Cavallo Point Lodge

Sausalito, San Francisco, United States
Book from GBP Book from £370 per night

Cavallo Point Lodge

Sausalito, San Francisco, United States

Beautiful National Park lodge, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, with views to die for

Beautiful National Park lodge, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, with views to die for

The National Parks have been dubbed 'America's Best Idea', and just over the Golden Gate Bridge, between Marin Headlands and Sausalito, lies Cavallo Point, part of the Golden Gate National Park. Once an army base, it was another excellent idea to turn the 17 red-roofed, colonial-style officers' residences, chapel and mess buildings into a lodge. The visionary renovation took nearly 10 years, but the results are superb, and it has been awarded LEED Gold certification for its eco-principles and practices.

You would never guess, but there are 142 rooms and suites, spread between historic and contemporary buildings, which are scattered around the 12,500 sq.ft. property. Most overlook the former Parade Ground, with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay area. There are two restaurants showcasing Californian produce, one in a relaxed bistro setting, the other through original Asian-fusion gastronomy. Other on-site facilities include a wonderful Healing Arts Center (which has a garden with meditation pool, hot tubs and a firepit), and an acclaimed cooking school which runs near-daily courses.

The hotel is sister property to the acclaimed Post Ranch Inn and Inn at the Presidio. Families looking for space, service and adventure; friends on a fun weekend away; couples seeking romance and relaxation - all will love it here. We did.

Highs

  • Hop over the Bridge to get to San Francisco, then return to be surrounded by eucalyptus and birdsong: this offers the best of both worlds
  • Accommodating, friendly and informal staff, and excellent concierge services
  • Lots to do, whether exploring Sausalito, the Golden Gate area or Marin, or staying put for complimentary yoga and nature walks
  • It runs the full gamut of gastronomy, from the health-conscious Tea Bar in the spa to the high-end fusion cuisine at Sula
  • Contemporary rooms are huge, with stunning views to the Golden Gate bridge

Lows

  • Recent feedback is mixed, with some feeling disappointed by their room, the food and the service. But others still rave about everything
  • Choose your room carefully. We loved the ambiance of the Historic rooms, but they are smaller and don't have views; you may prefer the modern, renovated style of the contemporary rooms
  • It is expensive (and breakfast costs extra), but we felt it was all justified by the unique setting and set-up
  • There's no pool, due to National Park restrictions, but the spa has an adults-only meditation pool
  • The Bay's foghorn can be very loud but earplugs are supplied (amazingly you can only hear a background hum from Highway 101)

Best time to go

The Bay Area offers delights all year. Summer months are the warmest, have the most blue sky and certainly the best outdoor adventures, but equally you may come across the fog rolling in over the bridge - a really mesmeric experience. To see the tops of the Bridge poking up through the bank of fog is a phenomenon indeed. Spring sees a profusion of wild flowers in the Headlands, autumn brings harvest bounty in Sonoma and Napa, just up the road. Winters can be anything from atmospheric to rainy.

Our top tips

  • Explore Marin Headlands for its stunning views back to San Francisco. Bring layers for every weather eventuality.
  • Make sure you get to the spa, as I failed to do and am chastising myself still...
  • Great for...

    Eco
    Family
    Foodie
    Great Outdoors
    Spa
    • Luxury Lodge
    • 142 rooms
    • Restaurants and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa
    • Beach Nearby
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Car recommended
    • Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • WiFi
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    • Pool Table
    • Bicycles Available
    • Landscaped grounds
    Room:

    Rooms

    Roughly half of the 142 rooms and suites are in the attractive ('historic') white buildings with red roofs, which form a semi-circle around the Parade Ground and look out towards the Bay.

    These former officers' residences were painstakingly restored to preserve original features such as doors, coving and front porches, which now now have rocking chairs. The larger suites have separate sitting areas with sofabeds, armchairs and gas fireplaces.

