Carmel Heritage Society, Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour, Cypress Inn, Hotel,, Inn, La Playa, Lodging, Restaurant

Carmel Inns of Distinction 2013 – Part III – Cypress Inn, L’Auberge, and La Playa

We have three more unique inns to view.  From the Coachman’s Inn , we head south on 7th Avenue to the Cypress Inn.

Cypress Inn 
Lincoln and 7th Avenue
Attributes: Complimentary Breakfast,
Ocean View Room 220, Pet Friendly Rooms
Terry’s Lounge and Restaurant on Site
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 the 1920’s, finally transformed into the Hotel La Ribera in 1929, and then quickly forced to close due to the Great Depression.  In the 1960’s the property opened as the Cypress West Hotel.  In the 1980’s it was purchased by its current co-owners, businessman Dennis LeVett and actress Doris Day and became Carmel’s first pet friendly inn. 
We entered through the side patio
where pet’s are welcome
for lunch and dinner
In the lobby annex Terry’s Restaurant serves cookies
and lite bites of roast beef.
The “Day Room”  is decked
out with Christmas cheer
and Heller Estate is pouring
their 2012 Merlot,  Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.
The rooms we tour are in the courtyard
off Terry’s Lounge.
Through the glass doors lies a beautiful
courtyard filled with white lights,

and nine beautifully appointed courtyard rooms. 
The following video tours five of them. 
To  view all the rooms with rates and amenities
 view the Cypress Inn room site, it is very comprehensive. 
And don’t forget to come back
after dark to take in
an original by Mr. Brainwash
For more information
or rates on
Cypress Inn call
L’Auberge Carmel 
Monte Verde at 7th Avenue
Attributes: Valet Parking,
Breakfast, Pet Friendly Rooms,
Peeks of the Ocean from some rooms,
On-Site Restaurant

Just about every building in Carmel-by-the-Sea has a fairly well documented history, and the L’Auberge is no different. 
<span style="font-family: "In 1901, J. F. Devendorf (Carmel’s founding father) ordered 100 San Francisco cottages to be shipped in sections to Carmel.  Only one cottage arrived. It was purchased by former mayor of Carmel, Allen Knight’s father, and reassembled on the Knight property on Monte Verde and Seventh. 
<span style="font-family: "
<span style="font-family: "
<span style="font-family: "During the 1920 while Allen Knight was bicycling through Prague he fell in love with the European architecture and somehow convinced the owner of a Czech hotel to share their blueprints with him.  He brought this drawing back to his aunts, who had inherited the property after his father died.
<span style="font-family: "
<span style="font-family: "The aunts decided to use the plans of the Czech hotel to built an apartment building.  But first they had to move their little cottage to Guadalupe and 6th (which is a whole other story).  Anyway the aunts hired Albert Farr a San Francisco architect to design the project and in 1929 their building opened as the Sundial Apartments, the first apartment building in Carmel. 
<span style="font-family: "
<span style="font-family: "The Sundial Apartments became the Sundial Lodge and finally in 2003 was sold for an undisclosed price to the Auberge Carmel partnership who reopened the L<span style="font-family: "Calibri","sans-serif"; font-size: 11.0pt; line-height: 115%; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-ascii-font-family: "<iframe width=\0022420\0022 height=\0022315"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family: "’<span style="font-family: "Auberge Carmel in January 2013 after a $1 million upgrade.  You may see my post on the grand opening here.     

A member of the Relais & Chateaux an association of luxury hotels and restaurants, the L’Auberge is listed on the Travel & Leisure’s Top 500 World’s Best Hotels and Executive Chef Justin Cogley of their award winning restaurant Aubergine was voted Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in 2013. 

During our tour, Nathaniel Munoz, Aubergine’s Restaurant Director, treated us to a delicious taste of 100 year old cheese and a hot toddy with a pleasant holiday kick…

…from one of the bottles that shares
space in the custom built cheese cave
with the fromagerie.

With warm drink in hand
we passed the lobby fireplace
to the charming courtyard 
where Karen Hudson, Director of Sales, 

met us for our tour.  

