Old World Charm Meets Modern Style: L’Auberge Carmel, CA

Carmel-by-the-Sea. The very name conjures up romantic images. And the experience doesn’t disappoint.

This picture-book village on California’s central coast is situated along a beautiful stretch of white sand beach. The town is filled with art galleries, interesting shops and restaurants. In the midst of all this is L’Auberge Carmel, a perfect spot to call home while you’re in town.

The building, designed by famed San Francisco architect Albert Farr, dates to 1929 and was modeled after a building in the city of Prague. A few years ago, the inn was completely renovated, bringing it into the 21st Century.

The 20 rooms surround a landscaped courtyard. Some have partial ocean views and feature beautiful Italian fabrics, Egyptian cotton linens and towels. My favorite feature — the radiant heated travertine bathroom floors. There’s nothing like stepping out of the shower onto a toasty-warm floor. Many of the bathrooms have a large soaking tub. While not huge, the rooms are comfortably spacious and the amenities include a flat screen TV, guest robes, down bedding and a small fridge stocked with two bottles of Fiji water. The nightly turn-down service includes a plate of cookies or chocolates left on the bedside table. Included in the cost of your room is a “full French country breakfast.�?

The menu… well, there isn’t a menu. You are served fresh squeezed orange juice, organic yogurt topped with apricot preserves, a coddled egg, a basket of fresh-baked croissants and toast, and delicious French pressed coffee. When we balked at the coddled egg, the waiter offered to bring us scrambled eggs, which we gladly accepted.

The inn features a gourmet restaurant with only 12 tables, run by executive Chef Walter Manzke. Only two caveats: the hotel does not have its own parking lot or garage but valet service is provided (a service fee of $20 per day is added to your bill to cover gratuities).

If you must have Internet service, be aware that while the hotel has WiFi, it’s very difficult to connect. After several frustrating attempts we were able to pick up a signal from a neighboring hotel.

L’Auberge Carmel
W: www.laubergecarmel.com.
Rates from $275 to $550, two-night minimum.
Located 1 block from Ocean Avenue and 4 blocks from the beach.
A: Monte Verde at Seventh St., Carmel, CA 93921.
T: 831-624-8578.

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