South of Monterey, Carmel is a postcard-perfect hamlet that’s long attracted poets, artists, and dreamers. Within easy reach of wine country, it’s a charming place to spend a few days reading, sipping Cabernet, wandering through art galleries, and exploring the quaint streets of the historic downtown.
In comparison to other communities along this stretch of California’s coast, Carmel is a relatively affordable place to stay. A range of bed and breakfasts and inns offer quaint rooms with fireplaces and beautiful gardens to wander through, while a couple of chain hotels offer a solid alternative for families — and those travelers who require access to a pool or fitness center.
An affordable boutique-style B&B with an outdoor pool, Hofsas House Hotel is a popular choice for budget-minded travelers. Guest rooms are charming, if basic; a few come with perks like fireplaces and patios. All guests can catch the sunset on the hotel’s ocean-facing terrace on the fourth floor, and downtown Carmel is just a short stroll away. A simple continental breakfast, available each morning, features freshly baked pastries and locally sourced fruits.
As the name promises, you’ll find a fireplace in your guest room if you’re staying at this cozy inn (unless you’re staying in room #29, also known as Woodworth — you’ve been warned.) Carmel Fireplace Inn is small and quaint, with pretty gardens, beamed ceilings, and a range of individually decorated guest rooms with different amenities. Some are simple and functional, others have perks like separate seating areas and big bathtubs. If you’re traveling with a family or small group, look into the inn’s private cottage rental.
Located inside an antique wooden house that’s practically just around the corner from the beach, Carmel Green Lantern Inn exudes local character and charm. Outside, there’s a lovely terrace overlooking the gardens; inside, colorfully decorated guest rooms and cottages have flat-screen TVs, and many include separate living areas. An excellent breakfast is served in the main house each morning. Carmel Green Lantern Inn is located a ten-minute stroll away from downtown Carmel.
Checking in to Briarwood Inn feels like staying with friends. All of the rooms are different at this popular B&B, located a ten-minute walk from the beach. One has a kitchen, another a spa bath, another a living area with a gas fireplace; others have access to a shared patio. All rooms have coffee machines and flat-screen TVs. Many of the best restaurants in Carmel are within easy reach, and the staff is happy to offer advice and recommendations.
The decor at Carmel Inn & Suites might remind you of your grandmother’s house. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, whether you’re relaxing on an antique loveseat or climbing into a comfortable canopy bed topped with a floral duvet. Guest rooms have handy amenities, including flat-screen TVs, coffee machines, and refrigerators, plus unexpected extras like marble bathrooms. The complimentary breakfast is basic but pleasant.
Beautifully landscaped grounds, a friendly owner who gives personal recommendations for dining and sightseeing in the area, complimentary wine and cheese reception on Friday evenings: there’s much to like about this lovely boutique-style inn. As hotels and B&Bs in Carmel go, the Vendange Carmel Inn & Suites is relatively budget-friendly. But there are some upscale options here, too, including suites with walk-in marble showers, separate seating areas, and patios with plants and flowers.
Homey and family-run, Carmel River Inn is a peaceful place. It’s outside of town, though, so it’s peace and quiet that you’re trading off for the convenience of walking everywhere. The inn has a main building with standard guest rooms — many come with patios and refrigerators — and free-standing cottages that travelers love. Each cottage has a private entrance and a patio, and some have kitchenettes. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool that’s nice for a dip after a day of sightseeing and wine tasting.