At the Base of Heaven – Cavallo Point Lodge

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by Alex May – Photography by Kodiak Greenwood

Across the orange vermillion bridge in Sausalito, sequestered away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, lies Cavallo Point Lodge, an expanse of eco- sensitive accommodations swaddled in the verdant landscape of the north bay. walk the pathways, paved or grassy, and breathe in the solitude of a place with deep history, brimming with modern amenities and a steadfast focus on leaving the lightest of carbon footprints.

The trees, originally planted by the army to break up the mercurial winds of the bay, have flourished and brought their own wistful sensory powers to the property. Gaze upon the restored officer’s quarters and colonial-style buildings, dating to the early 1900s, and take a trip back in time. Turn around and watch the fog melt away to reveal a view only found here or on the front of a glossy postcard. A familiar, comforting feeling wells within. This place is special; it feels like home. And that’s the point.

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“It’s an ideal place to come in for a few days to escape. To renew and reconnect,” says General Manager Euan Taylor, who’s been at the helm since November, 201l, bringing 20 years of hospitality experience with him. “It’s nostalgic,” he continues. “There’s a sense of time. From all the original hardware on the doors… there’s a sense of place when you’re here.”

A mammoth expanse of parade ground horseshoes the historic houses with inviting front porches, white pillars, and identical rust-colored rooftops. They have been meticulously restored to make a guest’s stay relaxing and stimulating all at the same time. One senses quickly that Cavallo Point has revolutionized luxury accommodations, straying from the ultra-swank, high- rise sleep structures that pepper the skylines of major cities.

Although the restoration process was 10 years in the making, the resort has made quick work in its five years of operation, winning accolades aplenty, including the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in energy and environmental design (Leed) gold medal. Adirondack chairs fashioned from recycled milk caps guard the front porches of the historic and contemporary rooms, of which there are 68 and 74, respectively. Low emission carpets cover the floors, organic linens hug the beds, and organic towels, shampoos, conditioners, and soaps line each bathroom. Solar panels provide a considerable amount of energy to the grounds, chemical-free laundry is done on-site, and stringent recycling and water conservation programs are in place. The point was to “build a legacy property for the Bay Area that would focus on providing an eco Luxe environment,” says Taylor. And, importantly so, to bring “a level of authenticity and genuineness from the staff.”

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Spend any amount of time in the Farley Bar or Murray Circle restaurant and you’ll get a sense of that hospitality. The staff is friendly and human, well aware of the price guests are paying, but relaxed and confident enough to express that Cavallo Point is luxury without the prodigal grandeur.

With only a year of operation under its belt, Murray Circle earned a Michelin Star from 2009 to 2011. executive Chef Justin Everett, a seemingly perfect match for the resort’s objective of sustainability and community connection, is well-versed and carries a weighty resume for only being in his 30s. A longtime Bay Area resident, he has thrived on the land, continuing the positive trend of farm-to-table ingredients and keeping strong his relationships with farmers and proprietors from the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

“We wanted to make Murray Circle attractive as a destination restaurant, a place you can just drop into on the way home, or for an upscale yet California-casual meal out during the week,” says Taylor. And it has been, because 80 percent of the business comes from the community.

With both of the initial investors being Bay Area residents, they jumped at the chance to develop on the vacant military post and national park, creating a humble resort respectful of its history, but forward-thinking in its hospitality and eco-friendly goals.

The lodge is the getaway within arms’ reach of whatever it is you’re getting away from. Close enough to snap a picture, but far enough to enjoy the quiet seclusion of an early California morning. Besides having reservations, there seems to be very little that is exclusive about the place.

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The Mercantile shop breaks the paradigm of a souvenir store, featuring local designers, innovators, and artisans, opening up trunk shows to the public as often as possible. Local artists’ work is found in the rooms and the walls of various buildings.

The lodge offers everything from nearby hiking trails and complimentary morning yoga, to a picturesque spa, beautifully crafted from the former administration buildings. Guests can enjoy a meditation pool, locally purchased wellness products, and integrative medicine options, including therapy and access to a shaman.

“This is not just somewhere you can get a massage,” says Taylor in his British twang. And when all is said and done, the day winding down, there seems nothing better than sitting with a glass of wine, gazing upon the sparkling city by the bay.

The lodge, from day one, has kept the community in mind and has pushed to become a mainstay in the area, offering its services and generous discounts to locals. with the help of a well-trained staff and support system, it has worked hard to distinguish that it’s not just some high-end hotel purposely hidden away from the public eye, only available to those who have put down the credit card.

Cavallo Point holds power, an unspeakable strength that connects with everyone who visits, even if only for an afternoon. The sun peeks through the clouds, warming the skin and the soul. wind sifts through the terrain carrying the smell of eucalyptus to the olfactory nerves, calming the body. A nearby foghorn plays its bluesy lullaby. It’s the genial, welcoming staff, it’s the history, and it’s the feeling that whenever you arrive, this is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

For more information or to book a room, please visit

cavallopoint.com

415-339-4700

601 Murray Circle | Fort Baker | Sausalito | CA 94965

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