My husband and I just returned from a night at the Cypress Inn. Overall, it was a good experience. But when you are paying $400+ a night, good enough isn't good enough.
For that reason, I have to be less forgiving than I would be if the rates had been more reasonable. Hence the 3 stars (if I could give 3.5 stars, I would).
First, I have to say I agree completely with fidelrobert's review. I echo many of his same sentiments. Especially about how for the dog owners, it seems this hotel can do no wrong.
The mere fact that Fido or Fifi are welcome here seems to trump everything else. I LIKE dogs, but as a non-dog owner, I am not particularly keen on the hotel's pet-centric ambiance (then again, the entire town of Carmel has a dog fetish the likes of which I've never seen. But that's another story).
Having said that, I think The Cypress is still a relatively nice place to stay. Especially if you want to be right in downtown Carmel; the hotel boasts a highly convenient, central location close to restaurants, shopping, etc. (of course, the town is so teensy-weensy, you are always within a few blocks' walk of everything here).
Also, the Cypress offers a certain classic charm; it's decidedly un-trendy (which I appreciate). The hotel clearly caters to a mostly older crowd (and/or dog owners of any age). I liked that it's NOT brand new, has some character, and feels a bit like a throwback. Those are all good things, in my book.
Here's where The Cypress Inn falls short:
Service: Sloppy and inconsistent. Upon arrival, we were greeted (sort of) by a harried looking bellman who blurted out an apology about not being able to help us much (even with our luggage), because it had been "a really crazy day". Huh? We were left to fend for ourselves and carry in our own bags. He also explained that there were only 9 parking spaces in the hotel's parking lot, so my husband would have to find parking on the street (and by the way, in many areas of Carmel, you need to move your car every two hours...so we spent a lot of time moving the car). Not the most auspicious beginning.
The desk personnel were friendly enough. But they also seemed somewhat harried and overwhelmed (even with very few guests in line). The woman who checked us in was quick to hand us a printed list of hotel policies and call it a day; the personal touch was mostly lacking.
We were promised a bottle of champagne in our room on arrival. It wasn't there. However, when we mentioned this to a front desk employee later, he apologized and the bottle was quickly delivered.
And what is it with the housekeeping staff? None of the housekeepers we encountered could manage a smile, let alone a "Good Morning". Instead, they averted their glance whenever we greeted them. Clearly, they don't speak a word of English. No one is demanding they be fluent in English. But would it be too much to teach them to say, "Hello"? I've never encountered this situation at any other hotel.
Accommodations: We had visited the hotel in the past to look at the rooms, and had been shown a couple of rooms in the newer section. We were impressed; the rooms looked quite nice and beautifully appointed. Unfortunately, we didn't get one of those rooms. We made our reservation at the last minute, so had to settle for a room in the older section. We were told repeatedly that our room is "one of the nicest rooms in the hotel." Maybe that was true thirty years ago. But today, it's just ok. Our guest room, like much of The Cypress, was a bit tired. Nicely decorated, but small. With dated looking fixtures in the bathroom (we were also very disappointed to find the whirlpool tub didn't work). It looked like parts of the room/decor had been updated, and other parts had been left in their original, worn condition.
Luckily, our room had a lovely patio -- that was its saving grace (and on a sunny day in Carmel, having a patio is a real plus).
Our room faced the street, and as I feared, it was somewhat noisy. I'm very sensitive to noise, and I definitely heard traffic, conversations, and delivery trucks. I also heard noise from the restaurant/bar below. Luckily, the noise diminished after 11 PM. However, the rest of the time, I had to try to drown it out with my white noise machine and the portable fan provided by the hotel (though not intended for this usage, I'm sure). Oh, and there was no AC in the room. So we had to open the window and doors for fresh air; but then quickly close them to minimize the noise from downstairs and the street. This is the downside of being right downtown and having many guest rooms that face directly onto the street.
Again, if our room had been in the $200-$250 range, I would be giving The Cypress much higher marks -- at least 4 stars.
Instead, I came away with the distinct impression that this hotel has perfected the art of gouging its customers -- but doing it with a perky, Doris Day smile. They somehow get away with charging ridiculously high rates, so they seem unmotivated to improve their game.
Maybe if The Cypress was committed to providing everyone with an exceptional experience -- not just catering to all those canines and their owners -- it would live up to its billing as one of Carmel's top hotels. But right now, I frankly think they are are more in the business of highway robbery than hospitality.
Whatever will be, will be...