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Top 5 Boutique Hotels In Carmel-by-the-Sea For Spring 2024

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6 months ago

The picturesque town of Carmel-by-the-Sea just two-and-a-half hours from San Francisco is a perfect weekend getaway for spring and fall. Get a group together or your significant other for a romantic couple’s getaway to soak up the amazing wineries and beautiful beach.

When it comes to accommodation, you’re really spoiled for choice in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s the type of place where a stay in a boutique hotel can make the whole experience. Boutique hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea are known for including a free drink or snack with your stay and it makes it just that much more charming.

Fairytale cottage in Carmel by the Sea
Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its fairytale cottages

We’ve rounded up the top boutique hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea that are sure to make your experience even better than expected.

5. Villa Mara Carmel ($$)

This could be the best boutique hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea if service were the only consideration. The staff are truly wonderful and go out of their way to make sure that you have an excellent experience.

Beyond the great service, the grounds are kept perfectly manicured, and guests really do speak to each other in the bar and around the fireplace. In many ways, it feels like an upscale hostel.

View of the ocean from Carmel by the Sea with a tree
The beach is just a moment away

It’s located only moments away from the beach and the beautiful vistas that make Carmel-by-the-Sea famous throughout the United States.

Make sure you get the almond croissant for breakfast (which is complimentary for all stays). I think it might be one of the best I’ve ever had.

Green colored bikes with baskets
Many hotels will have bikes for hire

4. Vagabond’s House Inn ($$)

This is a charming Tudor-style B&B with a spa and courtyard. As is the norm in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the hotel offers something free. At Vagabond’s House Inn, it’s free wine and cheese in the afternoon. It makes for a beautiful stay.

It’s also located only a few blocks from downtown Carmel so it’s super easy for you to get around. You won’t need a car to go anywhere in town if you stay at Vagabond’s House Inn. It feels very luxurious without seeming pretentious which I think is a difficult thing to achieve at this price range.

Exterior of Vagabond's House Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Vagabond’s House Inn feels like a home away from home (source: Vagabond’s House Inn)

If you visit Carmel-by-the-Sea while it’s still a little bit cold, you’ll get to enjoy the cosy fireplace at Vagabond’s House Inn. They’re also dog-friendly so expect to see lots of pups walking around the hotel!

3. Mission Ranch Inn ($$)

This is a bit out of the town but in exchange for convenience you’ll get an incredible experience at a great rate. The sheep grazing farm is just out the back and it makes for a nice place to pass the time. The restaurant here is also wonderful.

If you do stay here, get to know the story of how film director Clint Eastwood restored Mission Ranch and made it the inspiring place that it is today. He and his team really have created a serene space and an idyllic atmosphere.

Sunset view of farmlands in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Dusk at Mission Ranch is a beauty to behold

What makes the view at Mission Ranch so uniquely special is that you can see the farmlands with the sheep and the ocean together. I’m not sure where else you can get such a spectacular setting. The pastoral beauty is unmatched in its connection to the water.

We felt instantly transported to a place of tranquillity while watching the sunset. This is the place to revel in nature’s gifts.

Beach with a tree in Carmel-by-the-Sea
The beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea is a highlight

If you do stay at Mission Ranch Inn, you might want to hire a car. It can look like it’s not too far from downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea on a map, but the town is set on a hill so it’s not an easy walk.

2. Cypress Inn ($$)

Cypress Inn is also located right in the thick of downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s quite a unique experience as compared to other boutique hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea because the entire hotel is dotted with memorabilia and posters of Doris Day, one of the hotel’s former owners who was also a singer and an actress.

Doris was also an animal activist so it’ll come as no surprise that Cypress Inn is very pet-friendly, and you’ll see dogs walking around everywhere. This really is the best place to stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea if you are bringing a dog.

Cypress Inn feels like you’re staying at a close friend’s villa in the Mediterranean, just with the excellent service you’d expect from a boutique hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

1. Le Petit Pali at Ocean Avenue ($$$)

We think the best experience is to be had at Le Petit Pali at Ocean Avenue (they have a second hotel with the same name close by). The hotel has been recently renovated so it’s filled with the beautiful touches which make the experience just that much better.

And my favorite part: there is a cookie delivery at 6:30 pm every night. What a dream. The snickerdoodle was amazing (but equally we’d just finished a wine tasting flight so many things would have tasted good). It does overlook a parking lot but you don’t even notice it.

Breakfast buffet at Le Petit Pali with bread and jam
Make sure to try the breakfast cakes at Le Petit Pali

Le Petit Pali is also located in a great spot for exploring the town. They’ll even let you borrow a picnic blanket to take to the beach.

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