Just a 20-minute drive outside the crowds and chaos of San Jose lies a hidden gem of luxury and exclusivity — a place where ordinary people transform into royalty, if only for a weekend. CordeValle is a breathtaking 5-star luxury golf resort, tucked just outside the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, in San Martin, California. This 1,700-acre sanctuary offers serenity, luxury and world-class hospitality, under an hour’s drive from the Bay Area.
Once you arrive at the gated entrance of CordeValle, it becomes immediately clear that you’re entering someplace special — the type of place where, upon first arrival, the security guard at the entrance already knows your name, and on your second night, your dinner server expertly remembers your child’s preference for extra cherries in their Shirley Temple. The gracious hospitality and seamless service is one of the standouts at CordeValle, and every encounter with staff is warm, professional and friendly.
That top-notch service extends to CordeValle’s warm welcoming of families with children, too, who are greeted on arrival with a fun scavenger hunt of the property’s various wildlife, including deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and cow. Once children find all the animals on their list, they’re rewarded at the front desk with a fun craft prize. Children’s amenities such as cribs, diaper pails, baby monitors, and in-room-baby-proofing services are available on request.
Little ones get the royal treatment at mealtime too, with kid-friendly favorites such as pancakes for breakfast, and pasta, chicken tenders or gourmet hot dogs offered at lunch or dinner. After dinner, families may enjoy making s’mores around the property’s grand, wood-burning fireplace, armed with gourmet s’mores kits which include everything needed to make a delicious s’mores, and then some.
There may be no giant waterslides or bouncy houses to be seen, but kids have plenty of diversions to choose from at CordeValle, from swimming in the heated saltwater pool, to tennis and golf lessons, archery, and family bocce ball. Kids can borrow pool toys and sunscreen from the spa before heading to the pool, and they’re also welcome to accompany their parents on CordeValle’s world-class golf course. Older kids and teens may want to challenge themselves on the scenic 3.5-mile private hiking trail that circles the back of the property, where wildflowers and deer are aplenty. They may, however, prefer getting off their feet best — in fact, our daughters’ (ages 4 and 8) favorite part of our stay at CordeValle was the golf cart rides, which are always available to ferry guests to and from their room, or wherever they need to go on property. They squealed with delight every time our golf cart zipped up the hill to our suite.
Another favorite part the weekend was soaking in our own private hot tub on our outdoor “Villa Suite” patio, which overlooks a breathtaking backdrop of lush golf fairways, bucolic rolling hills, majestic native trees, and occasionally, roaming deer. Ranging from 550 to 1,100 square feet, the rooms, bungalows and suites at Cordevalle have been completely renovated and refurbished this year, and that remodeling is apparent.
Featuring wall-to ceiling glass doors, spacious outdoor patio spaces, oversized bathrooms, and modern furnishings, accommodations at this 5-star resort manage to feel minimal, yet luxurious. Rich wood finishes, butter-soft linens and high-tech touches like touch-powered bathroom mirrors add to the modern, upscale feel. In the spacious bathrooms, a deep soaking tub, separate steam shower and high-end toiletries welcome guests to refresh and relax. A walk-in closet with robes, slippers, and other necessities are a welcome touch. Other thoughtful and useful items can be found throughout the room, including a gourmet Nespresso coffee machine, glassware, a mini fridge, a wine opener, and high-powered binoculars for spying on soaring eagles and shy deer.
You can also spot wildlife from both outdoor patios of the resort’s two excellent restaurants; One Iron Bar and Lion’s Peak Grill. As the more casual of the two restaurants, Lion’s Peak Grill is open for breakfast and lunch and is a popular respite for the resort’s golfers, who enjoy frosty cold beer, juicy burgers and wood-fired pizzas while resting on the shaded outdoor tables.
It’s also a great place for families too, because both kids and adults agree that the pizza is some of the best in the area. That’s probably due to the fact that the dough’s Caputo flour is shipped from Italy, and the sauce is made from the property’s own home-grown San Marzano tomatoes and garden-fresh basil. The pizza cooks in just 90 seconds in a 800-900 degree wood-fired, outdoor pizza oven located right on the grill’s outdoor patio. The result is an unforgettably light, flavorful and chewy pizza that’s worth the trip, alone.
One Iron Bar offers equally unforgettable food, like tender house-made pasta, fresh, seasonal salads, and melt-in-your-mouth, dry-aged steaks. The California-inspired menu changes with the season, showcasing the best of the month, like buttery fava beans, sweet spring peas, and ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms. Craft cocktails and a wine list featuring local wineries along with famous Napa labels are offered on the drink menu. The breakfast menu offers plenty of delicious variety, as well, from made-to-order omelets and house-made sausage, to Shashuka with eggs, gourmet avocado toast, and the fluffiest pancakes with Chantilly cream. The food at One Iron Bar is truly delightful, only matched by the flawless service.
Aside from the delicious food offered at CordeValle, golfing is, perhaps, the biggest draw to the resort. This revered and esteemed course is highly sought after, and for golf enthusiasts, a worthy splurge. Featuring an 18-hole, par 72 championship course, CordeValle boasts one of California’s top-ranked courses, having hosted several PGA Tours and USGA events. Along with the scenic and challenging 7,360-yard course, (designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.) golfers enjoy access to a 35,000-square-foot clubhouse, a putting green, driving range, chipping practice area, pro shop, golf carts, push carts, golf instruction, and more. Anyone who is lucky enough to play at this semi-private resort course gains bragging rights for life, and will have an unforgettable golfing experience.
If you can bear to actually leave this beautiful resort, there are some fun diversions just minutes away from CordeValle, including multiple wineries, shopping, restaurants and even a fun theme park.
The latter is Gilroy Gardens, which is located just a few-minutes drive from San Martin in Gilroy, California. This expansive amusement park offers fun rides, shows and even a water park that’s ideal for families with children under 13-years-old.
Clos LaChance Winery is nestled right beside CordeValle, so it’s possible to walk to the winery, or perhaps get a ride from CordeValle’s friendly valet. This family-owned winery is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two, tasting wine and enjoying scenic views, while perhaps grabbing a leisurely lunch from the Close Bistro on the lawn, followed by a game of bocce ball.
Shopping for deals at the Gilroy Premium Outlets is another way to spend a few hours, located just a quick drive from the resort. Also located nearby is the charming city of Morgan Hill, which offers a small selection of great restaurants, including kid-friendly fine dining at Ladera Grill, authentic Italian at Maurizio’s, and innovative whole-food and plant-based cuisine from Craft Roots.
CordeValle is truly an unforgettable luxury destination that we can’t wait to experience again!
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