For information or rates of
the L’Auberge Carmel 
call 831/624-8578

A short walk to Camino Real and 8th 
and our last inn of the day, 

The La Playa Carmel 
Camino Real & 8th Avenue 
Attributes:  Breakfast,
 Ocean View Rooms, Pool

The La Playa was originally built as a home in 1905 by Christian Jogenson as a gift for his wife.  Mr. Jorgenson was fascinated by the Carmel Mission and even placed a window in his front patio that imitated the star window in the Mission. 
In 1916 the mansion was converted into a hotel, was frequented by my mother and her cousins in the 1920’s and 30’s, and the sight of my college Junior Prom dinner in 1978. 
The hotel recently underwent a
 $3.5 million restoration 

and reopened in August 2012. 
Our tour takes us past the Fireside Room, 

and the historic
 antique wood bar
with iconic Greek columns,

to the dining room 

where the La Playa kitchen
served dessert petit fours

 and sparkling Brut Rose.

Next to the dining room is
the Pacific Terrace

where hotel guests
are served breakfast,and an ocean view. 

Or later in the day guests may enjoy the
Pacific Terrace by the firepit with
a cocktail – and ocean view. 

Of the 75 guest rooms
the La Playa Carmel
has to offer, we toured
Ocean View Rm 201,

with four large picture windows 
overlooking the ocean

and the hotel garden.
For information or rates
on the La Playa Carmel
call 800 / 582 -8900

For a  map of the tour click here.

Our tour is over.  Many thanks to all the hotels, restaurants, and wineries who participated in this years Carmel Inns of Distinction.  The $30 price tag to get in more than pays for itself with the wineries giving away coupons for free tastings and the restaurants giving away coupons for discounts on meals.  Not to mention the numerous pourings and bites one has the opportunity to taste while enjoying a behind the scenes tour of some of our beautiful hotels and inns.  

And finally many thanks to the Carmel Heritage Society, for it is because of their existence and their mission to protect, preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Carmel-by-the-Sea, that this event is even possible.
Carmel Inn’s of Distinction 2013 – Part I (Vendange Carmel, Carmel Garden Inn, Tradewinds Carmel)
Carmel Inn’s of Distinction 2013 – Part II (Carriage House, Coachman’s Inn) 

All pictures and videos by L. A. Momboisse except two black and white photos under L’Auberge.  The first is courtesy of the Harrison Memorial History Library Nixon Files.  The second from Carmel A History In Architecture by Kent Seavey, Page 93, 

Bistro Beaujolais, Breakfast, Carmel, Cottage Restaurant, Em Le's, Friar Tucks,, Katy's Place, La Bicyclette, Little Swiss Cafe, Map, Menu, Restaurant, Tuck Box, Village Corner

Carmel-by-the-Sea – Where to Eat Breakfast – Menu and Map

One question I am asked quit frequently is, Where can we get a sit down breakfast in town?  Here are  nine options, all of which are wheelchair accessible.  I have listed them in alphabetical order so as not to appear to be suggesting one over the other. Each listing includes important information, such as whether they accept credit cards or are pet friendly.  I have also listed price ranges from the least expensive meal to the most expensive meal for each location.

All restaurants are near Ocean Avenue in the central business district of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The numbers correspond to the zeemap at the end of the post, or click here. This may be viewed on your Smartphone or iPad or print out a map of the restaurants here.

Not all of these restaurants take reservations, but if you have special needs or just want to see what their current availability is for your size group, phone numbers are listed for each restaurant below their address.

 Level One Carmel Plaza
Ocean between Junipero and Mission

Downstairs behind the Fountain of Woof,
in a lovely garden setting with heaters
 and a fire-pit find Bistro Beaujolais dog friendly outdoor seating.

Breakfast menu is served from 8AM to 12PM daily.
Other important information, Bistro Beaujolais also serves lunch and dinner. There is indoor dining available.  All major credit cards are accepted. Bistro Beaujolais  is one of three of  restaurateur Firok Shield’s restaurants in Carmel Village.  Pick up a 10% off any of Firok Shield’s restaurant locations coupon at the Carmel Visitor Center on San Carlos between 5th and 6th.  
*Prices range from $8 for side order of two eggs, English muffin and coffee to $19 for Eggs Benedict with crab cake, coffee and your choice of hash browns, breakfast potatoes or grits.  
(2) Cottage Restaurant 
Lincoln between Ocean Avenue and Seventh

In a quaint little brick building next door to the Church of the Wayfarer and across the street from Cypress Inn find The Cottage Restaurant.  
Charming, this family friendly
and family run restaurant 
serves their breakfast menu
 all day beginning at 7AM.  

Other important information, they also serve lunch from 11 to 3 daily.  For lighter eaters, there is a $2 charge for split orders.  Major credit cards are accepted.  If you are interested in 15% off your bill request a coupon here. They do take reservations.

