Enhanced Wedding Venues: Charming Estate at Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch updates its historically charming estate with a six-year, $13 million restoration.
From: Fall/Winter 2013 edition

Surrounded by rolling hills, majestic oaks and miles of blue sky, Holman Ranch has a history that began when California was still part of Mexico. Since then, this rustically elegant 400-acre Carmel Valley property has functioned as a gentlemen’s retreat; a hideaway for old Hollywood heavy hitters, such as Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando and Joan Crawford; a cattle ranch and stables; and a wedding venue.

Now, after a six-year, $13 million restoration, estate winery can be added to that list. The main goal of the renovations was to retrofit and update (e.g., adding air conditioning, grounds-wide Wi-Fi and earthquake safety measures) while preserving the ranch’s historical charm, which includes the area’s first swimming pool, twinkling lighted carriage house and the venue’s showstopper—a 1928 terra-cotta-roof stone hacienda with hand-carved oak beam ceilings, beautiful patios, Saltillo-tiled floors and a cozy colonial-style chapel.

The 10, 1940s-era guest rooms—perfect for turning the big day into a big weekend—were updated from the rugs to roofs. The grand lawn, with its photo-ready panorama and resident wild turkeys, has also been upgraded with fire pits, an arbor, a fountain, various lawn games, native landscaping and trees. “Our philosophy is to help brides create their own day with our stunning backdrop,” says director of hospitality Hunter Lowder.

Whether you prefer cowboy casual or Chardonnay chic, packages start at $1,000 for a couple-only micro-wedding, $7,500 for one day celebrations, and $21,000 for a multiday retreat (headcount can range from 15 to 400) that can be customized to include a private wine tasting and cave tour, a pool party lunch or a romantic picnic among the vines.