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.
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.
Tassajara Zen Center
39171 Tassajara Rd., Carmel Valley
Whether searching for relief from an overactive "monkey mind" or battling bigger demons, the Buddhists at this Sōtō Zen monastery—the oldest in the United States—believe meditation can be the tool that quiets the storm. Built in 1967 deep inside the Los Padres National Forest just southeast of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the center offers three and five-night retreats on topics as introductory as The Nature of Zen to as specific as Finding Equanimity in a Difficult Profession: A Retreat for Lawyers.