With a nod to James Taylor, if the final hectic dash to December feels like a steamroller, baby, bound to roll all over you, stepping away from it all might be just what’s needed to recharge during the busy weeks ahead. Here’s the beauty of the Peninsula: Even if you don’t have much time, all it takes is a short drive in any direction to completely switch up the scenery. Whether you’re setting a course north, south, east or west, here are a few enticing nearby destinations waiting to transport you to a different place and pace.
Cavallo Point Lodge
Heading north, just across the iconic span of the Golden Gate Bridge, veer off at Alexander Avenue and wind your way down to Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, once the site of the Fort Baker military base. Set in a cove surrounded by fragrant eucalyptus trees at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, Cavallo Point Lodge provides magical views and vistas from nearly every point on the property. The two room categories are a century apart in character and style—meticulously restored turn-of-the-century officer’s quarters or newly constructed contemporary rooms and suites. Cavallo Point’s unique location lets guests indulge in San Francisco’s activities and nightlife, while enjoying all the outdoor adventures of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Complimentary perks include morning yoga and hikes and walks throughout the property grounds, around the Marin Headlands and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Guests can relax and rejuvenate at the Healing Arts Center & Spa and finish the day with Northern California cuisine at Murray Circle, Cavallo Point’s Michelin-rated restaurant. Dogs are welcome too, with romping especially good on nearby trails and Fort Baker’s 10-acre parade ground. Rates start at around $400 per night plus tax and fees. cavallopoint.com
Driving south from the Peninsula, you’ll encounter Rosewood CordeValle in a secluded 1,700-acre sanctuary in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Just 30 minutes beyond San Jose in San Martin, Rosewood CordeValle is a hidden gem set against a backdrop of tree-covered hills, deep-set canyons and sprawling meadows. At the intimate 45-room resort, guests can choose from spacious bungalows, fairway homes and villa suites. Golf lovers, especially, take note. The property boasts a championship 18-hole golf course and the world’s first “golf butler” amenity, providing guests with a “stress-free way to personalize their experience on and off the course.” After a round of play, the resort’s Sense Spa features a “19th Hole” menu designed specifically for golfers, with treatments focusing on relieving tension in the neck, shoulders and feet. Rosewood CordeValle also offers swimming and fitness areas, an award-winning restaurant selection and an on-site vineyard and Tuscan-style winery. Rates start at around $400 per night plus tax and fees. rosewoodhotels.com/en/cordevalle-northern-california
Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa
Tucked into the heart of the East Bay, a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa blends European charm with California grace. Inspired by the French countryside that was home to Marquis de Lafayette, the property is reminiscent of a sophisticated European chateau, surrounded by historic oak trees, rolling hills and charming courtyards. The hotel’s 138 guestrooms and 12 suites are accented with custom upholstered furnishings and deep crown moldings. The Spa at the Park is the perfect setting to rest and recharge or retreat to the nearby pool area, an inviting enclave that includes an outdoor fireplace and fitness center. From the hotel’s home base in Lamorinda, scenic hiking trails are minutes away, and you can conveniently explore the East Bay’s thriving art, shopping, wine and culinary scene. Channeling the charm of a romantic French farmhouse, the Park Bistro & Bar offers rustic farm-to-table California cuisine. Rates start at $289 per night plus tax and fees. lafayetteparkhotel.com
Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay
Turning to the west, set course for the coast to discover the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, a timeless oceanfront property inspired by the grand seaside lodges of the 19th century. Perched on a scenic bluff overlooking the rugged Pacific, the 261-room spa and golf resort offers a blend of relaxation and refinement, whether you’re jogging down a coastal path, collecting shells on a secluded beach or enjoying a good read by a fire pit on the outdoor patio. With two 18-hole championship golf courses, six tennis courts and easy access to activities like horseback riding, sea kayaking and sailing, it’s easy to make it an active getaway. The resort’s 16,000-square-foot spa includes a co-ed whirlpool for unwinding together at the end of the day. If you’re visiting Monday through Thursday, ask about the “Bay Area Resident Special” for a 15% discount on spa treatments. Before dinner at Navio, with floor-to-ceiling ocean views, or the Conservatory, serving homegrown rustic California fare, drift away from your cares listening to a traditional Scottish bagpiper serenading guests during the sunset hour. Rates start at $869 per night plus tax and fees. ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/half-moon-bay