Hotel,, Inn, Lodge, Restaurant, Sundial Lodge

L’Auberge Carmel – Monte Verde & Seventh

The L’Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Chateaux hotel, began life at it’s present location on Monte Verde and Seventh in 1929 as Carmel’s first apartment building, Sundial Court Apartments.

In 2003 the Sundial Lodge was sold
to the Auberge Carmel partnership. 
Where the focal point continued to be the brick courtyard. 
The Auberge manager at the time, David Fink (now CEO), told the Pine Cone that, “the Sundial has the potential to become a luxury boutique hotel.” And that is exactly what happened.

In 2004, the hotel was completely restored,
reconfiguring all of the 20 guest rooms,
the entrance and landscaping. 

 At the same time keeping the old-world charm,
combining modern amenities with the quaintness
of the original coved plaster walls,
French windows and antique doorknobs.
In 2007 and 2011 L’Aurberge Carmel received the Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Hotel Award.  Responding to their 2011 award, managing partner David Fink said, “We are very honored to be chosen…We aspire to deliver a near perfect guest experience and it’s so gratifying that
our guests have responded so positively.”
Last year L’Auberge underwent another refurbishment.  This time a $1 million dollar upgrade. The hotel remained open throughout the renovation by working on one section at a time. January 2013 is the big reveal.  
 Every Friday of January from 4 to 5PM,
L’Auberge was open to the general public.
In the lobby next to the roaring fireplace
Champaign flowed freely.
Locals and hotel guests mingled with George Nagata
the hotel manager, his staff and Aubergine Restaurant chef.
Delicious light bites were prepared
in an immaculate kitchen,
 and served while we strolled through the lush courtyard,
to view five of the 20 newly remodeled rooms. 

Rooms 9, 12 and 29, are
Premium Peek Ocean View Kings
ranging in size from 300 to 425 square feet.
9 and 29 are located on the courtyard level. 
All the guest rooms have a walk-in shower,
vanity, flat-screen TV,
ipod music system, recessed lighting
and radiant floor heating in the bathrooms.

Room 29 has a freestanding tub,
while room 9 and inset tub.
Room 12 located on the third floor,
has an ample sized shower and inset tub.
Each of the “Peek Ocean View” rooms has a
peek of the ocean through their sitting area window.
Room 19 is the Deluxe Courtyard King,
with approximately 350 square feet,
and a full view of the courtyard from the sitting area.
The bathroom features a copper sink
and free-standing soaking tub with copper fixtures.

Room 11, the Standard Courtyard King room,
is approximately 325 square feet,
  with king bed,
 large bathroom with shower,
a luxurious inset bath tub and
the front door opens onto the flower-filled courtyard.
Next on our tour are the kitchen,

pantry and prep areas for the hotel restaurant Aubergine.

 They are immaculate, everything has its place
and nothing is out of place.

The Aubergine showcases Chef de Cuisine Justin Cogley and Executive Pastry Chef Ron Medoza.  Their cuisine was awarded as Aubergine was voted Fifth best in San Francisco and the Bay Area by Zagat in 2012.

Executive Chef Cogley is very excited about the new custom-built cheese cave to preserve his fromagerie collection and the live fish tank in the kitchen for the freshest ingredients from the sea. Sorry guys.

Chef Cogley and Chef Medoza  teach Sweet and Savory culinary classes each month. You too can learn to cook like a Zagat winner.

The intimate 12 table resturant serves dinner daily from 6:00 to 9:30pm.  Private parties can be reserved in the wine cellar which houses the restaurants 4,500 bottle collection or al fresco in the courtyard. 
For more information, rates or reservations call


All photos by L.A. Momboisse

Carmel Heritage Society, Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour, Happy Landing Inn, Hofsas House, Hotel, Inn, Lodge

Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour – Part IV – Hofsas House & Happy Landing Inn

Casual elegance, personal service,
and traditional family hospitality.


Hofsas House

Between 3rd and 4th Avenue
on San Carlos Street
As the afternoon turns into early evening I arrive at the Hofsas House.  In 1957 Donna Hofsas and her husband founded this quaint inn with jovial pink Bavarian façade. For the past 60 years it has been family run.  The current owner and general manager, Carrie Theis, is Donna’s granddaughter.  
A Bavarian themed mural painted by
Donna’s friend Maxine Albro,
welcomes guests in the entry driveway.
Old World charm,
diamond window mutins,
the warmth of a roaring hearth,
 light bites from Flaherty’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar
 and wine from Chateau Julien greet us in the lobby. 
The hostess from Flaherty’s offers me a 10%
off coupon for a future dinner.
 I happily add this to my
growing collection of coupons!
The Hofsas House is pet friendly,
provides off street parking,
and Continental breakfast.
Next to the heated pool and dry sauna is a large meeting room with fireplace and full kitchen.  Accommodating seating for 30 people, this can be reserved for family reunions, small wedding receptions or other events.
There are 38 spacious, uniquely decorated rooms.

