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“Great for a family getaway” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Carmel Valley Ranch

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Carmel Valley Ranch
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   One Old Ranch Road, Carmel, CA 93923   |  
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Ranked #4 of 23 Hotels in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Great for a family getaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

As summer drew to an end we decided (somewhat last minute) to indulge in one last bit of R&R with our our teenage kids and dog. I am typically skeptical of resorts since they can get boring, but going to Carmel Valley Ranch turned out to be a great decision. The setting is beautiful, and the expected amenities -- golf course, restaurants, pools etc are excellent. However, for us there were two welcome surprises:
1. The property has trails that lead *directly* to Garland State Park where dogs are allowed on the trails (!) and 2. The resort offers something called the "Bee Experience" which is a delightful introduction to Beekeeping, protective suits and all!

Service is great as long as you understand that your food is likely to take longer to come out than you want it to. There was a mixup with our reservation and the staff was extremely quick to take responsibility and to accommodate us generously. Despite the initial hiccup it was a really fun three days and we all left feeling refreshed and ready to take on our respective challenges.

Finally, a tip about rooms. The ones that are renovated are much better -- the ones higher on the hilltop have better views. If you want to access the trails easily ask for a Bluff Suite.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Flowzat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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980 reviews from our community

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Leicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

We stayed as a grown up family of 5 for 3 nights in August. It was our last stop after a 3 week road trip across Colorado, Utah, Vegas and California and we were looking for peace, luxury and a rest before our long trip back to the real world!

And I am pleased to report that our stay was wonderful in every way.

Before we booked, we were concerned about 2 things: Was the weather REALLY better in Carmel Valley than in Carmel by the Sea just 6 miles away, (and the answer is a resounding yes!) and, this place costs an awful lot to book, are we going to get ripped off like in other luxury resorts we have stayed in where they think it is ok to charge extortionate rates for everything because you are a captive audience (and the answer is a resounding NO!). It could be said that if you are going to book a place like this then cost is not your number one priority but we came away with the view that whilst it cost a lot to book, once on site everything we did was excellent in quality and very very reasonable in price. In other words we felt great value for money, despite the up front cost.

In terms of the hotel itself, it isn't really a ranch at all (it may have been once but not anymore). It is a series of lovely villa's set into the hillsides around a wonderful golf course with lovely walks through the hills, deer wandering through the gardens, great views and a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

There was a mix up with our room booking on arrival and with the bill on departure but the staff were so friendly, helpful and accommodating that it was impossible to get angry and these little blots were more than compensated for by the lovely touches that made us feel so relaxed: complimentary smoors by the fire each evening, open fire pits with comfy chairs in a number of locations around the property to take the edge of the evening/morning chill and to encourage relaxation, complimentary fitness classes as well as free gym usage, complimentary buggy service (the site is spread out over a huge area with big distances between different facilities - but from where ever you are call for a buggy and it is there within minutes with a cheerful driver to take you anywhere you want to go on the property). My son and I are keen golfers (I am keen, he's the golfer!) and we played twice. Excellent golf package available at just $95 for a round with buggy, club hire (good clubs as well), sleeve of balls and as much time as you like on the range and practice green. The course itself was in excellent condition and with the 11th and 13th, 2 of the most stunning holes I have ever played , from elevated tee's so high you felt you needed oxygen masks!

The villa's are obviously different but ours was spacious, luxuriously furnished and decorated, very well equipped, spotlessly clean and with lovely touches like complimentary snack boxes, roaring fires, (gas rather than log, but still lovely to look at and throwing out a lot of warmth)

We had reservations when we booked, but we WILL be back! Can't recommend highly enough!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Julian4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

I loved their website, looks like you're entering Frodo's homeland. Beautiful location, deers on the golfcourse, but everything really ( and i mean really) far away. All things except diner, that you want to do, are only reachable by car! True, their shuttle service is at your back and call, but you don't want your kids of 9 and 7 (who are perfectly able to take a swim for hour or 2 max by themselves) to be more than a mile away without communication and with a shuttle, when they don't speak english, or is that just me?). Room was very nice. Breakfast buffet excellent! Yet expensive. All in all, taking into account tax and fee, our one night stay for 775 USD felt overpriced. I wouldn't do it again.

Stayed August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Esther v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

I stayed at this property with my 3 children, ages 10-21. We had a great time and the service was terrific. There are so many great features of this property, from great hiking trails, a fabulous golf course, wonderful spa, pools and children's activities and a great restaurant.
The rooms were spacious and clean, with a nice deck to relax on.
This is the perfect location to relax and enjoy, with easy side trips to Carmel, Monterrey and Big Sur.

