THE LODGE AT CORDEVALLE, lushly set amid 1,700 acres of rolling emerald hills about midway between San Jose and Monterey, includes a magnificent Robert Trent Jones Jr.– designed golf course. Naturally, the resort is a golfer’s dream getaway. But would you want to go there if you think Tiger Woods is the name of a jungle location?
Well, yes. You might go there simply for the hideaway — the chance to relax or romance in woodsy, spacious accommodations amid tree-lined slopes that sweep urban complexities far away. CordeValle, managed by Auberge Resorts, is a private club that opens its facilities to the public. And what facilities they are — 28,700-square-foot bungalows, five 1,100-square-foot hillside villas and three 3,100-square-foot fairway homes. All have scenic patios and modern amenities, like high-speed Internet and DVD-CD players and sleek, sophisticated décor. One feature I particularly liked: Almost all lighting is adjustable, so you can customize the illumination to fit the moment.
Then there are the ever-important pleasures of the palate. Executive chef Patrick Heymann oversees CordeValle’s mouthwatering California-American menus, changing dishes seasonally to optimize the yield from nearby harvests and the resort’s 3-acre herb and vegetable garden. Cuisine is available at the main dining room and terrace, the alfresco grill by the golf shop and the full-service bar. If you and your soulmate are feeling reclusive, you can have your meals shuttled to your love nest via golf cart.
You can also pop over to Clos LaChance, CordeValle’s on-site winery. It’s a family-owned business headed by ex– San Diegan Bill Murphy, and it has been winning more gold medals in tastings than might be expected from a small operation. I especially enjoyed its 2004 Estate Viognier, fruity but not sweet.
For noncaloric feeding of the flesh, CordeValle’s spa offers a range of treatments that alternately awake and relax the senses. They specialize in European-type “kurs,” utilizing mineral waters, herbs, oils and mud. For my skin exfoliation, Rama used crushed grape seeds and a perfect rub. In another treatment, as Eileen unkinked my body, she analyzed its trouble spots and offered tips for a healthier lifestyle.
Of course, if you are a golfer, you enjoy all of the above plus the superb, par-72 CordeValle course, uncrowded and unhurried. It doesn’t require you to use carts, so you and your white-garbed caddie can still walk from hole to hole — and search in the rough for that errant drive — without feeling as if you’re holding up impatient foursomes. You can even have meals brought to you on the course. Before or after your game, bliss out in the bar-lounge that’s part of the 12,000-square-foot men’s locker room, which also includes a cigar room, pool table, steam room and indoor and outdoor hot tubs.
If You Go
Several airlines fly to San Jose, about a 30-minute drive from the resort; the San Francisco and Oakland airports are about an hour away. Guest bungalow for one or two, $675; villa, $995; fairway home, $2,750. More information on The Lodge at CordeValle: 408-695-4500 or 877-255-2626; CordeValle.com.