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Carmel offers respite from holiday bustle


Photo By: Eren Gknar/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Eren Gknar/Special To The Town Crier Deer roam through a field of lavender at the winding entrance to Carmel Valley Ranch. The resort uses lavender in its spa and restaurant.

 

The weeks after Christmas and New Year’s Day offer revelers a chance to regain their strength from the rounds of holiday cooking and frolicking. It’s a good time to relax and get away for two or three days. Throughout the month of January, quaint Carmel quiets down, and a few more rooms become available at the inns.

Monta Potter, CEO of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, boasts about the area’s mild climate – an average of 60 F in January. Point Lobos State Preserve offers coastside hiking and some of the most beautiful views in the region.

Even if it’s cold, there are plenty of alternatives to the beach. Carmel Wine Walk passports sell for $50 and allow holders to taste at seven local tasting rooms via self-guided tour and map. Stop by the Visitors’ Center between Fifth and Sixth streets downtown to buy one.

Potter also noted that Carmel has three theatrical companies, and “there are concerts of all kinds going on all the time.”

The following lodges offer rejuvenating winter specials.

Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch, 1 Old Ranch Road, features packages for the Christmas weary. For those still in the holiday spirit, the hotel’s Spa Aiyana offers a unique $195 Neroli gold massage using resins of frankincense, myrrh and gold.

The Ranch sits on 500 acres and includes two saltwater pools and hot tubs, as well as tennis courts and a golf course.

Choices include booking an overnight suite with daily continental breakfast for two, featuring a one-time $50 activity credit toward tennis, golf or the spa. Suites range from 650 square feet to the two 1,200-square-foot Carmel Suites. Pay the regular rate, but the resort will credit you for half off a third consecutive night. The resort will also credit customers for half off a third consecutive night for a future stay through May 16. Rates start at $325, so this could be a good deal.

Chef Tim Wood’s favorite organic farm-to-table six-course feast celebrates New Year’s Eve 6-11 p.m. Monday. For $145 per person, dishes include Lobster Salad, Winter Black Truffle Risotto and a third-course selection of Sonoma Duck, Filet of Beef or Alaskan Halibut. For dessert, choose from Honey Salt Pot de Crème, Apple Crisp or Lavender Ice Cream (the resort grows hundreds of lavender plants).

Partygoers will receive party bags. Reservations are required, either by contacting the concierge or by calling (831) 626-2599.

The after-dinner dance in the Oak Room is free to all guests, and a cash bar will available. DJs will spin music from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The resort also presents a family-friendly buffet dinner in the Redwood Room 6-9:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve, at $75 for adults and $30 for children.

The menu includes hors d’oeuvres, salads, a sushi display, a raw shellfish bar, turkey, pork loin, truffle bread pudding and a choice of desserts. For reservations, call (831) 626-2599.

For more information, call (866) 405-5037 or visit www.carmelvalleyranch.com.

Inns By The Sea

In Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you can stroll through the shops downtown, Inns By The Sea, a collection of distinctive resorts, offers winter specials.

Travelers can use a promotional code of “20SAVE” for an additional $20 off the best available rate during this off-season.

The inns feature bed-and-breakfast charm and some offer Jacuzzi tubs, kitchens and fireplaces. Most are pet-friendly.

Accommodations under the Inns By The Sea umbrella include The Babbling Brook, Candlelight, Carriage House, Cypress, Dolphin, Depot Hill, Svensgaard and Wayside.

For more information, call (800) 610-3239 or visit www.innsbythesea.com.

For more information and a list of things to do in Carmel, visit www.carmelcalifornia.org.

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