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Elegant Resorts

ELEGANT JOURNEYS

12

nights

Northern California - City, Wilderness and Coast

12 May 2018 to 24 May 2018

For more information, please call our Travel Consultants on:01244 897 221

Request A Quote

Journey Highlights

Drive your way through the gloriously diverse landscapes of central California, experiencing the famous coastal attractions and natural inland treasures alike. From a striking start in vibrant city of San Francisco, with its Golden Gate Bridge, island Alcatraz and sensational fresh seafood at the Fisherman's wharf, to incredible wilderness sites such as Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park and the quaint Oceanside town of Carmel, this self-driving tour encapsulates the essence and heart of California. With its rugged, often-misty, coastline contrasting with picturesque rolling vineyards, ancient forest, and the dramatic Yosemite National Park combined with boutique stays, this is certainly an adventure for the outdoor enthusiast. Whether you choose to hike, play golf, shop and stroll, or simply embrace a little beach relaxation, there is a plethora of fresh cuisine, sumptuous wines and unique experiences to enjoy along the route.  So, take a tram ride through the hilly streets of San Francisco, witness the raw beauty of Lake Tahoe, admire the giant sequoias trees of Sequoia National Park, surf the perfect wave and savour an earthy Pinot Noir with a sensational sunset — California simply has it all. Head north from San Francisco to wine country and pass through Sacremento, loop inland to be awe-inspired by the dramatic national forest and parks, before embracing the twisting Highway One, Big Sur, Bixby Bridge, marine-rich Monterey Bay and, finally, conclude your journey with the open road and glistening coastline.

Luxury City Breaks Dining & Gourmet Romance and Couples
Perfect for:

Perfect for discovering the diverse treasures of California

Guide Price:

Prices from £4,570 per person. Price includes accommodation, flights, transfers and car hire.

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Your journey at a glance

  • 1
    California
  • 2
    3 nights San Francisco, United States of America
  • 3
    2 nights Napa Valley, United States of America
  • 4
    2 nights Lake Tahoe, United States of America
  • 5
    2 nights Yosemite National Park, United States of America
  • 6
    1 night Big Sur, United States of America
  • 7
    2 nights Carmel, United States of America
Best Time To Travel

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Best

California is a year-round destination with summers dry and hot and winters mild and slightly rainy. Los Angeles can suffer from smog, especially during July to September and the mornings can be hazy along the coast. San Francisco can be chilly and foggy at any time of the year.

1

California

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Arrive in San Francisco for your spectacular journey through the Golden State of California. All who venture here become infatuated with the beauty of the eight-hundred-mile-long coastline and majestic natural heartland. Here, the concept of the lifestyle was invented, and mastered, like nowhere else. Running much deeper than yoga lessons and kale smoothies, you cannot help but feel rejuvenated by the beauty of the great outdoors and endlessly bright sunshine, while your soul will be replenished by divine gastronomic journeys of freshness and flavour.

This is a state of many personalities. The north coast is rugged and wild, where staggering redwood trees dwarf all who crane their necks upwards to comprehend the magnitude of these natural wonders. San Francisco, the ‘city by the bay’, needs no introduction. Buzzing with culture, here you can taste the international flavour of the state, from the vibrant Chinatown to mouthwatering Mexican street food.  A foodie favourite, the rolling vineyards of wine country and the trendy craft beer scene will send your palate on a voyage of discovery before you’ve even been shown to your seat at one of countless Michelin Star, celebrity chef-run restaurants. A trove of adventures and delights, the allure of the Golden State never fades.

2

3

nights

San Francisco, United States of America

Staying at

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

+

Located in northern California, the hilly city of San Francisco is set on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the mighty Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. Known as a dynamic city that is constantly re-inventing itself, it is home to a little bit of everything! From its year-round fog, to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, trams and historic Victorian Houses it is undeniably one of the world's greatest cities. Visitors can admire the sparkling bay, take to the water and sail to the famous Alcatraz island (former prison), walk or cycle the crimson bridge, explore the eclectic shops and taste a myriad of fusion flavours and innovative cuisine. With a cityscape punctured by the Financial District's impressive Transamerica Pyramid skyscraper, a bustling waterfront and remarkable hilly roads — pitched at seemingly impossible gradients at times — San Francisco is a memorable city and the perfect gateway to explore the Golden State of California. Whether it is an incredible coastal road trip, or an adventure inland to sensational Lake Tahoe or Yosemite National Park, the wider region offers a plethora of attractions to discover.