*Prices range from $7 for a side order of one egg, bagel, and coffee to $23 for Egg’s Benedict with Crab and spinach, mimosa and coffee and your choice of fresh fruit, hash browns or Cottage potatoes.

Dolores between 5th and 6th
Located in a fairy tale style building, next door to the Secret Garden, Em Le’s is the second oldest restaurant in Carmel Village.  Emily and Louise, the original owners are credited for inventing Em Le’s Famous French Toast.

Breakfast menu  is served 
daily from 7AM to 3PM.

Other important information, they also serve lunch daily until 3PM, dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 4:30 to 8PM, with an early bird special from 4:30 – 6:30. For lighter eaters,there are no split orders, but half orders are available on French Toast and Eggs Benedict.  To accommodate your pets, they have a few tables for two on the patio.  There are no heaters on the patio.

*Prices range from $9 for  a side order of one egg, bagel and coffee to $22 for New York Steak and Eggs and coffee.

Southeast Corner of Dolores and 5th
Breakfast at Friar Tuck’s begins at 8AM.  
You may even start your day with a
Bloody Mary along side your coffee. 

Other important information, they also have a lunch menu, they do not have outdoor seating, they do not accept reservations but they do accept credit cards.
*Prices start at $8 for a mini meal of 1 egg, English muffin, bacon and coffee to $20.50 for one of fourteen different kinds of omelets (3 eggs), Friar potatoes, English muffin, a mimosa and coffee. 

(5) Katy’s Place

Mission Street between 5th and 6th

Katy’s Place is “Carmel’s Breakfast Tradition” since 1982, if you do not arrive early, you may have to wait for a table. 

Plates are large at Katy’s with sixteen different kinds of Eggs Benedict, eight styles of Belgian Waffle, and a variety of omelets.

The breakfast menu is served from 7AM to 2PM daily.

Other important information, they do not accept credit cards or personal checks so bring cash.  Dogs 20 pounds and under are welcome on the outside patio. They also serve lunch and there is a $2.50 charge for split orders.  Katy’s Place can also host your special event, just call them for information.

*Prices range from $10 for a side order of one egg, toast and coffee to $23 for Eggs Benedict (this is the most expensive of the sixteen different kinds) with Maine Lobster, country potatoes and coffee.

Northwest Corner 7th and Dolores 

Items on their menu are prepared with local,
 fresh and organic ingredients and change daily. 

The breakfast menu of organic/Free-Range eggs, house-made pastries, French Toast or Baguette with fresh churned butter is served from 8AM to 11PM daily.

Other important information, they do accept credit cards and reservations.  Lunch is served from 11:30AM – 4PM, and dinner from 5PM -10PM.

*Prices range from $10.50 for two wood-fired eggs, baguette with fresh churned butter and jam and coffee to $25 for wood fired sourdough toast, tomato, avocado, two poached eggs, house-made bacon or sausage, mimosa and coffee.

6th Avenue between Dolores and Lincoln

Family owned since 1972 and decorated like a Swiss cottage, the Little Swiss Cafe is split into two small sections.

In the front the walls are lined with tables and quirky decorations, 

while the back walls with booths and a panoramic mural entitled, “Dutch Treat,” by artist Andre Balyon which depicts the Dutch countryside in four seasons.

The breakfast menu of Eggs Benedict, Omelets, Huevos rancheros and house-made cheese blintzes and cheese cake is served Monday – Saturday from 7:30AM to 3PM and Sundays 8AM to 2PM.
Other important information, they do not accept credit cards or personal checks so bring cash.  Lunch is served from 11AM till closing.  
Prices begin at $10 for a side order of one egg, toast and coffee to $18 for Eggs Benedict with choice of ham, bacon or turkey, and coffee. 

Dolores Street between Ocean Avenue and 7th

In 1927, Hugh Comstock built an iconic fairy tale style building that has become synonymous with the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  In the early 1940’s two sisters from England opened a tea house in this building and called it The Tuck Box.

Over the years there have been a number of owners, it was the second owners John and Elsie Grandfield that developed the recipes for scones, jams and preserves that are still used today.  You may even buy these to take home to replicate your own Tuck Box breakfast.

The breakfast menu is served from 7:30AM to 2:30PM daily.

Other important information, pets are welcome on their patio.  There are no heaters on the patio. The minimum charge per person is $5, they do not take reservations or credit cards, so bring cash.

*Prices begin at $9 for two eggs prepared to your request served with your choice of Tuck Box Scones, English muffin or toast and coffee to $20 for Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, side of Canadian bacon and coffee.

