There are places on this lovely planet of ours that are truly special and can bring out feelings of awe that even that hardest person would stop and reflect on what there senses are telling them. California’s Big Sur coast line is one of those places. The gateway to this picturesque coast line is the Carmel Highlands.
Carmel Highlands was laid out in 1916 by developers Frank Powers and Franklin Devendorf. This one of a kind community is only about 3 miles south of the quaint hideaway of the rich, famous and infamous Carmel-by-the-Sea or known simply as “Carmel” by those in the know. Who lives here you may ask? Carmel Highlands has some of the most expensive homes in the United States.
Driving along famed highway one we pass Point Lobos a 3,400 acre nature reserve that features some of the most iconic views in the United States. A quick turn and we see our destination. The 4 star Hyatt Carmel Highlands Resort and Spa.
Pulling into the porte-cochère we were greeted by our footman who directed us to the lobby to check in. Our hideaway was ready and were escorted champagne flutes in hand to our large suite with views that brought tears to our eyes. Upon opening the door to our suite our eyes were drawn to the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Big Sur coast line.
Gazing around the room our eyes locked on a huge standalone jacuzzi tub facing yet another floor to ceiling widow with a view we would soon not forget.
Over whelmed with the beauty before us, we took out seats on our outdoor patio and sipped our Champagne before venturing out to explore the property.
Our first stop of the evening is the Sunset Lounge with spectacular views of Point Lobos reserve. It is here we met our effervescent host Shelly Rodriquez as we sipped on classic cocktails and the sun provided us a colorful show of purple, orange and yellow hues as it slipped below the horizon.
We sampled some tasty bites and highly suggest the Highlands Inn Clam Chowder with manila clams, yukon gold potato, bacon and chive and Dungeness Crab Cakes on shaved fennel and roasted red Pepper remoulade.
Very pleased with the start of our evening, Shelly suggested dinner with a view at the award winning Pacific Edge restaurant. We could not help but be impressed as we walked down the hallway adored with AAA 4 Diamond awards year after year, Top 100 Restaurants in America by Zagat, Top Ten Restaurants with a View by USA Today and Grand and Excellence awards by Wine Spectator.
Taking our seats by the huge windows with jaw dropping views we settled in for the evening. Chef Chad Minton and Executive Chef Alvaro Dalmau, Executive Sous Chef were ready to show off their best. With Chefs like this at the wheel, we let them do the driving for the evening.
Our first course literally was soured right outside of our window. The Monterey Bay Red Abalone with braised endive, meyer lemon, wildwatercress and burgundy truffle was an excellent way to experience what Pacifc Edge is all about. A flavorful Ceviche featuring local halibut , scallop and coriander provided a nice segway to our next course.
Sipping on world class wine with a world class view, our palates waited with anticipation for what would be coming to our table next. Our next delight arrived as smiles grew across our face when the Short Rib appeared. The Short Rib with potato risotto, swiss chard, foraged mushrooms and natural jus fit the bill just right by providing us with a savory rich course.
The next course was “fit for a king” and a king it certainly was. A large Alaskan King Salmon graced our table accented by haricot vert, far west fungi yellow oyster mushroom with a chardonnay sauce. These chefs did the salmon justice with layers of fresh flavors that did not over whelm the star of the dish and let it shine.
Tahitian Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée with berries, vanilla crème chantilly, almond florentina and royal tokaji wine co. tokaji -aszu, 5puttonyos, hungary was the perfect way to end the day on the big sur coastline.
After a restful sleep serenaded by the nearby Pacific Ocean we decided to enjoy breakfast Al Fresco overlooking Yankee Point on the redwood deck at the resort’s California Market. Looking over the menu we could not resist the Pont Lobos Benedict. Dungeness crab, avocado, cilantro with hollandaise on an english muffin was one of the best benedicts we have had in a very long time.
Feeling happy and satisfied we headed out for quick visit to experience the beauty of nearby Point Lobos before meeting our host for yet another adventure.
Shelly suggested we meet her for a goodbye lunch back at the California Market. Returning back to the resort from Point Lobos we took our seats with an ocean view to enjoy their lunch time fare. Shelly met us and had already had two dishes on her mind and we agreed of course. Dungeness Crab cakes with avocado relish, spicy remoulade and a rich balsamic proved she was right. This is a guest favorite and we can see why. Fresh, creamy and spicy all in one dish.
We didn’t complain when she told us more crab was on the way and this was her personal favorite. Crab and Lobster Spring rolls with thai chli and wakami salad with its crispy texture is the perfect finger food. Both dishes were extraordinary and enjoying them with a local craft beer was an added bonus.
The Hyatt Carmel Highlands, overlooking California’s scenic Big Sur coastline luxury hotel provided us with much more than a brilliant night’s sleep next to breathtaking ocean views great food and amenities, it provided us with an experience. We highly recommend you experience it yourselves.