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“Romantic Room Designs” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tradewinds Carmel

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Tradewinds Carmel
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Mission Street at Third Avenue, PO Box 3403, Carmel, CA 93921   |  
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Ranked #7 of 23 Hotels in Carmel
Calif
1 review
“Romantic Room Designs”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2009

We had a great time at Tradewinds Carmel and Romantic Room Designs made the difference. The look of surprise on her face when she saw the layout in the room was priceless. I don't know who enjoyed it more. The bonfire setup was perfect and another nice surprise was how comfortable we both were even in the chilly weather. RomanticRoomDesigns.com is a must do for anyone in the mood. Tradewinds staff were wonderful and everything went better than planned, we will surely be back.

Thank you very much for a wonderful getaway. We needed it.
Mike and Karen

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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321 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
CA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2009

Service makes or breaks an establishment, be it a restaurant, hotel, or grocery store. I don't care how good the food is or how soft the beds are -- if the service is subpar, I won't be back. On the other hand, I will forgive flaws if they are addressed quickly and with a smile, and if everything else goes well.

The service at the Tradewinds is fantastic. When I initially called, I had a lot of questions. I have been visiting Carmel on day trips for well over 20 years, but had not spent the night in the area since I was a child. There us no Ritz Carleton, Four Seasons, or really any fine hotel with a recognizable name in Carmel, so picking the right hotel can be a challenge under ordinary circumstances, and my circumstances were not ordinary. Not only was this to be a gift, but were would be travelling with dogs. With respect to the latter, I wanted a hotel that accepted dogs, but that did not look (or smell) like it accepted dogs. I also wanted a suite with an ocean view and great service. After doing a fair amount of internet research, it came down to a choice between Tradewinds and Cypress Inn. I decided against Cypress based on too many really negative reviews. I will address those reviews separately because, after spending quite a bit of time at Cypress during our four-day weekend, I have learned that, at Cypress, it is all about picking the right room. There are some bad ones and there are some great ones.

But this review is about Tradewinds. I loved the beautiful promo pictures of Tradewinds, which has been remodeled to reflect a Far-East flavor. When I called, I spent a lot of time on the phone with the front-desk receptionist, who was extremely gracious. She told me that there was one suite (called the Serenity suite) that met my criteria, but they did not allow dogs in that room. However, she offered to make an exception. I was told the suite had a full-ocean view, but that the property was 8-blocks from the ocean so it necessarily looked over the town, to the ocean. The suite cost $475.00/night, including a continental breakfast.

I booked that suite several weeks in advance of our stay. Over the next few weeks, I started to second guess my choice, so I asked several questions to make sure I knew what I would be getting. (I hate surprises). I also had to change the date once. I was able to communicate with the hotel via e-mail, and each question was answered promptly, with a friendly tone. At one point, I noticed the pet fee was higher than I had been quoted; that little issue was taken care of immediately, with grace. So far, so good.

When we got into town, we could not find the property, so we called the front desk. The person who answered the phone was very friendly and helped us find our way with ease. (There are no street addresses in Carmel, so navigation systems do not work.) When we arrived, we were greeted by two very nice people, one of whom helped us with our bags and showed us around the room, pointing out various features.

Before I get to the room, I need to mention the grounds. The Tradewinds is an old motel that has recently undergone a major renovation. When I say "motel" I don't mean Motel 6. I mean one of those old-time, hip, luxury motels that were more common in the 1950s. The kind of place were you could imagine seeing someone like Bing Crosby hanging out by the pool. (Bing Crosby actually used to frequent the Tradewinds back in the day). This property was never a dive and it is not a dive now. Yes, the property looks like a motel (because it is a motel); but the grounds really are lovely and peaceful. The promo. shots come in a bit close and are designed to make the property look higher-end than it is (which is a shame because it sets expectations to high in my opinion), however, the Asian-inspired garden ultimately won't disappoint. I also appreciated the bamboo balconies, which appear to have been left over from the good-old days. I have a feeling Bing would have been pleased.

I also like that the Tradewinds is not in the heart of town. Some reviewers have complained about the walk from the property to the center of town, but that's a silly complaint. The walk to town is short and beautiful and it exposed us to restaurants and stores that we would not have seen if we had stayed closer to Ocean Avenue. Also, the room rate includes a dedicated parking spot, which is a big plus. We did not move our car for four days. All in all, I was very happy with the location.

Our room, the Serenity suite is a very spacious, two-room suite with high ceilings, two, small, private balconies, a large master bath with a separate, jetted tub and separate dressing area, and a half bath. There is a fireplace in the bedroom, and a small sink and cooler in the living room.

The decor is soothing, but it is quite different than the Asian-inspired rooms depicted in the promotional pictures. I was told that a different designer had designed the Serenity Suite. That's a shame. All on all, however, it is a very lovely room, with high ceilings to give it a nice, spacious feel. The bed is quite comfortable, the linens are expensive and crisp. The towels are fluffy. The bath products are by Aveda. The robes are very comfortable (from Bali, not your traditional Terry) and were much appreciated given the chilly weather. The size was perfect for two dogs. The balconies are cute. I loved having the half bath and I really loved the gas fireplace in the bedroom (although I wish it stayed on for more than an hour). Again, this is a very nice room. But . . .

The view is not a full ocean view. This is a heavily filtered view. It is a nice view, and if I was expecting a filtered view I would have been thrilled, but I was expecting full ocean (albeit from 8-blocks away), so I was disappointed in light of my expectations. I was also extremely upset to see a very large stain (not animal-related, or I would have been out of there in a heart beat) on the carpet in the living room. It was noticeable and should have been removed. I was also disappointed to see that the televisions and the phones are old. No plasma TVs or cordless phones to be had -- both of which are standard in rooms that cost $475.00/night. There are also places in which the paint is noticeably chipped, which could have been taken care by a handyman of in a few minutes, with a little touch-up paint. These things were enough to bring me down. I wanted luxury, and the Serenity suite just didn't hit that note for me because I was expecting more. Again, it is a very nice room; but it was not what I expected. I had brought my laptop, so I e-mailed the front desk to express my frustration. I also said that I did not want to discuss the matter because I wanted to remain calm for the rest of my stay. The hotel respected my wishes in that regard.

As I said, the service at Tradewinds is great. By that I mean everything I needed was taken care of. This is not the kind of place where hotel staff don fancy uniforms and try to call you by your name (often massacring it in the process) when you dial the front desk. It is low-key, unobtrusive service, where things get done in a friendly manner, without pretense. I like that. There is no turn down service, but I personally don't appreciate turn down unless it is accompanied by something unexpected like fresh-baked cookies or the like, which it seldom is. Mostly, turndown services consist of someone taking the bedspread off the bed (which I do myself the minute I enter any hotel room), turning down the sheets and putting a piece of chocolate on the pillow. Nine times out of 10 it is a bother.

I also really appreciated the fact that room service was not banging on the door at 8:30, which happens even at the nicest hotels. Nothing pisses me off more than hearing "BANG BANG BANG . . . HOUSE KEEPING." when I am trying to sleep. That did not happen at the Tradewinds. I called with specific instructions about housekeeping, which they followed. On a related note, Tradewinds is a very QUIET, peaceful property. The only sound I heard was the outdoor fountain, which is pleasant.

For breakfast, we had the option of having it brought to the room because we have dogs and they are not allowed in the breakfast room. We opted to just have breakfast separately, rather than have it brought up. Breakfast itself was nice. It is continental, so don't expect anything fancy. If memory serves, there are two cereals, a selection of diced, fresh-fruit for the cereal, apples and bananas, Yopliat yogurt, toast and bagels, cream cheese, peanut butter, and preserves for the toast and bagels, pastries, orange juice, and surprisingly good coffee. The food was fresh and there was more than enough for us to choose from. For those who like larger breakfasts, right around the corner is a breakfast place called Katy's (at least I think that is the name) that is always PACKED, with a line out the door. I picked up a menu and the food sounds amazing, but it is one of the few places in Carmel that does not allow dogs, so we could not try it. We would not have known about Katy's if we had stayed "downtown."

On our last day, we met a couple who had celebrated their honeymoon at the Tradewinds and had returned this year to celebrate their 50th anniversary! They provided a lot of interesting information on the property's history and its evolution over the years. They also let us see their room (which was either No. 7 or 6) and it was awesome! It was not a suite, but it was sizeable, had the fireplace, was decorated in a beautiful Asian motif, and had a nice balcony with a great ocean view -- better than ours! I would have been pleased with that room, although it was much smaller than the Serenity suite.

Seeing that room inspired me to take a look at other rooms on the property, and boy is there a difference in the rooms. If you decide to visit Tradewinds, make sure to tell them you do not want a room on the bottom floor. Most of the top floor rooms have high ceilings, while the bottom floor rooms do not. Also, the wing of rooms across from rooms No. 6/7 do not seem to have balconies and are dark. I would avoid that entire wing. If I had gotten one of those rooms, I would have left immediately. Having seen the different rooms, I now understand why some people leave Tradewinds thinking it is wonderful, while others leave very unhappy. It is all about the rooms!

Again, the Serenity suite is a really nice room; my complaint is that, for the price, it should have been a really great room.

When I checked out, the woman at the front desk said she had gotten my e-mail. She was very gracious and listened to my comments without being defensive. Then she told me that she had taken money off the room because I had been unhappy. This was a total surprise. I had not asked for this accommodation. With that unexpected last bit of great service, she turned my attitude around completely. Like I said at the start of this review, service will make or break an establishment; here, it makes it. I will be back and I will enjoy my stay. I commend Tradewinds to anyone. Just go in knowing what you are getting and enjoy the experience.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, CA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2009

It was a nice hotel with very accomodating management. the decor was an attempted Balinesian. Bed was nice, breakfast so-so. A touch on the expensive side for what you get, but hey, thats carmel

Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2009

At the very last second, I decided to try the Tradewinds. Am I glad I did? The service from Tracy was phenomenol. She went above the call of duty when she was able to arrange for the pickup of a guest who was coming from out of town.

The rooms are nicely updated and are very refreshing compared to the "old cottage styles" of other hotels in the area. The location was about three blocks from the main strip (Ocean) and a solid distance from Carmel Beach.

A fabulous time was had by all. And thank you again Tracy!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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California
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2009

I have to admit i was a little disappointed. The pricing for this place is way to high for what you get. My husband and I were both disappointed by this. They charge Ritz prices but it is no Ritz quality. The people were very friendly when checking in but the hotel it self was a disappointment. I like the Asian theme going on but it was really small, there were no amenities to justify the high prices, the rooms are old, the bed was hard, my view from the balcony was a lovely view of the main street and the Kimono Robes had huge rips in them. For the high prices all you get is the room and some chocolate covered strawberries. I can see playing $150 - $200 a night for the rooms but not $400 a night if a room cost that much the hotel should be on Ritz Carlton level. We will be looking into some of the other places next time we stay in Carmel. If the prices were a lot lower at the Tradewinds i can see staying there again.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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santa barbara
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2009

Very nice hotel. Great rooms and would highly recommend to anyone traveling to Carmel. Tracy at the front desk was wonderful and took care of our every need! Thanks for a great stay!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
75 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
156 helpful votes 156 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2009

I stayed at the Tradewinds for 1 night with my wife during a recent trip down the california coast...We were only staying for 1 evening so decided to stay at a relatively low key place...We arrived in the evening and were met by a slightly abrupt receptionist who when I called a second time for directions, used the term "just like I told you the first time..." which was obviously of no help to me...When we got there she was friendly enough and checked us into our room...We had a lot of luggage that we needed to take up to the room and there was no elevator..She offered to help but I felt bad given that the bags were so heavy...At these rates in a 3 story hotel, I would expect to have a bell or utility man who would be there to meet guests until a certain time (perhaps we arrived too late?) or an elevator...Additionally, reception closed at 10pm...The design of the hotel was very nice...I think the designer was involved in the desinging the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to give you an idea of the style...I got the impression from the website that the hotel was close to the ocean but it was a 10-15 minute walk to the coast...The rooms (even the better ones) had a view with a sliver of the ocean in the distance...The rooms were finished in the same style as the hotel with quality matierials...The bathrooms, although not huge, had a full tub with jets and high quality toiletries...Breakfast was very nice although there were no hot options...We got an off-season discount so that room was about $250...If we had paid the full rate I think I would have felt that we were not getting value for money (even in an expensive place like Carmel)...I would suggest the Auberge Carmel which looked very nice and was closer to the beach (we had an excellent dinner there) and some of the resorts around Pebble Beach or the Carmel Valley would make more sense.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tradewinds Carmel

Address: Mission Street at Third Avenue, PO Box 3403, Carmel, CA 93921
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Monterey Peninsula > Carmel
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Carmel
#7 Family Hotel in Carmel
#7 Romantic Hotel in Carmel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Tradewinds Carmel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Contemporary, Mediterranean - 3 blocks from Ocean Ave. on a quiet residential street. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tradewinds Carmel Hotel Carmel
The Tradewinds Hotel Carmel
The Tradewinds Carmel

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