    The other rooms are in new eco-friendly buildings, usually with 4-6 units per building, on the hillsides. Nearly all of these 'contemporary' rooms have Golden Gate Bridge or Bay views - ours was amazing. Most have a balcony or patio and gas fireplaces.

    Larger suites, such as the Contemporary King Suite in which we stayed, have separate sitting areas with window sofas and armchairs. All have a private balcony or patio with Adirondack chairs, wet bars and fireplaces.

    The decor in both historic and contemporary rooms is similar - think soft sage and mustard colours - but you get walnut in the old and bamboo in the new. All have original artwork, usually photography (our room had B&W pictures on a water theme). Floors are carpeted in the bedrooms, bathrooms have heated slate floors.

    Bathrooms are shiny-white immaculate, all with a rain shower over the deep soaking tub, except in the top suites where you get a separate bath and shower. Make sure you slide your doors shut overnight to avoid light pouring through the windows in the morning.

    Beds are supremely comfortable, dressed in organic linens. Amenities include flatscreen TVs, mini fridges, ceiling fan, complimentary toiletries, robes and slippers, desk with reading lights, shaving mirror, and useful in-room directories.

    Features include:

    • Bathrobes
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Cots available
    • Fan
    • Fireplace
    • Hairdryer
    • In-room treatments available
    • Iron
    • Radio
    • Safe box
    • Toiletries
    • TV
    • WiFi

    Eating

    Food and drink is, some say, what NorCal is all about. That's why you get the choice of 2 excellent restaurants: Farley, a casual bistro and bar, and Sula for refined American-Asian dining.

    You'll have breakfast (or brunch at the weekend) at Farley, choosing from an a la carte menu of Californian favourites like pecan pancakes and avocado toast. It remains open for lunch (Mon-Fri) and dinner (daily), where bistro staples, such as oysters, locally caught fish and steak frites, are paired with micro-brews and small production wines, served up in the relaxed dining room, at the bar or on the terrace with incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    For something a little more elevated, reserve a table at Sula (open Thursday-Saturday) for a dinner of excellent contemporary American fare fused with Asian flavours. Start with braised beef dumplings or crispy fried yams with Thai coconut yoghurt, followed by the likes of grilled miso lamb loin and seared scallops on a bed of curried risotto. Finish with a tempting passionfruit caramel torte and one of their original cocktails and you'll never want to leave the table.

    The acclaimed cooking school has events on several times a week, so book yourself in on one of their day courses.

    If you want to dine out, head to Sausalito which has several nice waterfront restaurants. We were told that The Spinnaker, Poggio or Fish. were good choices.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Coffee maker
    • Kids' meals
    • Organic produce
    • Restaurant
    • Room service
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • At the lodge: start your day with complimentary yoga, then check out the Healing Arts Center & Spa with 11 treatment rooms, meditation pool, firepit and hot tubs, plus a full menu of massage, treatments, wraps, soaks, facials, shaman rituals; enjoy a healthy snack or drink in the Tea Bar, then tour the art gallery; alternatively, take a day course in the popular Cooking School

    • Take the complimentary shuttle to Sausalito: go shopping in boutiques, book your sailing/kayaking trip round the Bay, take a ferry over to San Francisco and visit the Farmer's Market

    • Explore Marin Headlands. Drive up to Hawk Hill (named for the largest known migration of raptors in the US every autumn) for amazing views of the cityscape and Bay below

    • Wildlife lovers should head to Point Bonita lighthouse for cormorant, brown pelican, western grebe, common murre, surf scoter and northern harrier; spot Harbor Seals year-round at Black Sand Beach and Rodeo Lagoon and, in the winter, look out for migrating Gray Whale

    • Drive up Highway 101 and take a left to Muir Woods and Muir Beach: Tennessee Valley is great for hiking and mountain biking (invented in Marin); Muir Woods National Monument preserves an ancient stand of redwoods

