Hotel Online  Special Report



Extreme Makeover: Changing Guest Preferences Called
for $25-million Renovation at Quail Lodge Resort
& Golf Club


Carmel, CA, July 26, 2004 -- Extreme makeovers aren’t only for people. Changing guest preferences and new demographics called for an extreme makeover of one of the most elegant divas of Carmel, CA resorts, Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club. As a film star returns to the silver screen to wide acclaim, Quail’s $25-million renovation earned the legendary property a number of coveted honors: it was recently named “U.S. Comeback Hotel of the Year” by Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, it was listed in the Conde Nast Traveler  “Reader’s Choice Top 75 North American Resorts” (2003) and Travel + Leisure readers nominated the resort as one of the world’s “500 Greatest Hotels in 2004.”
Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club rests in the picturesque hills above Carmel. A world-class resort and member of Preferred Hotels of the World, Quail Lodge has for forty years attracted a sophisticated clientele from the Bay Area that has been drawn by the resort’s Robert Muir Graves-designed golf course and rugged natural beauty.

But this aging diva was starting to reflect the passage of time. She needed a facelift to propel to her stardom again, with the grace, style and sophistication that had once made her famous. 

Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club
8205 Valley Greens Drive
Carmel, California  93923
A five-star property for more than sixteen years, Quail Lodge has been “one of the best golf resorts in the country,” said Quail Lodge Managing Director Jim Cecil. “However, we’re focusing on building a new clientele for the future. Today’s guests want amenities like spas and fitness centers and top-notch restaurants.” 

Quail Lodge owners Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited (HSH) and Baylaurel LLC, owners of nearby Bernardus Lodge, formed Valley Resort Management in 2002 and undertook a $25-million renovation of Quail Lodge to restore the iconic property to its former glory.

Boutique hotels and resorts such as Quail Lodge have very specific guest requirements that involve creating and maintaining spaces that invite romance and relaxation. According to Cecil, more than half of the resort’s guests come from the Bay Area and represent the top 5 percent of the U.S. hospitality market.

“We are thinking about what our guests want. We want to make the resort attractive to young families and couples who are attuned to the spa lifestyle and who appreciate golf and the nearby wine country,” Cecil explained. 

Cecil selected AXIS Architecture + Design of San Francisco, Chicago-based The Gettys Group, Inc. and Carmel-based Bartholick Pace Design as the makeover’s core team. “Renovations are always twice as hard as new construction? especially in this case,” Cecil said.  Cecil wanted the design, documentation, permitting and construction done in 12 months – without interfering with the resort’s golf clubhouse operations. 

Extreme Architectural Challenges

AXIS, a firm well known in northern California for its work in retail, mixed-use and resorts/hospitality renovations, set about to reorganize and redesign the clubhouse’s existing spaces to improve their functionality. . “Our design goals focused on utilizing existing architectural forms. We reorganized the building functions to better respond to existing site demands presented by the pool, golf course and clubhouse entry,” explained AXIS principal Shawn Alexander, lead architect on the project.

“From the beginning we collaborated with Valley Resort Management to clearly define the end result,” AXIS principal Cory Creath said. “Once we understood the property’s operational needs, we created unique design solutions around them.” To meet the strict schedule, AXIS principals partnered with county planning officials and building inspectors to expedite the permitting process.

AXIS designed Quail Lodge’s new restaurant, banquet kitchen, pro shop, member lounge, wellness center and patio spaces while maintaining the existing structure’s charm and character and creating lasting value through excellence in design. “We want to make sure our client’s investment brings the greatest return,” Creath said.

AXIS relocated golf arrival to the upper level of the clubhouse, integrating a new valet drop-off adjacent to Valley Greens Drive. The existing entry on the upper level now welcomes group arrivals and directs guests to upper-level meeting/banquet space and administrative areas.

The grand scaled glass-roof porte cochere of the Main Lodge is a dramatic introduction to the luxury of Quail Lodge. “This is where we set the tempo for the guest experience. It’s generous, bright and casually elegant, yet simple,” said AXIS principal and project designer Terry Lofrano. 

The lower level is now dedicated to member activities, the new Wellness Center and Edgar’s restaurant. The Members’ Lounge has been positioned adjacent to the restaurant, allowing for shared usage of the spaces. Likewise, the women's locker facilities and Wellness Center are now adjacent to the pool and café. 

An existing bar and lounge were removed from the upper level and relocated to the restaurant. The main stair was relocated and a structural frame that obstructed circulation among meeting rooms was removed. Now, the improved flow of the lobby and pre-function space creates comfortable access to all function spaces. 

The existing banquet kitchen was completely redesigned, and now provides service to two newly created meeting rooms. A service yard added to conceal the kitchen operations features Carmel limestone walls and naturally weathered steel gates, selected for their warmth and compatibility with the existing architecture.

Continuing the Carmel stone on the exterior, the visually heavy, cantilevered decks become grounded by the addition of creamy Carmel Valley limestone that enhanced the base of the building enabling construction of both internal and external fireplaces. Exterior walls, punctuated with French doors and windows, now create a more inviting and pedestrian-friendly architecture. 

A new exterior railing design that allowed for new stairs to the decks now improves circulation and compliments the existing architecture. The new restaurant, located at the center of the building, opens onto a newly created patio that overlooks the driving range. 

