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Top 9 Luxury Hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Central Coast is at its most alluring at Carmel. It’s a small California coastal town that beacons with moody Pacific beaches, a long inspiring promenade, a plethora of galleries, and a vibrant scene of prime dining establishments. This corner of Monterey County has been a mecca for artists since the beginning of the 20th century. Writers, poets, actors, and painters were flocking here to find blissful refuge among the cypress trees and crashing Pacific waves.

These top luxury hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea will gift you with moments of tranquility paired with superb service for an ultimate Monterey County break.

Carriage House Inn Carriage House Inn
Credit: Carriage House Inn by carriagehouseinncarmel.com

Carriage House Inn

Get a taste of an upscale mansion living at the quaint Carriage House Inn. Located on a quiet street, it’s an ideal gateway to properly relax and give in to the unhurried pace of Carmel living. The large, tastefully decorated rooms feature fireplaces, marble bathrooms, Keurig coffee makers, and jetted tubs. It’s the kind of property you choose for the charm and tranquility, there will be no rush in enjoying the slow delights of the Central Californian gem of a town. You’re also really close to the Downtown with its high-end Carmel Plaza featuring clothing, artisanal, and jewelry stores. 

Key Amenities:

  • Free on-site parking 

  • Free continental breakfast delivered to the room daily

  • Wine and charcuterie boards are provided every evening

Candle Light Inn Candle Light Inn
Credit: Candle Light Inn by candlelightinncarmel.com

Candle Light Inn

Opt for a spacious Premium King Room if you’re looking for some self-indulgent Carmel-by-the-Sea luxury. Candle Light is among the best local inns, and it boasts stellar reviews from guests too. People fell in love with the picturesque central setting, the spotless cleanliness, the pleasant atmosphere, and the jetted bathtubs. The latter is quite a staple of the local luxury accommodation scene, along with the obligatory presence of fireplaces in the units. The location will allow you to easily explore the famed local galleries – the art cluster of the Downtown is just a few steps away. The glorious Pacific stretch is not far either – the distance to the beach from the Candle Light Inn is just half a mile. 

Key Amenities:

  • Common area with outdoor fireplace

  • Daily fresh-baked cookies for guests

  • Rooms with jetted bathtubs

Tradewinds Carmel Tradewinds Carmel
Credit: Tradewinds Carmel by larkhotels.com

Tradewinds Carmel

It’s an enticing fusion at Tradewinds. One of the most coveted boutique hotels in Carmel, it invites you on a regenerative journey to Asia in the heart of California. Zen garden with a Buddha statue, the splashing of a waterfall in the courtyard, and the Balinese atmosphere throughout are the things you can expect here. An ultimate gift to make for yourself is choosing the unit with the ocean view and enjoying those unparalleled Central Californian sunsets from the comfort of your room. It’s a pet-friendly hotel, so you’ll be able to hit the long, sandy local beach with your four-legged friend. Complimentary parking on-site, free Wi-Fi, jetted bathtubs, and the made-in-Bali kimono robes are nice additional touches that the guests loved. 

Key Amenities:

  • Rooms with ocean views

  • Concierge services

  • In-room spa treatments 

Villa Mara Carmel Villa Mara Carmel
Credit: Villa Mara Carmel by villamaracarmel.com

Villa Mara Carmel

The hottest new address in Carmel, Villa Mara doesn’t hold back when it comes to providing a memorable Pacific stay. The beach is a stone’s throw away, and the ocean view units here are among the most sublime in the village. It’s the property that puts aesthetics and the comfort of living first. The historical significance is duly celebrated too, the building dates back to the 1929-founded inn that hosted President Gerald Ford and the celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright. With a recent full renovation, Villa Mara Carmel sparkles with tasteful interiors and boasts perfect attention to detail. You will have the privilege to relax among the lush vegetation of the garden, admire the gorgeous sunsets over Carmel Beach, and get inspired by marveling at the collection of locally curated artworks inside the villa. 

