Claudio Ponte

I’ve always wanted a pond. A real pond, you know, one with a little pier and a row boat, not one of those things with a couple of fish you see at theme restaurants. Just think… There’s something special about multiplying your views by two. So when we started designing the hotel, the one thing we did not want to compromise on was the pond. But the cost for a 1/4 acre pond, wow, was it expensive! Almost the price of the whole landscape budget. No wonder they are so rare here in California, except for golf courses, where they are used for water storage.

That gave us the idea that may be able to justify the cost if we could use it to store rainwater. We hired a good contractor and with his help, we’ve found a way to fit one in between the hotel garden and the vineyards. Turns out the rain water from the hotel roof has to go somewhere so we are piping it to the pond where it will be reserved for the spring water needed by our garden. If it overflows the rain water will go to the vineyard where it can be stored by the soil waiting for Spring.

We were also interested in landscaping the pond perimeter in a way that would provide a natural transition to the vineyards. For exert guidance we were lucky to find Tim Matson’s excellent Landscaping Earth Ponds: The complete guide. An interesting fact: neither willows nor water plants are desirable on ponds. They are major contributors to dirty water and algae blooms. We are reserving the shores for native grasses, wildflowers and colorful perennials.

As for siting the pond, we are lucky that the natural placement is on the south side of the hotel, looking at Mt. Palomar. For those who believe in feng shui, a pond on the south side of a building is very propitious. The hotel shore will have a wonderful lawn for relaxation and the occasional wedding ceremony.

What about the little pier and rowboat? We’ll have to see if the budget will allow it. Until then we look forward to hosting you starting sometime next spring…