The personal service and understated luxury here reminded us of our splurge holidays in Europe. This is the first time we found it in the US. From the time we stepped out of our car on arrival, to the time that we (very reluctantly) had to leave, we felt like we were the most important people staying here. The staff are warm, friendly, generous and eager to accomodate and help you in any way possible.
The rolling green hills, vineyards and laid back beauty of Carmel Valley make it the perfect spot to escape to. It's quiet and feels like you are a world away from the tourist spots of Monterey. The spa is open to everyone, whether you book services or not, and we spent several hours enjoying the warming pool, eucalytus steam room, the sauna and the huge round fireplace in the spa warming room, where we sat and read or gazed at the fire. We also made excellent use of the fireplace in our room, indulging in hours of talking or reading, all the while sipping Bernardus wine. What a lovely time we had!
If You Go Here Are Some Specifics:
1) We asked for the feathertop bed to be removed and replaced by foam; not because we have allergies but because we like a firm bed. We slept very well both nights and found the bed comfy, but my husband still found it a bit too soft.
2) Ask for a room away from the pool or bocce/croquet areas so your patio or balcony looks onto gardens or trees. We had room 48 which was perfectly located - not too far from the spa but also a very private balcony and view.
3) Friday night there was a wine tasting which was hosted by Phillip, who also works at the Bernardus tasting room. Go! We had a great time learning about the wines of the Valley and its history and really enjoyed Phillip.
4) If you plan on using the sauna/steam room, etc. of the spa, you don't have to go in your room robe...each locker is equipped with sandals and a clean, folded robe for your use that day. It was not uncommon to see couples strolling to and from the spa in their robes so the choice is yours.
5) Bernardus accepts pets (dogs) so if you have any allergies, request as I did, a room that hasn't had any pets in it recently. This was a precaution I took even though I was told each room is thoroughly cleaned after pets stay there. Our room was very clean and I am picky about that...no overwhleming fragrances...just a very clean room and bathroom.
6) We brought cheeses, a bottle of wine, and other munchies to have in our room. The rooms are fully stocked when you arrive, so we really didn't eat all that we brought. We didn't even open the wine as we already had Bernardus wine in the room and was given a complimentary bottle of champage and two flutes to celebrate my birthday. This was unexpected and simply wonderful ~ we had come to Bernardus to celebrate my birthday and I had mentioned that when we checked in. All the goodies in the room- wonderful goat cheese with fennel, chips and fruits, Bernardus wine, sweets, coffee, even cream in the refrigerator were a great surprise and we were impressed with the selection and quality.
7) Our concierge was Troy, who was so welcoming and made us feel like we could ask him anything and he would take care of it. If you are lucky enough to have Troy during your stay, he'll do everything possible to insure you have a wonderful experience during your stay.
8) We ate at Cafe Rustica and the Corkscrew Cafe and recommend both. They are in the little downtown section and take all of 7 minutes to get to from Bernardus.