We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

Fort Lauderdale...
Level Contributor
324 posts
12 reviews
Save Topic
Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

Hi everyone,

I am going to be in the Bay area next week for work and have to stay for the weekend (15-18th). My wife will be with me and I want to take her somewhere for the weekend. Having been to San Fran many times, I have narrowed down my options to Carmel and Sonoma.

Carmel seems really nice, but it will be pretty cold down there, and rooms are very expensive. I am unsure about Sonoma, as my wife cannot drink at the moment, so wine tasting is not really an option.

We are in our late 20's and like good food and to be able to walk around and explore. We also have to be in Mountain View on the Monday at 9am, but to maximize our weekend, we are planning to stay in either Carmel or Sonoma for the Sunday night ad get up early to get to work on Monday,

The hotel I am considering in Sonoma is the El Dorado, and in Carmel L'Auberge.

The other consideration I have, is whether to stay at L'Auberge for 3 nights, or stay there just Friday and Saturday, and then the Monterey Plaza hotel for the Sunday night. The main reasons for splitting the time is that we really appreciate good views, and we could get an Ocean View room with a balcony at the Monterey Plaza, and would probably then spend Sunday afternoon at the aquarium. It also seems a bit closer to Mountain View, so would reduce the journey time a bit on Monday morning.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Mentioned in this post
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
L'Auberge Carmel
L'Auberge Carmel
379 Reviews
Carmel, CA
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey Plaza Hotel...
5,447 Reviews
Monterey, CA
San Rafael
Level Contributor
62 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

If you like great wine and good food, head to Sonoma!

Mentioned in this post
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Virginia Beach, VA
1 post
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

I just went to Sonoma/Napa and Carmel. While Carmel was chilly/foggy, I enjoyed it so much more as an overall experience (particularly if your wife can't drink) and would think there is a lot do do for you and your wife (minus the wine of Sonoma). There are parks nearby, golf, beautiful scenic drives in every direction, great food, good shopping, beach, wineries in the valley (if still interested in wine), great atmosphere, art, etc. i could go on and on. I would definitely stay in Carmel by the Sea for it's quaint, romantic atmosphere. Monterey is neat but much more crowded... Every inn that we passed was adorable with all of the flowers and great village look. We really enjoyed our time there and hope this helps your decision!

Mentioned in this post
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
33,009 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

Go to the town of Sonoma, stay at the El Dorado, as you mentioned) which is on the square, ask for one of the front rooms (they are on the second, and highest <grin> floor). they have nice balconies where you can sit and watch the activity in the Plaza.

You do not have to drink wine to enjoy Sonoma. It has a real historic past. The town was built around the 11-acre Plaza during the Mexican occupation.....early 1800's. The last and most northern Franciscan Mission is across the northeast corner of the Plaza. A lot of the boutiques and other shops around the Plaza are in original adobe buildings of the period......barracks which held General Vallejo's troops. Even if your wife cannot drink, you both would probably enjoy a tour of a winery, just for the education. Sebastiani is just a few blocks east of the Plaza and a pleasant walk through a residential area from yore, including the original bungalows Sebastiani built for his employees....(now gentrified)

There are really good restaurants right around the Plaza. Do some searching and you will find The General's Daughter, Cafe La Haye, The Girl and the Fig (just across the side street from El Dorado.) and others.

You will be an hour from San Francisco and another 45 minutes or so from Mountain View.

If, by chance, the El Dorado is booked (it fills up fast) try Inn at Sonoma, about 1-1/2 blocks from the Plaza. I think its website is innatsonoma.com, but earlier this year when I tried to get it I got the Sonoma Mission Inn instead, so I called Inn at Sonoma and alerted them. It is a fairly small, personal establishment. I believe they have a spa.

I just think that after business meetings Sonoma would be more relaxing than Carmel......but...to each.

(I grew up in Sonoma and it has retained a lot of its "real town" charm, which I do not find in Carmel, although I LOVE to go there and shop.)

Mentioned in this post
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey Plaza Hotel...
5,447 Reviews
Monterey, CA
San Francisco
San Francisco
California
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Fort Lauderdale...
Level Contributor
324 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

Well, the answers here certainly gave me food for thought.

I was leaning towards Carmel, but ultimately, the expense of getting 'good' accommodation Carmel, plus the fact that my wife is attracted by the better weather, has led us to choose Sonoma. She was not keen on visiting fog central :)

I am a bit disappointed, and am sure the Monday morning drive will be worse, but I hope that we will get a chance to visit Carmel and Monterey a bit later in the year. Next time I will definitely opt for 2 nights Carmel and 1 night Monterey.

I guess part of the problem was justifying the expense of L'Auberge, when there are not many reviews on here to endorse it. Sorry syrahgirl, I guess we are both waiting on some more feedback on it. They certainly have a good PR company, but I want unpaid opinions!

C'est la vie.

We did manage to get a room at El Dorado, overlooking the plaza (thanks for the tip Puter), and I am sure we will have a great time.

Thanks everyone for their advice, and check the Sonoma forum in a couple of weeks if you want to see my review.

Any more tips on must do items greatly appreciated - we have two full days there.

Mentioned in this post
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
L'Auberge Carmel
L'Auberge Carmel
379 Reviews
Carmel, CA
Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
33,009 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

Go to Glen Ellen. The Benziger Winery here gives interesting trolley (or something) tours of the vineyards, which, I believe, are farmed sustainably.

Almost next door to that isJack London State Park, a couple of thousand acres containing his grave, his house and library and the remains of his Wolf House, which burned just before its completion. Hiking trails and picnic tables.

Level Contributor
37,774 posts
959 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

You will love Sonoma, the El Dorado is a cool hotel in a great location, we enjoyed a very nice lunch there at the El Dorado Kitchen last visit to Sonoma. We like to stay at the Sonoma Mission Inn, it's an amazing property. I would suggest you go there and look around, there is a nice restaurant there called Sante and they also have the Big 3 Diner where we like to have breakfast, great Lemon Cottage Cheese Pancakes here. They also have a first-class spa which is gorgeous if you like massages and spa treatments. :)

Your hotel is walking distance to many of our favorite restaurants, the Swiss Hotel (dine out on the back patio), girl and the fig is right across the street, we love to lunch here. Cafe La Haye is very nice, they have a smallish dining room, so call for a reservation if you want to have dinner here.

Great places to wine taste not too far away are: Sebastiani, BR Cohn, Ledson, Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood, Kunde, Gundlach-Bundschu (good picnic place) and Valley of the Moon. Enjoy your time in the wine country and please report back with your experiences after your travels! :)

Mentioned in this post
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
El Dorado Kitchen
El Dorado Kitchen
975 Reviews
Sonoma, CA
7. Re: Carmel/Monterey or Sonoma for the weekend

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:21 am, September 03, 2009