also overlooked the pool, which was fine in this case, because this is definitely not a place for kids so there were none in the pool area.
Another highlight was our dinner at Marinus, the world class restaurant on the property and it was excellent. My husband and I love wine and the restaurant has a very extensive, impressive wine list. Also, back in the room, they stock your mini bar with "free" goodies and give you two bottles of Bernardus wine for your stay. It was a very romantic weekend getaway and I would rate Bernardus among the very top resorts in the 4-5 star class!
Live the Dream? Hardly.
We found this hotel incredibly dissapointing, especially after being primed for perfection by the marketing verbiage on their website and the raves on this site. We respectfully disagree with whoever compared it to a Four Seasons. We have stayed in Four Seasons hotels all over the world. This property is no Four Seasons.
Mediocrity reigned form the moment we entered. Two black clad twenty-somethings greeted us with "welcome back" although we had not even registered. When we told them we were checking in they poured us a drop of white wine and we sat for 15 minutes in a lobby filled with with self-consciously mismatched pseudo-antique furniture.
While the staff was eager to please, they all seemed young and unsophisticated, adding two extra syllables to our name as they eventually walked us past the immature landscaping around the back fence of the property to our room. (Note:the bellhops and valet parkers are quite happy to accept tips in case you have forgotten, as we did, about the mandatory $20 daily "resort fee" added to the room charge which is supposed to be in lieu of tipping.)
Entering the room we were singularly unimpressed. (We were assured that this was the upgrade we had been guaranteed by our travel agent, only to find out later it wasn't at all.) From this "premium top floor Santa Lucia" room we could see the mountains, but only by lying on the bed or from the small, very unprivate deck with its sad, bare wooden chairs looking over the other buidings and path that the maids, waiters and guests used all day and evening.
The view from the couch next to the unevocative gas fireplace was of the wall of a building a few feet away. The whole place has the feel of a newish condo complex, not a luxury resort. The vistas of the vineyards and wild country so prominently featured on the Bernardus site could only be had from the parking area.
Decor is "generic Mediterranean" with few artistic touches. There were some roses on the desk but nothing on the mantle except two grey books. Some unripe fruit in a bowl on the table. An ugly faux-crackle finished armoire housed the television. The tacky little CD player was uncooperative under the night table. Bed and bathroom were of superior luxury level, but all other furniture was uncomfortable and the room felt cramped. We had to rearrange it to even find a spot to put the suitcase rack. Bedside lamps barely shed enough light to read at night.
A complimentary bottle of local red wine, chips, salsa & gingersnaps were a nice touch. A little piece of cheese and a few crackers arrived 3 hours after we checked in. This unappealing, skimpy presentation did not bode well so we opted out of our dinner reservation at Marinus and drove into town for an simple bite at Piatti.
Clearly we won't go back to Bernardus. Spending top dollar for an exceptional experience is fine, but this place just does not live up to the hype. The truth is that since the Highlands Inn turned many of its nice spa rooms into time-shares we have found no world class hotel on the Monterey Peninsula that does not look out onto a golf course. Next time we'll probably drive south another half an hour and return to Big Sur's Post Ranch Inn, which although isolated, is absolutely magical.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this property. I have stayed there both personally and as an event planner. From a personal perspective it doesn't get any better than this. From an event planner's perspective -- let's just say the staff just doesn't "get it." But I will keep this on a personal level. From the moment you arrive the staff attends to your every need. They are quiet, unobtrusive, friendly, but not overly friendly. In short, just what you expect in a well-trained staff. They greet you with a complimentary glass of wine and the concierge escorts you to your room where a plate of cheese and crackers (along with a comp bottle of wine, comp bottled water and comp snacks) await you. The rooms are plush and very European in design and feel. Each features a huge soaking tub, separate shower, fireplace, balcony or patio and more. The food here is first class and I highly recommend you indulge in at least one meal at the Marinus restaurant. Very pricey but worth every penny. Situated in the lovely Carmel Valley near the town of Carmel, Big Sur and Monterey, this place offers plenty to do and see. However, I was surprised to see that one of the previous reviewers actually brought their young children. Please! Even Bernardus suggests that you don't bring children. This is strictly a place for the adults to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet. There are lovely herb gardens, vegetable gardens, and flower gardens -- but no playground :-)You'll love it!
So So Stay
We recently stayed here for one night for my birthday after hearing and reading wonderful reviews. I was definitely disappointed. First, let me say that the service was outstanding. The people were very friendly from the valet to the front desk and restaurant. But, other than service, everything else was mediocre. We stayed in one of the upper end rooms that had a view of the mountains but it was mostly a view of the parking circle. The room was bland; no warmness or character to the design or color scheme..pretty blah. The bathroom was nice except no water pressure and the tub was standard with no jets. For the price per night, I was definitely expecting more. I felt like I was staying at a standard motel and the price should have been closer to 200 a night at best. We checked out the pool area which was okay except no hot tub. They have a warming pool which was lukewarm water. We ate at Wickets and the food was average. I definitely would not go back ..way overpriced.
We stayed for 3 nights from 5-8 March inclusive. All the staff were very friendly and polite especially in the dining rooms, outside and the valets. Nothing was too much trouble and the rooms were spotless and very comfortable. We decided to have dinner in the Marinus restaurant on our first night and I have to say that having had a particularly mediocre meal at Gary Danko's in San Francisco we were not sure what to expect as that had been rated highly. However there was absolutely no comparison, I dont know whether it was because they had a French chef from Avignon but the meal was as good as any Michelin star restaurant we've eaten in in England or France both in taste and presentation, it really was very very good and we told Sommelier so who was equally well informed and very courteous and easy to talk to - all prime and important ingredients when going to any top quality restaurant.
All in all the facilities, surrounding and staff were excellent and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting that area and should we visit California again I would definitely choose to stay there again.