Completing the final phase of a two-year renovation, 14 brand new luxury villas and suites will debut on August 1 at Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley.
Set on their own 3.5 acre property adjoining the lodge, the new accommodations include twelve 1,050 sq ft suites and two 2-bedroon 2,100 sq ft villas.
Each features a private sunning patio with outdoor shower, accessible from floor-to-ceiling glass doors off the bathroom. The bathrooms themselves are works of art, with 2-person, hand hammered copper soaking tubs, mosaic tile and rainforest showers.
The villas and suites also boast double sided fireplaces, facing both the living room and the bedroom. Interiors feature soft sand and celadon tones with warm turned metals and buttery leather upholstery. Artwork, which provides bursts of color in the new accommodations, is by renowned Carmel contemporary painter Patricia Qualls.
Also new for guests this summer is a stunning infinity hot tub, set on a hill above the resort with sweeping views of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
For the ultimate in luxury, Bernardus Lodge is launching a new range of butler services. For example, there is a Bocce Ball Butler, who will set up the game and bring you drinks and snacks. There is a Yoga Butler, who brings water, towels and a yoga mat. There’s also a Movie Butler and a Bath Butler, who will prepare your tub, sprinkle it with rose petals and bring special bath products from the spa.
The new villas and suites bring capacity at Bernardus Lodge to 73 guest rooms and they mirror the “ranch chic” aesthetic found in the open air Lucia Restaurant and lobby—renovated a year and a half ago by designer Ardie Tavangarian of Arya Group—a Los Angeles-based architectural design firm renowned for high-concept interpretation.
From the moment guests enter the lobby of the Lodge, with its contemporary sculptural chandeliers, stacked-slate pillars, and French oak floors, there is a new sense of openness reaching from the palisades to the pool.
In between is Lucia restaurant, redesigned with a terrace al fresco, open dining room, expansive lounge and patio seating under the arbor. Where once there were walls, framed glass panels fold, one against another, to obscure or open rooms that now house the new Lucia Restaurant & Bar. Named for the Santa Lucia mountain range and wine appellation that looms to the south of the lodge, the restaurant includes what once was Wickets Bistro, and Marinus, an elegant enclave known for its tasting menu. The favorite foods on each menu are now incorporated into Lucia’s updated menu.
Still at the helm of the kitchen is renowned executive chef Cal Stamenov, voted chef of the year in 2016 by the readers of Edible Monterey Bay magazine. Using fresh, organic, sustainable ingredients sourced from local “farmers, foragers and fishermen,” Stamenov uses his creative flair to create a menu both classic and contemporary, with dishes that change with the seasons. And early summer menu included these delicacies:
Porcini mushrooms wrapped in Chef Cal’s organic, home-grown grape leaves, Carmel Valley olive oil, and Big Sur sea salt.
Wild blackberry-marinated squab, grilled over mesquite, and served with almond milk risotto, and roasted desert king figs from Santa Cruz.
White Peach sorbet, with local red raspberries and fermented peach juice.
Fresh farm-to-table cocktails at the bar are making Bernardus Lodge a favorite watering hole for locals, especially on Mondays and Tuesdays when there is live music and they offer $8 cocktails until 8pm. Live music is also on the menu for brunch from 11am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Guests interested in private or celebratory dining may reserve the Cooper’s Den—a dining enclave tucked at the end of the lobby and named for the craftsmen who make wine casks—which seats a dozen gourmands for their own private dining experience. Or, the 12-seat Wine Cellar below the dining room, the exclusive Chef’s Table for front-row seating in the kitchen as chef Cal cooks their meal to order, and the Magnum Room, which offers an extensive tasting menu, supported by a 25,000-bottle wine cellar.
In addition to the realization of a whole new concept for fine dining and wine tasting at Bernardus, the property-wide renovation included redecorating all 57 guest rooms. While the restaurant is designed with gourmands in mind the guestrooms cater to those looking for romance or a retreat. Some say the rooms suggest a residential feel, which likely refers to comfort and familiarity, yet these rooms are worth leaving home for. Designed in soothing elemental tones presented in a play of pattern and texture, the guestrooms feature hand-knotted rugs and generous Strathmore seating, silver velvet headboards and mercury glass chandeliers, complemented by contemporary art, reclaimed wood accents and wrought-iron mirrors. The effect is country-meets-casual-meets-comfy-meets-chic. But the feather bed is pure heaven.
“We started with the renovation of the guestrooms,” says Tavangarian. “The property has a beautiful setting but in need of updating and upgrading, long overdue. Connectivity of landscape, from vineyard to olive trees, into the interior spaces is one of our primary outcomes, which transformed and energized the spaces, both from the inside and outside as we created our non-urban country retreat.”
A special redevelopment of the award-winning Bernardus Spa upgrades ambiance and experience, with two new treatment rooms, new flooring and facilities, additional art, and a brand-new “nature to nurture” wellness program.
“Our goal,” says Tavangarian, “was to create a sense of luxury, to create an environment that would provide people with a moment to reflect, to reunite, to recreate themselves.”
Bernardus Lodge & Spa
415 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley — 831.658.3400