  Many which open to the back have
private balconies and ocean views.

Fireplaces and kitchens are available in some rooms
as are microwaves and refrigerators.
For rates and information
please call
From the back balcony at Hofsas House
 I notice through the clouds
 the sun beginning to dip low
  on the horizon.
  Just enough time for one more inn.
Happy Landing Inn
Monte Verde & 6th
My last stop for the day is Happy Landing Inn originally commissioned as a private home for two sisters from San Jose.  This quaint complex was built in 1926. 
The main building served as the family living
room, dining room, kitchen and bath, 
while the detached buildings that surround
the garden served as bedrooms for family members.
The complex was sold in the 1930’s to Velma Craig who rented the separate rooms to boarders.  Mrs. Craig sold this to the Thorngate family who turned the property into Happy Landing Inn. 
In 2006 it was sold to its current owners Dawn Dull and Diane Lewis.  Dawn Dull is the President of the Carmel Heritage Society for whom we have to thank for this lovely and beautifully planned afternoon. 
Inside the Great Room, PortaBella served tasty bites
to accompany wines from The Wolftrap and Amisfield.
Yes, I spy coupons for 15% off my next dinner
at PortaBella in the basket.
Happy Landings has seven darling antique-furnished guest rooms, all with private bath, three with a fireplace, and two with large sitting rooms.  Each morning a warm breakfast is served in your room and some rooms are pet friendly.  The Great Room may be rented for family reunions, weddings or other events. 
Here is a video of the rooms open for our tour.

  For information and rates
call 831-624-7917

Many thanks to all the inns, restaurants, wineries and the Carmel Heritage Society for such an enjoyable, interesting and delicious afternoon.  I look forward to next year.    


Carmel Inns Of Distinction Tour Part I Carmel Cottage Inn
Carmel Inns Of Distinction Tour Part II La Playa, Candle Light, Tally Ho
Carmel Inns Of Distinction Tour Part III Cypress Inn, Lamp Lighter
Carmel Heritage Society, Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour, Cypress Inn, Hotel, Inn, Lamp Lighter Inn, Lodge, Restaurant

Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour – Part III – Cypress Inn

Cypress Inn
Lincoln & 7th
Our Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour
continues with the Carmel landmark, Cypress Inn
The site of the Cypress Inn enjoys a rich history.  Home to the first art gallery of Carmel in 1906, rumored to have been used as a nursing home or sanatorium in 1928, transformed into the Hotel La Ribera in 1929, called the “white stucco elephant” and forced to close its doors after the Great Depression, to be resurrected and reopened in the 1960’s as the Cypress West Hotel, and finally to be fully restored in the 1980’s by present owners businessman Dennis LeVett and actress Doris Day, becoming The Cypress Inn, Carmel’s original pet-friendly hotel.
Enter via Lincoln Street 
into the lobby lounge,

to a platter of festive small bites topped with Caviar, prepared by the staff of Terry’s Restaurant & Lounge at the Cypress Inn.     Obviously a big hit.

Wine from Heller Estate of Carmel Valley
 (100% organically grown)
is poured for our enjoyment.
I pocket another complimentary wine tasting ticket!
Across from the lobby is the large yet cozy “living room”
  lounge  with a fireplace and grand piano. 
A great treat is to have afternoon tea here during Christmas. 
Your furry friend can go too!!
We walk through Terry’s on our way
to the rooms open for touring in the new wing.
Terry’s has a great “lite bites” bar menu that is also
served on the patio. 
All dogs welcome of course.
Rooms in the new wing open to a two story courtyard
filled with twinkling lights, a soothing fountain
and outdoor lounge area.
Here is a short video of the rooms on tour all in the new wing.  First the King Deluxe Courtyard, next the King Suite on ground floor with private entrance on Lincoln and finally the King Suite with veranda on the second floor and huge jetted tub.   
Don’t forget to come back at night to eat on the patio
and take in the Mr. Brainwash original.
 For information and rates call
800-443-7443 or 831-621-3871 
From the Cypress Inn I walk a few blocks
to the Lamp Lighter,
another inn owned by Denny LeVett. 
Lamp Lighter
SE Corner Ocean & Camino Real
With an English country feel and numerous lamp lights,
 this inn is surrounded by lush gardens,
wandering oak trees,
and colorful birdhouses.
The L-shaped FireCrystals fire pit

invites visitors to sit and relax awhile.

