A Review of The Lodge at The Golden Gate, Cavallo Point


Right before the 4th of July weekend, I spent a couple of days at The Lodge at the Golden Gate, Cavallo Point, in Sausalito.. Henceforth called simply, Cavallo Point.

Some good resorts make almost everyone happy, almost all the time. (Some people will find fault even with perfection. But why make yourself unhappy?) Places at the other end of the good resort spectrum offer certain people, in certain circumstances, what they want. Such is Cavallo Point.

Located on the Marin side of the Golden Gate bridge, and built on the grounds of Baker Fort state park, Cavallo offers views, architecture, and very good food. On the other hand, it’s located very close to Highway 101, and constrained by historic preservation and state park sustainability requirements.

Let’s explore.

Cavallo offers two categories of accomodation, Historic, and Modern. This one is Modern. When you first see your room, you might think, “Oh, no, earth tones.” I certainly did. Mustard linens to match the burned yellow of California summer grasses always sounds like a good idea. It’s not.

And luxury bathrooms ought to provide showers separate from baths, obviating the need for vinyl shower curtains. Shudder.

But things improve with the balcony, bay and sky beyond.

You wander down the hill to eat. Behold the resort map, if you want to get into details. Note the main lawn, or Parade Grounds, surrounded by Historic lodging. Modern lodging, like the room above, is found on the hill behind the restaurants.

Let’s eat.

The food at Farley’s, eaten sitting outside on the porch looking at the bay, is good. You can also eat at Murray Circle, but they have a new chef. Yikes. A kitchen in transition is not to be recommended. I’d be inclined to think that management, loathe to lose their Michelin star, will manage the chef and staff tightly for performance. We shall see. For now, I’d recommend fried oysters.

And an evening walk as trees darken against the lighter sky. The effect is marred somewhat by the view of the restaurant’s backside from above, if you’re staying in one of the Modern rooms up the hill. Landscaping is limited by historic preservation and sustainability concerns, and as a result is a little scrubby. But nascent fog sharpens the air just that little bit, and you feel as though your surroundings are more beautiful than they are.

The next day you go for a walk down by the Golden Gate, which obligingly emerges from fog. As bridges do.

You try the spa. Where they feed you sandwiches, soup, and, um, green stuff. Which doesn’t taste too bad, after all, and makes one feel quite virtuous.

The building’s lovely. You get a world-class massage. I know. I’ve had massages on many continents.

And finally, on a last walk around the grounds, you look back across the Parade Grounds. It’s about the flag, turns out. Keep the flag in sight, and you should avoid most flaws in decor and grounds. Which, for a former Army base, is only fitting.

In the end, Cavallo Point makes sense as a spot for locals to use the spa, eat the food, and drink quantities from the interesting wine list. It makes sense for locals who can get a luxury sort of deal, staying in one of the historic rooms for $280 and therefore not driving home after drinking said interesting wine. However, it also makes sense for travelers spending a week in Northern California. Do two nights in San Francisco, get out of the city early afternoon, beating rush hour traffic, spend a night or two at Cavallo, then take your last three nights up in Napa or Sonoma. If you’ve got an expansive budget, stay in one of Cavallo’s Historic King rooms with a view, on the Parade Grounds. Go to the spa. Eat well, drink well, and be sure to say goodbye to the Golden Gate.

*No compensation has been received for this post. The staff was pretty nice though, which counts.

20 Comments

  • 07/13/11
    8:32 am

    Reply

    Susan Tiner said...

    It sounds lovely but I think we’ll just visit the parade grounds then drive back home for dinner and lodging :-)

  • 07/13/11
    9:23 am

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    hostessofthehumblebungalow said...

    Sounds like a wonderful spot.
    Your oysters do look tasty and so well presented.

    I must say that I too am wary of mustard yellows in bedrooms…perhaps in a hotel room in India they would be more appropriate!

    How lovely to get away though and at a relaxed pace with a massage and a spa meal…pure bliss.

  • 07/13/11
    9:35 am

    Reply

    Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

    These posts always make me feel as though I’ve enjoyed a quick getaway. (Which I guess I have, from my work.) But I love, love, love your Golden Gate photos. Brilliant.

  • 07/13/11
    9:49 am

    Reply

    Mags said...

    Many thanks. That yellowy-mustardy color is screaming at me louder than my shouting children! So on this one, I pass. ;)

  • 07/13/11
    10:24 am

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    RoseAG said...

    Some years ago I spent some time in Napa/Sonoma in autumn. It’s not a good place for someone who has allergy issues with grasses. The main thing I remember about my stay was soggy tissues.

    This spa doesn’t seem like a place where you’d go for wide outdoor expanses, but the ocean breezes probably keep the grass pollens down, and would be a better choice for someone who doesn’t want to spent their vacation zoned out on allergy medications.

