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Staying at the Hotel Carmel in Carmel, California

Hotel Carmel exterior

I made my first trip to Carmel, California this past January and was lucky enough to stay at the ultra-charming Hotel Carmel. One of the best hotels in Carmel, it’s a newly renovated boutique property with a modern feel and thoughtful touches, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect place to spend a long weekend. Read on for my detailed thoughts, and if you’re looking for Carmel-by-the-Sea accommodations, look no further!

Hotel Carmel exterior
Hotel Carmel sign

HOTEL CARMEL LOCATION

It’s tough to beat the location of the Hotel Carmel. It’s located just steps away from town, so everything is just a few minutes’ walk away. I still recommend having a car in Carmel if you plan to take advantage of some of the half-day trips and activities that are a little further afield, but you won’t need to use it to get around town. The hotel has ample free parking, so no need to worry about where to put it while you’re out strolling!

Hotel Carmel lobby door
Hotel Carmel window and plants

HOTEL CARMEL ROOMS

Carmel is full of fairytale cottages, and the rooms at the Hotel Carmel manage to capture some of that quaint cottage vibe. Beds are comfortable, and rooms are well-appointed, spacious and sparkling clean. When the weather is nice, you can head out to the chairs on your balcony to capture some California sunshine, and when it’s not, nearly half of rooms boast a fireplace that you can cozy up to to hide from the cold. 

Bed at the Hotel Carmel
Hotel Carmel mug and lamp
Deck chair
Hotel Carmel walkway

Downstairs, design-forward textiles and decor adorn a den-like room and breakfast nook just off the check-in area, and you’ll find yourself pulling your camera out every time you walk by.

Hotel Carmel lobby table
Globe on a desk
Hotel Carmel lobby den

HOTEL CARMEL GROUNDS

My favorite parts of the Hotel Carmel were actually outside its walls. Just off the lobby, there’s a patio with a fire pit encircled by wooden Adirondack chairs that are perfect for winding down in the evenings, particularly with a glass of wine in hand. (Luckily, the hotel serves local wines nightly—see below!)

Near the fire pit, there’s also a hot tub that’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Chairs around a fire pit
Hotel Carmel hot tub

HOTEL CARMEL DINING

The Hotel Carmel is connected to Brophy’s Tavern, a quintessential pub serving elevated versions of all the classics (think burgers, fish & chips and more). It’s got a relaxed vibe, a jukebox and truffle fries—in other words, it’s the perfect setting for an easy dinner after a long day of travel or exploring.

The hotel also serves breakfast, the highlight of which is a bagel bar featuring multiple types of house-made cream cheese (including one made with local strawberries!). Breakfast is included with the room rate and caters to dietary restrictions. 

Finally—and most importantly?—the hotel serves complimentary wine every evening. Choose between a Northern California red and white and then choose where to enjoy it! The cozy lobby space has board games you can play, or you can bring your drink out to the fire pit or hot tub. 

Brophy's Tavern table
Brophy's Tavern jukebox

HOTEL CARMEL BOOKING

I stayed at the Hotel Carmel as part of a retreat I did in the area that included accommodation, so I didn’t book the hotel myself. If I had, I would have likely used the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book my room for free, redeeming Chase points earned with my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card for the stay. Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can book this way as well, but rates in points will be higher. 

Another way to book the room for free would be to use a card like the Capital One Venture that lets you use points to wipe any eligible travel charges off your statement. You won’t get great value for your points at 1 cent/point, but it can be an easy option in a pinch. 

The Hotel Carmel isn’t part of a larger chain’s loyalty program, so those are a couple of the best ways to book it for free. But occasionally, if a room rate is cheap or I’m saving my points for a different redemption, I’ll use cash to book a hotel, and in that case, I try to use hotels.com whenever possible. For every 10 paid nights you stay, you get a night for free, which is the best return you can get when using an “online travel agent” (a category that includes Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and others).

For more on earning and using points and miles to travel for free, visit the 52 Cities free resource library or register to join me on my next live masterclass.

Hotel Carmel patio chairs
Daisies

Hope you enjoyed this review of the Hotel Carmel, and hope it helped you narrow your search for Carmel-by-the-Sea lodging! Check out the full recap of my long weekend stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea and find my roundup of the best excursions from Carmel here!

Have you been to Carmel-by-the-Sea? What did you do for accommodations? Let me know in the comments! >>

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Staying at the Hotel Carmel
Staying at the Hotel Carmel
Hotel Review: Hotel Carmel

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