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Golf: Exclusive Public Offering

James Y. Bartlett

Before the dot-com bubble burst and shattered so many portfolios, it yielded the dividend of the Lodge at CordeValle. Golfers can consider it an even split.

CordeValle, located in a secluded California valley in San Martin, about a 30-minute drive south of San Jose (ground zero for the dot-bomb), was originally envisioned as a semiprivate, golf-oriented getaway for high-tech executives. It was designed to attract a membership of geniuses who would meet in the boardroom in the morning, golf in the afternoon on the handsome course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and celebrate the success of their IPOs at night in the dining room with inventive California cuisine and fine wine, including vintages from the adjacent Clos La Chance vineyard.

As everyone knows, this scenario did not play out quite as planned, although CordeValle did draw a small private membership, mostly from the San Jose area. To broaden the property’s appeal, Auberge Resorts accelerated development of 28 Craftsman-style bungalows and five villas that line the crest of a hill above the golf course, transforming CordeValle into a half private club, half golf resort, and a completely unique destination. The resort’s accommodations also include a trio of four-bedroom fairway homes, which are available for $2,100 a night.
The 1,100-square-foot villas ($750 a night) are especially attractive, each with a leather settee for sitting in front of the fireplace, a plasma-screen satellite TV, and a hot tub on a balcony overlooking the golf course. The bathroom in each villa includes a full-size whirlpool tub and a shower stall that converts into a steam chamber.

With such amenities at hand, one is tempted to ignore the full-service spa and health club at the main clubhouse. This would be a mistake; the treatments, the herbal unguents, and the surroundings are exquisite. The men’s spa wing includes a steam room and a mineral whirlpool, private treatment rooms with outdoor gardens for alfresco massages, indoor and outdoor pools, a billiards room, and a cigar lounge. After all, those dot-commers wanted everything, didn’t they?

The golf course, bisected by a rocky stream and featuring some holes that climb up and down the gentle slopes, nestles comfortably in the lush valley. Huge, ancient oaks and sycamores dot the landscape, and golfers share the course with chattering magpies and the noble red-tailed hawks soaring overhead. Caddies are assigned to every group, and they are extremely helpful in reading the subtle greens, which are always kept exceedingly fast.

Guests can dine in the informal pub or the more elegant yet still casual main dining room. Executive Chef Patrick Heymann draws on the rich resources of the surrounding farmland to create an ever-changing menu that always features seafood, wild game, and fine steaks.

The dot-com boom may have gone bust, but the Lodge at CordeValle is certain to thrive as an outpost of elegance and civility midway between San Jose and the Monterey Peninsula.
 
CordeValle, 408.695.4500, 877.255.2626, www.cordevalle.com

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