Intelligent, Nature-Inspired Design

Getty’s knowledge of luxury level design and significant experience in successfully repositioning hundreds of resorts, hotels, restaurants, conference centers, mixed use and condominium properties helped to shape the dramatic transformation of Quail Lodge. 

“Before launching into design and procurement, we took the time to understand the client’s investment objectives as well as the optimal market position for the resort given its location and facilities,” said Roger G. Hill, Gettys’ Chief Executive Officer.  “Budget and priorities were based on the amount of upside potential for each operating department and designs were developed accordingly.”

Gettys’ design focused on the historic significance of the resort to the local community and its unique sense of place. The team turned to the immediate environment for inspiration. “To offset the strong California architecture, color and texture was taken from the hills and surrounding vineyards of the Central Coast,” explained Meg Prendergast, Gettys team leader. Throughout the property Gettys features rich ranges of neutrals, accented with warm toast, dark slate, mountain slope green, terra cotta pot and pinot noir tones.

The Main Lodge, formerly used for registration and passage, has become a concierge-based relaxation and gathering place.  Now, guests can spend time in the newly furnished lobby with a Zen fountain, or escape to the Fireside Lounge complete with newly clad Carmel Stone fireplace and view to the property’s own Mallard Lake.  Warm leather easy chairs, cozy chenilles, interesting artifacts and accents, appeal to the senses and contribute to the consummate Quail Lodge experience.  Guests usually adjourn to the newly concepted Covey Bar that glows with a luminescent bar of ochre-toned onyx and cabernet glass shelving. 

Today, clubhouse interiors embrace guests with a warm and homelike aura that evokes an understated elegance.  Golden-hued end grain hemlock wood floors combined with boar hide and leather accents create a rustic ambiance.  Rough-sawn exposed timber and oxidized steel in a rich rust color emphasize structural elements; textural materials such as hand-plastered walls and natural fir baseboards, trim and accents underscore this welcoming atmosphere.  Edgar’s, a new restaurant and full service kitchen that opened on the ground level, offers a cozy, relaxed environment featuring a curved wood bar, fireplace, stone columns and oxidized patina steel and outdoor patio overlooking the golf course.
The guestroom cottages now reflect the lodge’s earthy, natural environment. Oversized window seats, limestone clad fireplaces, tall padded leather headboards, featherbeds and down duvets wrapped in cream Frette quilted coverlets provide warm, and luxurious touches of home.  Bathrooms feature hammered copper sinks, framed mirrors and simple wrought-iron sconces. 

The comfortable and elegantly-styled interiors evoke the charm of Carmel Valley while also introducing a new level of sophistication and luxury to the traditional lodge experience,” Prendergast said.  Oversized decks adjoining the rooms allow resort guests to appreciate the Valley's scenic treasures and temperate weather. Additional structural design elements -- such as a reflection pool on the upper level -- combine with earthy colors to bring the essence of the outdoors inside. Resort grounds, landscaped by Jack Chandler & Associates, establish a firm sense of place in their northern California setting, with native, drought-resistant species such as rose, lavender and tall grasses taking center stage and ever-blooming plants playing a supporting role.

A Happy Client

Cecil couldn’t be happier about the results of the renovation. In an era when less than 25 percent of the property’s guests play golf, Quail’s new spa facilities have taken center stage. Cecil describes the new poolside spa treatment suites, outdoor Jacuzzi and tranquil gardens as “a huge draw.” 

Guests love the new look and feel of the public and private areas and enjoy exploring two miles of hiking trails that wind through the property’s 400 undeveloped acres.  The resort’s newly designed restaurants, Edgar’s and The Covey, have also received rave reviews. In fact, the latter recently took top honors: it received a 2004 DiRoNa Award (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) for culinary excellence.

Clearly, this widely acclaimed diva has a new lease on life – a very graceful and promising one at that.

About Axis Architecture + Design

San Francisco-based AXIS Architecture + Design was founded in 2001 to provide superior client service in architectural and interior design in resorts/hospitality, mixed-use, retail and multi-family residential. With more than 70 years of collective experience, firm principals are committed to exceeding client expectations in the design and execution of the most sophisticated and complex architectural projects. Their portfolios include work for a widely recognized roster of clients, among them Marriott Vacation Club International, Williams Sonoma, The Gap, Inc., Harvey’s Resort and Casino, Hard Rock Hotel and P.F. Chang’s Restaurants. To learn more about AXIS Architecture + Design, go to 

About Gettys
Gettys is an award winning interior design, design architecture, procurement and consulting firm committed to promoting the business success of its clients.  With over fifteen years of experience, Gettys' portfolio includes hotels, resorts, spas, conference centers, restaurants and condominiums. Recognized for innovative and intelligent design, expert documentation and unparalleled purchasing power, the Chicago-based firm is consistently ranked among the top design and procurement firms in the industry.  Gettys has worked in over 100 cities and 8 countries and has specified and/or purchased over $1 billion in furniture, fixture, equipment and art. For more information about the company and its services, please visit


Lisa LaVallee
The Gettys Group
Phone: 312-832-2499

Thea Hocker
AXIS Architecture + Design

Also See: Strong Rebound in Hotel Performance During Second Half of 2003 Benefits The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, Significant Appointments Made within The Peninsula Hotels Group / Hotel Operating Statistics / March 2004
The Peninsula Hotels Names New Properties’ Management Appointments, Marketing And Communications Structures / July 2004

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