  • 07/13/11
    11:18 am

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    Walking Barefoot said...

    This is where is spent my first night of married life! Sadly, we were too pooped to take advantage of the food, spa, or grounds, but it was a beautiful & cozy place to spend the night.

  • 07/13/11
    3:15 pm

    Reply

    Jessa said...

    This is a review? If you’re too sophisticated for vinyl shower curtains, new chefs, and-GASP!-the color yellow, do some research. Or, just get over yourself.

  • 07/13/11
    5:07 pm

    Reply

    T. said...

    Seems like a good spot!

  • 07/13/11
    6:54 pm

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    ms Givens said...

    I love places like this. I wanted to go somewhere this weekend but I think my dog sitter may be tired of watching dogs. My daughter and I recently went to Roman Nose Lodge here in Oklahoma. We loved it. For me its all about getting away. I see the adventure in it and never take it so serious that it ruins the trip. Love the bridge pic!

  • 07/13/11
    9:11 pm

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    Marsha @ Splenderosa said...

    Ah yes, the officer’s always lived very well. And, to think the US government owns some of the most beautiful real estate in our country. And, I’m happy about this and very proud. My 2 husbands were both officers in the military, the 1st in the Air Force, the 2nd in the Navy…and I promise I did not seek out these types at all…just happened that way. xx’s

  • 07/13/11
    11:40 pm

    Reply

    Marilyn @ Pink Martinis and Pearls said...

    What a nice get-away for you. I’ve been wanting to do the same but I’m at a loss as to where to go. I also need to get up north and see my boy. How are your two doing this summer?

  • 07/14/11
    7:45 am

    Reply

    Lisa said...

    Susan – I completely understand:).

    Hostess – Yes, in India they’d complement the mustard with some fuchsia, and that would work.

    Stephanie – Thank you so much.

    Mags – Ha!

    RoseAG – That’s an interesting thought. The only issue was eucalyptus pollen.

  • 07/14/11
    7:46 am

    Reply

    Lisa said...

    Walking Barefoot – Oh my goodness. How wonderful. I’m pleased at that convergence:).

    Jessa – Um, well, yes, I do consider it a review. Reviews aren’t supposed to be just praise. Considered in the luxury context, and that’s how I ‘m looking at it given that some rooms cost over $500, Cavallo has shortcomings. Now, perhaps I should get over myself, that’s true. But it’s also a different topic.

    T. – Worth a visit.

    ms Givens – What a great name, Roman Nose Lodge! Thanks for the kind words on my photo.

    Marsha – You’d like this then. You can really feel the presence of the officers, I believe. To the point that I worried a little about ghosts, but they were friendly ones:).

    Marilyn – The boy and I are doing well. It’s kind of a luxury to have him around like this. Maybe you and I can have a cup of coffee, if you get up here.

  • 07/14/11
    8:12 am

    Reply

    materfamilias said...

    Duly noted for our next visit. Thanks!

  • 07/14/11
    8:29 am

    Reply

    Patsy said...

    What an awesome place to go to get over yourself!

  • 07/14/11
    10:39 am

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    Duchesse said...

    You had me at the fried oysters. Maybe there is a comment form for you to mention the vinyl shower curtains?

  • 07/14/11
    12:25 pm

    Reply

    Terri said...

    You can see the bridge a short walk from here? I am impressed. San Francisco is one of a handful of American cities I have yet to visit.

  • 07/15/11
    9:04 am

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    mary jo said...

    Hmmm, yes your views on the room were similar to mine. I really want plush when I’m going to a luxury hotel. For me it’s all about the bar, the cooking classes and the spa. I liked getting your local perspective–my friends tell me after a night in the city, it’s very impressive to swoop your date there for a night cap. Glad you were able to get away!

    xo Mary Jo

  • 07/19/11
    3:03 pm

    Reply

    Jason said...

    Beautiful! This looks like a lovely spot.

    Thank you for chiming in today on The Jason Show.

    I love the feel of AmidPrivilege.

  • 09/05/14
    7:11 pm

    Reply

    RS said...

    Hi… My husband just returned from there after staying for a night for a conference he was attending. He said he had his first “ghost” appearance there. He had his laptop in sleep mode and went to the bathroom. When he got back to his room, the laptop was on, and the camera on his laptop was on too. He could see himself walking into the room! I would’ve freaked out! He just casually mentions it to me now! He said there were creaky sounds at night, so he just left the lights on and went to sleep. So I’m online googling if other people have had similar experiences. Either it’s a ghost, or someone found a way to operate his laptop through the hotel wifi he had logged into. Either way, I’m spooked!

    09/06/14
    8:58 am
    Lisa said...

    We met no ghosts, but clearly it’s a place where some might be found. Was your husband in one of the old buildings? We stayed in the new part.

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