When most people think about taking a vacation in California, they picture the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles or the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. However, nestled along the Pacific coast is a picturesque beach community called Carmel by the Sea. Home to pristine white beaches, enchanting storybook cottages, locally owned boutique chops, and stunning views, it’s one of the best travel destinations in the state. Want to take your West Coast vacation to the next level? Here are my picks for the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea!
The word “luxury” conjures up a lot of different images for different people. To some, luxury is about lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun, and listening to the waves as they lap the shore. To others, luxury is about relaxing in a spacious and comfortably furnished private room, complete with elegant decor and high-quality amenities. Whatever your definition of luxury, you can find it (plus a lot more) in Carmel by the Sea.
Among the best hidden vacation spots in the US, Carmel by the Sea combines California’s natural beauty with the modern convenience of multiple unique 5-star hotels. Those seeking a truly special and unforgettable vacation will relish staying at one of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea. Below, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most well-reviewed and highly recommended hotels and resorts in the area. Once you’ve experienced the best, you’ll never want to settle for anything less!
The Best Luxury Hotels in Carmel By the Sea: 8 Awesome West Coast Getaways
To put the following list together, I used a combination of my own personal experiences and recommendations from fellow travelers. I also narrowed things down by combing through visitor reviews, hotel websites, and amenities lists. So, without further ado, here is my list of the 8 best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea.
1. La Playa Carmel
Widely regarded as one of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea, La Playa Carmel exudes timeless elegance. The hotel’s architecture showcases its rich history, dating back to 1905 when it was originally built as a private mansion. Today, La Playa Carmel seamlessly blends its historic charm with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and luxurious stay for its guests.
What’s it like to stay at this luxury resort in Carmel by the Sea
Among the standout features of La Playa Carmel is its commitment to personalized service. The attentive and friendly staff goes above and beyond to cater to guests’ needs. You’re sure to feel welcomed and valued from the moment you arrive.
Each room and suite at La Playa Carmel is tastefully designed, combining classic elegance with contemporary comforts. All accommodations feature luxurious furnishings, plush bedding, and modern amenities, including flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. Some rooms offer fireplaces, private balconies, or ocean views, adding an extra touch of indulgence.
La Playa Carmel is also home to a renowned restaurant, The Terrace, which showcases a menu of exceptional culinary delights. Guests can savor delectable dishes crafted with fresh, locally sourced ingredients while enjoying panoramic ocean views. A dignified ambiance and attentive service help make The Terrace an unforgettable dining experience.
Finally, guests can unwind by the heated outdoor pool and relax in the whirlpool spa. Or, you can rejuvenate at the onsite spa and fitness center. Complimentary breakfast, evening wine and cheese receptions, and an option for in-room spa services enhance the overall guest experience. You won’t be disappointed!
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2. Hofsas House Hotel
Located in the heart of, Hofsas House Hotel is a charming and beloved boutique hotel that holds a prime location. Guests at Hofsas House Hotel are always within walking distance of the village’s renowned shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Its proximity to the picturesque Carmel Beach further adds to its allure.
As a family-owned and operated establishment, the hotel takes pride in delivering warm hospitality and creating a welcoming atmosphere for every guest. The staff’s attentiveness, friendly demeanor, and willingness to go the extra mile contribute to the hotel’s exceptional reputation.
Hofsas House Hotel offers a number of high-end amenities, too. Guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, complete with freshly baked pastries and other delicious offerings. The heated swimming pool, Finnish sauna, and soothing hot tub provide opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Hofsas House Hotel’s commitment to art and culture is evident throughout the property. It features a notable collection of Bavarian-themed artwork, including a mural in the pool area and various pieces showcased in the hotel’s rooms and common areas. This artistic touch adds a distinctive and memorable element to the guest experience.
Moreover, the hotel is equally committed to fostering sustainability. Hofsas House Hotel has implemented several eco-friendly practices, such as energy-efficient lighting, water conservation measures, and recycling programs. Whether seeking a romantic getaway, a peaceful retreat, or a memorable vacation by the coast, Hofsas House Hotel issue to please. It’s one of the most environmentally friendly and overall best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea, bar none.
