Resort Central Coast

April 25, 2015


Pullman Magenta Shores Resort

One of the ranch-style wings of Bernardus Lodge overlooks a large heated pool and sundeck.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate

Ben Pon, Bernardus Lodge's original owner, designed the spacious lodgings with sitting areas, fireplaces and high ceilings to make guests feel they were visiting his home, not a hotel.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate

The grounds of Bernardus Lodge include formal gardens and several acres of vineyards used by Bernardus Winery, which founder Ben Pon reportedly kept when he sold the resort last fall.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate

The spa at Bernardus Lodge includes tranquil relaxation areas inside and a heated outdoor pool exclusively for spa guests.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate

Spa tubs and double vanities with stone countertops in roomy baths add to the feeling of spaciousness at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate The atrium in the spa at Casa Palmero is one of the many luxurious sceneries the Mediterranean-styled resort provide to its guests. less

The atrium in the spa at Casa Palmero is one of the many luxurious sceneries the Mediterranean-styled resort provide to its guests.

Photo: John Storey, The Chronicle

The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach is one of three hotels on the resort to make Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List, a list of the top 200 hotels in the United States based on reader surveys.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate Opened in 1919, the stately lodge on the 18th green of the Pebble Beach's eponymous links has 161 rooms, most with wood-burning fireplaces, patios or balconies; five garden spa rooms include private outdoor hot tubs. lessOpened in 1919, the stately lodge on the 18th green of the Pebble Beach's eponymous links has 161 rooms, most with wood-burning fireplaces, patios or balconies; five garden spa rooms include private outdoor hot ... morePhoto: Joann Dost

The cliffside lodgings at the Post Ranch Inn are designed to blend into the Big Sur landscape.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate

The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur is renowned for its discreetly luxurious accommodations, some of which overlook the Pacific - at least on a clear day.

less Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate Ventana Inn & Spa's spacious rooms have high ceilings and high beds, with most facing windows or fireplaces. less

Ventana Inn & Spa's spacious rooms have high ceilings and high beds, with most facing windows or fireplaces.

Photo: Penni Gladstone

Who's good as gold when it comes to lodgings on the Central Coast?

If you ask the readers of Conde Nast Traveler โ€” and the magazine did โ€” a half-dozen Monterey County accommodations rate highly enough to make their recently published Gold List of the top 200 hotels in the United States. That's pretty impressive, considering only one hotel in San Francisco (the St. Regis) made the same list. South of Big Sur, the next closest hotel in the top 200 is the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito (Santa Barbara County).

Here's a look at the Monterey area's six standouts, followed by a list of the region's highest-rated establishments according to AAA, which also announced its annual rankings this month.

: Bernardus Winery founder Ben (short for Bernardus) Pon opened this country manor-meets-ranch resort in sunny Carmel Valley in 1999, a few miles down the road from his winery's tasting room in the village. Behind several acres of vineyards and lush gardens stand a collection of one- and two-story buildings housing 57 roomy suites, designed to feel like guests were visiting Pon's home; two restaurants โ€” the romantic Marinus, a showcase for Cal Stamenov's locally sourced cuisine and an extensive wine collection, plus the more casual Wickets, overlooking the croquet grounds; and the Spa at Bernardus, a graceful retreat within a retreat that often lures day-trippers from the coast.

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