California Bound for Summer? Check Out this Cool Carmel Resort!

Manic:  Hopefully life is not as manic lately as the school year is winding down, but for a lot of parents, we become a busy travel agent as we launch into planning a summer get-away (ahhh…how nice does that word sound?!).

Managed:  Remembering that I did an entire California road trip series on this website last summer and since so many of my readers and subscribers are new this year, I have decided to run a few of those travel pieces from last year.  So if you are considering traveling to California, you have got to know about this treasured resort tucked deep into beautiful Carmel, California!

Last summer my family took a scenic road trip that took us from Phoenix through Santa Monica, California up to Carmel, on to San Francisco and then back down again.  It was a wonderful trip that our family will never forget, especially our favorite stop in Carmel.

After a scenic, but long drive from the second leg of our 1700 mile road trip, which was from LA to Carmel, we were ready to get there.  And all we wanted to do was eat and sleep!  So we called the resort two hours before our arrival to confirm that our room was ready and that food was available.  We were surprised to learn that this property only has one restaurant and that it closes at 9 p.m.  So we ordered over the phone and when we arrived at 9:30 p.m., our food was ready!

And when we did arrive, my family of four got our second wind because the resort was lovely, the grounds were scenic and Carmel was simply beautiful!  And the resort that we stayed in….well this is my new favorite place to stay in California!  It’s called Carmel Valley Ranch Resort and it quite simply, rocks!  I’ll let my pictures tell the rest of the story….

 

A welcoming swing greets us in front of the lobby and my daughter is thrilled!

 

My favorite road trip picture as we cross the bridge that leads us to our room.

 

Our room, which turned out to be more like a spacious apartment! It was awesome!

 

Our back porch view. Carmel is beautiful!
The spacious and beautiful grounds.  My camera didn’t capture the wild turkeys and deer we saw in the distance. Very cool!

And this property had a beautiful pool area, incredible food and even a friendly dog named Roxi!  And we met some fun and kind folks from Dubai for after dinner drinks for us and marshmallow roasting for the kids!  A terrific time was had by all!

Roxy helping customers. My daughter fell in love with her!

Yep, we loved Carmel Valley Ranch Resort so much that this part of our road trip turned into to days 3, 4 and 5 because we extended our stay here before heading to busy San Francisco.  It was relaxing, quiet and beautiful and yet, there were plenty of activities for our kids, too.  I highly recommend this resort if you ever visit Carmel.

It is pricy, but we secured a good deal with our American Express card that included free breakfast, a $100 credit towards golf or the spa, a free room upgrade and a 4pm late check-out.  Check with your American Express card services about that discount package the next time you plan to travel.

Stay tuned for my next road trip post.  I will post another one in a few days from last summer’s road trip adventure to give you some ideas on where to go when you visit the beautiful state of California!

***No compensation was provided in any form whatsoever for this travel piece.  The opinions are 100% mine.***

Our Road Trip Adventure, Day 3: Carmel Exceeds Expectations!

     Manic:  After a scenic, but long drive from the second leg of our 1700 mile road trip, which was from LA to Carmel, we were ready to get there.  And all we wanted to do was eat and sleep!

Managed:  Called the resort two hours before our arrival to confirm that our room was ready and that food was available.  We were surprised to learn that this property only has one restaurant and that it closes at 9 p.m.  So we ordered over the phone and when we arrived at 9:30 p.m., our food was ready! 

And when we did arrive, my family of four got our second wind because the resort was lovely, the grounds were scenic and Carmel was simply beautiful!  And the resort that we stayed in….well this is my new favorite place to stay in California!  It’s called Carmel Valley Ranch Resort (www.carmelvalleyranch.com) and it quite simply, rocks!  I’ll let my pictures tell the rest of the story….

Arriving at Carmel Valley Ranch Resort

 

A welcoming swing greets us in front of the lobby and my daughter is thrilled!

 

My favorite road trip picture as we cross the bridge that leads us to our room.

 

Our room, which turned out to be more like a spacious apartment! It was awesome!

 

Our back porch view. Carmel is beautiful!

The grounds and what my camera didn't capture was the wild turkeys and deer we saw in the distance. Very cool!

 And this property had a beautiful pool area, incredible food and even a friendly dog named Roxi!  And we met some fun and kind folks from Dubai for after dinner drinks for us and marshmallow roasting for the kids!  A terrific time was had by all!

 

Roxy helping customers. My daughter fell in love with her!

 Yep, we loved Carmel Valley Ranch Resort (www.carmelvalleyranch.com) so much that this part of our road trip turned into to days 3, 4 and 5 because we extended our stay here before heading to busy San Francisco.  It was relaxing, quiet and beautiful and yet, there were plenty of activities for our kids, too.  I highly recommend this resort if you ever visit Carmel. 