3. Carmel Mission Inn
With its upscale amenities, convenient location, and dedication to guest satisfaction, Carmel Mission Inn stands out as one of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea. Like Hofsas House Hotel, guests at the ideally located Carmel Mission Inn can easily explore local shops, galleries, and restaurants. Its central position also offers convenient access to the scenic Carmel Beach and the iconic Pacific Coast Highway.
A luxury accommodation in Carmel
Of course, Carmel Mission Inn offers a host of luxury amenities onsite as well. Guests can take a refreshing dip in the outdoor heated pool or relax in the hot tub, offering a perfect way to rejuvenate after a day of exploration. The fitness center is well-equipped, allowing guests to maintain their exercise routines while traveling.
The dining options at Carmel Mission Inn are likewise outstanding. Fuse Lounge Café, the hotel’s onsite restaurant, offers a delightful culinary experience with a menu that combines California cuisine and global flavors. Guests can savor delectable dishes made with locally sourced ingredients while enjoying a vibrant and inviting atmosphere.
Carmel Mission Inn also offers a range of additional services, including a complimentary shuttle service within a five-mile radius, making it convenient for guests to explore the area without worrying about parking or transportation.
Last but not least, the hotel’s sleek, contemporary design creates a sophisticated ambiance throughout the property. The rooms and suites at Carmel Mission Inn are stylishly appointed, featuring modern furnishing and plush bedding. Some rooms offer private balconies or patios, providing a tranquil space to unwind and enjoy the surrounding beauty. For anyone seeking a great coastal vacation, Carmel Mission Inn is a refined and indulgent retreat that exceeds expectations.
4. Portola Hotel and Spa
Though technically located in nearby Monterey, California, Portola Hotel and Spa is only a few miles from Carmel by the Sea. What’s more, it’s mere minutes away from Fisherman’s Wharf, offering guests convenient access to a vibrant waterfront scene. The wide variety of exciting activities here offers something for everyone.
A Carmel hotel brimming with charm
The hotel is also within close proximity to the renowned attractions of the Monterey Peninsula, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the scenic 17-Mile Drive. What really distinguishes the Portola Hotel and Spa as one of the best luxury hotels near Carmel by the Sea, though, is its unwavering commitment to guest satisfaction.
To that end, Portola Hotel and Spa boasts an array of high-end amenities. The full-service spa, Spa on the Plaza, boasts a multitude of indulgent treatments and services. The hotel also features a well-equipped fitness center, an outdoor heated pool, and whirlpool tubs for guests to unwind and stay active during their stay.
The hotel’s dedication to guest satisfaction extends to providing personalized service via its friendly and professional staff. Indeed, Portola’s employees go above and beyond to ensure that guests have an enjoyable stay. From arranging fun excursions to offering expert concierge services, the staff knows how to meet the individual needs and preferences of each and every guest.
Finally, eating at Portola Hotel and Spa is a feast for the senses. The hotel is home to a variety of exceptional restaurants and bars. Jacks Monterey showcases locally sourced ingredients in its innovative Californian cuisine. Meanwhile, Peter B’s Brewpub offers handcrafted beers and a menu of delicious pub fare. The hotel also features an outdoor patio and fire pits, allowing guests to savor their meals while enjoying the pleasant California climate. It’s a delight!
5. Hyatt Carmel Highlands
Perched on a cliff overlooking the stunning Big Sur coastline, Hyatt Carmel Highlands boasts unparalleled panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. This location allows guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region, with access to scenic hiking trails, pristine beaches, and iconic attractions like the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Why this unique resort in Carmel deserves attention
The accommodations at Hyatt Carmel Highlands are equally impressive. Guests can choose from well-appointed guestrooms or opt for spacious suites with separate living areas and private balconies or patios. The rooms feature timeless decor and modern amenities, ensuring a restful and relaxing stay. There’s also a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, plus an onsite fitness center for those looking to keep active during their stay.
Additionally, Hyatt Carmel Highlands offers a range of services and amenities to enhance guests’ stay, including complimentary Wi-Fi, valet parking, and the aforementioned 24-hour fitness center. Best of all, however, is the fact that guests are given complimentary access to the private and exclusive Highlands Inn Beach Club. Located just a short distance away, the club offers guests a secluded spot to relax and soak up the sun.
