By Emma Krasov. Photography by Yuri Krasov
Looking through our car window at Monterey pines and coastal oaks flickering in the setting sun, I ask my husband, “Would you like to live here?”
“What are you talking about?” he says, hands on the wheel, eyes on the winding road. “How would I go to work from here every day?”
“Suppose you don’t have to work. You retire early.”
“Okay, so I spend all these money on a house here and then what? You know that we travel all the time. Having a property here, in this unbelievable paradise, wouldn’t you feel obligated to stay home ALL THE TIME?”
“Are you trying to say we got the best possible deal?”
“Yep, that’s what I’m thinking,” he says, glancing at me sideways.
This is a game we’re playing everywhere we travel. Would you like to live here? How about here? There? Anywhere? Nope, we prefer to visit and stay for a while, not really settling down. Not yet.
And so, this time the deal is Sanctuary Vacation Rentals – a Monterey Peninsula agency, now in its 10th year of renting out the finest vacation homes in one of the most picturesque places in the world!
Wild ocean beaches, winding trails, sandy dunes, covered with colorful succulents, abundant marine life, and a highly sophisticated residential/tourist infrastructure with upscale hotels and restaurants, cozy little parks and courtyards, boutique shopping, historical architecture, Salvador Dali museum and Monterey Bay Aquarium are all in close proximity to any of the rentals offered by the company.
Our Pebble Beach Escape near the major tourist attraction, 17-Mile Drive and an endless beach, overlooks a local golf course where a family of grazing deer pays no attention to proceeding golfers and the only audible sounds come from chirping birds and wooden chimes touched by a light breeze.
The spacious mid-century property with a back patio and a deck has three bedrooms, a huge living room, and sleeps six adults and some children, so it’s rather too big for the two of us, but hey, we’re on a mission here. It’s reconnaissance, a first approximation of our planned gathering with friends – all empty-nest couples, giddy with our newly acquired freedom – our kids grown, independent, and out of the house.
We lounge on a deck observing a fire pit and a gas BBQ grill. Patio furniture includes a large table and chairs with cushions, stacked in a weather-resistant box when not in use. There’s an assortment of beach necessities, like blankets, chairs, large towels, an umbrella, a cooler, so if spending a day by the water we’ll be all equipped.
Inside, a full kitchen with all new appliances, a laundry room, three bathrooms with shower cabins and one even with a whirlpool, a fireplace, a library, a fully equipped bar area, a home entertainment center plus a baby grand piano provide all the comforts of home with the orderliness and serenity of a well-kempt hotel.
The master bedroom with a vaulted ceilings and large windows lets in plenty of natural light. It has entrance to the deck, where our morning coffee starts in the early fog and continues into the bright sunshine gradually filling the air.
The 2,700-square-foot home is pet-friendly – good to know for our friends who have dogs! The four-legged family members will surely enjoy the proximity of multiple walking areas.
We take a short car ride, mere minutes, to the Bird Rock and other coastal sites, where spotted gray squirrels hide between the pebbles only to ambush every arriving human, and beg for food right under a sign prohibiting the feeding of wild animals.
A posh little town of Pebble Beach is nearby, with its fine dining and shopping at The Lodge and Spanish Bay, golfing at the world-famous public courses, and open-horizon views of the Pacific.
We take our sweet time cooking, having leisurely meals in the formal dining room or on the deck, lounging on the living room plush sectional sofa, or observing the resident deer congregating by the second hole of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
We venture out to enjoy the sunset by the Lonely Cypress on 17-Mile-Drive, and to dine at La Balena – an upscale Italian restaurant known for its home-made pastas and friend chicken, in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
By the time our weekend retreat is over we feel rejuvenated and strangely calm and content – perhaps, a feeling only a sanctuary can provide.
Sanctuary Vacation Rentals was founded in 2008 by Annee Martin, who had to rent out her and her husband David’s home in Carmel in the wake of the infamous economic downturn. She was so successful in her renting enterprise that soon started staging and maintaining half a dozen homes for vacation rentals. A warm and welcoming environment in each Sanctuary rental is still created with thoughtful little touches like fresh flowers and a bottle of Monterey County wine greeting the temporary dwellers on the kitchen counter. All homes are fully equipped and furnished with everything a visitor may need.
Currently, Sanctuary Vacation Rentals has a team of 20 professionals and represents almost 100 homes on the Monterey Peninsula, including Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel proper, Carmel Highlands, Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey and Carmel Valley and the Highway 68 corridor near the airport and Laguna Seca. The roster of homes includes everything from cozy two-bedroom cottages in Carmel and Pacific Grove to four-bedroom homes that can accommodate up to 10 people and luxurious Pebble Beach residences with ocean views. Many are within walking distance to the area’s beaches, restaurants, shopping and tourist attractions.
“What drives me in this business is my love for people and wanting to give them the best experience they can have when they’re here,” says Martin. “We’re all travelers and we’ve all been strangers at one point. I just want people to feel welcome when they come here.”
The company is now offering short and long term stays, and is giving seven reasons to seek a one-month vacation rental:
- You have a home base. It’s your home away from home. You can sleep in, go on an outing, shopping, sightseeing or whatever you want to do. There’s no check-out times. There’s no getting awakened by housekeeping knocking on the door. If you’re not feeling well, you can stay in for a day and rest and recuperate and not feel you’re missing out.
- You only need to unpack and pack once. You can unpack everything you brought with you without having to worry about packing up in a day or two, giving you more leisure time. And you’re not living out of your suitcase.
- You have more room and more time to use it. Vacation rentals have much more space than the average hotel room. There’s more room to stretch out, relax and use areas of the home you may not use if you’re only there a day or two. Plus, there’s usually more bathrooms and areas where you can get away from everyone else and have some quiet alone time.
- You can choose the type of property with the amenities and comforts you want. Unlike many hotels, you can pick a home that has a hot tub, Jacuzzi or even a pool or one that comes furnished with outdoor swings, fire pits, and gas barbecue grills. Some homes even come equipped with beach toys, bicycles, surfboards and other recreational equipment.
- You can save money. By grocery shopping and cooking your own meals “at home,” you can save money and use it on excursions and sightseeing instead of eating out every night. And if you want to eat out, you still have that option too. You can also split the costs with your friends and family and use it on weekends and still be ahead.
- You have more flexibility. You can plan longer excursions or short trips or do them in stages, knowing you have more than a day or two to experience them all. You can invite family and friends to visit on weekends or for a couple of days.
- Finally, you can do all of the above in the location of your dreams. Vacation rentals give you more options than a hotel room, whether it’s a quaint Carmel cottage or a multi-room Pebble Beach mansion with an expansive view, you’ll be able to find something that fits your dream perfectly.
Sanctuary Vacation Rentals is located at 888 Munras Ave., Suite 100, Monterey, CA 93940. For more information call (831) 233-6340 or toll-free 1-(800) 614-6706.
For reservations of short-term or one-month vacation rentals and all the options available, go to https://www.sanctuaryvacationrentals.com.