More Than Just Perfect Pillows In These Carmel Hotels

Cypress Inn

What do Mediterranean-style, pets and Doris Day have in common you may ask? The legendary Cypress Inn. In 1906, the site was home to Carmel’s first art gallery and in 1929, the present hotel building was constructed. The hotel has been through a few incarnations, landing at its present pet-friendly status in the mid-1980s, when local business owner Dennis LeVett and beloved actress and pet-lover Doris Day acquired the property. Today, it remains one of most pet-friendly hotels in the U.S. So, pack your beloved pet (any size, type, or breed is welcome) and treat yourself and your furry friend to some of Carmel’s best accommodations.


The bright white building exterior is an excellent contrast backdrop for surrounding cypress trees and lush planters. Well thought out décor, Mediterranean architecture, Saltillo tile floors, and live music entertainment made me feel like I was in a 50’s movie. So elegant to be here.


A “must stop” or “must stay” destination for its masterful blend of Old World hospitality and service, laden with modern comforts and amenities.

*BH Insider Tip: We love live music and hotels have become our go-to places for it. The Cypress did not disappoint. We suggest calling the hotel for the live music line-up, which features a range of artists who perform in the lobby in the evenings. Grab your favorite beverage from Terry’s Lounge, snag a sofa and enjoy local tunes while you mix and mingle with the international crowd.

La Playa Carmel

We had a chance to stay at La Playa Hotel a few years back and we chose a chilly November for the visit because it was off-season, which meant a quiet trip with less tourists. Our next visit was quite the contrast—this year we stayed during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. As you can imagine it was not only a full house, but a full town with visitors from all over the world to attend car shows and auctions.


Built in 1905 as a luxurious mansion by an artist as a gift to his wife, La Playa Carmel has been known as the “Grande Dame of Carmel.” Modernized and restored, this 75-room historic hotel is by far one of the best places in town for a relaxing stay. Meticulously tended gardens, intimate patios, secluded courtyards and a tranquil terrace swimming pool allowed me to slip into my (favorite) element and breathe in the moment.

Can’t beat the proximity to the beach, so pack a beach picnic with cheeses selected from downtown’s Cheese & Wine Shop.

*BH Insider Tip: If you’re staying on a Sunday, belly up to the bar between 5:00-5:10pm, where drinks are only $.10! Yes, you read correctly, TEN CENTS for TEN MINUTES (but you must pay with exact change!). This tradition is in honor of the illustrious former hotel owner Howard “Bud” Allen. So, raid your piggy bank and head over to La Playa the next Sunday you’re in town (you don’t have to be a hotel guest to partake in “Bud Allen Hour”).


L’Auberge Carmel

If you are an Airbnb fan like we are, sometimes instead of staying in the fine hotel, you reserve a house next door to one of the most prestigious hotels in town and spy from afar, or traipse through the hotel lobby and restaurant during the day like you own the place. What makes L’Auberge Carmel so intriguing? It’s part of the Relais & Châteaux group and their excellence lies in the “5 C’s”: charm, courtesy, character, cuisine, and calm. Our Nordic-style, 100-year-old Airbnb rental house was the window into this European-style establishment. Since it was “the car week” there were non-stop exotic and classic car displays surrounding the hotel. What a show!


Hustle aside, here is what we prescribe: Dine at Aubergine (Forbes Five Star Restaurant), which delights its guests with culinary innovation and the best ingredients of the season. An impressive 2,500-bottle wine cellar offers renowned and undiscovered selections from famed wine regions around the world, with a particular focus on wines from Monterey County and France. And for a nightcap, enjoy a glass of champagne on the terrace patio.

*BH Insider Tip: Check out the unique stay and play packages: Enhance your stay with the Sailing Adventure Package or spend the day on dry land with a picnic in Big Sur. Relax and rejuvenate with an in-room spa experience or indulge your inner culinary artistry by spending the day with Executive Chef Justin Cogley, preparing a menu for you and your guests that evening. For more info or to schedule, click here.