The buzz is back at Carmel Valley’s Quail Lodge & Golf Club, which closed for four years during the depths of the recession and just last year celebrated its 50th anniversary by bringing in all-organic, locally sourced food, luxuriously renovated guest rooms and new water saving techniques on the links.
“We’re not the stuffy old Quail Lodge that people remember,” says General Manager Max Schroeder. “We respect that, but we want to be sustainable for another 50 years.”
Nowadays, the lodge is busy with corporate events during the week and weddings on weekends. Neighbors have re-discovered delicious lunch and dinner dining at Edgar’s restaurant, where executive chef Ken MacDonald believes passionately in locally sourced, organic food. Both the golf course and 9-hole putting green are bustling with peninsula residents, as well as visitors.
“We are trying to get Quail Lodge back into the hearts and minds of the community. We want to be people’s living room and their backyard,” he adds.
The stunning Quail property includes 850 acres of rolling hills, lakes and trails in the heart of Carmel Valley, just three miles from Highway One.
The 93-room lodge was renovated in a warm style inspired by historic California ranches, using the same quality luxury furnishings and technology as the Peninsula group’s other high-end hotels. But tuning in to changing visitor preferences, at Quail they debuted the new “Peninsula Hotels Country Estate” concept, which eliminates seldom used amenities like valets, bellboys and concierges and allows daily rates to be more affordable.
Free self parking, free wifi, free all-organic continental breakfast, with many vegan items, and free nine-hole putting green are all included with no resort fee, making Quail Lodge one of the best values on the Monterey Peninsula.
The lodge is an increasingly popular venue for weddings and just won the Couples Choice award from Wedding Wire—an online marketplace for wedding planners. The Barn at Quail Meadows is their most picturesque wedding site with a large lawn overlooking a lake and backed by an historic barn. Couples especially appreciate that their guests can stay at the hotel and the reception can be held in the clubhouse, offering the same delicious all-organic, local foods served at the restaurant.
Chef Ken MacDonald is responsible for the dramatic changes taking place in the dining room and on the catering menus. The globe-trotting, Glasgow-born chef buys fresh foods from local farms and from the farmers’ market on a daily basis. Everything from his exotic spices to the grass-fed meat is organic. “People want simple, clean, wholesome farm-to-table food,” MacDonald explains in his thick Scottish brogue. (Read more about Ken MacDonald in the winter issue of EMB)
To that end, he is teaming up with Serendipity Farms owner Jamie Collins to plant a 10-acre restaurant garden on the resort property. He envisions part show garden, with a beautiful wedding pavilion, and part functioning farm, growing everything from herbs, fruits and vegetables for the kitchen to flowers for the guest rooms.
The 18-hole, par-71 golf course, designed by Robert Muir Graves, is also adapting to changing tastes and to the California drought.
“It’s important to golfers that we are being sustainable and responsible with water,” Schroeder says. That’s why the back 9 holes are currently closed so that a new, more water-efficient irrigation system can be put in place. In addition, about 25% of the rough on the back nine holes is being pulled out and replaced by drought tolerant plants and non-indigenous trees are being replaced with native trees.
When that’s complete later this year, the first nine holes will shut down so similar water-saving measures can be put in place there.
Once a dairy farm, Quail Lodge & Golf Club was built in 1964 by the late Edgar Haber—a visionary local figure, who founded the Carmel Valley Fire Department and enjoyed playing golf under the sunny valley skies.
Says Schroeder: “Everything we are doing now is designed to sustain Quail Lodge for the next 50 years and beyond.”
8205 Valley Greens Dr. Carmel Valley