Summary: A good place to stay, although a bit pricey for value received. Good location. Great included breakfast. Reasonably clean rooms. Very comfortable bed. Management deficiencies are very apparent.
Nowhere else can a hotel run like this one charge as much for rooms and get away with it. Only in Carmel. I will describe what I mean in chronological order, beginning with arrival, and will only address actual, confirmable issues. My opinion and judgment will be saved for the end. If TripAdvisor allowed fractions, I'd give this a 3.5.
On arrival, there is no place to pull over with your vehicle. You don't know what to do, so you go around the block because you have delivery trucks in front of you, cars behind you, and it is a narrow street (Lincoln). I witnessed other arrivers circling the block as well. It appears that there is a place to pull over and check in, but the entire time we were there, it was occupied, and occupied with the same car for many hours. Could owners/management make it more clear how to pull in and register? Could they enforce the open and temporary space(s) by the front door so that it is used for very short-term check-in only?
The front desk clerks explain the fact that upon arrival (and I even heard it at check-out as well on one occasion), you've already been charged for the first night. You could tell by the explanations for many guests that this was awkward. Could management make it less so? Why is this the only hotel I've ever encountered this awkward explanation at?
As you head to your room, you notice the restaurant is quite dark, and looks a little worn. Further to your room, you observe broken tile, and elsewhere, a ladder on its side on the ground. Three days later, the tile remains broken and the ladder still lies on the ground.
Entering your room, you notice that the bed pretty much fills the entire room. This is room 212. I am not a large man, but tall. Getting past the foot of the bed and the tv cabinet, I had to turn sideways to pass. What is a flat-screen tv doing in a deep-dimension cabinet? And if the room is small, why have such a deep cabinet to make it harder to pass by the end of the bed?
The toilet is microscopic. The lid covers most of the flush button, so in order to flush, you always have to drop both the seat and the lid. The shower is so small the averaged-sized person will be pressed to move around in it.
The lavatory sits on a pedestal (good move given the smallness of the bathroom), but the sink sits at an angle on the pedestal, and moves. We worried it would fall off and then we'd have a water gusher. Hot water trickles out of the lavatory faucet under very low pressure.
A window is nearly impossible to latch shut, and when it is cold, you have to struggle to close out the cold air. We later figured out how to latch it shut, but it takes real muscle and slamming and we worried we'd break it and be charged.
From 7:15a or 7:30a through 11:00p, if you stay above or near the bar, you will hear the recorded jazz music (which is actually pleasant), and in our room, it is so loud, you have to turn up the tv volume to listen to any show you are watching, and you worry those in neighboring rooms will be offended by the volume level you've needed in order to enjoy your tv show (okay, I watched a big football game!).
You encounter room care staff, and they look away, don't smile, and have turned-down faces. Why? You ask a question of them (alternatively in English and later perfectly in their native language), and they respond curtly. Why? Registration desk staff was Doris Day-perky and quite pleasant.
Now the opinion and judgment part. Yield management in the hospitality industry is important, certainly, but one gets the impression the Cypress Inn has yet to find that balance between too much yield and an inadequate return. They likely realize that dog owners are so pleased they found a place where they and their dog(s) are welcome that they'll pay a premium to stay there, and be happy for it (just read the many reviews here on this point). But here's the test: just imagine for a moment that dogs were no longer welcome there. Could they still get the same acceptance by guests?
So they have found a niche, and it works. It was wonderful being able to bring a dog into the hotel without walking on proverbial egg shells, and this is the case at the Cypress Inn. You end up loving the location, and realize the breakfast is wonderful, although again, solemn employees staff the operation.
And it is interesting to think about all the things you would do to this property if it were yours to manage, because there are so many opportunities to make this an even better place to spend time in beautiful Carmel. Two things are needed for guests to really get value for these rates. First, send the staff to your average Apple store to observe low-paid employees manage customers well (or being in an Apple expert for in-house training). Or McDonalds. Or step it up and try the Mandarin Oriental's approach to guest management. Customer care alone, managed well and managed competently, could make a huge difference here. Second, get some interior designers in place to consult. Room by room. It doesn't have to be extensive. Right-size furniture in the rooms. Put a little lipstick on them. Get the warts and hickeys addressed. It shouldn't cost much.
That done, this would be an even better place. And maybe they'd be able to charge even more without guests objecting. Who knows? Go there and try it. See what you think. My guess is that you'll have a good time.