I love traveling en famille, but before I head out on a multi-gen vacation with our adult kids and their spouses — especially to a luxurious retreat like CordeValle Resort — I make sure to keep the following three rules in mind:
- Make sure everyone has enough private space so they can escape you — the parents. That way they can have a satisfying gossip session about you when they’re alone with their partners or siblings.
- Pay the extra money to get king or queen beds in every room to avoid the resentment that occurs when one young married couple gets stuck with the bunk bed room or the head-banging loft double.
- The key people to please on these trips are the son-in-law and daughter-in-law. Parents have idiosyncrasies that their own kids don’t even notice, but they usually stand out with glaring irritation to a family member not raised with, say, someone who smacks their lips loudly when eating or cracks their knuckles at every pause in a conversation.
Thrilled with being able travel again and keeping the three rules in mind, we wanted a quick getaway with our daughter Madeleine and her husband Jeremy. It had to be in Northern California with an unforgettable golf course for Jeremy (rule #3) and activities for the non-golfers in our group. We wanted a space that would promote both togetherness and healthy separation plus good food… and we wanted a little luxury to launch our entry back into the world of travel.
CordeValle Resort in San Martin, California, an easy hour’s drive for each of us, was it.
The Setting at CordeValle
Just 30 minutes south of San Jose and Silicon Valley, CordeValle, with its glamorous rustic chic vibe, is a world away from the hustle and bustle of technology’s fast-paced epicenter. Its setting in 1700 acres of rolling hills and historic oak trees is Northern California landscape at its most beautiful. The resort’s robust, timbered California craftsman architecture blends beautifully into this landscape, while interior spaces are brightened by CordeValle’s owner’s astonishing modern art collection.
While the golf course takes up a few hundred acres, most of the property has been left in its natural state, and it’s so serene and soothing that we easily understood why Silicon Valley’s hard-driving executives – and anyone else for that matter – find this place so appealing.
The CordeValle Son-in-Law Golf Course
Designed by legendary golf course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. and home to a number of top national golf tournaments, CordeValle is a members-only course, which means you can’t play unless you are a hotel guest. The 18-hole, 7630-yard, par-72 course is always listed as one of the top 100 golf courses in the US, so Jeremy was especially eager to test his skills. Luckily his Silicon Valley start-up pal Colin joined him (we were nailing rule #3!).
The two younger ones walked the course, while my husband (who had played golf three times in his life) and his more accomplished friend Tom enjoyed the golf cart. Everyone appreciated the tips of the caddy, who carted around Jeremy and Colin’s clubs and offered especially helpful advice to my husband, such as “Don’t hit the ball in the sand!” When hunger hit, they ordered lunch, and a golf cart careened over the hills to deliver their burgers.
Tennis, Swimming, Spa, Hiking & More at CordeValle
Daughter Madeleine and I took a tennis lesson since we were both at about the same level of barely knowing how to hold the racket. Tennis pro Benji made us feel like Wimbledon pros with his praise of just about everything we attempted, from juggling a ball to practicing a serve and occasionally hitting the ball over the net. He’s the kind of teacher who can motivate every newbie to go home and purchase their first racket and teaches children as young as 3 using pint-size resort equipment.
We didn’t take advantage of the spa, which has a menu of facials and massages, but thought about using the sauna, steam room and warming pool or large gym available to all guests. Yoga and private golf assessments round out the spa offerings and the outdoor swimming pool is heated year-round. An easy 2.5-mile hiking trail leads off of golf course hole #3 and winds through gently rolling hills shaded by classic California oaks. Henry Coe State Park and Mount Madonna hiking trails offer even more opportunities to explore the area on foot.
CordeValle Resort Keeps Young Children Busy
The babies and toddlers we saw there spent most of their time in the swimming pool, while older siblings split their time between the pool and the tennis courts or bocce ball courts. Golf lessons are available for kids, and babysitting can be arranged through a recommended private service. The resort even has a “game butler” who can set the entire family up with life-size Jenga, corn hole or bocce.
There are three different types of guest rooms, but Fairway Homes are especially ideal for larger family groups and have four king-bedded ensuite guest rooms (rule #2!) connected by an expansive living room and butler’s kitchen with a full-size fridge. Each side of the living room has two rooms that also connect with each other.
If your group is smaller like ours was, we skipped the big living room because we each had our own bedroom with sitting area and fireplace (called Fairway Rooms), a fancy coffee and drinks station outside of the bedroom, spacious bathrooms and a spacious foyer that connected the two rooms. Each room has its own private entry patio with chaise lounges and table and chairs.
Two-room Villa Suites are perched on the resort’s higher levels, and the rooms and their private patios offer expansive views of rolling hills and majestic oaks fronted by a green band of golf course. They have their own private hot tubs and even binoculars so you can see the wildlife, like foxes, wild turkeys, rabbits, hawks, and deer, close up.
All room types can take a rollaway or a crib – including the third more traditional room option, the Bungalow rooms.
Winetasting at Clos Lachance
A 150-acre vineyard and glamorous old-world style winery and tasting room sits near the 6th hole of the CordeValle Resort golf course. Make a reservation through the resort to sample their wines and you’ll be ferried to the tasting room in a golf cart.
Family owned and operated, Clos Lachance’s wines showcase the diverse varietals from the multitude of micro-climates in the Central California Coastal area, crafting Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and more.
Dining in Style at CordeValle
The resort’s fine dining restaurant hasn’t reopened since COVID shut it down, but the One Iron Bar has stepped in. Look for the indoor and outdoor patios overlooking the golf course and scenery beyond. The stellar menu of local fresh dishes takes advantage of the resort’s location a few miles from the farms that grow some of the best produce in the world.
We started our dinner out with West Coast Oysters and noshed our way through other dishes like shishito peppers, Dungeness crab salad and ribeye with creamy fingerling potatoes and confit garlic chimichurri. The weather is Mediterranean near-perfect all summer long, so sitting outside on the patio is a treat. If you choose to sit indoors, floor to ceiling windows look out at the golf green and golden hills beyond.
A more casual restaurant, Lion’s Peak Grille next to the pro shop by the first tee offers a view of the 18th hole while you fortify yourself with breakfast or lunch. Don’t miss the ahi slider that we girls had before our mother-daughter tennis game.
Family Wrap Up: CordeValle Resort Delivers!
When we played bocce ball before dinner our first night, everyone was in a great mood. It was clear that the resort’s activities and the beautiful setting had delivered on rules # 1, 2, and 3.
We have no idea how much the kids gossiped about us after hours in the privacy of their own comfortable Fairway Room, but we’re pretty sure that at least a few of the comments were about how much fun they had!
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