Northeast Corner of Dolores and Sixth Avenue

The Village Corner, serving Carmel for over 60 years has both indoor and outdoor seating.  They allow pets in the outdoor patio which has heaters and a fire pit along with a cover in case of rain.

The breakfast menu is served from 7AM – 11:30AM.

Other important information, they do take reservations and credit cards.  Pets are welcome on the patio and they also serve lunch and dinner.  Pick up a 15% off coupon at the Carmel Visitor Center on San Carlos between 5th and 6th.  

*Prices begin at $9 for one egg, toast or English muffin and coffee to $24 for Eggs Benedict with Dungeness crab and avocado, Applewood smoked bacon and coffee.  

I hope you enjoy your stay and breakfast in Carmel-by-the-Sea!

*All prices in this post subject to change.
Beach House Restaurant,, Pacific Grove, Restaurant

Feast of Lanterns Pageant – Pacific Grove

The Feast of Lanterns Pageant

July 27, 2013

“Pacific Grove’s oldest community celebration started about 1880, with a parade of small watercraft bearing lighted Chinese and Japanese lanterns wending their way from Monterey to the main beach area on the closing evening of the annual Chautaugua Assembly.  It slowly evolved  into a more organized event …The year 1905 is marked as its official beginning.   The one consistent feature of the celebration throughout its long history has been the appearance of hundreds, even thousands of oriental paper lanterns.” (1)

 hundreds of lanterns 
are lit by LED bulbs, 

and they reside on the beach, not in the water.  
Due to the temporary safety zone put in place by the Coast Guard to protect mariners in the cove from the firework show later that evening, the only watercraft (besides the dragon that is shown in the lower right hand corner below) that paraded into the cove came to take Koong-se (Queen Topaz) and Chang to their rendezvous.   

Yet the beach and surrounding area was packed with people (very possibly the entire town of Pacific Grove, population 15,000 plus)  waiting for the pageant night ceremonies to begin.  Okay maybe I am exaggerating, but it was definitely standing room only.

Many families set out their blanket days prior, trusting that when they returned, they would find their spot undisturbed, exactly where they had left it.

Only in Pacific Grove,
 considered one of America’s last hometowns, 
would this be possible.  
This family friendly eight day long festival starts with Family Fun Day and Chalk Fest, then Feast of Flavors, a Pet Parade, Feast of Dancing, all day beach day, 

the Festival and Pageant Night with fireworks, and finally the closing ceremonies.

This is all made possible by the Pacific Grove Feast of Lanterns, Inc., a non profit organization with two goals.  First to provide scholarships for the current year’s court 
and second to keep Pacific Grove’s heritage alive with this 100 plus year old tradition.  Every year it is a struggle for the organization to bring in the funds, so please Feed The Dragon!
My husband and I decided to pair pageant night with two other couples and dinner at the newly opened Beach House restaurant at Lover’s Point. 

Just between you and me, if you want to be up close and personal to the pageant and fireworks reserve a table by the window in the main dining room, 

or on the newly expanded
 heated outdoor seating area 

or if you are feeling lucky, cruise in after dinner and have coffee


and desert at the bar as you wait for the pageant to begin after dark.  


The Beach House is open from 4PM daily. $10 entrees are available if you are seated by 5:30 and order by 6PM.

  It is still early on the evening of the pageant,
 but here is our view to the beach…
later here is our view for the pageant 
and  finally the
In order that my friends and I might be able to get a window table next year, kindly forget what I said about The Beach House Restaurant (620 Ocean View Blvd.) being the perfect place to view the Feast of Lanterns Pageant and fireworks.  Might I suggest that it is the perfect place to dine all the other 364 days a year.  



(1) Kent Seavey and The Heritage Society of Pacific Grove, Images of America, Pacific Grove (Arcadia Publishing 2005), p 93.

Seavey, 92. Lover’s Point 1910 waiting at the pier below the Japanese teahouse to enjoy the Feast of Lanterns.  Photo courtesy Monterey Public Library, California History Room.

Seavey, 78. Lover’s Point 1896.  The Pacific Grove Bath House to the right was built by John L. Birks in 1893 in partnership with Nathaniel Sprague and S. A. Ely.  Photo by J. K. Oliver, courtesy of California History Room Montery Public Libarary.

Seavey, 91. Lover’s Point Cove 1907.  Photo by C. K. Tuttle, courtesy of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.

Photos – L. A. Momboisse

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, 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