It’s official: Calamigos Ranch does it all and brings new meaning to “any occasion.” Equipped with an incredible fitness studio, luxury pools, fire pits, a rehab center, a cafe and more, Calamigos literally has something for everyone. I had the opportunity to stay at the ranch last week, and I’m happy to report my findings!
If you are headed to the ranch for a little staycation or a night or two get-away like I was, Calamigos is the spot for you. The pool and lounge area is tranquil and you feel totally at peace; I had to keep reminding myself that I was only 45 minutes away from home! I went during the week, and had the luxury of seeing the ranch at its quietest, but I am told the ranch is full on the weekends and quite lively.
There were several attributes that stood out to me about the ranch. First, the farm fresh produce that was growing outside our door! Strawberries and artichokes, two of my favorite foods, were growing in a mini garden just steps away from my bungalow, and I was so tempted each morning to pick my own. Second, the vicinity. Prior to my trip, I heard that Calamigos was the ultimate wedding spot, and now I understand why. The ranch can do up to 4 weddings at a time on the property, and the property is so huge and beautiful; each wedding area has it’s own vibe and charm! Hanging flowers, beautiful trees, nighttime lights, lakes and more create a serene and beautiful ambiance.
We all know that the dining experience makes or breaks a travel experience for me, and I’m happy to announce the dining at Calamigos is super gluten-friendly. There are no formal restaurants at the ranch, but there is a poolside menu and an in-room dining menu. Upon hearing that I was GF and DF, I was flattered to receive my very own menu that featured everything from GF bread and pancakes to fruit bowls and acai bowls, and more!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Calamigos made sure I was fed the ultimate breakfast each morning. My favorites? The crab hash with a poached egg (no hollandaise for me), acai bowl with GF granola and DF yogurt, eggs and grits, GF buckwheat pancakes, and GF bread (made with almond flour)!
I have to talk abut the pancakes! Made with buckwheat flour, these pancakes were sweet and smooth tasting, and HUGE! Anyone who knows me knows that pancakes are my favorite meal to make, and I am newly inspired to make pancakes that big! My friend eats both gluten and dairy, and what amazed me the most about Calamigos was that they made he and I the exact same meals each day, but brought two versions of it. One version had gluten and dairy for him, and the other version lacked the allergens for me! This kind of hospitality reminds me of the days when I was first diagnosed with my food intolerances, and my mom spent hours making me my own version of whatever my family was eating that night.
If you stay at the ranch for the day, the poolside and in-room dining menus offer a plethora of gluten-free options, and I highly recommend the salads!
Malibu Cafe is one of the cutest restaurants/cafes I’ve seen to date. It is completely outdoors, and located just a couple hundred yards from the Calamigos Ranch property. The ambiance at Malibu Cafe is great! The sounds of country music fill the space, and between the dining area, life-size games and statues, paddleboats, ping pong tables, and more, it is the perfect venue to bring a date, celebrate a family gathering, take the kids, or host your next event!
Most importantly, Malibu Cafe serves a ton of gluten-free options! At lunch, the salads are the way to go. They are huge, and you can make each salad a bit more filling by adding a protein of your choice. The cobb salad was definitely a stand out, as well as the mixed greens salad with chickpeas and avocado. The brussels sprouts, however, stole the show and I ordered them at every meal! Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette, the sprouts were crispy and tasty. They come with goat cheese, but if you are dairy-free like myself, you can order them with no cheese!
For dinner, I recommend the 8oz salmon with your choice of sides, as well as the chicken. If you order the chicken, be prepared… or be hungry! The chicken is served whole and accompanied by a side of your choice (I love the tricolor cauliflower), and it is a large enough portion to serve 2… or 3 or 4!
The Helicopter Ride:
Everyone who knows me knows about my fear of heights. So when Calamigos Ranch offered us a helicopter ride, as excited as I was, I was also petrified! But who could turn down a private helicopter tour of Malibu and the West Side of LA?? After going over safety and helicopter etiquette, I was ready to go, and I’m so glad I went! It was such an incredible treat seeing the beautiful LA landscape from the sky, and flying over some of my favorite restaurants and hotspots!
To learn more about Calamigos Ranch, check out their website, here! Thank you again, team Calamigos, for the wonderful stay. I will absolutely be back soon!