Quail Lodge and Golf Club

 8205 Valley Greens Drive * Carmel, CA 9392 * 831-624-2888


This is a Peninsula Hotels property?  You bet it is, and we were excited to see that they know how to tailor their property to accommodate the sense of place that Carmel Valley commands. 

Gone are the men with little white hats who open the front door for you as you enter.  Instead we found the first Peninsula property to transform itself into an environmentally conscious locale with an emphasis on what you receive for your money rather than posh formal services that do not fit this landscape.  They strive to maintain the quality of the Quail lodge's prior reputation while complimenting the stunning location in sunny Carmel valley, and they've not only succeeded, they've succeeded One Hundred percent.

Set amongst 850 stunning acres of lush fairways, tailored gardens and oak-dotted hills in the sublime pastoral river valley, Quail Lodge has captured the easy elegance of its setting both indoors and out.  There are so many recreational adventures just beyond your villa doors that it's hard to stay inside (but read further and you'll see why it was even harder to go outside).  Every morning we hiked through the oak-forested hillsides, relaxed by the heated pool and contemplated how splendid it would be to play on the championship 18 hole golf course (or a round of bocce, tennis or par-2 executive putting course golf on the 9 links that meander through the property).

We were at first crestfallen when we entered our Villa 403 and we saw that just past the entrance was a room with two double beds.  Yes, it was slick and designed beautifully.  Yes, the beds had big fluffy down pillows on it and faced a sitting area complete with fireplace. Yes, the ceilings soared upward revealing open beams and a lofty, gracious feel...but we haven't slept in separate beds in 27 years and we didn't really want to start now.  While Scott tried to figure out how to push the beds together, all at once Scott heard Michael scream from somewhere else in this enormous villa, "WAIT; there's a HUGE master bedroom back here!" We were like little kids running throughout the gorgeous living room and in and out of the three bathrooms and master bedroom to take it all in when we realized that this is exactly the kind of get-away experience we wanted and our readers expect.

The thing we love about this place is the lack of pretense.  From the moment we checked in at the front desk where the lobby screamed to be enjoyed and the smiling, friendly folks took care of us, to our ability to park our own car close to our residence, we liked the relaxed atmosphere that is exuded here.  A few feet from our car, we walked down a garden path to the front door of our 2,000 square foot home that has been newly remodeled this past summer.  If anyone ever wondered how to bring a 60's ranch into this decade, this is a must see design by Santa Monica based designer Bob Berry.  Traditional lines have been emphasized with contemporary touches so that what you see is an expansive, open and inviting set of rooms that spill into each other to form the whole.

With wood floors throughout, the Villa is dominated by an enormous living room and dining area, centered by one of the three fireplaces throughout the dwelling.  Skylights pour light in during the daytime, and the lofty open beams capture the glow of the fireplaces during the evening hours when the sun turns the environs into golden hues.  Large leather and fabric sofas are in both bedrooms and the living room, creating plenty of options for snuggling by the fire with a good book, or a good companion, or both.

Speaking of snuggling, this property and the city of Carmel (thanks, in part, to the efforts of local Doris Day, who has a home overlooking Quail Lodge)

is completely dog (and cat) friendly.  No need to hide pooch in the car and sneak him in and out at night for a walk.  Quail Lodge welcomes your furry family with open arms, doggy bags and even a flashlight to help you pick up any parting prizes Bowzer might leave behind on the golf course.  We only wish we knew this before we left poor Triple dog home, and we missed out on having him with us to share the fun.

Smartly decorated, there is a hint of native American Indian theme throughout the entire villa with fabrics and throw rugs of bright colors.  Add in oversize hand-carved wooden tables, chairs and bedroom furniture, with a taste of Asian armoire and the eclectic feel is one that exudes warmth and an inviting flair.  A huge table that sits eight comfortably sits in the living room and along with the omnipresent wood floors throughout, it transforms the space from that of a hotel to that of a home.  Myriad books on automobiles (Michael was happy) and such invite you to spend time by the roaring fire and burrow into one of the oversize couches for a bit of a read and a snooze.

