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“A wonderful escape from reality” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bernardus Lodge & Spa

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Bernardus Lodge & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   415 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, CA 93924   |  
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Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Carmel Valley
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
138 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“A wonderful escape from reality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

The staff was delightful and the grounds are gorgeous. We stayed for 4 days for my sister-in-laws wedding in December 2012. I was impressed at how helpful and friendly everyone was, dedicated to making your stay an enjoyable one. The rooms are done well and the food was excellent. Loved Wickets Pub and the outdoor fireplace for a nightcap. The Lodge is located close enough to Carmel with plenty to do if you like to explore. There are also hiking trails just a 3 minute drive down the road. We can't wait to return for a longer stay we the weather is a bit warmer so we can enjoy the pool also.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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447 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (99)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Carmel, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

I have visited this property several times for lunch or dinner but never had the opportunity to stay overnight. We chose to stay on Christmas. The hotel was charmingly decked out for the holidays and we strolled the grounds virtually alone. We enjoyed a delicious late lunch in Wickets before checking into our room. We spent the rainy evening in front of our fireplace drinking champagne that we brought and the wonderful Bernardus wine provided in the room at no additional charge. A fantastic spa visit started off the day before we departed. I would recommend this hotel and hope to stay here again myself.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naples, Florida
Level Contributor
73 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

A year ago, we came to Bernardus for the first time on my birthday. I gave the Lodge 5 stars and a glowing review. I sent complimentary emails to the General Manager because several of the staff had made us feel like the we were the most important guests at the hotel and I wanted them to be recognized.

We came back this year for another special birthday weekend and we brought some friends. I was really looking forward to the same magical experience that we had last year and for the most part, our stay was very enjoyable. However, I cannot give it the full 5 stars this time. Here is a breakdown of why:

We were warmly greeted by the porter/ valet parking attendant who took our bags and walked us up to the front door. Here is where the hotel fell FAR SHORT of what we had experienced last year.

The woman who greeted us and took charge of our welcome is named Sydney. She was cordial but not overly warm or welcoming. We were asked if we would like a glass of wine which we accepted and sat in the sitting area. In a few minutes, Sydney came back and said she was ready to show us our rooms. I asked if we could take our time and finish our wine and we lingered another seven or eight minutes. When we were ready, we told her and she asked if we needed 'a tour of the property.' I said yes as our friends had not been here before (a fact that we had just mentioned when we arrived).

The 'tour' of the property was conducted with Sydney walking briskly to our rooms, as if she was in a hurry. My husband and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. We were checked into the rooms without any explanation of the gourmet food items in the room (they are there to be enjoyed and not an additional charge) nor any other information (like an invitation to the wine tasting in the main area that night, or the spa hours, etc.) Not even an offer of 'please let us know if we can do anything else to make your stay enjoyable.' Needless to say, it was disappointing given the level of service we experienced last year.

That first night, Friday,we were heading to dinner and my husband noticed that there seemed to be something going on in the lobby as we passed (yes, it was the wine 'happy hour' that we were not invited to or told about). We went to this last year and had a great time meeting other guests and talking about the wines of the region. When I called and made our reservation, I was told they weren't 'doing the wine tasting' anymore so I assumed, since Sydney had not mentioned it, that that was the case. Not so. This stung and combined with the less than warm welcome we had, I couldn't help but be disappointed.

Saturday during our exploration of the town and the tasting rooms, we were told by a local that the Lodge has a piano player on Saturday night. Sure enough, when we were leaving for dinner on Saturday, the piano player had already begun for the evening. I walked over to the front desk and asked Syndey and Zach, the Front Office Manager, who were both at the desk, why we were not told or invited to the wine tasting. He apologized. Sydney said nothing. I then asked why no one told us about the piano player on Saturday nights. No answer. I asked if there were any other 'events' from now until we checked out that we should know about. There weren't any. I ended by saying that we were very disappointed that we had been told there were no tastings on Fridays and weren't invited when there was one. The response was interesting to watch - Zach was apologetic and uncomfortable. Syndey looked almost hostile and for the rest of the stay, was what I'll call 'resentfully cordial.'

