Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most glamorous small cities in the US. It’s just a short trip from Monterey Airport which makes getting there simple, while the easy pace, various points of interest, and, of course, the ocean, make it hard to leave.
Staying in Carmel-by-the-Sea
There are several beautiful and distinctive lodging options for every taste. Hofsas House is located just outside of the city and features million-dollar ocean views from the hillside cottages. The 38 rooms have charming and traditional decor; some feature decks, too. Guests enjoy the heated pool and saunas. Friendly, old-world hospitality includes a delicious continental breakfast. Choose one of the stand-alone cottages for added privacy.
Tradewinds Carmel has been a fixture in the heart of the city since 1959. This boutique hotel is ideally located, close to the beach and shopping areas. Its glamorous Asian and tropical decor is reflected in each of the 28 guest rooms and the meditation garden. Guests get a restful night’s sleep on handmade beds from Bali, dressed in Egyptian cotton linens, and luxury pillows. It’s a peaceful oasis, with little fountains and secluded seating areas that allow travelers to feel like they’ve arrived in a private paradise. Get one of the rooms with an ocean view. The continental breakfasts feature French pastries and hot, fresh, organic coffee.
La Playa Carmel is a historic high-end hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea proper, set in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods. Dozens of rooms feature ocean and garden views, high-end bedding, and a full complement of amenities with beach cottage flair. The location puts visitors close to world-class golf, the beach, shops, fine dining, and exclusive wineries. Romantic walks through the impeccably maintained gardens, quiet time in out-of-the-way courtyards, and exclusive poolside casitas make La Playa Carmel one of the most romantic destinations in Carmel.
Sightseeing and Shopping
Cultural and artistic points of interest vary widely, and there are countless shops to browse and enjoy.
It’s easy to explore Carmel-by-the-Sea on foot. The Wine Walk pass allows you to visit some (or all!) of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s sixteen tasting rooms, where visitors can sample some of the best vintages that wine country has to offer. There’s also a self-guided tour that visitors can complete with a brochure or smartphone app. Take your time and linger over beautiful city streets.
The Sunset Center is a local performing arts center; it’s worth checking out whether your schedule allows you to see any of the world-class performances that venue is known for. Harrison Memorial Library is a local meeting place and historic archive that’s been around for more than 100 years; the current building was designed by the renowned California architect Bernard Maybeck.
Carmel Food Tours wow visitors with the best “off-the-beaten-path” food and cultural experiences through unique eateries. Enjoy flavored vinegar, wood-fired bread, chocolate, local wines, cheeses, and more. The best of Carmel is within reach on this tour; eat like a local, and get the inside scoop on the best places for light cuisine.
Visitors with an avid interest in protecting the environment may feel right at home at Ecocarmel: a one-of-a-kind store, showroom, consultancy and green center sharing inspiration and ideas with residents and visitors. Carmel Plaza is made up of more than 40 specialty stores and restaurants set in an award-winning garden patio. For example, Carmel Bay Company sells an eclectic collection of one-of-a-kind home furnishings, furniture, clothing, and art.
Casual and Fine Dining
Carmel-by-the-Sea’s eclectic mix of restaurants offers relaxed as well as more formal options. Just a small sampling includes Vesuvio, Terry’s Lounge, and Pescadero. Vesuvio serves Italian dishes with select ingredients imported directly from Italy; dishes are complemented by fine Italian and local wines. Guests can enjoy two bars and a rooftop terrace. Terry’s Lounge at the Cypress Inn is known for cocktails and live music. Co-owned by Doris Day, it serves dishes that reflect a local take on the Mediterranean prepared with the best fresh ingredients. And Pescadero Mexican Restaurant hosts tequila tastings and mezcal cocktails paired with authentic Mexican dishes.
Visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea get world-class accommodations, the best in shopping and tourism, and fine dining representing numerous ethnic cuisines. It’s a lovely place to relax and unwind, and enjoy the best that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer.
All images courtesy of Aniesia Williams.