Top 15 Cool and Unusual Hotels in Carmel 2023

Known for its community of artists, its chocolate box pretty buildings, jaw-dropping coastal scenery, its white sand beach with the odd passing whale, cozy inns, boutique shops, great food and for being a city that once had Clint Eastwood as its mayor.

Located on California’s Monterey Peninsula, its creative, unique and affluent bohemian vibe means it’s home to some seriously cute places to stay. From quirky chic inns to beautiful modern boutiques, here are some of the best cool and unusual hotels in Carmel (in no particular order, they’re all awesome)

1. Hyatt Carmel Highlandsan exquisite modern resort surrounded by charming pine groves where guests can dine overlooking the ocean

Hyatt Carmel Highlands - CaliforniaHyatt Carmel Highlands - California1

If you love the Al Fresco lifestyle then this is the hotel for you. Perched on the bluffs overlooking the spectacular Big Sur shoreline this hotel is a little slice of paradise.

Rooms are all about comfort, amenities and views. The hotel, within Point Lobos State Reserve, has been a destination since 1917 and the Pacific Edge Restaurant is a destination in itself.

Sporting an amazing outdoor terrace, serving up local bounty from land and sea and delicious craft cocktails, it’s the perfect place to kick back, fill your belly,  and enjoy the romance of a Big Sur Sunset.

2. Carriage House Inn – a chic and stylish inn that offers complimentary breakfast and newspapers to all guests 

Carriage House Inn - CaliforniaCarriage House Inn - California1

In a quiet side street just off bustling Ocean Avenue, Carriage House Inn awaits. This small 13 room inn treats its guests to open fires, jacuzzi tubs, complimentary wine and continental breakfast, not to mention an incredibly attentive staff.

Situated in the heart of the village, close to amazing restaurants, shops and amenities, not to mention fabulous Coastal hikes, Carriage House Inn is the ideal place to retreat and regroup.

If romance is what you’re after then explore their Romantic Getaway package, it could be just what you’re looking for. 

3. Carmel Mission Inn – a trendy and chic inn within close proximity to great attractions

Carmel Mission Inn - modern accommodation

Carmel Mission Inn - California1

Charming hotel Carmel Mission Inn

This cute little inn is set around a small pool and central courtyard giving it a nice Mediterranean feel. Rooms are nice and bright and some have little balconies overlooking either the pool or the mountains. This is quite a reasonably priced option for Carmel, I wouldn’t call it budget but it’s tipping in that direction.

It is still a great option, rooms are nicely furnished and there are plenty of alfresco spaces to kick back and read your book.

Staff are friendly and the on-site restaurant Shearwater Tavern serves up simple dishes made with fresh local ingredients and provides a cosy spot for a little drink and conversation with friends. 

4. L’Auberge Carmel, Relais & Chateaux – a unique hotel built in 1929, conveniently located in the heart of Carmel village

L'Auberge Carmel, Relais & Chateaux - California L'Auberge Carmel, Relais & Chateaux - California1

Relax in pure European-Inspired luxury in this stylish historic hotel. No expense is spared here and there is tasteful opulence at every corner. Canopied beds, spacious tubs, underfloor heating in the bathrooms and gorgeous antique furnishings.

Perhaps one of the biggest draws is fine dining in the on-site Forbes 5 star restaurant, Aubergine. Enjoy mind-blowing seasonal recipes using local produce, paired with the perfect wine from the Restaurants extensive wine cellar.

Foodies may also love to check out the cooking courses on offer. Carmel is a classy place and this hotel is definitely a reflection of all that class, treat yourself! 

5. Tradewinds Carmel – an award-winning boutique hotel where guests can enjoy a zen retreat 

Tradewinds Carmel - California Tradewinds Carmel - California1

Boutique hotel in Carmel

This Asian/Californian fusion has been offering guests a beautiful zen getaway since 1959. This award-winning hotel offers tranquil luxury overlooking the dramatic coastline of the Pacific Ocean and Point Lobos Natural Reserve.

Guests can enjoy peaceful spaces, custom-designed furnishings and luxury spa treatments, all within a stone’s throw of Carmel’s bustling shopping and dining scene.

Outdoor lovers will find plenty of amazing hiking, biking and golfing nearby. 

6. The Vagabond’s House Boutique Inn & Spa – a quirky chic historic B&B that features English Tudor-style architecture, based in a charming location 

The Vagabond's House Boutique Inn & Spa - Carmel - California1

The Vagabond's House Boutique Inn & Spa - Carmel - California

This inspiring little boutique B&B dates back to the 1920’s and much like the poem of the same name it is an eclectic little treasure trove up on a hill geared towards comfort and luxurious homeliness.

The rooms are set around a gorgeous courtyard ablaze with bright plants, peaceful water features and Mediterranean tiles.

Rooms are full of little vintage quirks, spacious freestanding tubs and beds so comfy you won’t want to leave! I suggest you bring your notepad/sketch pad and pencil and let the creative juices flow. Perfect for a writer’s retreat or just to recharge your batteries in peace and comfort. 

