I just returned from a “girls trip” in beautiful Carmel by the Sea last night. Our requirements for a room were:
1. Two queen size beds
2. Dog friendly
3. West of Hwy 1, because we wanted to be close enough to walk to the beach and little village shops, dinner, etc.
4. Non smoking, clean rooms
Perks would have been if the hotel/inn served a nice breakfast, provided dog beds/bowls, etc., had a view or offered nice bathroom amenities. They do offer a breakfast service – this is little cups of waffle batter that you can pour on the griddle yourself, bread to make toast, oatmeal and coffee. I did not try the waffles or bread. I did not see any nice muffins, croissants, baked goods or even just bagels & cream cheese. They also offer a wine service and pretzels or cheese (pepper jack cheese cubes the second night we were there). The wine is from France, a red and a white, and it wasn’t too bad. Everything else was as sparse as could be.
We paid $335 per night for two nights, plus $50/day for two dogs (they discounted the dog fee, which is usually $35/day per pet) for the “Executive Suite” room on their website. This consisted of two connected bedrooms, each with a queen size bed, average mattress (not too hard or soft, but somewhat lightweight), two TV’s (we didn’t turn either one on), a table in one room and a little refrigerator in the other one. We brought our own coffee maker from home so we had great coffee in our room, and our own little fridge to put our half & half, so that worked fine for us. There were two exterior doors, one from each room. One faced the street, the other faced the courtyard. The room closest to the courtyard backed up to the breakfast room so you could hear cupboard doors opening and closing around 7:15 am. The street is not highly trafficked and the traffic noise died down each night around 10:00 so it was not too bad, until 7 am when some kind of large truck came by, but that was just once each morning. The WiFi was free and worked fine, so that was a nice bonus.
The hotel considers itself “Dog Friendly” but doesn’t allow dogs in the lobby (which is where the coffee service is) and you can’t leave your dog in the room or your car, so unless you are traveling with a friend, you can’t get the coffee or breakfast if you have a dog. The $35/day per dog fee covers – nothing. No dog bed, no bowls, no special anything for our furry traveling companions. Apparently, according to the person who checked us in, it is illegal to leave your dog in your car at any time, day or night, rain or shine in the town of Carmel. (Apparently because they could be stolen - Is this really a problem?) I think it has more to do with the four or five times we walked by a parked car that did have a dog inside and they startled us by barking like mad. I do agree that dogs should not be left in a car if there is any chance of it being too hot, but what would be the problem at night?
The bathroom amenities left us wanting more – the shampoo/conditioner they provide is in a little foil packet you tear open. Thankfully we brought our own. Many amenities you find in the most basic Holiday Inn were lacking, for instance Kleenex or any tissue for your face. The bare bones feel extended to the tiny, thin towels that could barely wrap around an average person’s body. We laughed, wondering if these are the towels in the “Executive Suite” how they could be lower quality for the rest of the lower level rooms. There were cracks in the tile and the drapes were coming off the valance, the room looked very worn. I didn’t notice any offensive smell so we were glad to be able to book a last minute room in Carmel. If we had not needed two beds or if we had not needed a dog friendly place we could have gone elsewhere. Next time we will book earlier. Last time we had these same parameters we stayed at the Carmel Country Inn, which has two-bedroom, two-bath suites, with a living room area, currently priced at $395. Unfortunately it was booked the weekend we were going.
Final Analysis: We did sleep fine, and if we were left with the same options we would probably book it again, however the exorbitant price made us feel we were getting shafted. If the owners would just put a little bit of TLC into providing nice towels, nicer bath amenities, fixing the failing tile, valances, etc. it would go a long way to making this worth the price. This is a bare bones hotel in a fabulous location from which one can walk all around the scenic village of Carmel.
One thing more: There is a wonderful little bakery down the street I highly recommend, “Pastries and Petals” with croissants that taste like the ones we had in France. After 9 am they offer more than pastries, like quiche, etc., but we were always there too early for that.
The "Executive Suite" is on the ground level under the stairs, so you hear people walking...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.