We stayed for three nights at the Carmel Valley ranch as part of our road trip from San Fransisco to Los Angeles (53, 52 and 16 respectively) - and it's beautiful.
A previous reviewer has described the hotel as 'rustic but modern', and that hits the nail on the head. Our Forest Suite overlooked the golf course - and during our stay was variously covered with the most beautiful deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife. It was as though Walt Disney had provided animal actors to make our stay memorable. As the sun set over the mountains, we stood looking over our balcony for a very long time, taking deep breaths and rediscovering what it means to be relaxed on holiday. And clever planting around the whole of the estate means the Carmel Valley Ranch smells as good as it looks.
The hotel is set on a valley - which means some steep climbs in places. But that's no problem as they provide a golf-cart service for those who don't want to walk. Dinner in the main ranch was delicious. (I know this sounds ridiculous given the skill applied to the overall menu, but the Heritage cauliflower was one of the most delicious vegetables I've had a for long, long time).
We had a good breakfast the first day, but decamped to the local legend that is 'Katy's' for the second - give both a try.
The fitness room is well-equipped with a fabulous changing area, full of everything you will ever need. And even though we stayed in late October, we were able to enjoy the heated pool until sunset. It's set among the most amazing countryside, and the poolside staff were attentive without being intrusive.
We also used the golf course, which has some fantastic views of the valley and good equipment for those whose clubs weren't included in their baggage allowance.
As we said in the title, the Carmel Valley Ranch really puts the 'treat' in 'retreat'.