Sunday, September 15, 2013

Carmel Weekend and the New Quail Lodge

Do you ever check into a resort and want to transport every detail about your stay back to your own home? I totally had that feeling last weekend at Carmel Valley's Quail Lodge.  The rooms were gorgeous.. I knew as soon as I checked in I needed to savor every moment. I hate checking out when I've got a hotel crush!

I honestly didn't know what to expect of this newly reopened lodge.  When our family was young, we would come here frequently to get away for a weekend. It is set in the most lovely valley surrounded by  mountain ranges and close to our favorite spots, Carmel and Big Sur. It was a getaway that was low-key and relaxing, yet upscale. Our kids have the best memories of playing their 9-hole golf course that meanders among the lodge ground, playing bocce ball and swimming in the pretty pool. We would bring the boys on winter weekends visit Carmel or see the Monterey Aquarium and play card games by the fire at night. When the lodge closed a few years ago we were really shocked and sad.  We felt sure someone would have to buy this fabulous property. Well it's been a while, but sure enough someone did and so we couldn't wait to see what had been done to our Quail. 

Visiting Carmel Valley in May, we saw they just had opened. We have been trying to get down there since. Finally last weekend, we had time and Quail Lodge generously offered us a beautiful suite and a great rate when I told them I wanted to to visit. 

Wow. They exceeded our expectations and more. The rooms first of all, were all I want in a hotel. They are beautiful, fresh and comfy. I loved how they retained the the original lodges' wood and open beam construction and expansive windows and light. A California look with a modern twist is exactly what I want to do to my home. White walls, colorful native rugs and grasscloth wall coverings, leather, rustic wood and iron accents are the vibe here. Throw in comfy furniture, white fluffy duvets and amazing beds and I'm in love. They had it all. (I took a zillion picture so I could attempt a recreation at home.)

Our suite and below the view from our front door.

They thought of everything here. Check out this shower/bath room with it's own private patio below. They have Lather bath products. The fact that we took about 4 showers each should tell you all you need to know. My kids now want a ceiling rain shower. Yeah, me too!

I love touches like this table in the bath for your toiletries.

Having my own mini closet was pretty cool too. (Hey notice I stuck with one palette packing this time? I did black, grey and cream colors.)

 Here was our suite entrance.

Mornings were so beautiful my husband and I walked to get coffee at the breakfast area and caught this bike race right along the path.

Then we'd have coffee and read all the papers on the patio while the kids slept in. The views of the mountains were gorgeous. 

Walking to the complimentary breakfast bar which was really a nice touch the new owners have added.

You can eat inside by the cozy fire...

 Or outside on the sunny deck. Hard to choose. We did both.

The lodge also has a fun lobby bar right off this deck that opens in the afternoons and had live music the night we stayed there.

Quail Lodge  has it's own 18 hole golf course and happily still retained the 9 hole course on the grounds as well for hotel guests. They also have a Land Rover Experience driving course and tennis courts and a great gym with weights, cardio and stretch areas overlooking the pool area.

Wandering around here there's some lovely flora and fauna...We loved the birds, bunny rabbits and cool plants! Everything grows here thanks to the sun/fog combo. 

Quail sits in the start of the sunbelt that is Carmel Valley. The town of Carmel is just 5 minutes away, but is quite foggy many days of the year. Carmel Valley is sunny and warm which I like in a getaway.

You can see on this photo, we were leaving the fog. Five minutes up the road, it is a completely different climate!

Across the street from Quail, just a few steps down the country road, is a small shopping area that has some great stores (check out Tancredi & Morgan- great home decor), and a favorite of my family, Baja Cantina

This auto-themed Mexican restaurant is just a blast. Indoors, it's all vintage car memorabilia and outdoors is a huge heated patio. Food is yummy and how nice you can walk back to your room after dinner.  We love that after a day out. Just another reason we really like Quail Lodge's location.

Kids can have their meals in a car...

We spent some time Saturday in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I can't resist the charm of Carmel. So many fun stops and shops to love..

This bakery and coffee shop is always on our list to stop for a pretzel or even a great caesar salad wrap. My son loves their French Dip. It's a tiny spot on Ocean Street, but worth a stop.

Also on Ocean is my personal favorite, Carmel Bay Company. I always find something to bring home from this 2-story home, garden and what they call, "eclectic living," store- i.e. cool stuff!!

You can find something unique, like these whale platters. This time they got me with their baskets of French espadrilles! So many cute styles it was hard to choose.

My small shopper couldn't wait to spend his pet-sitting money on this log pillow he found there. (He's got a pillow thing right now.) I have to admit it has some sort of pellets that feel really good.

If you walk to the bottom of Ocean Avenue there is the world's most lovely white sand beach where you can see Pebble Beach to the right. We also love to drive along the beach to the left and check out all the unique homes. The fog came in after a sunny morning and enveloped everything that day! You could hardly see the water.

This is why when you travel to Northern California coast, bring layers!  Some poor bride was  having a wedding on the beach when the fog crept in. Days begin sunny then suddenly you can actually see it come in like huge clouds moving down the street!

Still, a drive or walk along the coast is lovely. These plants and fences are typical Carmel.

The fog makes the cypress trees even more dramatic.

I love checking out all the homes when you drive this way.

Some so modern...

My favorites are the beach cottages. Some are quite funky.

If you keep along the ocean front path you will get to the beautiful Carmel Mission. However, right before that is Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch Inn. It's also in a lovely spot and is fronted by an open pasture with sheep grazing. They say he has one black sheep out there!

I have never stayed at the inn, but have heard it's also a fun spot to have a cocktail and overlook the ocean and open space and that sometimes, Clint himself makes an appearance!

