La Playa Carmel
What We Love
- Daily champagne continental breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- Opt for ocean view rooms for mesmerizing seashore vistas
- Foggy mornings burn off to reveal the dramatic windswept coast rife with craggy bent cypress and pine trees
- READ MORE: 72 hours on Highway 1
What To Know
- The property, which dates back to 1905, reopened in August 2012 after a complete renovation
- La Playa serves gourmet breakfast and light fare; the friendly concierge can assist with dinner reservations
- You can walk or bike everywhere, including the beach
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
An anchor of idyllic Carmel-by-the-Sea since 1916, La Playa Carmel is a converted estate originally designed in 1905 by artist Christian Jorgensen as a gift for his wife. Built atop a bluff and surrounded by the hamlet’s best homes, this boutique remains a romantic escape, with 75 rooms, gorgeous gardens and ocean views. When it reopened after a tip-to-toe renovation in August 2012, devotees applauded the multimillion dollar re-do for preserving its California Mission-inspired charm of pale pink stucco and tile rooflines while infusing indoor spaces with an airy, contemporary vibe. The hotel feels rejuvenated, not merely remodeled, and newly upholstered sofas, sand-colored wicker chairs and striped pillows in the lobby add instant zing. Other unique features recall the building’s storied past, such as the original star-shaped stained-glass window near the main entrance, antique full-length mirrors, well-worn doorknobs and graceful shell ceiling light fixtures.
Bed & Bath
The 75 guestrooms evolved into California chic with serene beachy colors and soft renewable materials. Windows feature thick plantation shutters; yummy pillow-top beds have woven wicker headboards and plush bathrooms are spa-inspired. Village Rooms are a comfortable 250 square feet with views of the gardens; Ocean View Rooms up the space to 300 square feet and deliver on their promise with views of the Pacific below.
Outside, the cascading grounds include three distinct terraces, a relaxing pool area and bountiful gardens brimming with geraniums, dahlias, begonias and jasmine. While the morning fog burns off, tuck into in a cozy corner of The Library for the breakfast buffet, and then switch to outdoor mode on the Pacific Terrace. Carmel’s beach invites barefoot walks, and the town is a shopper’s paradise of unique, upscale boutiques and galleries that are best visited in the morning before the crowds arrive.
In the Area
This luxe sleep is steps from Carmel‘s acclaimed galleries and pristine beaches. Be sure to check the local arts calendar for theatre, opera and music at the restored Sunset Theatre, the Golden Bough Playhouse and Forest Theatre. Or focus on the water and rent a kayak or hop on a tour boat to get close to the honking sea otters and sea lions. Then continue the wildlife experience at the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium. The drive up the Pacific coast from Pebble Beach to Pacific Grove is simply spectacular, or try out another drive to some of the world’s best golf courses, which are found on the Central Coast.
How to Get There
This is a tricky one to review. We stayed for 4 nights and it started off really positive, but we were not as positive by the end of our stay, sadly...
Positives: The staff are all really lovely, yes they are young, but we found them very helpful and polite. Our check in receptionist was lovely, sorry should have taken a note of her name and our lovely bar woman was really friendly.
Breakfast was really good, there were omelettes, made to order, waffles, ham, salmon, cheese, continental style breakfast items and they had gluten free bread. They also had bubbly which you could help yourselves to.
Turn down service. They brought ice and chocolates to your room in the evening and a card with the weather on it for the next day. Possibly though, you could have a board with the next days weather in reception, to save on printing costs and waste.
If you like watching TV it is very big. There is a safe, ironing board, iron, coffee machine with good coffee.
The toiletries are good quality, as are the towels. The bathroom robes are so lovely, so soft and snuggly, probably the best we have had in a long time.
The bed and pillows are very comfortable and we slept well there.
The bar food was good, what we had and not overpriced compared to the rest of the area.
The beach is nearby, but as it was overcast we didn’t actually go there much. The town is probably 8 to 10 minutes walk.
The grounds, gardens were beautiful and sitting in the garden looking at the hotel, it is really a lovely looking hotel, with a lot of character for the U.S. It is over 100 years old and has a feel,of history to it, albeit a relatively new history, compared to say the UK.
Negatives: The wine tasting was just 2 or 3 of the same wines and you were given the smallest sample. There was a feeling that they did not want you to have more than 1 or 2 small tastes of wine.
The resort fee is good value if you take them up on the courtesy shuttle into town, you eat cookies and drink milk, you drink alcohol. If you don’t do any of those things, you are paying for things you are not using and therefore I don’t like this extra tax! Either give the room rate or don’t. We only used the shuttle once in 4 days, I don’t eat cookies or dairy and I wasn’t having that much wine. So I was paying that for breakfast really. I don’t like the idea of having to pay for things that actually you are not using.
The weather was overcast, except one afternoon, so we didn’t used the pool or sun beds either.
