I am a firm believer in getaways. Visiting Carmel is one of my favourite places to visit in the world. It is where my beau, Derek, grew up, and where his amazing family resides. Every trip here involves hiking, cycling, feasting, wine tasting, and socializing with incredible people.
But with all of that, especially over the holidays, my introverted nature demands a little quiet time away from it all.
This trip, Derek and I were lucky enough to be provided with a sweet escape to the Hyatt Highlands shortly after New Year's Eve.
We arrived while the sun was setting over Big Sur and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and were given a tour of the property (bourbon in hand for him, lemon drop for me.)
The 100-year-old property feels like a proper hideaway. It has rows of suites set up like little cabins, a warm pool, hot tubs with views of the ocean, bikes you can borrow, and little sheds full of chopped wood for the wood-burning fireplaces in each suite.
We checked into one of the time share suites, set up with a little kitchenette, jacuzzi tub, and a view of the Pacific Ocean (the room also had binoculars to get a closer view, or to try and spot a taco truck)
To properly settle in, we lit the fire and ordered cocktails to watch the sun go down.
By the time dinner rolled around my tummy was rumbling and watching surfers eat epic tacos on the television in bed wasn't helping.
We grabbed out coats and took the walkway down to the award winning Pacific Edge restaurant based in the main part of the hotel.
We were seated with a view of the water and were served oysters (topped with a beet and raspberry sorbet) with Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne.
For our first course we shared the Monterey Bay red abalone and the octopus confit paired with a German Riesling.
For our mains, I took our French waiter's advice and indulged in the filet mignon served with potato puree and morel mushroom sauce paired with a robust red. Derek ordered the scallops, and as amazing as they were, his steak envy was clear (I shared... a little.)
Dessert came in the form of crème brûlée followed by live entertainment in the lounge.
Warmed by the fire, we were serenaded by a singing piano man, who upon watching Derek and I, dedicated "When a Man Loves a Woman to the young man over there." What followed was the best slow dance of my life.
We slept like a king and queen and woke up early to order a luxurious breakfast in bed before a morning hike.
Well fueled, we made our way to Sobranes for a short yet challenging hike overlooking Big Sur.
When we reached the top I felt on top of the world. The view up there is worth every stumble, sweat and climb to get there.
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and packed up our bags. We were sad to leave but were recharged from the Pacific Ocean air, good food and drinks, precious one-on-one time, and the feeling of truly getting away from it all.
Something tells me we'll be back soon.