Travel

Carmel-by-the-Sea Hotels

Establishment neighborhood
La Playa Hotel
Camino Real & 8th Ave., Carmel-by-the-Sea
Before it was a hotel, La Playa was the seaside retreat of a Ghirardelli heiress, her painter husband, and their writer and artist guests. A recent renovation restored its golden-age grandeur and bohemian spirit: Common spaces have cozy nooks and plush fixtures, and the rooms have the coolest old-school bar cabinets. By night, visitors and locals all drop into Bud’s—the broody, wood-paneled restaurant and bar tucked away on the first floor—for a nip. (The house martini is rock-solid.) Plus: The property is just a few blocks from the water, and respite-seeking guests will be glad to hear the ocean as they fall asleep and enjoy views of Carmel Bay and Pebble Beach from the upper floors.
Carmel Beach Hotel
San Antonio Ave. & 13th St., Carmel-by-the-Sea
Just far enough from Carmel’s main drag and a block from the quieter side of the beach, Carmel Beach Hotel is made for quiet escapes. It’s bright and modern, with all the bells and whistles of a luxury stay, like breakfast baskets (assembled to be easy to take to the beach) and fresh-baked cookies at turndown. Depending on which room you book, there are fireplaces, ocean views, and big soaking tubs. The restaurant, which is exclusive to guests, is overseen by the Michelin-star-winning chef over at Aubergine.
Le Petit Pali Carmel
8th Ave. & Junipero St., Carmel-by-the-Sea
Palisociety’s first bed and breakfast is really two properties down the street from one another in Carmel-by-the-Sea—one on Ocean and another on 8th Avenue. They’re nearly identical, design-wise: comfortable and done up in the same eclectic prints. And they’re both in a prime location at the top of the hill, just steps from Carmel’s most charming shops and restaurants. Of the two, we have a slight preference for the 8th Avenue location, where the rooms surround a cute flagstone courtyard that’s the perfect spot for rosé and caviar on a sunny afternoon. The common room, where you can grab complimentary coffee and breakfast in the morning, is also more spacious.
Villa Mara
2408 Bay View Ave., Carmel-by-the-Sea
Staying at Villa Mara feels like staying in a luxurious private home—one that’s beautifully designed, adults-only, and 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean. There’s really no better place to land in Carmel, whether you’re there for a week or for a weekend: The location is notable for its proximity to the beach, yes, but also for being just far enough from the part of town that can feel crowded with tourists. In the mornings, the guests-only hotel bar serves juice shots, pastries, quiches, and excellent coffee. In the evening, it’s a relaxing place to gather for a cocktail or a glass of wine. Secluded firepits and cypress trees give the property magical—and elite—coastal grandmother vibes.