Over the summer last year I shared part of a trip we took to Carmel. I promised to come back and share the second half of our vacation, and well, decided I'd hold off a little bit because with everyone making bucket lists and planning vacations for this year I wanted this one to be fresh in your minds and hopefully you'll add it to places to visit.
After we left Holman Ranch (which I feel the need to tell you again is an absolutely beautiful location), we headed to Carmel-by-the-Sea to stay at the Hofsas House and explore the coast for a couple of days.
We had a few hours to spare between checking out of Holman Ranch and into Hofsas House and wanted to make the most out of our short getaway so we headed straight to Pebble Beach and the 17-mile drive. I have done this drive before but it's always nice to create new memories.
Thank goodness it wasn't an overcast day, the flowers were in bloom and the view just perfect.
And of course you've already seen the photograph of the lone cypress at the top of this post.
After leaving Pebble Beach we drove into Carmel and enjoyed a lovely lunch at The Grill, and just in case you go there, the Grilled Salmon BLT is amazing.
From there we checked into Hofsas House. If you prefer modern decor, big screen televisions and all the bells and whistles of modern hotels then Hofsas House is not for you. If you love a boutique hotel with amazing service and decor that is more representative and fitting of a hotel in Carmel, then you will absolutely love it here. For me, this is a place I would visit time and again.
Hofsas House is a family owned and operated hotel that is in walking distance to everything Carmel has to offer.
All rooms are one-of-a-kind, the service is beyond exceptional, and they offer personalized planning for your stay.
One our way to the hotel I had commented how lovely it would be to sit down and relax with a glass of white wine and cheese from The Cheese Shop, which I remember quite well from when I had lived in the area. And what do you know, the first thing I spotted in our room when we checked in was a bottle of chilled local wine and a selection of cheese from The Cheese Shop. You have never seen someone as happy as I was. This was actually one of the many services they offer called the Monterey Wine & Cheese Pairing.
There is a complimentary continental breakfast offered in the morning which you must take advantage of. We stayed for two nights and I popped downstairs each morning, chose a quaint tray, popped on a selection of pastries and fruit, the staff made a fresh pot of coffee for me and off I went back to the room (see the photo above right).
From the moment you arrive at Hofsas House you are treated like family.
Some of the other personalized concierge services they offer include:
- Beach fire and s'mores bundle - including blanket and flashlight
- Bikes delivered to the hotel for you
- Couples massages
- Hiking packages
- Romantic or birthday themed decor for special occasions
- They can also schedule golf, dinner reservations and tickets to local attractions for you.
Although I knew that our stay at Hofsas House was complimentary, what I didn't know is that they had also pre-arranged complimentary dinners for us each night of our stay, along with tickets for the Carmel Wine Walk, so that we could experience some of what Carmel has to offer.
After we had checked in and relaxed in our room for a while we found out that dinner plans had been made for us at The Grill - the place where we had been for lunch earlier in the day. The staff were more than happy to change those reservations for us and new ones were made at The Beach House at Lover's Point. As soon as we walked in we were seated by the window and a selection of dishes were brought out for us to try. The black truffle gnocchi was amazing.
The next morning, I picked up our continental breakfast downstairs and we relaxed in the room before heading out in the afternoon to enjoy the Carmel Wine Walk. The way it works is you purchase a Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea™ Wine Tasting Passport which is $65, and then you choose up to 9 wine tasting rooms out of a list of 14 to visit as you walk around Carmel. That price is per person, so if you decide to use it as a couple like we did, then you can visit 4 or 5 tasting rooms instead.
The tasting rooms we visited were:
- De Tierra Vineyards
- Caraccioli Cellars
- Figge Cellars Tasting Room
Yes, we only went to three, but we were enjoying a leisurely stroll around Carmel, stopping to look in a few stores as we went, and then had dinner reservations at Anton & Michel, which again, I highly recommend, the rack of lamb was delicious, and the view of the fountain courtyard from the window was simply lovely.
After enjoying our breakfast in the room the next morning we checked out to make the drive home, but instead of taking the inland route like we had making our way up to Carmel, we decided to take the scenic (longer) route home via Highway 1 through Big Sur.
Our first big stop (aside from me pulling over every 10 minutes for photographs) was lunch and a wander through the galleries at Big Sur Coast Galleries and Cafe. If you love art and sculptures this is a must-see and the views from the rooftop cafe are breathtaking. They make seriously good sandwiches too.
Of course I insisted that we stop frequently along the windy road home to take photographs of bridges, beaches, and anything else that caught my eye. There are a lot of photos following and I hope they inspire you to take a trip here.
Our last big stop, which is a must-see on every road trip I've taken along Coast Highway 1 was to see the elephant seals at San Simeon. This is a big tourist attraction so bring your patience.
I hope you will add this trip onto your travel bucket list for this year. There is so much to see and do.
Disclosure: We were invited to spend time at Carmel-by-the-Sea and our stay at Hofsas House, meals and wine walk passport were complimentary.