Room Tip: get a suite but one that does not back up to the parking lot, there are truck deliveries very early...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lyonskj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Level Contributor
23 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

We booked in for two nights towards the end of a road trip L.A. to S.F. via Yosemite. Without doubt this was the most impressive accommodation of our trip. A fantastic suite just above the main lodge. As well as the very impressive room we found everything else at the ranch to be top quality, great food, friendly staff and efficient service. I can highly recommend the Bee experience whether you think you would like this or not. I booked it after reading other reviews, certainly not because I had any particular interest in it specifically. I was so very glad we did, absolutely fascinating. The kids pool was also impressive with a nice big pool and hot tub, nice cafe, places to just relax in the sun, tennis courts and basketball hoops, a very well equipped gym and nice changing rooms. Despite the five star nature of the place the owners have managed to create a very relaxed and informal environment that feels very comfortable and inclusive, I fail to see how anybody would regret booking this place.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Tony W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
36 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

My old French master always told us that one should not equate excellence with perfection. This resort is so wonderful, however, that it almost breaks this rule. It is almost the perfect place to stay.
The resort is set in some very beautiful grounds with a stunning golf course, some vineyards and surrounding hills which you can reach through the various trails that run across and around the resort. We would recommend going on one of the guided walks that are available. The guides were excellent and told us so much about the local area, plants and animals.
The room was very nice. We were a family of 4 staying in a twin room with a sofa bed in the separate lounge. Nice big bathroom and lovely gas fire to take off the chill of early morning/evening. We were in the cluster of rooms near the reception building which was very convenient. Other clusters are further away and can be reached by buggy. They may have better views but we liked being near the main facilities. I imagine that this cluster would be a good choice if you have children.
The resort's facilities are excellent providing options for all the family. At the reception building there is an adult only pool and spa. There is also a very good restaurant and outside a night time fire pit for S'mores. My kids love these now, although I think we will struggle to find the right chocolate in Dubai!
There is also a stunning looking golf course which I would love to try once my back injury gets better.
Finally, there is a sports club at the bottom of the resort with a family pool, gym, tennis courts, basket ball court etc. The club also offers many different types of classes. We went to a very good Pilates class, went to the gym and played tennis. My son enrolled in a tennis camp for two afternoons and loved it.
The resort has a lovely informal atmosphere and we found all the staff incredibly nice and helpful.
Would love to come back again. Shame it is so far away!

Room Tip: If you want to avoid travelling too far to reach reception/restaurant ask for a cluster near the rec...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GeorgieA1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
66 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

Location: fabulous. Rooms: gorgeous and huge. Facilities: beautifully designed and not too big. Valets: really friendly and helpful. Restaurant staff: like they were on some drug that made them detached and completely unhelpful.

One of my favorite exchanges:
"Hi, do you have a cheese plate?"
"Yes"
"What's on it?"
"Cheese."
This is a restaurant that's presenting itself as exclusive and fancy (and expensive). We're not talking about Denny's here.

Here's another:
"Hello! Are we too late for breakfast?"
"Um, yeah."
(Silence)
"Okay, do you think they have breakfast items down at the river lodge?"
"Probably."
As we walked through the dining room to take the trail to the River Lodge, we looked around and the breakfast buffet was STILL OUT. People were still eating breakfast. You'd think, at the price you pay to stay and to eat here, the management would empower the staff to say, "absolutely, it's technically lunchtime, but the buffet is still out, so you're welcome to have breakfast."

Wonderful place, but the heavy-lidded, noncommittal bovine staff led us to avoid the restaurant whenever possible.

Room Tip: Bluff suites are wonderful.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank misssnootysnoots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarmelValleyRanch, Manager at Carmel Valley Ranch, responded to this review, August 15, 2013
Thank you for your review and feedback. As painful as it was to read, it makes it possible for us to truly picture how the service (or lack thereof) extended to you fell so far from what we aspire to. I have been here for several years and have been a part of the opening team who has put our hearts into making this resort a special place. So I can genuinely express to you my disappointment in your experience, and offer my sincerest apologies. Thank you for mentioning the positive things about your stay as well. We have many team members who are gracious, heartfelt and genuine, and take time to listen and be thoughtful in their service. I can assure you that your feedback has already been taken to heart and seen as a personal challenge to our team to continuously improve. I would also love the opportunity to welcome you and your family back to the resort. Please contact me personally at 831-626-2548 should that opportunity present itself. Sincerely, Melanie Cooke, Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Carmel Valley Ranch

Address: One Old Ranch Road, Carmel, CA 93923
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Monterey Peninsula > Carmel
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Carmel
#1 Business Hotel in Carmel
#1 Luxury Hotel in Carmel
#2 Romantic Hotel in Carmel
#6 Family Hotel in Carmel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:4 star — Carmel Valley Ranch 4*
Number of rooms: 144
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stunning and relaxing, our elegant Carmel Valley resort is abundant with the natural beauty of Northern California, offering intuitive service and memorable experiences in a striking venue. Savor incomparable comfort, breathtaking vistas, and a delightful array of activities at Carmel Valley Ranch. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Carmel Valley Ranch Hotel Carmel
Carmel Valley Hotel
Carmel Valley Resort

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