Best hotels in Carmel
Carmel IntroductionBoasting a groundbreaking artists’ colony, prestigious annual music festival, world-renowned marine reserve, and world-class golf course on its doorstep, Carmel is one of the shiniest jewels on California’s sparkling Pacific Coast Highway. This town is a magnet for visitors, drawn by its unspoiled beach and picture-perfect downtown, which is overflowing with heritage landmarks, eye-catching craft stores, and friendly restaurants. Carmel has successfully preserved its old-world village ambience with an original planning strategy designed to protect its unique charm—its tree-lined sidewalks are free of unsightly parking meters and no street lights intrude on the romantic glow of its storefront windows.
Hotels in CarmelCarmel hotels come in all shapes, sizes, and categories, but all share the same philosophy of prizing bespoke individuality over corporate conformity. In place of national chains and neon, you’ll find independent inns and family-run boutiques, providing the personal touches that’ll make every visitor feel like a Hollywood A-lister. Luxury hotels in Carmel range from opulent, historic buildings dripping with original features, to romantic townhouses furnished with fine art or tranquil country guesthouses sheltered by groves of cypress trees. Carmel hotel rates vary according to season, so steer clear of peak periods or book in advance for the best bargains.
Where to stayCarmel’s compact, pedestrian-friendly town center means that you’re never far from anywhere, so location is less important here than in more sprawling, diverse cities. If you’re arriving by road, choose a hotel with its own private parking lot, where you can leave the car and enjoy the chance to explore on foot. Appreciate the untamed beauty of Carmel’s white-sand beach from the windows of an oceanfront inn. Soak up the area’s rich cultural life and be close to its fabulous stores and restaurants in a cozy B&B, or stretch out in the spacious accommodation of an atmospheric old-style highway motel.
Things to seeThe artistic movement was instrumental in thrusting Carmel into the spotlight of American creative life at the turn of the 20th century; famous painters and poets of the era flocked to the region, eager to be part of the pioneering colony. Playhouses and theaters subsequently sprung up to cater for the increasing demand from its eclectic clientele. Discover Carmel’s fascinating past on a self-guided tour of the most significant landmarks, or follow the Carmel Art Walk to meet the artists and craftspeople who continue to keep the town at the cutting edge. Catch a concert by the highly acclaimed Monterey County Symphony at the Sunset Center, a state-of-the-art performance space converted from a Gothic schoolroom. This is also the venue of the annual Carmel Bach Festival, which welcomes world-class musicians to the village for a program of concerts and talks to showcase the genius of J.S. Bach.
How to get to CarmelCarmel’s scenic location on the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) makes it a natural stop on a California road trip—take the exit at Ocean Avenue, around a mile from downtown. The nearby Monterey Regional Airport is an easy 15-minute drive in normal traffic, while international flight connections come courtesy of San Francisco or Los Angeles airports, which are around 2 hours 30 minutes and 6 hours away respectively. In terms of sightseeing, 2 legs are better than 4 wheels; all the attractions are within walking distance of the hotels in Carmel village.