    • Borrow an e-bike and cycle over the bridge and Crissy Field to explore San Fransisco and the Presidio

    • Check out the Exploratorium, Golden Gate Park (including the de Young, Academy of Sciences and Botanical Garden) or take a ferry to Alcatraz from the city side

    • Travel to Napa and Sonoma (just up the road) for wine tasting, fancy restaurants, canoeing down the Russian River or a hot air balloon ride over the wineries

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse riding
    • Hot air ballooning
    • Kayaking
    • Kitesurfing
    • Mountain biking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Pool table
    • Private guided tours
    • Sailing
    • Shopping / markets
    • Surfing
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Whale watching
    • Wildlife
    • Wine tasting
    • Yoga

    Kids

    Children are very welcome at Cavallo Point Lodge, and stay for free up to 18 years of age, sharing their parents' room, either in a baby cot or on an air mattress. The spa meditation pool is only for adults, but 16 and 17 year olds can visit with parents. There's plenty to do, it's well located for San Fran and has babysitting so you can visit the spa.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Contemporary 2 Queens, Historic 2 Bedroom Suites and the various other suites (accommodating 3-6 adults) are the best for families. Check the full descriptions on rates. Note that there is no lift and most rooms are on the first or second floor.

    Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

    Babysitting:

    On request.

    Baby equipment:

    • Cots
    • Highchairs in the restaurant

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    The restaurant's kids' menu offers 3 mini courses eg chicken fingers, fish sticks, mac and cheese, vanilla ice cream sundae. You can order in treats like milk and cookies, freshly baked by the pastry chef. Plenty of child-friendly eateries in SF; you can also buy basic picnic goodies in the onsite shop.

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Parade ground lawn for ball games, running around, kite flying and picnics
    • Complimentary hikes and walks, included guided hikes under Golden Gate Bridge
    • Outdoor kung fu lessons and cookery lessons (age 8+)

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • The Bay Area Discovery Museum next door is ideal for kids under 10
    • 75,000 acres of national park on your doorstep
    • Cycle over the bridge to San Francisco for Alcatraz, the Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium and more

    Families Should Know:

    Kids aren't allowed in the pool in the spa; there are some steps on the property, and there is no lift (staff will help with your luggage, but it's better to book a ground floor room if you have a buggy).

    Distances:

    • Airport: 50 minutes
    • Hospital: 25 minutes
    • Nearest shop: onsite
    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Cavallo Point Lodge is set at the foot of the Marin Headlands, just over the Golden Gate Bridge, overlooking San Francisco Bay on the west coast of America.

    By Air:
    Fly to San Francisco or Oakland. Click on the links below for a list of airlines which serve these airports.

    From the Airport
    You can take a taxi - around US$65 from SFO and US$95 from OAK - or the lodge can arrange a transfer, see Rates. The journey time is around 40-50 minutes respectively.

    By Bus:
    The Marin Transporter bus goes to Sausalito from San Fran airport. Cavallo Point provides complimentary pick-up from the bus stop. When the bus begins to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, call the Front Desk so that the shuttle can be ready for pick up at the Marin Airporter stop. Plan to depart the Marin Airporter at Spencer Avenue. This is the exit after the Golden Gate Bridge and through a tunnel. The first exit after the tunnel is Spencer Avenue.

    By Ferry:
    There are ferries across the bay to Sausalito, which is a mile down the road. Again, the complimentary shuttle can collect you, but you should let the front desk know 24 hours in advance as the shuttle has set times.

    By Car:
    Most guests chose to hire a car and there is valet parking on property. See our car rental recommendations.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com

    More on getting to California and getting around

    Airports:

    • San Francisco International Airport 32.0 km SFO
    • Oakland International Airport 46.0 km OAK

    Other:

    • Beach 6.0 km
    • Shops 1.5 km
    • Restaurant 1.5 km

    Rates for Cavallo Point Lodge

    Arriving on: