I would definitely stay at L’Auberge in Carmel again.
Best : Service: bell-luggage, valet, restaurant and front desk - everyone was prompt, helpful and friendly. Inner Courtyard: Better seen in person than in the pictures: Private and enjoyable for breakfast or evening cocktail. Restaurant: Eat here one night for dinner. The food and wine-pairing dinner was excellent, even if it does set you back some – it was worth it. Location: One block off of Ocean Ave’s gallery / shopping and three blocks from the beach. Driving in Carmel is unnecessary due to location, but if needed the hotel has a dedicated Mercedes for the valet to shuttle you for local trips (no cab necessary in town).
Room: We had a Deluxe Courtyard Queen (#16). Bottled water, snacks and turn-down cookies were complimentary. The bathroom Japanese soaking tub fully large enough for two and bath-salts were included (treat yourself). The stand up shower was on the small side, but fine. Bed was very comfortable, room quiet and dark for sleeping, in-room iPod docking station for music, free wifi. Only missing was in-room coffee maker for morning coffee (and NOTE: the hotel was happy to bring you breakfast, or morning coffee to your room – but I still like it in-room). Very happy with the room.
Other surprises: There is $25-per-day gratuity “resort” fee that included tips for all service persons (so no tipping required for services – valet, bell, restaurants). I’m sure this was to adequately tip due to Carmet visitor demographics - larger number of non-US visitors that don’t tip, and ‘mature’ visitors that come to Carmel. We liked this, but tipped extra when settling up the bill anyway. Service is important here – the bell service to get your bags up-stairs would be more important for visitors that usually would need an elevator. We had a small bag of bath-salts left in our car as a small amenity when leaving the hotel. Special requests to print out wine-notes was accommodated by the front desk.
To improve: in-room coffee, better liquor selection. The hotel has an EXCELLENT liquor selection for everything you would predictably want. But could use some further broadening, particularly with popular local “Craft Distilleries”, and a broadened cocktail menu (the need to get with the current trend of offering creative cocktails and specialized "craft-distilled" liquors).
L'Auberge had the 'maturity' and service level of a true boutique hotel, with the intimacy of a B&B. Would recommend and stay here again.