Mundaka of Carmel provided their
signature Spanish style tapas for us to enjoy,
 while J. Lohr Vineyards offered their wines for tasting.
The accommodations at the Lamp Lighter Inn
include cottages and guest rooms.
I toured the Carmel Cozy, Sea Star, a King room
 with quaint fireplace and full bath.
And the Carmel Comfy, Early Bird room
which features two double beds.
A decanter of Cream sherry waits in each room for a warm night cap. The Lamp Lighter is pet friendly, offers a Continental breakfast, and an afternoon wine and cheese reception to its overnight guests.  For information and rates please call 831-624-7372.
Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour Part IV
Happy Landing Inn, Monte Verde & 6th
Hofsas House, San Carlos & 3rd

Bruno's Market and Deli, Carmel Cottage Inn, Carmel Heritage Society, Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour, Hotel, Inn, Lodge

Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour – Part I – Carmel Cottage Inn

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in December the Carmel Heritage Society held their annual Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour with eight quaint Inns opening their doors, and a few of their rooms, to the public for viewing. The $30 ticket included a Carmel Heritage Society commemorative wine glass which was very useful as local wineries and restaurants provided the food and drink at each venue.

One half hour before the event began the rain subsided and I decided to venture out.  So glad that I did. 

Carmel Cottage Inn
San Antonio & 8th Avenue
Tucked away off the street in a lush garden setting is the Carmel Cottage Inn, with 5 separate and unique Carmel quaint units open for our tour.  The Inn was purchased a year ago by Cheryl Assemi who along with her family meticulously and loving restored and redecorated each of the units.
A tiled pathway meanders through the lush gardens surrounding the Carmel Cottage Inn leading to rustic Dutch doors.  Inside each cottage a complimentary gift bag with sparkling cider and pistachios from the Assemi family farm await each guest.
Comfy overstuffed sofas, colorful quilts, telephones circa the 1940’s, and hand stenciled hardwood floors lead to homey kitchens with retro appliances and cupboards filled with FiestaWare. Each unit also has at least one flat screen TV and internet access is available. Close attention was paid to every detail in these cottages. 
The goal, and I believe well achieved, is to provide guests with the “cottage experience.”  I would add to that description the word “Carmel.” Touring these units transported me back to the 1960’s when I would spend my summers at our family home on Dolores. 
Log Haven
Sleeps up to 10
Log Haven, the oldest of the five, built in 1907, features a large stone patio, 2 bedrooms 1 1/2 baths, livingroom, dining room and kitchen on the first floor.  Up the narrow log steps to the second floor and you will find another bedroom and full bath with a good sized living room. 
Bruno’s Market and Deli (6th & Junipero Street, Carmel) provided the food and drink in the large dining room of Log Haven.
Sleeps up to 8
The other four cottages were added to the property in 1940 and used as vacation rentals. Tradewinds the second largest property features two places to sit outside, a patio and balcony.  The main floor has a bedroom with full bath, kitchen, and living room with fireplace.  The upstairs level has one bedroom, a loft with two twin beds and a full bath.
Moon Gate
Sleeps up to 4
Moon Gate, which sits behind a moon shaped arch, is the most secluded of the five cottages.  This property features one bedroom, one bathroom, full kitchen, living room with fireplace and large brick patio surrounded by lush gardens.
Home Port
Sleeps up to 4
Home Port. a one story unit, features an ample sized living room with gas fireplace, one bedroom, bath and kitchen with breakfast area.  Outside the back door is a lovely rose garden and sitting area.
Sky Way
Sleeps 2
Sky Way, the smallest of the units, is an upstairs studio with a living room with kitchenette, one bedroom and full bath.  This unit also has a lovely ocean view from the front porch sitting area and living room. 
This map above shows the layout of the
five cottages of the Carmel Cottage Inn at
San Antonia & 8th Avenue, Carmel.
For rates and information
call 855-894-2424
 Below is a video of pictures taken from
inside all of the units and as I walked the grounds. 
Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour Part II
The La Playa – Camino Real & 8th
Tally Ho Inn – Monte Verde & 6th
Candle Light Inn – San Carlos & 5th