Our Anniversary weekend was a mixed experience. I'd also hoped to learn about the property as a venue for corporate events.
The real challenge faced by this resort - the thing that would keep me from booking again very soon, or booking for an event - is the food.
It's a gorgeous facility. The rooms are among the best appointed you can find in a Northern California resort. So if your goal is to have a romantic weekend in your room, it might work very well for you. If you don't golf, however, there's not much to do beyond the spa which is pretty. The outdooor pool is pretty.
I've seen complaints about service. We found it attentive and caring. Dining staff in particular were warm and charming. I had a special request from the kitchen that was met with enthusiasm in the kitchen - that was unusual and really lovely.
The reason for 4 stars in lieu of 5 is that the menu and execution in the main dining venue is seriously sub par. I was delighted that a sous chef was keen enough to try a simple soup recipe I had a craving for - huge kudos to him for trying it, and getting it nearly right . But the regular menu and its execution have real challenges.
We dined primarily at the One Iron Grill. Both dining rooms are managed by the same kitchen - where I'm told the chef does primarily "Italian."
Husband and I eat out often, all over the Bay Area, from formal to food truck and everything in between. We believe that high end resorts should be able to accommodate a sophisticated palate. A resort at this level should do better than "hotel food."
Basically, a sophisticated palate won't be happy at CordeValle right now and that's a problem because there's nowhere else to eat. With the exception of a barbeque item and an aioli that's used in several dishes, "bland" rules the day. Execution, too, is wobbly.
Some things work well (little Beignets for dessert were lovely, pastries at breakfast etc.). Home-fried potato chips served at the bar and brought to the table after you order are fun and tasty. But mostly, expensive ingredients are all treated with kid gloves. Soups offered on our nights were all creamy and barely seasoned.
The menu looks designed to appeal to guests afraid of intense flavor. Could that be the case, we wondered? Is CordeValle intentionally stripping any regional or ethnic influence out of the menu?
Is this a menu designed for executive golfers from places where food isn't a "thing?" Because it couldn't hold a candle to any good restaurant that we frequent in Silicon Valley - of any cuisine.
Presentation is nice, but who wants an attractively stacked dish if the flavor is wanting? Service was always friendly and accommodating but couldn't make up for the lack of character in the dishes.
Our three nights generated about $500 in food cost. That's WAY too much to pay for subpar food.
Bottom line for us: A beautiful room I'd be happy to visit again, but with no off-site dining available (many miles away), you are totally captive to the resort dining. It's costly, bland and not always well prepared.
I know they can do better. When I asked for an ethnic dish with simple ingredients to help beat a cold, a sous chef jumped at the chance. That attitude is great and the resulting custom soup was remarkably good. Two nights later, I had an iffy tummy and asked for plain chicken soup (not wanting the creamy options). The plain chicken soup was A+ - simple, honest and well executed.
As it's written and executed now, the main One Iron menu is terribly bland and not evenly well prepared. Some items are over complicated, some just not cooked properly (roasted garlic that's meant to be spreadable comes out hard; fritto misto calamari was chewy and oily). Breakfast Huevos rancheros was flavorful but it felt unnecessarily heavy, built cake-like and ultra dense on a thick bed of refried beans.
It looks to me like presentation trumped any consideration for moisture or simple treatment of the ingredients. Traditional huevos rancheros should be looser, moister and less fussy (ask the Mexican line cooks what mama makes at home). A "fancy" dish shouldn't taste less good just so you can make it pretty. Husband's tri-tip at dinner was "Tasty but it came out less than hot and might have been re-warmed." :(
If you're used to Bay Area dining, chance are you're going to be pining for better food.
Facilities: 5 Stars
Service: 5 Stars
Dining: 2 Stars Dinners (wobbly execution, bland offerings) 5 Stars/pastries.
Willingness (by sous chef) to make me soup that I liked: 5 Stars
Execution of Custom Soup: 5 Stars (so the problem is mainly menu planning)
Who knows what these guys could do given a bit of freedom to improvise, or seek inspiration from Northern California cuisine options? One man built Hot'n'Sour soup on the fly and it was a remarkably good approximation - you'd never believe it was possible judging by the menu they're asked to cook otherwise.
Extremely disappointing. We've stayed here 6+ times since opening, always like it - but not this trip (3 nights). Staff is eager - perhaps TOO eager - but in a very superficial way, not sophisticated nor really guest-sensitive. Service has gone dramatically downhill over the past few years. The rooms could use a refresh. And there's no quiet place for adults to relax outdoors - on the bungalow patio, you hear your neighbors (even if they're not loud) and the pool's noisy/busy even some weekdays. It wasn't a relaxing experience and the staff attitude just made matters worse; we even seriously considered leaving early.
We won't be back, despite many years of happy stays. Just not worth it in time nor money.
Stunning! Words cannot describe how beautifully designed the scenery is at this golf course resort. Truly, our weekend there felt like we were staying in the garden of Eden. Small, quiet, amazing spa, all of the amenities you could want. Complimentary cookies, fruit, waters. It is tremendously relaxing with some amazing hikes. Being at the pool felt like being at a resort in Hawaii... warm, sparkling water, helpful servers, good drinks. There is a lovely hike through the hills with gorgeous vistas (a little strenuous at noon, bring water!).
All of this comes at a hefty price. Our two night stay was $1700 which included the room, a 90-minute massage, and two evening meals with mid-price bottles of wine ($150 per in the lounge). There were a few "random" charges, like a service charge for breakfast (which was included in our package). Also, they did a miscalculation of charges when we checked out that was an overcharge of $100, even though we had clarified at the beginning of the stay our expected charges.
We had a super-relaxed, quiet, lovely weekend... I couldn't stop raving over how beautiful it was. With one night being the equivalent of a month of therapy, I'd say it's a good trade!
We were in a bungalow and it was lovely. Our dog joined us, and they greeted her on arrival too! We felt very welcome in a 5 star resort. There is no stuffiness here at all...everyone is friendly and genuine. They attend to every need. I sat in the lobby to wait for someone and in seconds I was being asked if I would like a cool beverage or anything. Very nice.
The food is amazing. Dinner was exceptional, and the view from the patio seating was spectacular. My husband golfed and said it was one of the nicest courses he's ever played, and his caddie was fun and very helpful.
I loved that it was so quiet and in a very remote area. I toured the amazing spa, but unfortunately did not have time to experience it. Next time!
Very attentive staff and friendly service! The resort is gorgeous - perfect in every way. Our bungalow suite was amazing. Ive stayed in quite a few upscale hotels and I have to say the bed and linens they have here made me feel like royalty. Even my husband who ALWAYS complains about hotel pillows actually liked the pillows at Cordevalle. The jacuzzi tub was a definite winner and the view cannot be beat. I can't wait to return!