This review will consist of two parts. First, the place as a wedding venue and second, as overnight accomodations.
The place is billed as a "resort," but is closer to an old west stagecoach stop with bungalows. It's clean, but think rustic. There are rolling hills, lavender fields, an olive grove and livestock (more on that later). You half expect cowboys like the Lone Ranger and Tonto to come riding in at any moment.
We attended our niece's wedding. The bride opted for an outdoor setting in front of an 1100-year old oak tree on the establishment. If you choose this particular option be aware that wedding guests will be making a quarter mile walk from the lobby to the location, or be waiting for one of the infrequent golf cart shuttles. The walk takes you through a well-tended olive grove on a dirt and mulch walking path, which we had the pleasure of navigating wearing semi-formal after a morning rainstorm. Mud is just the thing ladies wearing Prada and stiletto heels get excited about. (Recommend a pair of sneakers for the walk).
Upon arriving at the oak tree, two things come to mind: First, you wait for a horse mounted posse to arrive and hang some outlaw from the tree and, Second, you notice there is a sheep pen filled with a real flock right next to the wedding site. (The sheep pen did NOT appear on the resort website.) Your wedding party will be treated to surrounding rolling hills and mountains, a majestic ancient oak, fields of lavender and the aroma of fresh sheep manure. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: The flock has a guard animal, a full sized llama who got a bit excited about the arriving wedding guests. The llama managed to knock down a flimsy fence and run full tilt through the back of the wedding party with two ranch hands in pursuit. We all agreed that was one incident that will make the family history archives.
After the couple recited their vows (with the sheep chiming in with baahs) and one emergency vehicle siren from the adjacent road, we adjourned to walk a quarter mile to the resort for the reception. The service staff was very attentive and on the ball. The bar could have used another bartender for the crowd, but everyone hustled. The food was well executed.
Not wanting to drive home late at night, we had booked a room for the night. The hotel staff forgot to reset the timer on the grounds lighting around the time change and at 11pm we were attempting to find our room in absolute pitch darkness on a downhill walk on old cracked concrete pathway.. Fortunately, my spouse had a small flashlight in her purse. The room was immense, very basic, decorated rustic, but enough room for a small military regiment. We had two beds for 3 people, but could have easily fit three more beds in it, or 25 college students with sleeping bags. There was a walk-in closet and a room refrigerator. Complete with bathroom and very old (clean) tile, the place was bigger than a lot of Manhattan, NY apartments. We slept well, but wondered if it were a really cold night whether we would have been so lucky.
When we checked out in the morning daylight, we noticed the path lights finally were working. This wasn't a bad experience and I'm glad we didn't drive that night, but if you want great accomodations nearby consider the short hop over to Redlands and stay at the Ayers Hotel. There is a lot of hardscape that needs updating on the grounds. I'm still scraping mud (or sheep by-product) off my dress shoes.
- Also Known As:
- Highland Springs Hotel Cherry Valley