What We Love
- An elaborate daily continental breakfast including locally made French pastries is included in the Jetsetter rate
- Lush tropical landscaping with three-story-high bamboo, bird of paradise trees and a meditation garden with a gurgling fountain
- Quiet sidestreet location, walkable to everywhere, within earshot of the breaking ocean waves
- The Asian contemporary style — very fashion-forward for stuffy Carmel
- READ MORE: 72 hours on Highway 1
What To Know
- Rooms are built around a central courtyard, but excellent landscaping provides privacy
- Some rooms have distant ocean views; the beach is eight blocks away
- Four rooms have not been restyled; they’re perfectly comfortable, but lack the chic factor
- Few hotels in Carmel have AC — this one is no exception — which means sleeping with the windows open and occasionally hearing passersby. Light sleepers should bring ear plugs
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
A 2004 makeover by designer Charles Gruwell, of Mandalay Bay Las Vegas fame, landed the Tradewinds Carmel on the pages of Architectural Digest for its excellent use of space and fresh Asian-inspired decor. You can’t see the property until you’re in the middle of it: Gurgling fountains, tall trees and lush landscaping conceal many of the 28 guestrooms, creating a spa-like atmosphere. The architectural footprint is that of a Midcentury Modern hotel, but the rooms feel Asian and airy. They’re spacious and restrained in style, with a soothing flaxen color scheme, bamboo and rattan furnishings, Japanese pen-and-ink artwork and zero clutter. Second-floor rooms also have vaulted wooden ceilings that reveal the building’s quality construction. For a splash of color — and a warm welcome — the bellman delivers a stem of purple orchids at check-in.
Bed & Bath
Low-slung platform featherbeds are dressed in Egyptian cotton linens, with fluffy down pillows and duvets and custom silk runners. At the corner of the King rooms is a gas fireplace with a timer so that you can fall asleep with a fire glowing. Kimono-style robes from Bali hang in the closet, and every remodeled bathroom has a custom-built vanity with plenty of room to unpack your toiletries. Some bathrooms have separate travertine-tiled shower stalls and jetted tubs (ask when you book). We appreciate thoughtful touches like heavy long-staple cotton towels and locally made olive oil soap with bits of lavender and herbs.
Though it’s right in the village of Carmel, you get the feeling of being at a resort in the tropics. Out many windows you spot spiky ferns, tall bamboo and lush bird of paradise trees that grow higher than the roofline. The ocean’s breaking waves are never out of earshot. The beautifully landscaped courtyard comprises a stone firepit and a lush meditation garden with a towering Buddha fountain lit at night by tiki torch. Though Tradewinds lacks resort-style amenities (there’s no pool, spa, gym or restaurant), nothing is far away. The front desk can arrange in-room massages; the center of town is a five-minute walk, the beach 10.
In the Area
Carmel has a timeless storybook-village quality and some marvelous, whimsical architecture. Plan to stroll the cobbled streets, but carry a sweater: Fog twirls through the ubiquitous Monterey pines, and wind whooshes off the never-distant Pacific Ocean. The principle in-town activity is window shopping Ocean Avenue, which is lined with girly-girl boutiques and expensive galleries. To meet real local artists, stop by the Carmel Art Association. The real magic of Carmel is its coastline, best viewed on a drive along Scenic Road. For nature walks, nothing beats nearby Point Lobos State Reserve, a vast rocky promontory famous for wind-swept cypress groves, tide pools and thrilling coastal vistas.
How to Get There
From the moment we arrived to the moment of departure, the staff of the Tradewinds made each and every interaction memorable. Rooms were comfortable, clean, and well-decorated with balconies to enjoy the views of the ocean. We knew that the Tradewinds appreciated and valued our presence evidenced by the chocolate covered strawberries and personalized note waiting on our table. The front desk staff made a special effort to book last minute dinner reservations for us, and after numerous attempts, made the recommendation for us to go to the Casanova Restaurant, an excellent choice. The next morning's continental breakfast included fresh fruits, and juices, along with fresh coffee from the local coffee roaster, Carmel Roasters. These are but a few reasons why Tradewinds stands out amongst specialty lodging in Carmel. I fully endorse.
My mom decided to celebrate her 80th birthday with a visit to Carmel. Carmel Valley Ranch, her first choice, was booked, which proved to be serendipitous because, with some research, I found us a great place to stay--Tradewinds Carmel--that enabled us to get to our destinations around town with ease. Mom booked two adjoining rooms (one with a king-sized bed for her and another with two doubles for me and my sister). Each room had a small outdoor balcony. The beds were firm and comfortable. There was an inviting deep tub and walk-in shower in the bathroom.
Tradewinds' aesthetic is one of understated elegance informed by a Japanese vibe (read: bamboo is staple element of the decor). It's really lovely. The exterior features a fire pit and the hotel's architecture and landscaping lends the area a sense of serenity--and isn't the point of getting away?
Breakfast was included and featured yogurts; cereals and granola; an array of fruit; bagels, breads, and pastries; and quiche. Much better than your standard continental (i.e., spartan) breakfast There were cookies in the lobby too.
The staff was friendly and helpful and ensured we felt cared for.
Tradewinds Carmel is within a short 12-minute or so walk to the glorious beach. It's easy to walk to the many restaurants and other amenities in town. The three of us very much enjoyed our experience at Tradewinds.
The stay was more than we could have expected. It was relaxing, enjoyable and the hotel was close to all the action; shops, wine tasting and great restaurants. We could not be happier.The staff was helpful and professional and their suggestions were right on.
My family of four loved the Tradewinds while in Carmel for a night. A lot of the hotels in Carmel seem to be old-fashioned motel style places, and the Tradewinds has gone above and beyond to transform that style into something really different and beautiful, with gorgeous landscaping on the grounds including quiet places to sit and a fire pit area. The whole place has an Asian, zen-theme to it, from the decor of the rooms to the landscaping to the kimonos in your room (which my kids loved!) Breakfast in the morning was excellent. I liked the location of Tradewinds, but it is a 15-20 minute walk to the beach and the shops/restaurants on the main drag of town-- so if you want to be very close to the beach and the hustle-bustle of the town, this might not be the best choice for you. Also, it is not worth spending extra money for a sea-view room at this hotel, so keep that in mind when booking.
Our stay was wonderful. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The room was clean, spacious, and the fire place just such an added bonus. The complementary breakfast was also very good. Highly recommend this place. I'll be back.