It is pricy, but we secured a good deal with our American Express card that included free breakfast, a $100 credit towards golf or the spa, a free room upgrade and a 4pm late check-out.  Check with your American Express card services about that discount package the next time you plan to travel.

Stay tuned for my next road trip post.  Our next stop was Monterey and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Our Road Trip Adventures: First Stop – Santa Monica, California

    Manic:  Wanted to get away this summer, but didn’t want the cost of airfare and rental car.

Managed:  My family decided to embark on an 1700 mile 10-day road trip! 

Our view of the California Coast on our recent road trip.

When we returned, several friends asked me I would do it again.  Yep, I would!  Our family of four didn’t kill each other and in fact, we had a great time and grew closer as a family. 

Some of you have asked me to blog about our California adventure, so this week I will write about our family road trip that took us from Phoenix to the streets of San Francisco, with several stops in between.  And I’ll tell you the places that we recommend along the way. 

Plus I’ll share some road trip dos and don’ts in my Channel 3 segment that will air this Wednesday.   But for today, I’ll start with the first day of our big trip that took us from our hot home in Phoenix to the breezy and beautiful Santa Monica area.

Our drive took about six hours and we decided to spend only one night in Santa Monica, so we could continue on up the coast to our final destination, which would be San Francisco. 

We stayed at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel (http://www.fairmont.com/santamonica) and we especially loved the pool area, the Fig Restaurant and the hotel spa.  Our day at the pool was nice because we don’t have a pool in our Phoenix home.  My daughter’s trip request was that we stay one night at a hotel that had a nice outdoor pool.  So on day #1, her wish was granted 🙂

The Miramar Hotel pool area also has a ping pong table that our kids really enjoyed.

Since we booked this hotel with our American Express card, we were able to use several travel package benefits and one included a $100 spa credit!  Guess who took advantage of that one?  Yep, yours truly.  I highly recommend the Exhale Mind/Body Spa (www.exhalespa.com).  I enjoyed the Fusion Massage which combines massage practices from around the world.  When I mentioned tummy issues to my massage therapist, she asked if she could work on my stomach and it worked wonders!

We also loved the hotel’s restaurant. If you are ever in Santa Monica, visit Fig Restaurant (www.figsantamonica.com) for the best breakfast burrito around.  All four of us loved the dish, a tortilla packed with eggs, bacon, guacamole and cheddar fries.  And because I was on vacation, I said yes to the cheddar fries that were inside this delicious breakfast entree!  Surprisingly, they weren’t greasy like you would imagine and that is probably because Fig uses all locally grown foods, so you’re getting the best California foods in each entree. 

We also enjoyed dining at Locanda del Lago Restaurant (www.lagosantamonica.com), an upscale downtown Santa Monica Italian eatery that boasts celebrity clientele.  Although we didn’t spot George Clooney, I was able to order The Clooney Artisanal Cocktail which is a grapefruit flavored gin drink that mixes organic liquors with fresh ingredients from local farms. 

However, to drink like the stars, you have to pay the $14 price tag.  I’m happy to report that when I told the waitress that the Clooney was a bit too strong for me, she happily took it back to the bar and brought me a fresh one that was deliciously toned down.  With that, I felt like I was getting star service, so that took the sting out of the price of the drink! 

I loved my dinner which was the Spaghetti alla Scoglio, a pasta dish with mixed seafood and a lightly spicy Arrabbiata sauce.  The rest of my family all had the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, which was a delicious and hearty egg tagliatelle pasta with Bolognese meat sauce.  We all left happy and full.  So when in Santa Monica, if you want to dine where the stars go, try Lago, but be prepared to pay the price for your star-searching taste buds.  Our entrees were around $16 a plate…and they were very tasty, I might add!

We also visited the Santa Monica beach (http://www.santamonica.com/visitors/what-to-do/beach/) before we left town for our next destination.  I was happy to find a clean area complete with several life guards on duty, which comforts me when my kids wade into the overwhelming ocean.  Plus there were easily accessible vendors that sell towels and beach toys and rent out surf boards, bikes, lawn chairs and more. 

I thought it was great that he was running on the beach because the next leg of our road trip would be a long one! So it was good he was stretching his legs!

I wish I had more beach pictures to share, but lesson one from our road trip is to make sure that your camera and phone are both charged before you head to the beach!

Tune in tomorrow for my post about day #2 of our road trip adventure that took us along the scenic coastal route from Santa Monica to our next destination, Carmel!  I promise to have more pictures as I learned my lesson about having my electronics fully charged while visiting Santa Monica, so my camera was ready to go for the rest of the trip.