This time, however, we were celebrating our 17th anniversary, so we decided to have a special dinner at Roy's restaurant, at The Inn at Spanish Bay, in Pebble Beach. All of these places, Carmel, Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley and Monterey are a five to ten minute drive from each other and easy to get to when visiting the area.

Spanish Bay has a Scottish style links course and a not to be missed outdoor bar with fire pits and blankets. If you come before sunset, you can catch the lone bagpiper. It's always a treat to do this. My kids love the special pretzels and nuts they have. Roy's inside the lodge, is excellent Hawaiian-fusion food and also fun!

Back at sunny Quail, we enjoyed the fire. Yes, you will use the fireplace here. Guarantee it. Mornings and nights are always cool at the Northern California coast.

The boys enjoyed a Harry Potter weekend marathon they caught a bit of.

I tested out my new espadrilles. (How much do you love these sand washed looking wood floors?)

 Enjoyed some quiet time writing at this perfect little desk with a view.

One thing about Quail that's nice is they have kept the relaxed and low-key vibe the property always had. It's a perfect getaway if you want nature plus luxe lodgings. If you need anything, service was wonderful, but this isn't one of those places they follow you all over. You feel some privacy here and that's just the way we like it.

It makes us happy to know a great place was thoughtfully renovated and they retained all that was so good about it while adding some awesome new things as well! I can't wait to get back here.

Hope you can check out Quail Lodge  and Carmel if you are here in Northern Cal!

Thanks for reading!


All photos


  1. I adore that part of the world - it truly is God's country...I could live in Carmel easily. In fact, i didn't bother going to San Francisco and just stayed in Carmel and Big Sur. It is weird how foggy it gets there but it is part of the charm I suppose. I do hope I get to visit soon - you are so lucky to be nearby!! xx

    1. Naomi! Hope you can too. So much to see. I never tire of going and I so feel lucky to be just an hour away.

  2. I can't wait to return to this part of CA Kim, the relaxed vibe is just so wonderful, what a fantastic getaway. I love the eerie fog that rolls in off the sea along that stretch of coastline. How brilliant is that picture of Griff reading the broadsheets, checking the daily markets over breakfast.

    1. Paul, I am busting up here. I know..Grif looks serious about the paper!
      I don't know how I got that shot without them noticing. I hope you get out here again. It's crazy beautiful and so your kind of thing. Love to get together and meet up!

  3. Ahhhh, this part of California is just beautiful. Everyone loves it! This was a wonderful tag-a-long on your anniversary holiday, the pics are great. xx's

  4. Book me in! I'm putting this in my California File, we need to go and this place looks perfect. It's just exactly what I would like, and my kids too. Thanks for the great review Kim.
    Loving your new espadrilles, what an excellent colour combination!

    1. Dani, You would love this place.Thanks I thought that espadrille color combo might be good for fall as well!


  5. Kim - yowza! Too much fun, and Happy Anniversary :-)

    May I use your espadrille photo? (Pinterest board) We are needing to replace some flooring and I too like that wide board sand washed effect.

    This post was so inviting I'm feeling like I may have a suitcase to unpack and laundry to do! Linda

    1. Linda, Thanks. Sure use that. I wish I took more photos of their lovely floors. Want these in my house too! xx

  6. Happy Weekend Kim! What a fabulous remodel of the Quail Lodge. I agree, they kept the comfy feel but added touches of luxury. It looks so fresh and inviting. I love Carmel but haven't been there in years so you are making me want to plan a trip. Carmel Bay Company is one of my favorite spots too. That gorgeous white sandy beach. It's a bit of a surprise right at the end of the drive and so perfect for a walk. Looks like a fabulous trip and Happy Anniversary girlfriend! Our 13th was on the 10th. Have a great weekend!
    xx, Heather

  7. I have not been to see the final reveal of Quail...thanks for the tour...

  8. You know I LOVE this post. I will share it later today.

    I would love to go to this area of California one day, and I'm putting this lodge on my list.

    The whole area is charming.


  9. Happy anniversary Kim! What a gorgeous spot. I adore Carmel Valley and know this area well although we haven't stayed at this resort. Clint E. Inn is gorgeous and I love your photos of the overcast ocean. Yes.. layering is essential:) So glad you got to get away!

  10. I'm going to bookmark this - a great post on Carmel, which we have shied away from because we don't want to stay at a Band B - this new lodge looks so lovely and fresh. very impressed with your cream black and grey color scheme for clothing -t hat's what my Mum does and she always looks good whilst traveling. That modern place on the cliffs is very Sharon Stone's house in that old movie with Micheal Douglas (brain fade, what is that movie?)

  11. What a lovely place - Thanks for sharing.

  12. Looks like a lovely place and a great trip! I just read that you and Adrienne are going to meet tomorrow. I'm so jealous! Everybody is meeting her these days except me, ha ha! I hope you two have a fantastic time and I can't wait for each of your posts. Have fun! XO, Jill

  13. Thanks everyone for the comments! They mean so much. Kim :)

  14. After a hectic week I'm finally catching up on my blog reading and I thoroughly enjoyed this post. What a perfect place for a weekend escape! The décor is so stylish and yet it looks so homely and comfortable too. I love to stay in hotels which give me inspiration for our own home! The sunny deck looks like the perfect spot (it's been raining here for days - our lovely summer is over!) I love those photos of the misty beach and ocean and your espadrilles are gorgeous.

  15. Very nice place. I actually like the fog. So dramatic.

  16. What a delightful visit to Carmel! I spent a weekend at Carmel by the Sea a month or so ago, its such a delight, but I think I would love the Quail lodge too! Thanks for the shopping and munching tips!

  17. Now, I'm even MORE excited!! We're heading up to Carmel by the Sea this weekend. It looks like a place I may never want to leave. What a fun blog post- thanks!!!