Postcard from Samuel Bradley, San Francisco, CA
In July, my wife and I visited Cavallo Point, near Sausalito, which opened in June 2008. The main resort, headed by the same people behind ultra-lux Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, is located within Fort Baker’s historic army parade ground, at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The locale is truly stunning with sweeping views of the bay area, including both bridges, Alcatraz, Angel Island and downtown San Francisco. Upon arrival, we were told that our stay would be all about discovery: opening one’s eyes and experiencing life’s riches. This was easy to do at Cavallo Point.
As is the case with the Post Ranch Inn, Cavallo Point fully embraces the Eco-friendly luxury movement. It was built with the utmost commitment to historic preservation, drawing-on local resources when possible and focusing on sustainability (while also providing a high level of customer service). There are 142 guest rooms and suites, divided into “Historic” and “Contemporary” categories. Our Contemporary Room, a Golden Gate king suite, was located up on the property’s hillside with a nice partial view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an elegant room with Eco-friendly touches such as organic bedding and linens combined with all the modern amenities we wanted (flat-screen TV, fan/central heating and large bathroom w/Jacuzzi tub and oversized showerheads). The bathroom was stocked with lotions and soaps from Bonny Doon Farms, a Santa Cruz based farm that uses California flower and plant essences and natural botanical oils.
The resort’s focus on three key areas—culinary, health and wellness and creative arts—is visible throughout. For instance, there are more than 600 photographs from local and international photographers on display throughout the hotel. An amazing set of photos currently on loan was shot by Gregory Colbert and features African elephants. Murray Circle, the main restaurant, is headed by chef Joseph Humphrey (a veteran of Napa’s Meadowood Resort and the Auberge du Soleil), who has devised a menu featuring California cuisine with a French accent. We had a wonderful dinner which included a variety of small-plate dishes, like heirloom tomatoes served with Yolo county watermelon; dungeness crab prepared with vanilla and jalapeño; and chicken with summer beans and a sunny-side-up egg. Also impressive is the wine program: Murray Circle’s cellar is on it’s way to becoming one of the most extensive in the U.S. with 13,000 bottles and 2,000 labels.
I loved the rugged elegance of the resort and its expansive indoor and outdoor activities. It’s a great place for those who like to combine active vacations with luxury/pampering. Plus, you can bring the family; there’s even a children’s’ menu “focusing on the preferences of younger guests.” Located twenty miles from San Francisco International Airport, the resort is easy to reach. Cavallo Point is a great spot for those who don’t live in Northern California (since we get to enjoy much of the outdoor amenities and beauty on a daily basis), as well as a reprieve for Bay Area looking for a quick get away.
Lay of the Land The Lodge is situated in the heart of Golden Gate National Park, which consists of some 75,000 acres of land, and offers 50 acres of immediate explore-able property. There is a main parade ground, where most of the common area facilities are located, as well as the Historic Rooms. The resorts property expands down to the San Francisco Bay, allowing for wonderful walks to the water’s edge.
Resort Layout The 68 Historic Rooms are housed in exquisitely restored brick buildings, once the officer’s quarters. Each building, arranged in a semi-circle around the main parade ground, features unique touches such as expansive foyers, spacious front porches with rocking chairs, authentic tin ceilings and fireplaces. The 74 newly built Contemporary Rooms are located on the resort’s higher ground, offering truly breathtaking views. Built within a strict environmental code, the rooms are of sustainable design and construction using solar power, radiant heat, renewable materials, organic bedding and linens.
Rooms to Book The Golden Gate King Suite, with a bridge view, in the Contemporary Rooms category, which are again set back on the property, offer more privacy and the best views.
Wellness Both my wife and I enjoyed fantastic treatments at the Healing Arts Center & Spa, housed in a separate, 11,000 square-foot facility that bends into the landscape beautifully. There are eleven treatment rooms, men’s and women’s lockers with steam rooms and Jacuzzi’s, a common lounge with library and fireplace for pre- or post-treatment relaxing, a heated basking pool and indoor herb garden and Tea Bar. The goal of the spa is beyond the normal relaxation experience and also aims to educate guests about healthy living.
Special Programs Acclaimed chefs, well-known artists and wellness practitioners lead small-group/multi-day programs focusing on specific agendas/curriculums. More information on these programs can be viewed at: cavallopoint.com/programs.
What to See & Do There’s just about any activity available in the area, including kayaking trips in the Bay, biking and hiking through the Marin Headlands, hang-gliding, sailing, seaplane tours, walking tours of For Baker, beach excursions, golf, trips to near by Sausalito and San Francisco. There are also world-class museums nearby (De Young, San Francisco MOMA and the newly renovated California Academy of Sciences). There are also great kid-related activities including the outstanding Bay Area Discover Museum, located the Fort Baker property and ideal for young children in the exploratory phase. The Cavallo Point staff is well equipped to set-up just about any activity you might desire.
Know Before you Book “The property is located within a national park which is open to the general public, resulting in a fair amount of general traffic/non-guests on and around the property (quite the opposite of the Post Ranch Inn). Cavallo Point also caters to larger groups and/or small conventions (with 14,000 square feet of adaptable space dedicated to meetings), so again, the property can be busy at times.
The weather in Northern California can be cold, foggy and windy so guests should be prepared to dress accordingly.”
Basics Rooms from $250.
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For advice or information on spa programs or to book a spa trip, contact our bookings department by calling 212-988-2611 or by sending an inquiry.