Highlights

Begin with an injection of culture and explore the dynamic coastal city of San Francisco. Sail to Alcatraz, enjoy a traditional tram ride through the hilly city streets, photograph the Golden Gate Bridge before tasting the delicious fresh seafood at San Francisco's fisherman's Wharf.

Staying at

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

+

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is the city's only AAA Five-Diamond hotel and is a recent winner of the 'Best in the World' award by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller. The freshly renovated hotel is located the prestigious neighbourhood of Nob Hill and sits on a historic cable car line for guests to enjoy. Find yourself in the heart of San Francisco, just blocks from landmark locations like Union Square, China Town and the historic Ferry Building, but miles away from an ordinary hotel experience. After a day spent sightseeing, guests can unwind in the newly unveiled JCB wine tasting lounge or rejuvenate in Spa L'Occitane, which provides a comprehensive range of healing and rejuvenating treatments.


  • Type:Luxury Hotel
  • Summary:Exquisite service, fine dining and elegant surroundings
  • Feature:The POLO (Protect Our Little Ones) Programme for children
  • Rooms:336 rooms & suites
  • Location:United States of America
  • Nearest airport:San Francisco International Airport
Find Out More

Depart San Francisco and self-drive to Napa Valley

Collect your hire car and leave the buzz of the city, to head north to the scenic region of Napa Valley.

3

2

nights

Napa Valley, United States of America

Staying at

Meadowood Napa Valley

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Located north of San Pablo Bay in the northern portion of California, picturesque Napa Valley boasts world-class wineries, scenic landscapes and superb cuisine. Home to the great silver rush in 1858, miners flocked to the eastern hills of Napa Valley to seek out their fortune. Today, the region offers a bounty of attractions from hiking trails and wildlife, to the legendary wines, pretty vineyard estates and acclaimed restaurants — the perfect stop for any driving tour or culinary road trip. With its fertile countryside landscape, vibrant art scene, plus wealth of fine dining restaurants and exceptional cellar tastings, it is certainly worth the drive north from San Francisco or south from Sacramento. And, with an abundance of sunshine, cool nights and ideal terrior, it is no surprise that Napa Valley is the centre of wine production for the United States — from small boutique, family-owned wineries like 'Neyers' to the world-famous 'Mondavi' brand, wine enthusiasts can discover nearly every varietal within this rich slice of California.

Highlights

Located within St. Helena, Meadowood is a former Country Club nestled within incredible grounds. Tour the famous Napa Valley vineyards, dine within superb restaurants and admire the fertile rolling valleys.

Staying at

Meadowood Napa Valley

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Meadowood Napa Valley has been an estate and club for over forty years and is set within 250 green acres of fertile Californian countryside in the little town of St Helena. The resort boasts a community of wine-lovers and talented professionals, and whether that is in the field of wine-making or in sports such as croquet, golf or tennis, this is a club where you will learn from the most enthusiastic experts. Guests and wine enthusiasts are warmly welcomed, enjoying comfortable stays in cosy countryside lodges and cottages. Once here, you are accepted as part of this tight-knit wine community, a humbling thought considering the region's long history as a world leader in wine production.


  • Type:Luxury Hotel
  • Summary:A tranquil Californian country retreat
  • Feature:Home to The Restaurant at Meadowood
  • Rooms:85 cottages, suites & lodges
  • Location:United States of America
  • Nearest airport:San Francisco International Airport
Find Out More

Drive from Napa Valley to Lake Tahoe

Continue your drive east, towards the stunning alpine region of Lake Tahoe.

4

2

nights

Lake Tahoe, United States of America

Staying at

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

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Straddling the boarder of California and Nevada, west of Carson City, Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada. As the second-deepest lake in North America, the lake is world-renowned for its clear cobalt-blue water, huge boulder rocks and stunning, surrounding alpine landscape. Blessed with 300 days of sunshine and boasting shimmering shades of blue and green, the lake attracts visitors throughout the seasons. A haven for summer swimmers, kayaking fans and windsurfers, the lake also attracts athletes, adventurers, tourists and hikers — plus skiers and snowboarders during the winter when it is framed by the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains range. Whether you swim, fish, sail, or simply relax along the absorbing shoreline, you cannot fail but be mesmerised by the shimmering beauty of the lake. This largest alpine lake in North America is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and photographer's alike.