Off of the living room is yet another bathroom, this time for guests, that is larger than most main bathrooms in other hotels.  Polished granite sits atop a wooden chest of drawers and it's nice to have this option should friends stop by for a visit.

The master bedroom is huge and wonderful; so much so that we want to stay here for many months, forget many days. It really is beyond generously large and is nearly a perfect square with vaulting beamed ceilings of gray and white.  A soffit surrounds this and all of the rooms for lighting; but the lowered ceilings around the entire edge of the room emphasize the volume created at its center.  The king size bed is covered in beautiful linens and adorned by huge fluffy feather pillows.  Maybe it was the cold nights in Carmel, but all we wanted to do was enjoy all the inviting areas to sleep and sleep and sleep.  A flick of a remote ignited the fireplace in the bedroom as well, and by opening the glass doors, a beautiful warmth filled the room.  More Native American rugs and furnishings rounded out the decor.  With a writing desk between two closets (safe, iron, and other necessities) we could glance out the window at the fabulous landscaping whilst writing this review.

The bathrooms in both bedrooms are enormous.  The master bath sports a mini-tiled floor of rough honed beige supplemented by clean slick tiles of the same color palette.  With an obscured glass door leading to a giant toilet area on one side, and a transparent glass door area to a shower that fits about a ten folks, with a soaking tub and a glass door to private garden patio beyond.  Every morning we would shower with the door open, the sun shining in, and we would have the superlative Crohe brand giant rain-shower head to create a tropical rainforest paradise.

After luxuriating in the shower, a toweling in the sunshine on the patio, and a rest on one of the teak benches proved to be the perfect way to start the day.  

The "green" theme is carried throughout the villas and suites as well with shower gel, shampoo and conditioning coming from a device in the shower. Although the products look generic in such a device, Quail refills it with "Lather Modern Apothecary", utilizing lavender lime moisturizer, mint thyme hair wash and Yuzu Bergamot creme rinse. Who knew that all those partially used little bottles of products at hotels worldwide had to be emptied out by housekeeping staff, disposed of and then the bottles would end up in landfills; the waste of products and containers was brought to our attention for the first time in our travels.  Knowing that we were contributing to the environment by not dragging home millions of bottles, or leaving unused ones around to be destroyed, added infinitely to our enjoyment of this gorgeous spot on earth.  Thank you Quail for educating us on this small but important fact.

Perhaps the best part of this Villa is the fact that windows are everywhere and the views of the green golf links and the Santa Lucia mountain range beyond are just phenomenal.  We checked out all the villas, and 401-403 is truly the best location because it is privately away from the lobby while sporting the best views of the fairways and hills beyond. 

With magnolia trees, oaks and bamboo everywhere, the verdant views beyond are truly magnificent, encouraging us to take a long walk every morning to absorb it all.  After our walk, a coffee on the back patio while relaxing on one of our many teak chaise lounges proved to be a relaxing way to plan our adventures for the day.   

With its perfect location just twelve miles inland from Carmel-by-the-Sea, the weather pattern here is insulated from the cold and fog of the California coast, not to mention the maddening crowd of tourists; a peaceful morning of bird chirping and warm sunshine is beyond reproach.

As a note, we also took a look at one of the suites (every room is different here at Quail Lodge) and it was large and spacious, sporting it's own fireplace, sitting room and patio with views beyond.  If the Villas weren't available, we would definitely opt for one of the suites around the property.

There is a pool at the hotel that is lovely with a nearby gym for those interested in pumping some weights or doing a little cardio to stave off the pounds from all the good restaurants in this part of the State.   

Although the gym sports some lovely views, we preferred to just walk out or Villa door in any direction and soak up the real thing.  If it's a quiet serenity you desire, just beyond the lobby is a gorgeous deck on a pond, an arcing bridge just beyond a water fountain, and the mountains in the background.  Grab a drink and listen to the sounds of nature as your body clock slows down to where it should run without the stresses of our daily routine.

