Every spring, I take a 2-day solo getaway. (I previously wrote an article about this tradition.) Two weeks ago, I rolled out of bed before sunrise and set off on my annual trip. I was giddy, and every minute of the trip was glorious. My chosen destination: the quaint coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a 1.5 hour drive from Silicon Valley. I hadn't been there in a few years, and it proved to be the perfect choice. The trip was chock-full of discoveries and beauty that I'll be sharing with you over the course of a few articles that will comprise Simply Silicon Valley's first mini-series. I hope you enjoy the vicarious adventure. The first installment is about where to stay.
WHERE TO STAY IN CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA
My preferred travel style is flying by the seat of my pants. The only plans I locked in place before departure were the destination and the hotel. At first I had my eyes set on San Francisco, but then realized I'd be more at ease being by myself in a small town versus a metropolis (you know, fewer worries about who might follow me home at night). I have sweet memories from the few times I've visited Carmel in the past, and decided it was time to reacquaint myself with this special place. I wanted a hotel that was beautiful, a decent rate, with lots of amenities and as much complimentary food & drink as possible.
I used the app Hotel Tonight to find my home-away-from-home. Hotel Carmel was the winner of my last-minute booking. Accommodations in Carmel are expensive; my rate was about half off, thanks to Hotel Tonight's discounted last-minute rates and a $25 off Hotel Tonight promo code. (If you'd like a promo code sent to you, send me a message via my Contact page and I'll hook you up.)
I was gone just one night with two entire days on either side, so my goal was to eke out as much extra time at the hotel as possible. Check-in was 4 pm. I called the hotel on my drive at 11 am to see if I could check-in early; they said my room was ready and I was welcome anytime—music to my ears!
I checked in at noon (4 hours early!) and asked with a big smile if I could have late check-out. They blessed me with an extra hour—1 pm check-out, rather than 12 noon. Hotel Carmel had already begun to win me over with their generosity.
Because I'm a Frugal Fannie, I got a thrill from any and all items offered free of charge. I arrived in my room to find a bottle of pinot noir gifted to me by the hotel—what a delightful surprise! There were also 4 pieces of fresh fruit in a bowl and a Nespresso machine with plentiful coffee pods. From 5:30-6:30 pm, they had a wine reception where two varietals were poured, but no hors d'oeuvres were offered. In the morning, they had a cold breakfast spread of bagels, various cream cheeses, OJ, homemade granola, and coffee.
The room was very clean and comfortable, and opened up onto a large courtyard with a hot tub, fire pit, fire place, sparkling light strings, and many seating options. The ambiance of this central gathering place was just right, cozy and relaxed. When I wanted more privacy, I retreated to my private, furnished front porch patio to read and sip wine. The colorful tile work throughout the property was a beautiful motif, finding its crescendo in the 3-faucet hot tub fountain, pictured below.
All in all, I give Hotel Carmel 4.5 stars. Half star taken away because there weren't munchies at the wine hour, and because the cold breakfast was weak, leaving much to be desired.
While exploring Carmel, I sniffed out a smashing B&B deal that I hope some of you can take advantage of. Coachman's Inn (of the Four Sisters Inns family previously featured on this website) is offering 2 nights for the price of 1 for weeknight stays through the end of April. The least expensive room would be $245 for 2 nights, which includes what Hotel Carmel lacked: hors d'oeuvres with the wine hour and a protein-packed hot breakfast.
I really enjoyed Hotel Carmel, but of course didn't spend all my time there. Upcoming articles in this mini-series will be on How to Get To Carmel (what route to take and where to stop along the way) and What to Do In Carmel (what to see, where to eat). I'll be back soon with more!