Sitting pretty on the coast of Monterey’s peninsula is a small beach town called Carmel-by-the-sea. Ivy crawls over the buildings and alleyways, and flowers in every hue bloom on each block. Natural beauty is only the beginning of this town’s charm. Walking around downtown evokes memories of being in Europe, which is so special. Especially being a short road trip, it’s become one of my favorite (accessible) places in the world.
Growing up in Northern California, my family took a couple of trips to Monterey and Carmel, but going back last year with Matt was like seeing it with fresh eyes. Granted, back then I cared more about hunting down the candy shops and visiting the aquarium (both I avoid at all costs now). I love making my way down to this fetchingly pretty place to relax and escape reality, even just for a night.
We arrived on Sunday afternoon to our beautiful hotel, L’Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Châteaux property located in the heart of downtown (just blocks from Carmel Beach). This hotel is my favorite in the area and is known for its graceful architecture, personalized guest services, European-style and elegance. The rooms are cozy as can be with beautiful fabrics and linens and (my personal favorite) a standing tub in the bathroom with radiant floor heating. As a bubble bath aficionado, you can’t ask for better! It’s also walking distance to all of the cute cafes, restaurants, tasting rooms, and shops. Everything on our agenda was under 5 blocks, which was so nice since we didn’t have too much time.
I love the small feel of the property. We ran into the same lovely people and everyone was so kind and helpful. When you’re staying somewhere special, it’s nice for the experience to feel personal and homey. I loved that about L’Auberge. Sadly, we weren’t able to experience it, but if you stay here in the future, be sure to check out their award-winning restaurant, Aubergine. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things!
Carmel’s weather is pretty similar to San Francisco. It can go from sunny to overcast pretty quickly. Maybe I’m just used to it, but I actually loved the vibes of the hotel when it was a little more gloomy out. The moody lighting coupled with rustic, vintage touches throughout made it feel like we were much further from home than we were.
So, I believe in trying new things…but this was a very quick trip and I can’t go to Carmel and not visit places I crave regularly while in the city. Here’s my Carmel Guide in case you’re interested! La Bicyclette is a very high priority when in town. We always order the margarita pizza and rosé. They also have fantastic breakfast and delicious coffee!
Owned by the same restaurant group as La Bicyclette (I would), Casanova is another (absolute) must. This place really gives me the warm and fuzzies. The atmosphere, music, dim lighting, and incredible food keeps me coming back for more. READ: You cannot go to Carmel and not make a reservation here. You can thank me later!
When staying at L’Auberge, guests receive a complimentary breakfast in the morning which entails fresh squeezed OJ, a seasonal pastry, homemade jam, two eggs of your choice, and toast. There’s also an a la carte menu which you can add a few other things if you’d like. We ended up ordering grapefruit mimosas and a side of crispy bacon.
I can say that I left Carmel learning about one more gem you must know about. We stumbled upon Beachwood Home in this little shopping center, and it was beautiful. I left with a souvenir that I’ll be sharing soon!
We had the best time. Perfect place for a girls night or romantic getaway…so much charm, so little time.
Have a great weekend! x