Weekend Getaway: Carmel Valley 

Quail Lodge offers a welcome value in a great location. 

I’ve spent a fair amount of time at Quail Lodge & Golf Club. In fact, just a month before our review visit, I spent a night in a lovely room adjoining the golf course. But since that trip and others were business, I didn’t have an opportunity to really discover the property. But this time, a week after the annual classic car celebrations on the Monterey Peninsula, my wife, Kathleen, and I were invited down to enjoy a relaxing weekend.

Casual Elegance

Quail Lodge is the Carmel Valley’s closest resort to the Monterey Peninsula, and that’s not only convenient for trips toward the coast, it’s a bit cooler in the summer months than resorts just a few more miles inland. Guests arrive at the nicely manicured entrance and after check-in, are welcome to self-park or request bell service. That’s a nice option, especially since we arrived in a factory-borrowed Aston Martin and I was instructed not to surrender its keys. If we had arrived with an electric vehicle, free charging portals are available.

Our spacious room was on the fairway with a furnished patio that was perfect for relaxing after our two-hour drive. We freshened up and strolled a half-mile over to Edgar’s at the golf club for dinner and were both pleasantly surprised with the variety and quality of the offerings. Farm fresh salads were followed with Roast Alaskan Halibut with Castroville Artichoke Relish and Asparagus Risotto for Kathleen while I voted for Braised Beef Short Rib with Yukon Gold Mashed. We paired the surf vs. turf with a Bernardus Pinot Noir to keep the experience quite local.

Classic Motoring

Quail had arranged for us to experience its Moto Rally, an offering where guests choose from a selection of scenic routes and are provided with lunch, wine tasting, and a logo cap and golf-style shirt. They also offer a classic car motoring option provided by Monterey Touring Vehicles for those who wish to add flamboyance to their journey. Our two candidates were parked out front, a 1968 Chevy Camaro SS and a 1994 Jaguar XJS. Both were convertibles, but the Camaro SS, complete with white skunk stripes over Le Mans Blue Metallic got the vote.

I donned the shirt and hat and after a quick Camaro tour, we were handed a classic wicker picnic basket packed with lunch for two. We’ve toured all over the area, including destinations in Quail’s Rally guide, so we concocted our own plan. We motored in unsubtle fashion to Monterey for a shopping errand, then circled back through the valley to Joullian Vineyards tasting room in Carmel Valley Village. There we surrendered our tasting coupons and asked if we could bring in our basket for a bit of wine sipping and dining. They were more than gracious and the Joullian varietals we sampled in moderation were quite nice.

A Golf Finish

After early Sunday services, we returned to Quail to meet head golf pro Katherine Marren for a one-hour lesson. We’ve both chased that little white golf ball around a bit, taken a lesson or two and left the experience feeling like the late Robin William’s characterization of the game. This time was wonderfully different. Marren is a terrific teacher and both of us felt we gained enough confidence to actually play a round. Perhaps that’s our next adventure.

If you play golf, the Quail course is champion level and the fees are as refreshingly affordable as the resort. And if golf or driving vintage cars isn’t your game, you’ll love relaxing in and around the Quail property.

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