For foodies, the award-winning Pacific’s Edge restaurant offers an enticing culinary journey with its innovative and seasonally inspired menus. Guests can enjoy exquisite dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients. For those looking for a more laid-back experience, the California Market at Pacific’s Edge serves as a casual dining alternative. Here, you can enjoy heaping helpings of delicious comfort food with a focus on local and sustainable ingredients.
All these features and amenities come together to make Hyatt Carmel Highlands one of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea. It truly offers guests a one-of-a-kind vacation experience.
6. Hotel Pacific
Sporting a stylish design that exudes a sense of coastal sophistication, the Hotel Pacific is one of the best luxury hotels near Carmel by the Sea. Situated in nearby Monterey, its spacious suites feature tasteful furnishings, separate living areas, and private balconies or patios, creating a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere.
What makes Hotel Pacific a top luxury hotel in Carmel
As with all the luxury hotels on this list, service at Hotel Pacific is exceptional, with a dedicated staff committed to exceeding guest expectations. The friendly and knowledgeable team is readily available to assist with any needs or requests. The hotel’s concierge service can provide recommendations for local attractions, dining options, and outdoor activities, helping guests make the most of their time in the area.
Furthermore, the hotel offers a range of upscale amenities that contribute to its reputation as a top luxury destination. Guests can relax and rejuvenate in the beautifully landscaped courtyard, which features a charming fireplace and comfortable seating areas. The outdoor pool and hot tub provide a serene oasis for guests to unwind and enjoy the pleasant West Coast weather.
Hotel Pacific offers a complimentary continental breakfast, providing a delightful start to the day with a selection of freshly baked pastries, fruits, and beverages. The hotel also provides an evening wine and cheese reception, offering guests a chance to unwind and socialize in a relaxed setting.
If all that wasn’t enough, Hotel Pacific is smack-dab in the middle of downtown Monterey. This puts guests within walking distance of several renowned art galleries and boutiques, as well as the historic Cannery Row. With its prime location, sophisticated ambiance, and next-level service, Hotel Pacific has more than earned its reputation as a top vacation getaway.
7. Vendange Carmel Inn and Suites
On top of being one of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea, Vendange Carmel Inn and Suites is also one of the most unique. You’ve never stayed anywhere quite like this hotel and, I promise, once you do, you won’t soon forget it.
What sets Vendange Carmel Inn and Suites apart is its distinct concept of offering individually themed guest rooms, each showcasing the wines and vineyards of Monterey County. This attention to detail creates a truly immersive experience, allowing guests to explore the region’s renowned wine culture without leaving the comfort of their accommodations.
Each of the guest rooms at Vendange Carmel Inn and Suites is tastefully decorated, reflecting the unique character of local wineries. From vineyard-inspired artwork to wine barrel furniture, each room provides a charming and luxurious atmosphere. Guests can further indulge in modern amenities such as plush bedding, fireplaces, private patios, and in-room spa tubs, ensuring a comfortable stay.
Vendange Carmel Inn and Suites offers additional amenities, including a complimentary wine and cheese reception in the afternoons. Here, guests can sample local wines and savor artisanal cheeses. The outdoor patio and garden area provides a tranquil space to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Big Sur coast.
Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or simply someone looking for a memorable California escape, Vendange Carmel Inn and Suites is something truly special. It offers exceptional luxury without sacrificing local culture and color. If you’re looking to experience the very essence of what makes Carmel by the Sea so great, you couldn’t choose better accommodations.
8. L’Auberge Carmel
Nothing says luxury quite like a hotel with its own Michele-starred restaurant onsite. That’s why L’Auberge Carmel is inarguably one of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea. its timeless elegance, impeccable service, and attention to detail only bolster that reputation.
Why this is among the coolest hotels in Carmel
The hotel is home to Aubergine, a restaurant helmed by acclaimed Chef Justin Cogley. With its focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, Aubergine presents an innovative and artfully crafted menu that delights the palate. Guests can enjoy sumptuous, distinctive meals made with meticulous care, all, accompanied by an extensive wine list that showcases the region’s finest local vintages.
The hotel’s intimate size and boutique atmosphere further contribute to its allure. With only 20 guest rooms and suites, L’Auberge Carmel offers an exclusive and personalized experience. The accommodations are beautifully designed with ultra-luxe furnishings, plush bedding, and upscale amenities. Each room is thoughtfully appointed with fine linens, complimentary Wi-Fi, and modern technology, facilitating a comfortable and convenient stay.
