Old world charm meets modern accommodation at Holman Ranch, located in California’s Carmel Valley. Occupying 400 acres of scenic Carmel wine country land, this Casa Escondida (Spanish for “hidden house”) sits among majestic oak trees. While Carmel-by-the-Sea attracts its share of celebrities, previous visitors to Holman Ranch, which was built in 1928, include Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, and Marlon Brando.
Old world charm
Although Holman Ranch has had several owners in its 85 year existence, it has lost none of its original character. From the stone hacienda’s inner courtyard, complete with fountains and rose bushes, to the carriage house that was once a stable, Holman Ranch offers a peaceful, slightly cowboy-esque retreat.
Despite the charming, days gone by surroundings, Holman Ranch has all the fixings of a modern-day estate. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and flat screen televisions, along with showers, ironing boards, safe deposit boxes, and housekeeping service. For a little extra, your room rate can include a light, continental breakfast – but I wouldn’t bother with breakfast here. There are plenty of great places to stop for breakfast in Carmel and the valley. Pets are also welcome at Holman Ranch for an additional fee.
Keeping busy at the ranch
Holman Ranch offers many ways to stay entertained. The estate features bocce ball, a horseshoe pit, fitness center, and swimming pool. Be advised that the pool is not heated, so plan to only use this facility in the summer months. For cold weather visits, there is an indoor game room with a dartboard, pool table, plasma TV, bar, jukebox, and fireplace.
Weddings welcome at Holman Ranch
It is important to note that Holman Ranch is somewhat of a package deal; you need to reserve all ten rooms in order to stay on the property. While this is not ideal for a quick weekend getaway, it is perfect for large gatherings such as weddings or special events in nearby Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Laguna Seca.
Wine is a feature at most big celebrations and the folks at Holman Ranch know how to put on a party. Fortunately, Holman Ranch has its own estate vineyards, which produce primarily chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes under production in the Carmel Valley Appellation. The 19 acres of grapes, along with Tuscan varietal olive trees, produce wine and olive oil, respectively. I wanted to purchase the olive oil, but they were sold out. Currently, the olive oil is available exclusively to wine club members.
Carmel Valley drinking water
Are you wary of drinking tap water in unfamiliar places? If so, you need not worry at Holman Ranch. While Carmel struggles with water shortage issues and salt water intrusion, Holman Ranch has its own water system on the property, which produces excellent drinking water. Holman Ranch even provides each guest with a stainless steel water bottle placed in the room, useful while on your trip, and serving as a souvenir of your Holman Ranch vacation.
If You Go:
Carmel Valley, California
Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Holman Ranch.