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Ocean with tunnel rocks

We are doing lots of dreaming these days, but there’s just nothing like California dreamin! We’ve got the convertible out, the top down, and we’re heading to Monterey, Big Sur and the Carmel Valley. This rugged coastline sets up an exciting trifecta of places to easily access from the iconic Highway 1 heading south from San Francisco, through Monterey, and all the way down to Big Sur.  Declared an All-American Road Trip by the US Department of Transportation's National Scenic Byways Program, this stretch of coast is one of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring drives around. Grab your golf clubs, tennis racket, wine journal, spa attire, and buckle up- this Luxury Travel Consultant is taking you on the ultimate five-star travel, Cali road trip.

Casa Palmero

rustic hotel with fountain

Let’s start with the elegant, Mediterranean-style estate home, Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach. This adults-only retreat, boasts 24 private rooms, each complete with fireplaces and oversized soaking tubs. In the main house, enjoy the luxurious living room, library, billiard room, heated outdoor pool and complimentary refreshments, at the spacious bar and lounge. Luxury travel oftentimes means personalization, and having your own personal coordinator on property, to customize all of your arrangements during your stay, including breakfast delivery, spa services and other activities, means taking service to the next level. As a guest of Pebble Beach Resorts, you will have exclusive access to The Beach & Tennis Club, that overlooks the famous 17th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links. No trip to Pebble Beach would be complete without a round at the #1 rated public golf course in the US, Pebble Beach Golf Links, famous for hosting the US Open six times. We say every golf lover, regardless of handicap, deserves to play “Pebble” at least once in their lifetime! Make sure you save time to visit the Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Rated Spa, The Spa at Pebble Beach. Not only does this award-winning spa offer an array of innovative, self-care treatments, it is also home to California Skin Institute facility, the largest privately held dermatology practice in California, offering state-of-the-art medical and cosmetic dermatology services and technologies. As a preferred WIT client, you will receive $100 USD resort credit, to be utilized during your stay, which can be used on retail, spa, food & beverage, or breakfast. Upgrade upon arrival and early check-in/late checkout, if available.

Post Ranch Inn

patio overlooking ocean at night

From Monterey, take Route 1 down the coast to Big Sur, for miles of panoramic Pacific Ocean views. Once you get to the iconic Bixby Bridge, considered ‘one of the of the world’s highest single span concrete arches, over 700 feet long and 250 feet high… and one of the most photographed places along the coast’….hello, Big Little Lies opening credits! Our first stop is Post Ranch Inn, situated 1200 feet above the Pacific Ocean atop the cliffs of Big Sur. This is the perfect place for couples to relax, connect and simply take in the sunrise and sunset from their private balconies. Each of the 39 accommodations is a blend of luxury and rustic elegance in uniquely designed spaces. Resort amenities include yoga, guided nature hikes, sound healing experiences, an edible Chef’s garden tour, and stargazing. Let WIT pre-arrange a bike tour for the ultimate picturesque ride! For fans of HBO’s hit TV show, go behind the scenes to Lovers Point Park, Paluca Trattoria, and more, on the “Big Little Lies” Tour. WIT will ensure you see everything along the way, enjoy great food, and at the end, have a car waiting to drive you back to the Post Ranch Inn. Book your Big Sur adventure with WIT for additional resort amenities like upgrade on arrival, subject to availability, $100 USD resort/hotel credit, and early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability.

Ventana Big Sur

hotel in green woods and mountains

Ventana Big Sur, set high atop Big Sur, overlooking one of the most dramatic stretches of coast, this adults-only resort, has just completed a multimillion-dollar re-imagination. Ventana’s 59 guestrooms and suites, and two private cottages, are tucked amidst 160 acres of redwood forest and meadows; each featuring a private balcony or patio, ideal for a couple’s weekend or intimate wedding celebration. Ventana also offers a variety of Glamping options, from drive up luxury sites to deep wood ones. Both options are luxurious and well serviced. For the camp sites, Ventana has the newly launched SurStream- a custom designed mini Airstream that offers hand-crafted drinks, including beer, wine and snacks. We’re definitely onboard with their idea of roughing it!  On property, Ventana has two heated swimming pools, Japanese hot baths and sun decks, one with its own dry sauna. The bathhouse facility and one pool, feature "clothing optional" areas. God, we love California! One of the resort’s daily excursions that excites us most, is the “Soul of Big Sur”, which are all-level guided hikes into the beautiful Big Sur wilderness. We’ll assume these will require clothing! You will experience vistas of the Pacific Ocean, as the California Grey Whale migrates, a wildflower trek during peak season, or chasing waterfalls nearby. Whether hanging ten on the waves, kiteboarding across the Arroyo Laguna, or biking the trails, Big Sur offers the opportunity to explore California’s coast, by land or by sea. We are happy to add in these additional perks with your stay- upgrade at the time of booking, subject to availability, full breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom, $100 USD hotel/resort credit, and early arrival or late departure, if available. While on property, plan a visit to the Spa Alilia, enjoy a therapeutic herbal treatment, that starts with a soothing soak for two in the Jacuzzi tub, followed by an herbal compress wrap and a therapeutic couples massage.  Near and dear to our hearts, is Ventana’s sustainability practices, from property-wide recycling programs and low-flow faucets, to the use of native landscaping elements, Ventana is committed to being a leader in eco-friendly California resort practices.

