L Auberge Carmel
What We Love
- Located on 5.2 acres of landscaped grounds with a private pathway to a prime Cali beach
- The bathrooms in Courtyard King Rooms have large soaking tubs and heated floors
- Free WiFi
What To Know
- Courtyard Queen Rooms have a walk-in shower only
- None of the rooms are air-conditioned, but you won’t miss it with average summer temps in the 60s
- A $25 (plus tax) service fee per night covers WiFi, in-room tea and coffee, tennis court and equipments usage, a village shuttle (one-mile radius) and more
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Carmel-by-the-Sea feels like one big leafy neighborhood filled with gorgeous European cottages. But L’Auberge stands out even among this company. Formerly an apartment building for artists, the three-story stucco inn maintains that bohemian vibe by reflecting Carmel’s artist colony past. Think black-and-white Helmut Horn photographs, individually designed guest rooms, and vintage touches such as real door keys and French windows. Each of the 20 guest rooms have mahogany beds with down comforters and jewel-tone linens and such tech perks as flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. We love the indulgent bathrooms with their heated travertine floors, custom spa-style products and soaking tubs. Homey touches include nightly turn-down with fresh-baked cookies. The cozy 12-table restaurant, Aubergine, and its 4,500-bottle cellar are the stars of the show. Award-winning executive chef Justin Cogley oversees the innovative seasonal tasting menu. In true Left Coast style, local farmers bring their goods straight into the kitchen every day. Breakfast can be served in your room, but it’s most pleasant in the enclosed brick courtyard, which is warmed by heat lamps on chilly mornings. The hotel also offers in-room spa treatments.
In the Area
Visit Aubergine’s sister restaurant, Cantinetta Luca, known for its homemade pasta and equally stellar wine list. It’s within walking distance of the hotel, on Dolores Street between Ocean and 7th. From Carmel, the natural progression is to take the famous Highway 1 down the coast through Big Sur. Or consider taking the scenic 17-Mile Drive on your way to the inn. Carmel Beach City Park is justifiably famous for its scenery, but it can get packed to the gills on a warm day. For smaller crowds try Carmel River State Beach farther south around the promontory, with its rolling dunes and vibrant bird life. Carmel is made for leisurely strolls and shopping, so be sure to take a two-hour guided walk along the hidden pathways past the fairytale homes of the famous with Carmel Walks Tours.
How to Get There
This little historic hotel is worth the investment. Great location for Carmel sunsets, beach walks, shopping and restaurants without taking the car. We were in a room off the courtyard, which was lovely and convenient, although next time I would ask for an upstairs room as the courtyard is well used and sometimes it felt as though we had company in our room. Service is exceptional as you might expect and the breakfast included was divine.
This hotel shouldn’t have the rating it does. It’s old (not in the good way) its totally outdated, furnishings look like its from a rummage sale, there was no AC, rooms could be considered in a 3 star hotel at best. If you have any disability you wouldn’t be able to stay here as it’s all steps and many rooms have a walk up, feels like a cheap hotel you’d find in Europe. The staff is VERY undertrained, doesn’t seem like they received the L’Auberge hospitality course and they lacked the common accommodating skills you should find in a hotel of this caliber. The restaurant was good, yet very expensive, it’s the only positive attribute of the property. The last straw of our stay was when we were checking out we had a very young front desk attendant who asked me if my two service dogs had stayed in the room with us, I told her yes and she responded by saying that she was going to add $500 ($250/dog) to my bill as that’s their policy. I explained that I had called three times to make sure they were dog friendly/equipped as I always do and they never mentioned a fee or that it was an issue. After a very unfortunate discussion with the inexperienced young lady and then the hotel supervisor they agreed to “waive it”...Seriously? I’ve never been treated like that in any hotel- our family was so disappointed and will never return and make sure everyone we know chooses another hotel during their stays in Carmel.
While the quality of the building and rooms are not quite up to the typical standard of Relais & Châteaux properties, the location is great and the courtyard is lovely. Staff was friendly and helpful. I loved that I could bring my dog with me.