La Playa Carmel

This former mansion was built in 1905 by artist Christian Jorgensen as a gift to his wife. Today, La Playa Carmel is a seriously charming boutique hotel located just steps from Carmel Beach. The property boasted the very first swimming pool in Carmel, with beautiful views of the sea, which can still be found today.

La Playa Carmel features just 75 rooms, with a handful of room categories including those with views of the ocean (and windows that open wide to hear the crashing waves) to classic, California-style casitas by the pool.

Located in a chi-chi residential area, La Playa Carmel is an easy walk to the town’s tasting rooms, restaurants, and shopping.

The Basics

Budget Level: Upscale to Luxe ($150-$300+/night)

Lodging Type: Boutique Hotel (75+ rooms)

What You Need to Know

The Look

The property is a historic mansion with renovations that honor the structure's original features. It’s charming to say the least. In addition to plenty of lounge spaces, the outside landscaping and gardens are beyond impressive, with chairs and fireplaces for sipping a glass of California Pinot. There’s a lovely swimming pool — heated to 80 degrees year-round — with views of the sea.  

The Vibe

California casual with a dash of luxury. The hotel's gathering spaces draw guests out of their rooms, which creates a social environment. Off the lobby is a living room-type area with a fireplace and comfy furniture; it’s here that the wine social happens each evening. Beyond this is a bar, where you’ll find guests sipping martinis and eating small plates. It’s a dog-friendly hotel (the entire town, including the beach, is very pro-pup) and a few furry friends can be often found here for happy hour. A Champagne breakfast is served daily in a sunny room and large leafy patio with heat lamps for cool Cali morns. From families to couples to girls’ trips, there’s a space for everyone.

Who Will Love It

La Playa Carmel’s aesthetic and location mostly appeals to leisure travelers, but those here for business will be comfortable in the conference rooms. And while the hotel is family friendly, it’s geared mostly to couples or adults who are here for the wineries and fine dining.

Who Might Not

Travelers who prefer a big box chain with modern rooms and a gym won’t find that here. Some of the guestrooms need updates, but still exude historic charm.

Best Amenity

The location and views. The property is set on beautifully manicured grounds that overlook the ocean. And rooms — many with a view of the water — have plantation shutters that open to the sound of waves. It’s tucked away in a neighborhood, but central to everything you’d want to visit in Carmel, including some of the country’s most picturesque hiking.

The daily buffet is also a stand-out. Items include a made-to-order omelet and waffle bar, cheese and charcuterie, plenty of hot dishes, fresh fruit, and high-end Champagne.

What’s Included

The hotel tacks on a $35 nightly amenity fee that includes the following: unlimited wifi; a shuttle to Carmel-by-the-Sea; an afternoon sangria reception; fresh fruit, iced tea, and lemonade in the lobby; an evening wine and cheese reception; nightly fresh-baked cookies; and a daily Champagne breakfast buffet.  

Money Matters

Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About

The amenity fee ($35) is extra.

How to Get a Deal

The hotel offers packages — including a wine-tasting, picnic, or romance package — for added value. Check the hotel’s web page for the latest offers. We found a classic one-bed guestroom for $279 per night during the week in January.

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

The hotel feels almost hidden within a wealthy residential area of town, but it's just blocks from the Carmel Valley wineries, cute shops, and restaurants. It’s about a 10-minute drive from Los Lobos State Natural Reserve (a must-do) and is the closest property to the beach.

Nearest Airport

Monterey Regional Airport is about 7 miles away. Alternatively, San Jose International Airport is about 1.5 to 2 hours.

The Bottom Line

A historic property by the sea, with easy access to Carmel’s best attractions.

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