Many niche hobbyists already know The Peninsula’s Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel, California. Car enthusiasts, for instance, have on their annual diaries The Quail Motorsports, and The Quail Best of the Best, when prominent classic car collectors Laurence Graff and Jay Leno join former Formula 1’s McLaren designer Gordon Murray, and others, to select the winner (current titleholder is Tom and Jill Peck’s 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza, coachwork by Scaglietti, authenticated by Piero Ferrari at Ferrari Classiche in Maranello, Italy).
I have always driven to Quail Lodge in a somewhat-anonymous rental car. There is always a thrill at arrival: just under two hours after leaving San Francisco International Airport and driving south down I-101, turn left up into the lower hills, to the spot that intrigued local entrepreneur Ed Haber. In 1960 he bought 109 hectares there for US$10,000, and converted an old dairy into what is now a 93-key resort with lots going on.
Several such globally-exciting happenings are only once a year but, at any time, golf enthusiasts head to the Lodge to play the 18-hole course overlooking Carmel River. Designed by Robert Muir Graves, it is 5,945 metre, par-71 and, as such, many say it is perfect for the walking golfer. There’s an onsite academy, under the care of PGA instructor Katherine Marren, which makes Quail Lodge perfect, too, for parents who want their kids to learn the swing.
Think about a 200 sqm two-bedroom villa. Both bedrooms have pull-out extra beds, real-look working fires, and patios, and the shared parlour has dining for eight. For day-long eating, Edgar’s, for Ed Haber, offers Californian-health in the form of comfort foods, and organic local products. At dinner, at Covey Grill, I would sit outside next to Mallard Pond, and choose a steak flight, with tastes of New York strip, California certified Angus, USDA prime, and wagyu. While waiting for it, choose a Quail Old Fashioned, with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, or a glass of Whispering Angel 2019 rosé, and then, with that beef palette, a glass of local red blend, Bernardus 2014 Signature Marinus Carmel Valley.
General Manager Kai Lerman and the team think of everything here at Quail Lodge (how clever to have turned the former spa into three separate fitness spaces, one wellness enthusiast at a time). Actually Kai you still have, may I suggest, to try to make my stay longer…