We have stayed at La Playa during the Concourse de Elegance for many years. It was difficult to get a room in the past due to repeat guests priority, popularity and affordable rates. We started in the chauffeurs room and each year worked our way up to a beautiful garden room. We had the same room available to us each year as repeat guests. We loved this hotel. The same guests came each year and we made many friends. The restaurant was fabulous staff were courteous and very knowledgeable about Carmel. Many staff had worked at La Playa for a long time and familiar faces greeted us year after year.
Last year we had our usual room because we had payed a deposit and booked the year before. The hotel had to honor it. The hotel staff and garden were quite different and prices had skyrocketed. The extensive renovation the hotel claimed to have done consisted of partially remodeled bathrooms, some paint, carpet and poorly done upgrades. All the charm this hotel once possessed is gone as well as the wonderful staff. As if that we're not bad enough we were told we could not make prior reservations for 2013 and someone would call us later in the year. We did receive a call from customer service in Arizona in Feb who left a message and never returned any of our calls back. When we called the hotel to make reservations the room rate had increased by $300 a night and a 5 night minimum was required. We chose to stay home.
In July we received a call from Hotel manger Mary Crow apologizing for not accommodating us and offering a special rate with no minimum night stay. Obviously they realized how much business had been lost and were now scrambling to fill rooms during the biggest event of the year. So we accepted and went on our annual trip. We were just as disappointed as last year. We had a room with a view of the busy street and construction next door. We woke to hammering and power tools daily at 8am. Very inexperienced staff and a hotel that had lost its lively charm. The ferrari owners party was no longer there, the lobby was dead as well as the bar. None of the same guests were there. In fact the hotel seemed only half full.
La Playa will never be the same. We were told to call Monday to book for next year. Out of curiosity we did. The room rate for 2014 will be $599 per night with a 5 night minimum. The 5 nights must be payed for in full now with a NON REFUNDABLE deposit! I don't know who these people think they are but this is no Four Seasons. $599 a night is outrageous for a hotel with no amenities except location. This is at best a 3 star hotel. So so sad.
Next year we will be at The Pine Inn and be sure to tell everyone we know about the mismanagement happening at La Playa.