My husband and I, along with three other couples, traveled to Pebble Beach, California, to play the best championship golf courses in the US. We flew into the Monterey airport and rented a car for the drive over to Pebble Beach, which is located between the Del Monte Forest and the Pacific shore.
Pebble Beach Resorts consists of three properties: The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay, and Casa Palermo. We stayed at the Inn At Spanish Bay, which offers 250 rooms. Ours was perfect room had a partial ocean/forest view with a balcony. The room was equipped with plush linens and a cozy, automatic fireplace.
The hotel property is along the golf course with a nice walking trail down to the beach. It has many fire-pit group settings outside to watch the bagpiper play every evening at 5:45. The course is meant to resemble the famous golf links in Scotland. You could test drive four different types of Lexus vehicles for two hours, adequate time to do the famous 17 Mile Drive.
The Inn at Spanish Bay hotel service is best described as “remarkable and unsurpassed” in all my US travels. The concierge was knowledgeable and made everything happen for us. You can choose to have $20 a day added to your bill for general tipping purposes, alleviating the headache of constantly pulling out your wallet (bartenders and restaurant staff were not included in this fee).
For lunch, we loved the Gallery Cafe at Pebble. We enjoyed Roy’s Hawaiian Restaurant at Spanish Bay for a relaxed meal. Spanish Bay has two other choices for American fare. Our favorite restaurant was the Stillwater, Pebble Beach, featuring mostly seafood and offering chocolate fondue for dessert that was a hit with our table. We were able to dine overlooking the 18th hole and watched players finishing their rounds long after the sun went down.
Golfing Pebble Beach is first class. The caddies dress adorably in tartan plaid and offer great tips for playing the course for the first time and adjusting to unforeseen weather conditions. The men liked playing the courses at Spyglass and Spanish Bay, the favorite, as it has a beautiful setting on the oceanfront. Us ladies took side trips and visited the amazing Spa at Pebble Beach, where I had a magical cabernet and passion-fruit scrub, followed by a heavenly fifty minute soak in the flotation bed.
A great side trip is Carmel by the Sea, which is fifteen minutes away and a must-see. This quaint, charming hideaway is surrounded by natural beauty, cool and trendy boutiques, art galleries, and eateries, including the famous Hog’s Breath Inn. The restaurant I recommend is a breakfast/lunch spot called Katy’s Place, which featured twenty varieties of eggs benedicts. Our favorite benedicts were the Sante Fe, with tomato, onion, avocado and spicy hollandaise, and the Lobster or Crab. For dinner, I highly recommend cannelloni at a most romantic restaurant, Casanova. The actual sea at Carmel has lovely clear water and pristine white sand. People were at the beach with their pets and picnic lunches. I was disappointed that I did not see the former mayor of Carmel, Clint Eastwood, but I did see John Elway and William Shatner.
For a more exotic side trip, drive ninety miles down to San Francisco, which is a nice drive if you can avoid the traffic. My friends and I visited Fisherman’s Wharf and the famous Pier 39, taking time to adore the cute sea lions showing off for the tourists. We drove down Lombard Street, the “crookedest” street in the world, and enjoyed a sample of Sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery & Cafe. Our visit included ice cream at Ghiradelli Square, which made the drive worth the while. If shopping is something you love to do, you can literally find anything you may want at Union Square and San Francisco’s Chinatown is great for tourists and the most experienced travelers as well. Buy and sample some of the great exotic fruits at the markets.
Tip: Book early as Spanish Bay and Pebble Beach are always in high demand. Though extremely expensive, golfing at Pebble Beach is a thrill of a lifetime. If one person hires a caddie, everyone in your group gets to share the knowledge and tips of that caddie.
Tip: Even in summer months such as August, jackets and long pants are a must. While the weather in Monterey can be 95, after driving the short fifteen miles to Pebble Beach, the temperature had dropped thirty degrees.
Check out our other California articles: