What do great magazines and fabulous hotels have in common? A recent visit to Rosewood CordeValle, a boutique resort 30 minutes south of San Jose, California, reminded me that hospitality and publishing both rely on two seemingly contradictory factors: consistency and surprise.
As Via’s editor, I get to work with talented creative pros who work hard to meet consistent quality standards while also delivering unexpected and revelatory writing and photos. Marcel Eichenberger, CordeValle’s Swiss-trained resort manager, works with his own top-notch team to provide everything guests require—luxurious bedding, impeccable coffee, always-on service—as well as the delightful extras that exceed expectations.
Take, for instance, my favorite in-room perk: complimentary binoculars for use on the property. "We have a wide variety of flora and fauna here, and we realized guests would enjoy taking a closer look," Eichenberger says.
Deer, hawks, and other critters patrol the resort’s bucolic 1,700 acres in the town of San Martin in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. CordeValle’s championship-level golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., weaves among meadows and natural streams surrounded by golden hills and majestic oaks that evoke California’s past.
“You’re not far from Silicon Valley, but you feel a world away,” says Josh Sens, a contributing writer for Golf magazine who also writes for Via. “The overall vibe is time-capsule California.”
While the setting is the resort’s most beautiful surprise, CordeValle offers plenty of other serendipitous perks to sweep guests off their feet—including white slippers tied together with white satin ribbons.
Many hotels and spas entice guests with fruit-infused water, but CordeValle adds an unexpected level of luxury, letting guests curate exactly which fruits they’d like to freshen their agua. As in, “I'll have one lime, three raspberries, and a blueberry, please.”
Mini-condiment jars of jam, ketchup, or mustard have long been an adorable fetish to go with white tablecloths and elegant room service. At CordeValle, the mini-jams are house-made, spectacularly delicious, and come in petite, French-style jars with hinged lids.
I’d better not reveal too many more of the plum secrets. You’ll come to expect them, and Eichenberger and his team will have to get even more creative to dazzle guests.
Meanwhile, my visit to CordeValle got me wondering, “How can Via deliver more unexpected treats?” Finding inspiration in the brilliant hospitality of a boutique resort wasn’t exactly a tough job. But achieving that perfect combination of consistency and surprise is an endlessly intriguing challenge.