When traveling on a budget, my family likes to play the “stay in a cheaper hotel and then pretend to stay in a fancier hotel” game. Just because you are not staying at a resort, does not mean you cannot enjoy the property for an afternoon. The best way to do this is eating at a hotel’s restaurant, which is what I did while visiting Bernardus Lodge.
While I was staying in Monterey, I knew I wanted to see Carmel Valley and driving to the restaurant Lucia turned out to be the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of the pretty area. I just saw it as a point of interest for my driving explorations, since I did not know too much about the area.
I would not drive all the way to Lucia for any particular item on the menu, but I loved the relaxing atmosphere of the resort. If you are planning to explore and want a place to stop for lunch then I would recommend Lucia Restaurant.