The level of service at L’Auberge Carmel is unmatched. The attentive staff is known for providing personalized and even anticipatory service. The hotel also provides a complimentary breakfast featuring freshly baked pastries, seasonal fruits, and gourmet coffee. In-room spa services are available for those seeking ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s beautiful courtyard, a tranquil paradise where they can unwind and soak in the peaceful ambiance.
Finally, Carmel Beach’s pristine white sands and picturesque views are just a short stroll away. Altogether, L’Auberge Carmel is the perfect setting for visitors to experience all the fun and fascination Carmel by the Sea has to offer.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea
Now that you know where to find the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea, you can begin planning your next adventure. Before you do, there are some of the most frequently asked questions about booking a hotel in Carmel by the Sea. I hope my answers help you have an unforgettable West Coast vacation!
What is the most luxurious hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea?
In the charming coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of the most luxurious and highly regarded hotels is The Lodge at Pebble Beach. While not directly located in Carmel-by-the-Sea itself, The Lodge at Pebble Beach is situated in close proximity, just a short drive away. This iconic and prestigious hotel offers unparalleled luxury and impeccable service, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Pebble Beach’s coastal landscapes and world-renowned golf courses.
With its elegant accommodations, fine dining options, upscale amenities, and stunning ocean views, The Lodge at Pebble Beach provides a truly luxurious experience for discerning travelers seeking the utmost in comfort and sophistication during their visit to the Carmel-by-the-Sea area.
How can I book a room at a luxury hotel in Carmel by the Sea?
To book a room at any one of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea, I recommend using Booking.com. One of the best travel sites around, it’s easy to use and a great way to save money on hotel accommodations.
On the Booking.com homepage, simply enter “Carmel by the Sea” as your destination. Next, select your desired check-in and check-out dates. Click on the search button to view available hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Refine your search by choosing “Luxury hotels” under the “Accommodation Type” filter. Browse through the search results and select a luxury hotel that suits your preferences.
On each hotel’s page, you’ll find detailed information about the property, including amenities, room types, and guest reviews. Assess the photos provided to get a better sense of the hotel’s ambiance. Once you’ve decided on a hotel, choose your desired room type. Then specify the number of guests and any additional preferences you may have. Review the booking conditions, including the cancellation policy and any potential fees.
Once you’re satisfied, proceed to the reservation process. Fill in your personal details, including your name, contact information, and payment details. Ensure that all the information is accurate. Double-check your reservation details before confirming your booking.
Once confirmed, Booking.com will process your reservation and send a confirmation email containing all the pertinent information. It’s just that easy! That said, I suggest saving a copy of your confirmation email for check-in purposes.
What is the best time of year to visit Carmel by the Sea?
The best time to visit Carmel by the Sea depends on your preferences and what you’re looking to experience. Here are some factors to consider when planning your trip:
- Spring (March to May)is a popular time to visit Carmel by the Sea. The weather during this season is typically mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to low 70s Fahrenheit. The hills and landscapes are lush and vibrant, thanks to the spring showers. This makes it a beautiful time for outdoor activities and exploring the town.
- Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season in Carmel by the Sea, with temperatures averaging in the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit. The days are longer, providing ample time for enjoying the stunning beaches and engaging in outdoor pursuits. However, it’s worth noting that summer months can be foggy in the mornings and evenings. I recommend packing layers to adapt to temperature changes.
- Fall (September to November) is another excellent time to visit Carmel-by-the-Sea. The summer crowds taper off, and the weather remains pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to low 70s Fahrenheit. The autumn colors add a touch of beauty to the town, too. It’s a great time to explore the local art scene and attend festivals like the Carmel International Film Festival.
- Winter (December to February) is relatively mild in Carmel by the Sea, though the region does experience more rain and cooler temperatures compared to other months. Daytime temperatures typically range from the mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit. While you may encounter occasional showers, this is a quieter time in terms of tourists, making it a great opportunity to enjoy the serene atmosphere and take advantage of lower hotel rates.
Do luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea have parking facilities?
All the luxury hotels mentioned in this article offer parking facilities for their guests. Many of these hotels understand the importance of offering convenient parking options. While the specific parking arrangements may vary from hotel to hotel, most luxury accommodations in Carmel by the Sea aim to provide a hassle-free parking experience.