Key Amenities:

  • On-site bar with coffee in the morning and cocktails in the evening

  • Linus bikes available for guests 

  • Garden with fire pits 

Le Petit Pali at Ocean Ave Le Petit Pali at Ocean Ave
Credit: Le Petit Pali at Ocean Ave by lepetitpali.com

Le Petit Pali at Ocean Ave

Sporting a lovely color palette in decor and a Wes Andersonian vibe in the overall atmosphere, Le Petit Pali is your go-to pick for a cute Carmel hideout. The interiors of units combine vintage elements with luxurious contemporary amenities, and that works. Your room will come with a Nespresso coffee machine, a stylish SMEG fridge, premium linen, Marshall speakers, and even a log fireplace to get into a contemplative mood. It’s warm, it’s chic in here, a perfect combination for a beauty-filled romantic break. It’s dog-friendly too, so it is another huge plus for pet owners. And don’t forget about the convenient location. Carmel’s galleries, shops, and restaurants are literally steps away, so you will have a hassle-free discovery. 

Key Amenities:

  • Complimentary bicycles for guests

  • Free continental champagne breakfast and Social Happy Hours

  • Self-parking on-site

La Playa Hotel La Playa Hotel
Credit: La Playa Hotel by laplayahotel.com

La Playa Hotel

With its 75-room offer, La Playa breaks the inn canon of Carmel and proposes a luxurious boutique resort experience. Built in 1909 as a stone mansion for a Norwegian-born painter Chris Jorgensen, it was turned into an exclusive hotel in 1917 and has constantly lured famous, wealthy, and talented from all corners of the world ever since. The grounds are spectacular here, you’ll be living in a well-kept, lush Californian oasis. Another big draw of La Playa is the fact that the actual playa (the beach) is just 4 minutes away. Such proximity is also reflected in the room views, this hotel has some of the best ocean-view units you can get in Carmel. An outdoor swimming pool is a glamorous fixture that you’ll definitely love. 

Key Amenities:

  • Complimentary champagne breakfast buffet in the morning 

  • On-site restaurant with historic decor, international cuisine, and cocktails

  • Ocean-view rooms and easy access to the beach

L’Auberge Carmel L’Auberge Carmel
Credit: L’Auberge Carmel by laubergecarmel.com

L’Auberge Carmel

There is no need to go to France for an upscale chateaux stay, Carmel has L’Auberge. Starting its story in 1929, it’s an elegant accommodation that combines French class and Californian bohemian spirit. The inner courtyard looks straight out of a Provençal postcard, the interiors feature lots of wood, and antiques create an inspired atmosphere in the well-appointed rooms and suites. But where the hotel truly shines is the gastronomy. The Michelin-starred on-site restaurant Aubergine is among the top fine dining spots in the whole of Monterey County, serving innovative and seasonal tasting menus inspired by the surrounding region. Moreover, there’s a 3,500-bottle wine cellar, a real treat for wine lovers. 

Key Amenities:

  • Valet parking and Volvo house car service  

  • Aubergine’s signature breakfast included

  • In-room massages available upon request

Le Petit Pali at 8th Ave Le Petit Pali at 8th Ave
Credit: Le Petit Pali at 8th Ave by lepetitpali.com

Le Petit Pali at 8th Ave

Another Le Petit Pali in town, the one on 8th Ave is smaller and more intimate than its bigger brother at Ocean Ave. This lodging is ideal for quiet luxury with cozy evenings next to the outdoor firepit. Reviewers loved the central location, a few steps away from the Downtown restaurants and cafes. The complimentary champagne breakfast was a hit too. Le Petit Pali at 8th Ave is also one of the best luxury Carmel hotels for families – the kid-friendly suite with a fireplace is a top choice for an easygoing stay. 

Key Amenities:

  • Beach towels and umbrellas provided

  • Courtyard patio with a firepit

  • House bicycles for guests

Carmel Beach Hotel Carmel Beach Hotel
Credit: Carmel Beach Hotel by carmelbeachhotel.com

Carmel Beach Hotel

The newest addition to Carmel’s luxury hotel scene, this lodging is a tempting proposition. If you’d like to be next to the water, that’s your best pick. The selected rooms come with marvelous ocean views, everything is sparkingly clean, and the breakfast is complimentary. The fresh opening means that you can hunt for some bargain prices too. Carmel Beach Hotel will be a perfect base for going to the spectacular Point Lobos State Natural Reserve nearby and it’s a short drive away from the Downtown too. 

Key Amenities:

  • Spa center on-site with three treatment rooms 

  • Fitness studio 

  • All-day dining with wine and cocktails 

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