We don't golf, so it's difficult to comment on the 18 hole championship golf course other than to say that there is a lovely golf club, lots and lots of manicured grass everywhere, and views that don't stop.  Add in water features and ducks and it seems like a fantastic way to spend a day.  

At the club, there's a restaurant called Edgar's that offers excellent club food and views.   

Chef Kenneth Macdonald is new to the scene here and he is already bringing new taste treats that both members and hotel guests can enjoy. 

For us, a standout was the flat bread which was delicious.  

With a broad wine list, we accompanied our superb lamb chops with a large red from the region.

We very much liked the fare at Edgar's, and it proved to be a great casual place to hang out after a long day of activities.

What we're also excited about is the beating of the drums that tells us a "celebrity chef" restaurant is soon to appear in the now empty dining facilities of Quail Lodge.  With a 10 on setting, we can't wait for this to open and we will be back to experience both the Villa and the new restaurant at Quail Lodge.

One of the interesting secrets of this enormous hotel property that spans over 850 acres is that they have a gorgeous outdoor wedding location in the hills which looks over the mountains, a tranquil lake and thousands of leafy oak trees.  The venue is extremely affordable to rent for a wedding, and of course the hotel can accommodate all the guests.  With breathtaking views, and nature's ubiquitous serenity, we can't think of a more romantic spot to tie the knot...maybe even The Dining Duo's knot in the future!


1. The Jaguar Land Rover Experience Driving School

Quail Lodge offers the only west coast land rover experience driving school.  Open year-round, the school provides customized off-road driving lessons and adventures activities for all levels that provide elements and terrain that will increase knowledge and ability off-road.   Scott had already experienced the Jaguar Performance Driving Academy in Las Vegas, claiming it to be one of those must-do things in one's life, and so he was looking forward to doing this as well. It proved to be a wonderful companion piece to the speed of Vegas, but more reflective of the slow and steady of Carmel.  

For two hours his private instructor helped him over logs and rocks, down steep descents on a two track-trail, navigate hairpin turns and drive on and off 4 wheels.  Overhead the canopy of trees provided shelter from the sun and created an otherworldly location.  Their dedicated course is composed to provide an exciting outdoor adventure of endless obstacles including ascents, descents, side-tilts, log crossings, and rock crawls.  Scott and his instructor would often times leave the vehicle and study the terrain for intelligent driving choices.  At the end, Scott further challenged his skills by driving through a series of stakes without touching them with the car (or so he told Michael).  

With this under Scott's belt, he's looking forward to the next, more advanced course: There are over 80 acres of hills, descents, wooded trails, sand traps, rocks and other real-world obstacles to explore. These trails will increase skill level and introduce more advanced driving techniques such as winching, vehicle recovery and expedition travel or other topics you wish to explore with your private instructor.
This was such great fun and is an immense thing to do alone, or even better with a group of friends.  The instructor was completely knowledgeable and Scott walked away wanting to purchase a Range Rover and do it again, soon.

Open 9 am - 5 pm
reservations required
1 hour $250
2 hours $400
Telephone: 831 620 8854 

2. Explore your environs

Walk out of the property and take a stroll down the main street until you leave the property, then up into the hills.  Dogs are playing everywhere, people are enjoying nature walks and the sights, sounds and smells of nature are intoxicating.
Walk across the street from Quail Lodge and find a fabulous funky restaurant for breakfast right out of small-town America called The Wagon Wheel.    

Or stroll through the dozen or so antique shops and such picking out some fantastic things to bring home or take to your villa.  There was a bird house shop where the owners built and painted custom bird houses and there were so many choices, we just had to have one. 
Quail Lodge and Golf Club is an absolute must for anyone wanting to explore the Carmel Valley, or just for a reclusive getaway from the daily grind.

Ensconce yourselves into a Villa and never leave. We are counting the days until we return to this beautiful hotel in this beautiful spot in the world.

Appetizingly yours,

Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo

Posted by The Dining Duo | 9:03 PM | , , , , , , , , | 0 comments »

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