You can read my review from last year to learn about the spa, suite, and general bucolic setting of the Lodge, all of which are lovely.

I also thought it was thoughtful that I received chocolate truffles from Zach with a nice birthday note. It's the little things that make you feel special.

There were a few staff members this time that deserve to be mentioned: the housekeeping staff were friendly, polite and did an excellent job. We were gone for an hour and a half for breakfast and when we came back to the room, it was already cleaned. The turndown service is a nice touch, too.

Erika, in reservations, was a huge help with restaurant information and noting the specific request we had for a foam pillowtop instead of the down that is normally on the bed. She was nice and always prompt in her email responses.

The porters and valet parking attendants were also very polite and helpful ~ our luggage was in our rooms when we arrived and garment bags were hung in the closet. Tim (Dawson?) who always had a smile and kind word for us whenever he saw us deserves a special mention. Tim is what we have come to expect from all the Bernardus staff.

Sadly, though most of the staff was up to the 5 star standard we associate with Bernardus, it only takes one to effectively tarnish what would have been another magical stay. Maybe next year.

Room Tip: We stayed in lower level room 47 which I liked a lot - nice private patio with a hill in front betw...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
91 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013 via mobile

Our 2 night stay at the Lodge was wonderful. The rooms were well set up. We had 2 double beds (rather bizarrely called queen sized in the US), a lovely bathroom, open fire nd outside patio. We opted for the $50 per day included breakfast option, and two plates of food were enough to feed all 3 of us. We did think $8 for a coffee was a bit steep! They made thoughtful touches like stocking the fridge with soy milk when they knew one of us was lactose intolerant. The room rate included all the minibar contents, which we couldn't consume! They even managed to pack our car boot with all the,luggage - which until then had required some back seat space. You pay a $24 resort fee to cover tips except for restaurant staff, which for us Aussies made life easy!

Beautiful setting, really helpful and kind staff made this a memorable stay. We would happily return.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
53 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012 via mobile

My wife and I have spent the last two New Year's holidays in Italy. This year, she had been quietly disappointed that I chose otherwise until just minutes after our arrival at Bernardus Lodge. Starting with the Valets upon arrival the service has been exquisite. The staff at Registration make you feel like dignitaries and present you with your first glass of wine. We are here celebrating our 45th Anniversary and everyone knows our name, is aware of our special occasion and gives us sincere congratulations. The Management sent a premium gift bottle of champagne to our room (which has a private patio and jacuzzi). The furnishings, fireplace and complimentary minibar put the "cherry on the cake." My wife has already determined this is where she wants to be every year. We have been to many great places but Bernardus Lodge has jumped to the top of the list.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Bernardus Lodge is an amazing winery & resort just outside the beautiful Carmel area. Another review said "that is you cant relax here, there is something wrong with you", I would have to agree. We came for a wedding for some very dear and close friends of ours..more on that later. I rated a 4 of 5 as there were a couple minor things that I think did not warrant a 5.

The service was amazing...as amazing as you can get in America that is, but not with everyone. We aren't "money", we don't drive a Mercedes, we didn't use valet parking, and we carried our own bags. We didn't show up in evening gowns and suits, or flash a Rolex, and because of this we (I stayed with my wife and two of her girlfriends) felt that we were treated a little bit differently by some staff members, particularly the women who worked the front desk the entire time we were there. She was blatantly rude to us, as that is where I will leave that. But the rest of the staff was very helpful, and respectful.

