Even on an overcast day, it’s a beautiful drive from San Francisco to the Monterey Bay coast, inland through Hecker Pass and into Capitola. Recently my husband and I did the drive and made a visit to Rosewood CordeValle hotel in for a 24-hour vacation.
The resort is classy, yet casual and was built on 1,700 stunning acres of what was once entirely agricultural land (the area still produces wine, garlic and mushrooms). Environmentally-friendly, the owners of CordeValle signed a land-use agreement with the county to protect the natural habitat and open space. Luxurious wood dominates the California craftsman-style of the entire property, from the vaulted and beamed ceiling lodge to the guest accommodations and Pro Shop.
After checking in, a golf cart takes guests to their bungalows which overlook the hills and golf course. The suite's interior mirrors the warm, soothing colors of the landscape with rich shades of beige complementing the use of Douglas fir. Amenities include a flat-screen TV, wet bar and gas fireplace. The bathrooms come with a dressing area and separate Jacuzzi tub.
Much has been written about Capitola’s share of touristy shops and places to sit outside on the Esplanade and enjoy the view, but probably one of its most spectacular sights to see is its cove of brightly-painted houses. Right next to this architectural rainbow is the Capitola City Beach where sunbathing, swimming, surfing, kite flying, paddle boarding and beach volleyball are de rigueur.
Armida Winery is located in Dry Creek Valley, but they love the atmosphere in Capitola so much, they’ve had a tasting room in the city for many years. With a view of the water, it’s a fun place to sample wine. Try the 2013s Bacigalupi Pinot Noir and the Maple Vineyards Zinfandel as well as the 2012 Poizin Reserve Zinfandel.
Because of the land-use agreement, CordeValle must grow grapes (as was done before Prohibition), and the family-owned Clos LaChance winery located on the property continues the tradition. Clos La Chance is a certified sustainable winery producing over 80,000 cases annually. The winery includes a bocce ball court and three expansive picnic and tasting areas that overlook the vineyard, golf course and foothills.
For golf lovers, head to the award-winning CordeValle Golf Course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. It offers an invigorating test for both experienced players and newcomers to the game. The resort’s Youth Golf Foundation also teaches the game of golf to underserved youth in Santa Clara County. If golf isn’t for you, the resort offers tennis, swimming, a Fitness Center and many trails for an invigorating hike.
Those wanting an afternoon of pampering, head to Sense® spa at the resort and spend time relaxing in the Jacuzzi or steam room before your treatment. Many of the services use ingredients sourced from the surrounding region. The Vineyard Vitality treatment uses products containing grape seed, known for its antioxidant qualities.
When it comes to dining, Capitola Wharf built in 1857, is the prime spot to watch surfers, take in the shoreline scene, and if you’re lucky, catch dolphins swimming by. At the end of the wharf sits the Wharf House Restaurant, a local crowd pleaser any time of day. Along with its tasty food, it offers knock-out views of Monterey Bay and Capitola. The atmosphere is cozy, friendly and nautical. Grab a seat by the window and watch the action onshore and at sea while you eat.
The One Iron Bar at CordeValle is an inviting space to enjoy specialty cocktails, interesting wines and contemporary cuisine. The decadent Maine lobster potato skins and brick-roasted chicken with garlic broccolini are highlights of the menu. Do not pass up the warm beignets with your choice of toppings including caramel sauce, cinnamon sugar and raspberry.
Whether you’re in town for a night or staying for the week, there is plenty to keep you occupied and entertained at Rosewood CordeValle. Plus the quaint town has so much to offer its visitors and new things to discover upon each new trip.