Temecula Creek Inn, California - Hotel Review
Temecula Wine Country
By Alain Gayot
it comes to visiting Southern California, sometimes it pays to venture beyond the tried
and true — L.A.'s glitzy celeb scene, San
Diego's sunny beaches and Palm Spring's
desert resorts. In this region there are pockets that prove
there is still such a thing in our Global Village as a best-kept
secret. Among them: Temecula Valley, with its intimate wine
trail and the Temecula Creek Inn.
Temecula Creek Inn in Temecula, California
though it's only 90 miles from L.A. and 60 miles
from San Diego, the valley feels a world away from Brian
Wilson's archetypical SoCal. Named by the Luiseno
tribe, Temecula means, "sun shining through the
sea mist," but this romantic description does not
do justice to the unique drama of the San Jacinto mountains
drifting down into green hillsides dappled with massive
stones. The mood here is rugged and bucolic at the same
time, and it's easy to imagine the cattle that once
grazed the land. Fortunately, Temecula Creek Inn has done
an admirable job of maintaining the integrity of the landscape,
with its subtle wood and stone architecture; golf courses
that incorporate natural flora and land formations; and
stands of sycamore, stone pine, eucalyptus, ash and California
before the arrival of the fairways, this 350-plus-acre
property was inhabited by Pechanga Indians. The inn's
interiors display a soothing nature-inspired palette and rustic wine country furnishings, and you will discover a taste of it upon arrival in the lobby and carried into
the guest rooms and junior suites. Housed in two- and three-story
guest lodges, the 130 accommodations are spacious, and
most have private balconies or patios with golf course
and mountain views. As well, they include work stations
with high-speed Internet access and voice mail.
A soothing nature-inspired palette
Temecula Creek calls itself an inn, it offers numerous
advantages associated with a resort: most notably its
golf courses. Its 27 holes of championship golf are comprised
of the Creek, Oaks and Stone House Nine. Beginners will
want to start with the Creek course, while those who like
a challenge will appreciate the elevation changes, rock
outcroppings and blind fairways of the Ted Robinson-designed
Stone House course. With fairways lined with century-old
oaks, the courses have hosted U.S. Open Qualifiers and
Golden State Tours. As well, golfers can takes classes
and clinics from PGA pros at the on-site golf school.
its central location in one of California's up-and-coming
boutique wine regions, the inn has established itself
as a destination for fine regional dining. Its Cork | Fire Kitchen
is overseen by executive chef Sal Giuliano, who infuses
wine country cuisine with Mediterranean influences and
who frequents local farms for organic produce. You're
likely to find heirloom tomatoes, torpedo onions or persimmons
from the area on the table, as well as herbs (pineapple
sage or Genovese basil, for example) from his garden.
Also of note is the setting in which the food is served.
Cork | Fire Kitchen is a lovely space with a contemporary Pacific
Northwest flair to it. Simple and elegant wooden chandeliers
hang from the vaulted, wood beam ceiling, and a wall of
floor-to-ceiling windows lends the room an al fresco feel.
inn's comprehensive meeting and event spaces — which
can accommodate up to 400 — include
the rustic Stone House, which was once a former mess hall
for quarrymen. This historic building, constructed in 1825,
is a lovely setting for intimate wedding parties and small
corporate retreats. There is also a full team for planning
all kinds and styles of gatherings, which are enhanced by
additional activities such as tennis, swimming and massage.
As well, miles of marked trails wind around the resort.
As you're taking a morning jog or an afternoon hike,
keep an eye open for coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, red tail
hawks and blue jays. With its 21st-century amenities and
timeless natural beauty, Temecula Creek Inn offers the best
of both worlds.