Carmel Valley Ranch

outdoor patio with lanterns

As we leave Big Sur, we head back up Highway 1 north towards Carmel and head east into the beautiful Carmel Valley. Our first stop is Carmel Valley Ranch, an all-suites resort, set on over 500 acres of vineyards, lavender fields, scenic foothills and old-growth oaks. Carmel Valley Ranch, is all about being active, and as they say, “serious about play”. And play you will, as the variety and number of available diversions, is immense. Beehives, a working farm, garden walks, miles and miles of hiking, falconry, archery, culinary demonstrations at The Market and Creamery, candle and soap making, and wine tasting. Don’t even get us started on the sporty options like golf, tennis, and bocce, a fitness center with TRX, HITT classes, Barre, Cardio Sculpt, plus yoga on the hillside deck, and an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Pete Dye, with stunning views of the valley. There is nothing better than stepping out of your comfort zone while you’re traveling, and trying something new. Each of the 18, newly renovated suites, features cathedral ceilings, travertine fireplaces, comfortable custom-made furnishings, limestone bathrooms and private decks. Executive Chef Tim Wood’s culinary exploits, all include fruits and vegetables from the property’s organic farm. The Valley Kitchen, the Ranch’s signature restaurant, is quite popular with the locals, and billed as “unfussy and uncomplicated”. We love the Morning Farmers Market Risotto, which is chock full of local wild mushrooms, Swank Farms' morning harvest herbs, spring asparagus, Parmigiano Reggiano, and signature herb chimichurri. You know that being in wine country has its perks, and one of those is knowing the sommelier’s wine selections will be regional and well considered. The newly launched full-service Spa Aiyana, is the perfect place to be pampered and find your bliss. Aside from the locally inspired spa treatments, the Spa offers hypno-health and wellness for better sleep, weight loss and mind wellness for less stress, with Dr. Bee Epstein-Shepard, a leader in Hypnotherapy and healing. She'll also teach you self-hypnosis techniques to take home, with a recording of your session for reinforcement. Your stay will come with, upgrade at the time of booking and early check-in/late checkout, subject to availability, daily full breakfast for two guests per bedroom, $100 hotel/resort credit, to be used towards spa, food & beverage, golf and any fee-based activities.

Bernardus Lodge & Spa

lodge lounge with fireplace

Our last stop on our lovely trip, is the Forbes recognized, Bernardus Lodge & Spa. Located in the heart of Wine Country, the Bernardus is a relaxing oasis on 28 acres of orchards, gardens and sun-drenched grapevines. This timeless resort is the epitome of luxury with ranch-chic accommodations that pair classic style with California comfort in their collection of 73 guest rooms, suites & villas. Carmel Valley and the Bernardus, set the stage for connection, with a menu of services to help set the mood. Try the “romance butler”, to arrange everything you need – from rose petals on the bed, to a romantic proposal in the vineyard.  Bernardus also offers some special opportunities, like a day of off-road driving at The Land Rover Experience Driving School. You’ll learn how to navigate steep ascents and descents, pick the right line on side tilts and maintain vehicle control in challenging settings. This is one of only three such programs in the country. Now, if speed is your thing, try Skip Barber Racing School at Weathertech Raceway. They have trained more motorsports winners than any other school of its kind. After your driving adventure, a trip to Carmel Valley wouldn’t be complete without tasting the wines the region is famous for.  Bernardus Winery provides lodge guests with complimentary tasting room passes, and a private tasting with a Bernardus Ambassador to learn all about their world class varieties. From guided hikes fueling your active life, to guided meditations and sunrise yoga, The Spa at Bernardus is a restorative sanctuary to relax and find your center. We love the Tuning Fork Ritual Experience, which infuses the subtle power of vibrational therapy, acupressure and a Swedish-style application of rose oil. WIT guests will receive complimentary a la carte breakfasts, $100 resort or hotel credit and early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability.

And there you have it. We loved taking you along for some fun in the California sun!

At Well Inspired Travels, we love being luxury travel consultants and creating the ultimate experiences for you.  So, pack your digital bags and follow us as we uncover exceptional luxury and wellness focused vacations.  Check-in regularly for our top five-star travel ideas and tips, and as always, we continue to stay strong WIT you!


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