Edger Haber, an entrepreneur and avid golfer, loved everything about Pebble Beach golf except its “marine layer,” that sun-damping wetness known as fog in normal speak. So in 1964, Haberacquired a dairy farm in sunny Carmel Valley and built the Carmel Valley Golf and Country Club. Although cows no longer roamed the property after the golf course was built, a large quail habitat remained. When lodging was added in 1967, Quail became the natural name. Over the decades, Quail Lodge and Golf Club became a popular destination for Monterey Peninsula visitors, especially golfers. Arnold Palmer was an early devotee, staying at Quail in ’68 and ’69 while practicing for the Crosby ProAm. A few years later, in 1972, Palmer was joined by Gary Player, Doug Sanders, and David Graham, all practicing for the U.S.
Open. Haber even chartered a helicopter to shuttle the famous players to Pebble Beach. My contemporary encounter with Quail Lodge as a guest was in 2007 for the Best Buddies Challenge, a bicycle race from The Quail down Highway 1 to Hearst Castle.
We stayed in a rustic room nearby organizer Anthony Shriverand family, and I recall that the property needed an update. The grounds were fine, but the room experience didn’t match the price of admission. My instincts proved to be spot on when the following year the hotel was closed and the property put up for sale by Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, the owner since 1997. The economy wasn’t kind to the lodging industry at the time, and selling this property proved just as challenging as renting rooms.
In 2012, the decision was made to renovate Quail Lodge to better capitalize on its storied location. It was also the perfect time to reassess the fixed costs to better reflect the Carmel Valley lifestyle. So the doorman, valet, and other city-centric services were eliminated and Barry Design Associates, whose work includes the Four Seasons Beverly Hills and the One and Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas, was retained to reimagine the living spaces. Robert Barry has family ties in Carmel Valley and incorporated Spanish Colonial design elements in the lodge’s suites. Golf remains a big attraction, but Quail has become well known by car enthusiasts for its Motorsports Gathering in mid-August, a prestigious classic car event that more than rivals the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Quail’s Peninsula Events group also presents The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, a classic show in early May, and the 850-acre property is home to a remarkable Land Rover off-road experience in a rugged, forested area. The Quail’s 93 well-appointed guestrooms provide a marvelous blend of style and comfort as well as good value. Rates start at $225 mid-week and $425 on weekends with special packages offered to suit individual needs.