Highlights

Be mesmerised by the blue hue of Lake Tahoe, enjoy a gondola ride to adjoining Northstar village, or take part in a spectacular guided hike in scenic Emerald Bay State Park.

Staying at

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

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The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a beautiful retreat nestled in a remote mountainous location in Northstar, close to spectacular Lake Tahoe. The resort boasts a host of facilities and activities for guests to enjoy all-year-round, including a swimming pool, fitness centre, yoga and Pilates classes, as well as golf, hiking, biking and water sports. The Mountain Concierge arranges guided hikes and backpacks for family excursions and gondola rides to the village of Northstar, popular with youngsters, who also have their own activity programme and an arcade featuring old-school games, such as Pac-Man. In the winter, the resort's Ski Valets assist with guests' equipment and escort them to the slopeside terrace, where the resort enjoys ski-in/ski-out access. For pampering, The Ritz-Carlton Spa is the resort's forest sanctuary, boasting nature-inspired facilities such as the eucalyptus steam room, while Manzanita serves Californian cuisine, with lighter dishes available at Cafe Blue and The Living Room.


  • Type:Luxury Hotel
  • Summary:An idyllic retreat just fifteen minutes from Lake Tahoe
  • Feature:Take the short gondola ride to adjoining Northstar village
  • Rooms:170 rooms & suites
  • Location:United States of America
  • Nearest airport:San Francisco International Airport
Find Out More

Drive south to Yosemite National Park

Looping south, leave the spectacular lakes behind and drive to Yosemite National Park.

5

2

nights

Yosemite National Park, United States of America

Staying at

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

+

First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is located in Mariposa Country, within California's Sierra Nevada mountains, and is famed for its waterfalls, giant ancient sequoia trees and vast wilderness. An awesome national park, visitors can discover an epic landscape of nearly 1,200 square miles, consisting of deep valleys, grand meadows and granite cliffs. Seek out Tunnel View, the iconic towering Bridalveil Fall, the granite cliffs of El Captain and Half Dome, plus the mighty Yosemite Falls. Spanning potions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera in northern California, the area is a testament to the power of glaciers, the strength of granite and tranquillity of the High Sierra.

Highlights

Admire alpine meadows, dense forest, enormous granite domes and plunging waterfalls at Yosemite National Park. Simply relax, explore, or photograph the dramatic scenery.

Staying at

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

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The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is a treasure nestled in Yosemite National Park. Once the village of Native Americans, the residence is now an aesthetic mix of stone, steel and timber blending seamlessly into its natural surroundings with Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point all within close proximity. The public spaces are grand and feature huge stone fireplaces, beams and tapestries. Lounges and dining rooms boast high ceilings and wrought iron chandeliers with a rustic and rugged charm captured throughout, while a mix of rooms, parlours and cottages, adorned in rich woods and fabrics, make for large and spacious living quarters - a perfect retreat after a day exploring the beautiful landscape.


  • Type:Lodge
  • Summary:The most luxurious gateway to Yosemite National Park
  • Feature:Live music at the Bar every weekend evening
  • Rooms:99 rooms, parlours & suites and 24 cottages
  • Location:United States of America
  • Nearest airport:San Francisco International Airport
Find Out More

Leave Yosemite National Park for Big Sur

Continue your drive west now, passing spectacular inland landscapes and heading to the famous coastline.

6

1

night

Big Sur, United States of America

Staying at

Ventana Inn & Spa

+

Big Sur is an area of road inextricably linked with a California driving tour. From the appealing curvaceous road, with sheer cliff drops, to the rolling blue ocean below and historic Bixby Bridge, there is plenty to engage any driver. Look out for a seasonal peppering of pretty coloured wild flowers, the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, towering redwood trees and tumbling natural waterfalls — the rugged shores of Big Sur is a inspiring sight. Feel the freedom of the open road before enjoying the nearby attractions of Monterey Bay and pretty Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Highlights

Feel the freedom of the open road and admire the rocky cliffs, winding road and rolling Pacific Ocean. This coastal stretch is synonymous with California road trips — boasting salty breezes, misty-laden shorelines and awe-inspiring cliff-edges.

