Where to Stay in Carmel Valley: Carmel Valley Ranch Review

Vineyards at Carmel Valley Ranch
Hilltop Ranch Suite with King Bed and Outdoor Tub at the Carmel Valley Ranch
Attention all luxury seekers and nature lovers! Are you searching for the perfect retreat that offers top-notch amenities and a pristine natural setting? Look no further than Carmel Valley Ranch.

Nestled in the rolling hills of the central coast of California, this stunning destination has been ranked as one of the top resorts in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. Boasting over 500 acres of lush landscapes, panoramic views, and exquisite accommodations, it’s no wonder why Carmel Valley Ranch is a favorite among travelers.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes this ranch so unique and why it should be at the top of your travel bucket list. From indulgent spa treatments to adrenaline-pumping activities, get ready to embark on a journey of luxury and adventure. So please sit back, relax, and let us give you an inside glimpse into the exceptional experience that awaits you at Carmel Valley Ranch.

Carmel Valley Ranch Swing

Carmel Valley Ranch Bridge
Carmel Valley Ranch Hilltop Ranch Suite with King Bed and Outdoor Tub

Carmel Valley Ranch Review

Carmel Valley Ranch: Getting There & Getting Around

Carmel Valley is one of my favorite destinations on the Central Coast of California. It is a quick 15-minute drive from Carmel-by-the-Sea and less than 20 minutes from Monterey. 

If you’re flying in, you have a few options for airports: the Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) is the closest airport to Carmel Valley. While it is a smaller airport, it is serviced by five carriers, and you can get a direct flight from 11 different U.S. cities, and it is less than 20 minutes away from the resort.

In the past, I’ve flown to San Francisco (SFO) and made a road trip to the Monterey Bay Region. Depending on traffic, SFO can be about a 1.5—to 2-hour drive to Carmel Valley. You could rent a car from SFO and extend your trip a bit: staying in San Francisco is always a good time, and one of my favorite pit stops between San Francisco and Carmel Valley is The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, which is another bucket-list resort that should be on your list.

Regarding getting around, I’d highly recommend renting a car for ease. While Uber and Lyft are available in the area, I’m unsure how reliable or timely they would be. If you’re going wine tasting, ask the resort’s concierge for recommendations for local drivers before your stay, and be safe!

Carmel Valley Ranch Hilltop Ranch Suite with King Bed and Outdoor Tub

Carmel Valley Ranch Hilltop Ranch Suite with King Bed and Outdoor Tub

Blogger Alicia Tenise at the Carmel Valley Ranch in the Hilltop Ranch Suite with King Bed and Outdoor Tub

Carmel Valley Ranch: Rooms & Suites

One thing that I love about the Carmel Valley Ranch? All of the rooms are incredibly spacious, and most of the rooms available are suites.

There are many suite options and a few spacious studio options as well. I booked my room using Hyatt points and opted for the Vineyard Oak Studio with King and Outdoor Tub since my partner and I were traveling alone. This room was 700 sq feet and could accommodate up to three people, but if you want even more space, they have suites that can comfortably fit six people, including two-bedroom suites.

I loved our room. It was quiet, the outdoor tub was an incredible touch, we had a private deck to enjoy, and our room had a fireplace accessible indoors and outdoors. The only con I have is that the bathroom was slightly dated, but overall, I’d give it a 9.5/10. 

Valley Kitchen at Carmel Valley Ranch

Valley Kitchen Restaurant at Carmel Valley Ranch
Smores at Carmel Valley Ranch

Valley Kitchen at Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch: Dining

This resort is home to a few casual dining concepts and one signature restaurant: Valley Kitchen

While there are many nearby restaurants in Carmel Valley and Carmel-by-the-Sea, I highly recommend dining at the Valley Kitchen during your stay. This restaurant uses many fresh ingredients from its own ranch or other local California producers, and it is a magnificent farm-to-table experience from start to finish. If the weather’s nice, go for a table outside, or ask for a spot near the windows to enjoy a dinner with a view. Reservations are recommended.

I also really enjoyed The Market & Creamery, which offered quick grab-and-go meals, snacks, and wine at a very reasonable price. I didn’t have much time to explore their other casual concepts, The Clubhouse Grill and River Ranch Cafe, but it’s nice to have so much variety of cuisine types and price points.

Popular U.S. Travel Blogger Alicia Tenise at the Carmel Valley Ranch

Goats at the Carmel Valley Ranch

The Swing at the Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch: Amenities & Activities

No matter your age, there’s plenty to do at the Carmel Valley Ranch. This resort is on a working ranch and has a robust activities calendar, in addition to the pools, tennis courts, golf courses, and many more amenities. 


Hilltop Meet and Greet: If you’re an animal lover, you will want to sign up for one of these daily tours! At the Hilltop Meet and Greet, you meet some of the ranch animals and the team that cares for them, including cows, goats, and more. This educational experience is a complimentary activity that requires no bookings. 

Fitness Classes: Pack your workout gear: this resort offers several complimentary fitness classes, from yoga to barre, pilates to cycling, and much more. Make sure to book your spot a week in advance.

Cheese Tasting: The Cheese Tasting is another free activity at Carmel Valley Ranch. It’s first come, first serve, and you can try cheeses made with milk from the property’s goats.

Hiking: Bring your walking shoes and enjoy some of the trails on the property. You can take some hikes on your own or join a guided tour.

Bees and Honey: The ranch is home to an apiary, and multiple experiences involving beekeeping and honey are available on-site. You can learn more about beekeeping in The Bee’s Life Experience, have your little ones learn more about nature’s pollinations with What The Buzz, or, for the foodies, enjoy an Infused Honey Tasting. You can even craft your own natural candle with the local beeswax at the Beeswax Bounty

These are only a handful of activities available on the property. I recommend looking at the full list and making any necessary bookings before your stay!


In addition to the many activities available at the resort, Carmel Valley Ranch also has the following amenities:

  • Three pools (one family-friendly) and a splash zone
  • One of the top-ranked resort golf courses in the country
  • Spa and Fitness Center
  • Concierge
  • Pet-Friendly

Pasonage Winery Carmel Valley Village

Other Things to Do in Carmel Valley

You don’t have a real reason to leave the resort, but there’s plenty to do outside Carmel Valley Ranch. If you’re a wine lover, I recommend visiting the tasting rooms in Carmel Valley, a short drive away. You can view my top Carmel Valley tasting room picks here.

You’re also close to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, which have plenty of activities, such as shopping and dining.

Final Thoughts

This is easily one of the most memorable resorts I’ve stayed in, and it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list. The staff was kind and accommodating, the rooms were luxurious, and there was much to do on the property. It’s perfect for a couple’s retreat, a family vacation, or a trip with friends.

I wish I had stayed longer than a couple of nights here, but I’m already planning my next visit to enjoy more activities the resort offers!

Photos by Tom McGovern

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Leave a Comment


  1. Krista wrote:

    Wow. This place looks like a dream! Your photos are beautiful too!

    Posted 4.3.24 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      Thank you!

      Posted 4.5.24 Reply
  2. shorouq wrote:

    Wow wonderful, its so interesting 😍

    Posted 4.3.24 Reply
  3. Steph wrote:

    Wow this place looks fantastic! And the goats are a bonus!!

    Posted 4.5.24 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      We love goats over here!

      Posted 4.5.24 Reply
  4. Shreya wrote:

    What a wonderful place for a retreat! Looks very relaxing, perfect for a getaway.

    Posted 4.5.24 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      It is truly a dream!!

      Posted 4.6.24 Reply