The rooms are much smaller than on the website, so that is quite misleading. We didn’t mind this at first, but after a few days, didnfeel a bit cramped.
The bathrooms are really small and our toilet had absolutely no room to the side of it. If we were bigger in size, we would not have been able to sit on the toilet comfortably. However, because of the age of the hotel, the size of the rooms is something we are willing to compromise on, if other things are in place.
At first we didn’t have any noise issues, but then someone opposite us would bang their doors and there was possibly young children in the room above us, as there was a lot of banging, which became quite annoying.
There was a wedding when we were there, which was quite loud, but it didn’t go on too late. Our windows didn’t have much sound proofing though, they also seemed quite drafty too. I tried to turn the heating on for a few minutes, but it didn’t appear to be working.
What started off as a 5 star has sadly become a 4 star. I was undecided about giving it 3 or 4 stars. Unfortunately Trip Advisor doesn’t have a “good” score, which I would have given La Playa. It is an above average hotel in lots of ways, with some average facilities. It is a hotel with a lot of charm and the staff are all lovely. Just some tweaking to make it 5 star. So between 3 & 4 stars.
We visited here in April 2018. Spent 3 nights here. Would've left, but could not get accommodations elsewhere on such short notice. We booked this months in advance. The rooms were the steepest of all areas we stayed while in California for two weeks. We figured the price would mean a great room/great stay. The pictures of the rooms appear to show large rooms. Not the case, whatseover. We paid $500 a night plus a nightly amenity fee for a Deluxe Ocean View Room. There was nothing deluxe about the room. It has a good view, but it was so small and so noisy, we did not sleep but a few hours a night. Two normal sized adults could not walk around the bed at the same time. The bathroom ------ oh my, without a doubt, the smallest bathroom of any hotel we've ever stayed in. Sink was for a toddler. It was the worst stay of our entire trip and the most expensive to boot. The doors slammed shut all night long. One night there was a bachelorette get together of about 7 women. They partied all night long outside and yelled & screamed and even after two calls to the lobby, it carried on. The ONLY good thing about this hotel was the location & the beautiful gardens. That's it. The rooms were beyond pathetic. And their nightly "wine tasting" was a joke. They limited you to small amounts and ran out of wines within an hour. This place was a joke. We stayed at resorts much cheaper in Big Sur, San Francisco, that were GEMS and 1/2 the price. This place nickel and dimed you to death. The amenity fee should absolutely be included in the nightly rate, absolutely. The breakfast was good, but not worth the price we were forced to pay for it.
La Playa is a good boutique hotel. We were booked into it by the conference we were attending at the Sunset Center. Our room was described as “Classic,” which I guessed meant basic and I was right. We were in a corner room facing away from the sea. The hotel is two blocks from the sea and a short walk from the Sunset Center and downtown.
Gardens and truly beautiful, the breakfast excellent, and staff friendly. (No restaurant but limited bar menu.). Plush bathrobes were very nice. Even an intimacy kit for sale, with condoms and lubricant if you forgot yours. But we found downsides. Staff seemed young and inexperienced. They were unable to answer questions, said they would get answers and get back to us ... but didn’t. Our room had considerable street noise. The most annoying thing was the light in the bathroom, which goes on automatically with no obvious way to disable the automatic feature. Really annoying when jet-lagged and one of a couple. A $39 a night “amenity fee” is tacked on, and includes breakfast.
For our 20th anniversary we decided to slip away for one special night to the Monterey peninsula. There are many choices for great lodgings, but we decided on the historic La Playa in Carmel, as it's somewhere my husband had gone with his family when he was a kid. Great choice! The service was spectacular as is the location, an easy walk to all the shops and restaurants but just two blocks above the beach. We got an ocean view room and when the front desk sent up a bottle of champagne we decided to just park our chairs in front of the window and stay put. We also slept with the window cracked open to relish the sounds of a pounding surf. What we hadn't expected was the fantastic champagne buffet brunch that included a omelet and waffle station. We had wanted to treat ourselves to something special and were thrilled with our choice.
We stayed at La Playa for 2 nights, wish it would have been longer! Everything is beautiful and so well done, when we checked in they had the managers wine special going on which was nice to grab a glass of wine after a full day of travel. We had a ocean view room and it was absolutely gorgeous! We had views of the ocean and the courtyard of the hotel. We checked out the bar as soon as we got settled, the bartender Jovanna was very friendly and made us some awesome cocktails! This hotel is in walking distance to the beach and downtown which it very nice and convenient, the cookies and milk are a yummy touch to have when you come in from dinner! This hotel has no A/C which I was a bit skeptical to sleep with the windows open at night(we live in south Louisiana) and it was awesome! It kept the room so cool and you could hear the waves at night! The robes were very plush and a great addition, my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary and couldn’t have pictured a better place to do so, we plan to come back in the future!