Staying at

Ventana Big Sur

+

The delightful Ventana Big Sur is located on a hillside, high above the Pacific Ocean and overlooking the dramatic Big Sur coastline. It’s ideal for active couples seeking a tranquil and unique escape amidst nature in an unspoilt setting. There are local hiking trails that meander across acres of peaceful meadows, mountain-biking trails and horse-riding to enjoy, along with kayaking and windsurfing, while each of the sixty guest rooms, suites, villas and cottages features a private patio with valley, mountain or distant ocean views, as well as a flat-screen television with DVD player, iPod docking station, high-speed internet access and a useful pair of binoculars.

Take a dip in one of two swimming pools (one of which is clothing optional), each with a Japanese hot bath area - which is even open in the evening for a moonlit soak - or unwind in the sauna or on the relaxation deck. There is a fully equipped fitness room and The Spa at Ventana, which focuses on harmonising the body, mind and soul with a range of pampering massages, facials and body wraps. Savour fine Californian cuisine and a glass of wine at the award-winning Restaurant at Ventana or enjoy room service from Ventana Bistro. There is now also an option for guests to enjoy a 'glamping' experience - connect with nature outdoors in a luxurious safari-style tent complete with electrical sockets and housekeeping service.


  • Type:Luxury Hotel
  • Summary:Restorative retreat in the mountains of Big Sur
  • Feature:Afternoon wine and cheese reception
  • Rooms:60 rooms & suites
  • Location:United States of America
  • Nearest airport:San Francisco International Airport
Find Out More

Drive north again, to Carmel

Leave the beautiful Big Sur behind and turn back north to Carmel.

7

2

nights

Carmel, United States of America

Staying at

Carmel Valley Ranch

+

Located on California's Highway 1, Carmel is a beautiful and quaint Oceanside town. Blessed with white sandy beaches, dramatic views, friendly locals and incredible food, the Europeans first settled in Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1771, when Father Junipero Serra established the Carmel Mission. This historic Mission still attracts visitors today — along with the museums, fairytale cottages and galleries around the village-like centre. Located on the California Monterey Peninsula, the area is a rich spot for wildlife, bird watching and marine life. The scenic Bluff Path runs from the surf spot of Carmel Beach to Carmel River State Beach, and whilst it was once it was a haven for bohemian artists, the rugged coastline and cypress-covered outcrops now attract artists, surfers and tourists alike. Admire the sunsets, go diving, dine alfresco and stroll around the pretty Carmel Plaza — it is an area of astounding beauty. Carmel is also a wonderful base from which to explore Monterey or to take the famous 17-Mile Drive.

Highlights

Enjoy relaxing amongst the pretty vineyards of Carmel Valley, savouring local wine, playing golf, tasting fresh local produce and visiting the quaint coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Alternatively, take the 17-Mile Drive, or explore coastal Monterey with its rich marine life and striking seascapes.

Staying at

Carmel Valley Ranch

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Set in almost five-hundred acres of idyllic countryside, the iconic Carmel Valley Ranch lies in a world of extraordinary natural beauty, with majestic oaks and brilliantly coloured flowers springing up against the rugged backdrop of the Monterey Peninsula, just minutes away from the white sand of the world-famous Carmel Beach. Family-friendly, the ranch provides a children's club plus an array of activities for all the family to enjoy, such as golf, tennis, horse-back riding, hiking trails and vineyards tours. There is also an organic garden, bee apiary, plus full spa and fitness centre.The spacious, elegant rooms and suites feature fireplaces, baths, iPod docking stations and outside decks, which are the ideal venue to sit and sip a glass or two of the local wine while gazing at the stunning Carmel Valley views.


  • Type:Luxury Hotel
  • Summary:Leisure facilities include tennis courts and a golf course
  • Feature:Set in the heart of a Californian wine-producing district
  • Rooms:181 Rooms
  • Location:United States of America
  • Nearest airport:San Francisco International Airport
Find Out More

Return your hire car to San Francisco Airport

Drive back to San Francisco Airport for your onward flight home.

Make an enquiry for this Luxury Journey from one of our expert Travel Consultants

Request A Quote or please call our Travel Consultants today on: 01244 897 221

Our expert Travel Consultant, Debra says ...

Our Experts

"

California is every inch the 'Golden State' with a bounty of natural treasure and coastal attractions to discover.

"

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As the foremost British pioneer of luxury travel – and boasting an ever-increasing collection of prestigious accolades that celebrates this – Elegant Resorts is a tour operator with the expertise, knowledge and reputation to deliver only the very finest tailor-made luxury holidays to our clients, honed by thirty years of experience in this niche travel business.

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