California’s newest entry into the luxury hospitality arena welcomes guests April 6, 2015 with the long-awaited debut of the repositioned Bernardus Lodge & Spa. Following a four-month, multimillion-dollar transformation, the Forbes Four Star 57-guestroom property set on 28 fragrant acres of lavender, orchards and vineyards showcases a dramatic shift in style and interior design. Curated for epicureans and romantics, highlights include the new Lucia Restaurant & Bar under renowned Chef Cal Stamenov, redesign of all luxury guestrooms, reconfigured public spaces with an indoor/outdoor aesthetic, expanded wedding and event spaces and re-envisioned Spa at Bernardus with a deep-rooted wellness and fitness slant.
Under new ownership and management, Bernardus Lodge steps up with an intimate and stylish experience deserving of its surroundings. Shouldered by the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains, the Pacific Ocean to the west and Big Sur just 25 miles south, the Lodge’s ethos redefines luxury and revitalizes the senses. From its sensually-designed suites and new standard of high-touch service, the bar on wine country retreats has officially been raised. Rates start at $515.00/dbl. www.bernarduslodge.com.
NEW DESIGN BY ARYA GROUP, INC.
Los Angeles-based architectural/design firm ARYA Group, Inc., renowned for its high-concept celebrity residential portfolio, is credited with bringing the vision to reality with a rustic-chic ranch estate concept. Clean contemporary lines and warm tones reflect the property’s new aesthetic with rich Italian stonework, mosaic tiles, grass cloth, French oak floors and chandeliers gracing public spaces. With an eye to maximizing its natural surroundings, walls have been replaced with invigorating vineyard views, new outdoor fireplaces have been created and an alfresco dining terrace is now featured. Guestrooms reveal a residential feel with custom furnishings and dream baths for two.
Reflecting Bernardus’ inherent epicurean spirit and soothing soul, interiors are set in neutral tones of olive leaf, charcoal and oyster. Oxidized copper and seagrass accents are matched with punches of aqua and green lichen. Pattern and texture play large roles in the guestrooms with rich hand-knotted rugs, oversized Strathmore chairs, mercury glass chandeliers and antique hand-hewn reclaimed wood accents. Plush silver headboards and contemporary art combined with wrought-iron mirrors, limestone fireplaces and dining room tables deliver a ranch-style feel with an understated casual elegance. Oversized private garden patios, feather beds, Frette linens, complimentary Bernardus wine bar and pantry and twice-daily housekeeping service round out the amenities.
LUCIA RESTAURANT & BAR
Named after the majestic Santa Lucia Range, which provides the dramatic backdrop to the outdoor dining terrace, Lucia Restaurant & Bar debuts with renowned Chef Cal Stamenov and team driving the stoves. The restaurant showcases a vibrant, stylish and decidedly relaxed setting well suited to Stamenov’s style of cuisine. Key highlights include a new 2,300 sq. ft. alfresco heated terrace and reconfigured footprint with expansive new gardens, mountain views and chandeliers. A large fireplace designed from Bagattini Oregon stone marks the focal point of the main dining room with open vineyard views and a mixed-use table layout in rich marble and reclaimed wood. Italian leather chairs, silver wall sconces and oxidized copper accents round out the seductive, earthy design.
The spring menu showcases “California country” cuisine reflecting the chef’s enviable cache of farmers, foragers and fisherman, spiked with sophisticated undertones. Key starters include a Fava-Pecorino-Artichoke Salad with black truffle vinaigrette and local Dungeness Crab offset with sweet pea tendril and Cara Cara orange. Entrees include Stamenov’s signature brick-oven pizzas, Diver Scallop Wellington with a decadent black truffle emulsion, Chicken Fried Quail with pickled vegetables and saffron-horseradish crème fraiche and a seasonal Smoked Sonoma Duck Stew paired with green olives, purple artichokes and rich goat cheese polenta. Prized Wagyu beef and prime rib as well as a daily fresh fish selection round out the menu. A five-course tasting menu is available nightly with wine pairing ($95.00/exclusive). Starters: $10.00 – $21.00; entrees: $20.00 – $52.00.
In addition, Lucia Bar & Patio offers casual fare and a craft cocktail program focused on seasonal, artisanal drinks with 29 signature collections culled from small batch producers. A variety of coveted private dining venues, from the expanded 12-seat Wine Cellar to the exclusive Chef’s Table inside the kitchen and Magnum Room, offer extensive tasting menus backed by an enviable 25,000-bottle wine cellar. Seating is available from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. nightly.
SPA AT BERNARDUS & POOL EXPERIENCE
The award-winning Spa at Bernardus, a sun-drenched sanctuary flanked by two pools and a new hot tub, now features a curated wellness component with a garden-to-treatment philosophy rich in rewards. From couples to corporate retreats, the new road to wellness includes yoga, hypnotherapy, guided meditation, sunrise stretch classes, reinvigorated tennis program, escorted hikes at nearby Garland Ranch Regional Park and programming centered on longevity. Summer plans include workshops in culinary cultivation, boot camps, moonlight yoga and classes centered on the property’s annual lavender harvest.
Boasting two additional state-of-the-art treatment rooms for a total of nine, the full-service spa, salon and 24-hour fitness facility’s new design mirrors the Lodge’s, with an earthen color palette and fresh spin on wellness and fitness. The spa boasts dual eucalyptus steam and dry sauna rooms, a Vichy shower, private couple’s soaking tub and warming pool. A reimagined pool experience features a dramatic new entry, private luxury cabanas, custom pool furnishings and a dedicated food and beverage program.
MEETINGS & EVENTS
Hosting groups of 10 to 150 with 4,300 sq. ft. of flexible meeting/banquet space and 5,000 sq. ft. of lush alfresco venues, the retool included upgrades to all meeting spaces with state-of-the-art technology of the coveted Meritage Ballroom. The Harvest Room, key for culinary events, features an upgraded exhibition kitchen with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, French oak floors with a distinctive contemporary flair.
Perennially recognized by discerning readers of Travel and Leisure’s “World’s Best Hotels” and Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top Hotels” and as well as a Wine Spectator Grand Award recipient (2001-2014), this Forbes Travel Guide Four Star property has long set the gold standard for wine country vacationing. Opened in 1999, Bernardus Lodge and Spa is set on 28 pristine Carmel Valley acres awash with vineyards and lavender and boasts 57 luxurious guestrooms, the signature Spa at Bernardus Lodge, Lucia Restaurant & Bar, two swimming pools, an alfresco croquet and bocce court and 4,300 sq. ft. of meeting space. Woodside Hotels (www.woodsidehotels.com), an operator of a portfolio of distinguished independent luxury properties throughout Northern California, is the new management company for the property, which is located on the Monterey Peninsula, 120 mi./193 km. south of San Francisco and 330 mi./531 km. north of Los Angeles. For information, contact Bernardus Lodge at 831-658-3400 or visit www.bernarduslodge.com.