This is the 2nd post in my series of Mazda Blogger Retreat related articles. As a byproduct of being hosted by my great friends at Mazda, I had the privilege of staying three days at the Bernardus Inn and Winery in Carmel, California. That privilege included enjoying all of the wonderful services, amenities, food, wine and atmosphere the Bernardus is famous for.
The Bernardus Lodge is a 57 room paradise, nestled in the hills and vineyards of the Carmel valley. My room was room #57. The lodge’s rooms are very large and extremely comfortable. My room had a huge bathroom with two sinks, two person tub, huge shower, fireplace, couch, king sized bed and its own private porch overlooking the beautiful landscape.
Above: Bernardus lodge rooms and bocce field.
I would have been content to stay in the room for three days but I was happy to enjoy the rest of the property. I took a nice walk by the vineyards and gardens. I had a great time playing bocce ball (I’d call it lawn bowling, pictured above). I didn’t have time to hit the training room, the big pool or the tennis courts but they’re definitely worth a mention.
One of the best parts of the Bernardus is the spa. I spent a whole afternoon there, being pampered in ways I didn’t even know existed before I got there. The spa offers skin treatments, massages, pedicures, manicures, waxing and more.
You get to the spa about 30 minutes before your treatment, and put on a luxurious robe and slippers in the locker room. For before, after, and between treatments, there’s a waiting room where you hang out, drink water and nibble on fresh fruit.
The spa has its own “warming pool” outside (pictured below), where you can take a refreshing dip. Many of my blogger friends were hanging out by the warming pool, drinking Bernardus wine and eating fruit. I saw someone getting a pedicure outside there too.
My first spa treatment was a full body Swedish massage. The masseuse was amazing and pinpointed knots in my neck and shoulders within seconds. Those knots are a result of hours of blogging, slouched over my laptop. With some special attention, my knots in my neck were gone and the rest of my body was very relaxed and loose.
After my first treatment I had a few minutes to replenish some water before I was “whisked” to my second treatment: Exfoliation. Exfoliation is a process where the dead skin cells are rubbed off your body.
First warm butter was poured on each section of my body that the technician was working on. Then a lavender oil and lavender bud mix was used to brush the dead skin away. The lavender buds were from the Bernardus garden.
After rinsing off all the butter, oil and buds, another oil is applied to the body to replenish the oils lost in the process.
Though I loved the massage, the exfoliation process was about as “feel good” as I could get.
After my spa treatments I spent some time in the warming pool and the steam room. I was very spent by the end of the afternoon but I felt great.
Wine & Winery
In the evening, Bernardus wine makers set up a wine tasting table next to the bocce field. I tested out various versions of the wonderful wines from the Bernardus winery.
I was also lucky enough to spend some time up in the Carmel mountains at the Bernardus winery. There I checked out the barrels, the manufacturing and the fields where they’re growing millions of grapes.
Don’t tell them, but when nobody was watching I managed to sneak into their lab too. It looked like the scientist’s lab from Frankenstein–test tubes, scientific devices, notes, calculators and a periodic table of the elements… I even saw a cool map of all the vineyards (below) and what types of wines are growing in them.
The culinary staff at the Bernardus is amazing. Over the three days I was there, several of the food items I ate were hands down the best I’d ever had. I’m not a big seafood guy, but they had some kind of crab salad that I gobbled up. I had the best pizza ever: goat cheese, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts (fresh picked from the Bernardus garden). I had the best chicken I’ve ever eaten which was marinated in herbs and lemon which were picked on site. Man, even the bacon I had with breakfast was by far the best damn bacon I’d ever had. Speaking of breakfast, I had fresh squeezed cranberry juice too. Yes the berries were grown on site. Oh, how can I not mention the fillet mignon which was so tender I thought I could chew it with my tongue and not my teeth?
The desserts… Oh boy. All of the desserts were hand made, even down to the chocolate truffles. I hate nuts and almonds. But I had an almond truffle that turned me into a nut…..lover. One taste bud overload was the fresh strawberries from the garden, dipped in chocolate.
(I’m going to take a break from writing this post now, since I’ve made myself hungry….. OK break over)
How can this relate to golf?
About a 10-15 minute drive from the Bernardus lodge are three golf courses ranked in the top 50 according to Golf Magazine. You may have heard of Pebble Beach? Pebble is #4 on the list, right behind Augusta National. Next door you can find Cypress point and Spyglass Hill, #2 and #48 respectively.
If you are heading to the Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel area for some golf or just plain vacation, consider staying at the Bernardus Lodge. Your mind, your body, your taste buds and your tum-tum will be inundated with wonderful sensations.