We have stayed in expensive hotels before, and I would say that I expected a bit more from this room. Don't get me wrong...it was very nice. The fireplace, the view to the mountains in the morning, the bathroom was unforgettable, and the complimentary bottles of wine were a nice touch. But I will go along with other reviewers and say that the beds were not very impressive at all, in fact, really disappointing. We stayed in one of the two double bed rooms they have, and the full size beds (not queens) weren't spectacular at all. The sheets were very soft, and the pillows were decent, but the mattress at the La Quinta we stayed at in San Fran the night before was just as good. The room didn't have a microwave, but they said one could be brought in at no charge...why not just have one in the room?

I called the day before we arrived, and asked about breakfast. Looking at the Menu, it would have cost $50 for breakfast for my wife and I. So I asked if they have a continental breakfast at all, or if there are some local restaurants close by. She said we could order items a-la-carte and when I asked if we could get breakfast for 6-8 bucks a person, she laughed....literally...and told me "no hun, you are looking at about $50 per two people, even with the a-la-carte items". This was the same girl who gave us an attitude at the front desk. I asked her if there is a fridge in the room and she said just the wine fridge but there would be no room for food. I asked her this as we were going to bring some food to put in the fridge, but we just chose to bring non refrigerated items. When we arrived, the fridge was a good size...and nearly empty, basically a blatant lie. Also in the room, the Iron, looked at if it was 15 years old, it had calcium buildup on all the irons pores, and it leaked.

The property was amazing though. You should easily be able to relax here, though I thought that it was missing a much needed hot tub, but the outdoor fireplace partially made up for it. They had a green that was set up for croquet, which was really cool, though we didn't have time to play.

The wedding was amazing...personal wedding details aside, the outdoor wedding was moved indoor because of the rain. One of the restaurants was transformed into the wedding area which was really beautiful, as they got married in front of the fireplace. The reception was in a larger room behind the main lodge and was set up very nice. The service was pretty great, probably better than any wedding that I have been too. They served all eight-10 dishes on the table at once with 4-5 servers, which was first class. The food was really good. We didn't have anything bad. The tenderness of the steak.....wow!

Overall...it was a very nice and relaxing couple days at Bernardus. Would I stay there again...yes...but only if I am making about 100k a year more. I would rather stay in a luxurious all inclusive in the Caribbean for that amount of money. If you stay and don't plan on leaving....between Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, with Drinks, expect an additional $200-$250 a day on that, in addition to your Minimum $500 room. Would I recommend Bernardus to someone that can afford it, absolutely. It was a wonderful place, with great food and drink, amazing views, amazing wines, and the stay was good.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

Bernadus lodge is a lovely refuge, tucked away in peaceful surroundings. The rooms are very generously equipped (free wine and food when we were there) and very comfortable. The hotel is very tastefully decorated throughout and the staff thoughtful and friendly. The outdoor heated pool was the highlight of the stay!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Additional Information about Bernardus Lodge & Spa

Address: 415 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Carmel Valley
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Carmel Valley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Bernardus Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Majestic, pastoral and artistic, there's no place like Carmel Valley. And there's no better way to tap into the small-town charms than at Bernardus Lodge & Spa-an indulgent 28-acre escape. Tucked away among rolling vineyards and gardens, Bernardus invites you to savor the intimacy of a boutique resort with an epicurean spirit and a soothing soul. Retreat to the warmth of an old friend's rustic-chic ranch estate, where high-touch service welcomes you home. Here's your chance to unplug, unwind and savor time well spent, whether it's pursuing a new interest or perfecting the art of basking in the warm Carmel Valley sun. Stroll our organic chef's garden and watch a true garden-to-table experience. Grab a gourmet basket and find a picnic-perfect spot with your partner. Share a glass of Pinot. Dabble in Carmel Valley's endless pursuits, all curated by our local staff for the ultimate insider's experience. Then sink into the cozy furnishings of a redesigned guestroom open to the outdoors. Relax, reflect, rejuvenate and breathe deep. Bernardus captures the magic of Carmel-and the memories that matter most. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bernardus Hotel Carmel Valley
Bernardus Carmel Lodge Valley
Bernardus Lodge

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