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 was our fourth stay at L'Auberge. Frankly, I don't see why we would consider anywhere else for our couples escapes. From the minute you pull up, you feel like you are a celebrity. You are treated like you are the only guests, or at least the most important, from the time you walk in until you leave. The rooms are awesome, the serve is over-the-top, and the location is ideal. This is our go to in Carmel.
My friend and I took a girls' weekend up to Carmel, and having stayed at L'Auberge properties in Napa before, decided to book a night here. Coming from SF after a hectic week, we were anxious to find a parking spot, so as I ran up to the courtyard, a lovely man named Mike calmly and graciously met me, explained he would valet our car, and then asked me my name and held out his hand and introduced himself. It was at that moment I instantly began to relax and also realized that this is a hotel that prides itself on both helping guests feel like it's their home AND providing exeptional, curteous, gracious service that is so hard to find these days. After having our car parked (all services are free thanks to the great idea of just tacking on a $30 service charge every night), the woman at check-in greeted us with complimentary organic hibiscus juice made in-house. The rooms are not your modern, everything-looks-the-same behemoths...but isn't that the charm of Carmel? The lobby is marble; the courtyard leading to the rooms is brick-lined with wall-climbing flowers, vines, and with a bubbling fountain in the center; the rooms are cozy but equipped with modern-day amenities like heated bathroom floors, an iPad for room service, free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, a fridge, and an espresso machine (we just got the standard room, nothing special). The personal touches came from the dessert chef's bowl of housemade caramels and a little bag of trail mix, along with two gigantic bottles of sparkling water--all at no charge to guests. Imagine staying in a renovated French country chateau and that's L'Auberge Carmel. What's even better is that you're 1 block away from all restaurants and shops, and about 4 blocks away from the gorgeous beach. Overall, the service and the charm make this hotel well worth the money.
My wife and I loved this place. It felt as if we were in the French countryside. While the rooms were simple, they were clean and well kept. The staff was outstanding: they knew and remembered our names, they were friendly, helpful and fast. Breakfast was good, and the restaurant was top out of sight (as was the price!). We will definitely go back. Onlly issue was noise at 7:00 am or so with the trash being taken out of the alley behind the hotel.