When booking any hotel in Carmel by the Sea, it’s advisable to review the hotel’s amenities listed on their website. Look for information regarding parking availability, whether it’s on-site parking, valet parking, or nearby parking options. Some luxury hotels offer complimentary self-parking, while others may charge a fee for parking services.
It’s important to note that Carmel by the Sea has parking regulations that require overnight parking permits for on-street parking in residential areas. Luxury hotels are often equipped to assist their guests in obtaining these permits or providing alternative parking solutions. I recommend inquiring about parking arrangements with the hotel directly if you have any specific requirements or concerns.
What are some popular attractions in Carmel by the Sea?
Carmel by the Sea is a charming coastal town that offers a variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the popular attractions in the area:
- Carmel Beach: A picturesque stretch of coastline, this beach attracts locals and tourists alike. It’s known for its soft white sand, beautiful views, and iconic Cypress trees. All this makes it an ideal spot for leisurely strolls, picnics, or simply relaxing while listening to the crashing waves.
- 17-Mile Drive: This scenic drive takes you along a breathtaking coastal route that showcases the natural beauty of the area. It passes through iconic landmarks like the Lone Cypress, Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Golf Links, and Del Monte Forest. The drive offers stunning ocean vistas, majestic mansions, and impressive golf courses.
- Carmel Mission Basilica: The Carmel Mission is one of the most historically significant landmarks in the area. Founded in 1771, the mission showcases beautiful Spanish colonial architecture. It also houses a museum with artifacts and exhibits detailing the mission’s history.
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Located just south of the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea, Point Lobos is a natural wonderland of rugged cliffs, rocky coves, and diverse marine life. Visitors can hike along the scenic trails, go birdwatching, explore tide pools, or take in the panoramic views from Cypress Grove Trail.
- Tor House and Hawk Tower: This historic property was the home of poet Robinson Jeffers and his family. The Tor House, a unique stone house built by Jeffers himself, and the adjacent Hawk Tower offer guided tours where visitors can learn about the poet’s life and enjoy the stunning views of the ocean.
Are the best luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea pet-friendly?
Many luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea are pet-friendly and welcome furry companions as guests. The area is known for its pet-friendly atmosphere. Thus, several high-end accommodations listed in this article cater to travelers who wish to bring their pets along. When searching for a luxury hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, it’s advisable to check the hotel’s policies or amenities on their website.
Pet policies can vary among hotels, so it’s essential to review the specific guidelines provided by each property. Some luxury hotels may have restrictions on the size or number of pets allowed. Others may have breed restrictions or specific rules regarding pet behavior. Additionally, there may be an additional fee or deposit associated with bringing your pet.
Certain luxury hotels in Carmel by the Sea go the extra mile to ensure a comfortable stay for both guests and their pets. They may offer amenities such as pet beds, food bowls, treats, and even pet-sitting or dog-walking services. It’s recommended to inquire about these additional services when booking or contacting the hotel directly.
Keep in mind that even if a luxury hotel is pet-friendly, it’s essential to be a responsible pet owner. This includes adhering to any pet-related rules or guidelines provided by the hotel, cleaning up after your pet, and respecting other guests’ comfort and safety.
Is there a difference between Carmel and Carmel-by-the-Sea?
Ah, the captivating coastal destination that is Carmel! Now, let’s unravel the tale of Carmel and Carmel-by-the-Sea, for there is a small distinction here.
Carmel and Carmel-by-the-Sea refer to the same enchanting place, a small seaside town nestled along California’s picturesque coast. However, the official name of this captivating gem is Carmel-by-the-Sea, a whimsical moniker that evokes images of seaside charm and idyllic beauty.
Why the double name? Well, it all started back in the early 1900s when the town’s founders sought to distinguish their beloved coastal haven from another Carmel, a small community located further inland in California. To set themselves apart and showcase the town’s seaside allure, they added the poetic “by-the-Sea” to the name, forever etching Carmel’s coastal identity in its official title.
So, whether you refer to it simply as Carmel or embrace the full poetic splendor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, know that you are venturing into a world of enchantment. This unique destination is where white-sand beaches, charming cottages, art galleries, and gourmet delights await. Stroll along Ocean Avenue, soak up the sun at Carmel Beach, and lose yourself in the labyrinthine lanes filled with boutique shops and quaint cafes.