Carmel, I wish I never had to leave you. I could easily live here – it really encompasses everything I find perfect in a town. Walkability, great views, mouth-watering food, quaint wine bars, and the oh-my-god gorgeous houses. Really though, why did I board my plane back to Texas? So what to do on a perfect day here…
This is where we stayed, and it really is lovely. You are only a few miles from downtown Carmel, but it is set on the cliffs more towards Big Sur so you still get that Big Sur vibe… score. It is an older hotel that has been renovated, filled with coastal California charm but modern amenities. The upgrade to the Ocean View King is completely worth it. I could spend days on that balcony, you may never want to leave it.
The service is impeccable. Upon check-in you are greeted with a glass of sparkling wine, then a very kind bellman takes you and your bags to your room. I had mentioned we were celebrating a birthday, and they delivered not only a cheese plate but also a bottle of prosecco that evening. The concierge also helped get us a cab, and you also get a discount book which you can use at restaurants on property as well as in the area. It even includes free tastings at wineries in the area!
We did not get a chance to try the restaurants on property (let’s be honest, it’s because our balcony was ballin’), but they both offered amazing views.
Rates start at around $459 per night.
European-style, boutique hotel in downtown with only 20 rooms, you are guaranteed to be treated in style. Complimentary hot breakfast, and an on-site restaurant that receives a lot of buzz.
Rates start at around $389 per night.
This converted 1800s dairy ranch owned by Clint Eastwood offers cozy, country-style romance. With a variety of accommodations from staying in the Farmhouse to a couple different cottages, there is something for everyone. Eat at the on-site restaurant for spectacular views including a live jazz Sunday brunch, and then spend your evening at the Piano Bar.
Rates start at $125 per night.
- Katy’s Place. If you’re an Eggs Benedict fiend, this place is for you. They offer probably close to 20 different types and they are all unique and different, but huge portions. We had the Irish Benedict with corned beef, and that with a side of bacon was plenty for two people. I suggest sitting on the charming outside patio. ($$)
- Em Le’s. French toast lovers unite! Once you have it, you’ll understand why it has earned its claim to fame. Half portions available in Carmel Village’s second oldest restaurant. ($$)
Apps & Drinks:
- Vino Napoli Wine Bar. Stumbled upon this place and so glad we did! They have happy hour 3-6pm, even on Saturdays, and it is quite the deal (think $8 wine flights and extremely generous cheese plates). ($$)
- Vesuvio. Such a hidden gem, I could not say more positive things about this place. We came here off of a recommendation from our waitress at Vino Napoli, which is actually their sister property. Sit under the heaters on the rooftop with a nice big glass of Sangiovese. ($$)
- The Cheese Shop. Wine and cheese galore, grab some to-go and head to the beach for a picnic. ($$)
- La Bicyclette. The charm of this place itself will sell you. This cozy, old-world bistro specializing in French-Italian fare offers breakfast lunch and dinner. For breakfast indulge in the French Toast and Wood-Fired Eggs combo and warm up in the evening with the Local Champignon Wood-Fired Pizza. ($$)
- Dametra. If Mediterranean with a fun atmosphere is what you fancy, then Dametra is your place. I suggest getting a variety of starters or the Greek Combination Platter to share. ($$)
Shopping is definitely not limited in this quaint, upscale town. Head to the Carmel Plaza or peruse any of the unique boutiques along the streets downtown.
No shortage of tasting rooms in Carmel featuring locally made wine. Options include Silvestri Vineyards and De Tierra Vineyards.
The Carmel Mission is located on a hill overlooking Carmel Bay. The Basilica Church is a registered National Historic Landmark, and it is truly a sight to see.
Head to the beach! Carmel Beach is accompanied by the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course to the north and Point Lobos to the south. Get your bronze on in good weather or opt for a bundled up picnic on the beautiful white sands.
17 Mile Drive
GORGEOUS. If you want to see some amazing real estate, do this drive. It costs $10 to enter, but that is given back to you if you spend at least $30 at one of the Pebble Beach restaurants or bars. Start in Carmel and end in Monterey. There are quite a few scenic outlooks along the drive, so you may not want to rush through it. Like they say, enjoy the ride…
Safe travels y’all!
Chelsea Rose Martin