7. Villa Mara Carmel – one of the most Instagrammable idyllic seaside villas in Carmel

Villa Mara Carmel - California Villa Mara Carmel - California1

This newly renovated villa is perched in probably the most idyllic of settings up on the bluffs above Carmel Beach.

Many of the 16 rooms have stunning Pacific views and all of them are equipped with gorgeous custom-made and vintage furnishings that reflect the cultural and artistic soul of the village.

As it is very recently re-opened after extensive renovations you can be one of the first to experience its beautiful and peaceful elegance and unrivalled location. 

8. The Getaway – a popular motel that is within walking distance from the beach

The Getaway - Carmel - California The Getaway - Carmel - California1

This is such a cute Motel-Style boutique Hotel, which mixes a fresh and breezy Californian style with luxury comfort and top-class amenities. You can drive right up and park by your room in this very central yet somewhat hidden gem.

The experience is elevated by thoughtful details such as breakfast baskets, a five o’clock Wine Hour and curated room amenities like cosy robes and Denver Mattresses.

Also. The modern hotel is pet-friendly too and doggie pals will enjoy special touches like beds and treats, you can even pop your pet poodle in the basket and take him for a spin on one of the vintage-style cruiser bikes included in room price! 

9. La Playa Carmel –  a luxurious newly-restored hotel that is a favorite venue for weddings

La Playa Carmel - California La Playa Carmel - California1

La Playa Carmel

If you’re after a romantic getaway then this is your place! The historic mansion was built in 1905 by artist Christian Jorgensen for his wife Angela; it featured the very first swimming pool in the village.

Over the years it has faced many renovations and restorations but the spirit of the building has always been preserved.

Just steps from the beach many of the rooms have stunning views of the ocean and guests can enjoy a dip in that famous pool, a stroll around the landscaped gardens or a stone fire pit on the beach for a spectacular view of the sunset.

Foodies can enjoy the sumptuous champagne breakfast or contemporary comfort food in the historic Bud’s Lounge. 

10. Hotel Carmel – a rustic place to stay for guests looking for tranquillity and relaxation

Hotel Carmel - California Hotel Carmel - California1

Old School Carmel with a  New School Approach, Hotel Carmel is a unique getaway for folks who enjoy things that are a bit different! From the gorgeous hip vintage furnishings to the board games and tape collection in the communal lounge it’s just full of quirk.

Kick back with the locals in the cool, sports-themed Brophy’s Tavern and then ease the hangover with the delicious continental breakfast that features fresh fruits, creamy yogurt and house-made granola.

All of this just steps from the beach and the quaint shops and boutiques of Carmel-by-Sea.

11. Candle Light Inn – a cute place to stay in Carmel’s downtown, ideal for Millennials and Gen Zs

Candle Light Inn - Carmel - California Candle Light Inn - Carmel - California1

A luxurious getaway in the heart of Carmel, Candle Light Inn offers unrivalled friendly service, excellent location and lots of little extras to make your stay memorable. Rooms are big and spacious, beautifully furnished and many features jetted tubs and fireplaces.

All guests can enjoy fresh baked cookies, complimentary bottled water, wireless internet and tea and coffee making facilities. Staff are also happy to assist with restaurant reservations, golf, wine tasting tours, spa and massage and other local adventures. 

12. The Hideaway – easily one of the coolest and most stylish hotels to stay in Carmel

The Hideaway - Carmel - California - CA1 The Hideaway - Carmel - California1

This cute little 24 room boutique hotel offers its guests casual elegance, cosy craftsman-style furnishings, delicious continental breakfast delivered to your room, plenty of outdoor nooks to sit and read and all just a stone’s throw from Carmel’s Main Street.

Vintage cruiser bikes are available to all guests, also a complimentary 5 o’clock wine reception with snacks… perfect for making new friends. Pets are welcome too! 

13. Pine Inn – Carmela distinctive inn that blends elegance and beauty with a touch of European design

Pine Inn - Carmel - California Pine Inn - Carmel - California - CA1

Built in 1889 this was Carmel’s very first hotel and remains a popular place to stay. Enjoy the multiple nods to the historic building that are reflected in custom furnishings and decor.

The on-site restaurant Il Fornaio serves up tasty authentic Italian cuisine and you can even indulge in a bit of retail therapy at one of the on-site boutiques.

Ideally located close to Carmel’s high-end designer boutiques and within easy access to the Big Sur coastline and Monteray Airport, it’s a comfortable and convenient place to lay your head. 

14. Hofsas House Hotel – the perfect hotel for those who are looking for a romantic escape

Hofsas House Hotel - Carmel - California Hofsas House Hotel - Carmel - California1

This is a quaint family run boutique hotel with 37 cosy rooms that will accommodate any kind of traveller. The hotel is just a short walk from the white sands of Carmel Beach and all the other sights Carmel has to offer.

Rooms are equipped with Dutch doors to let in that fresh sea breeze and you can enjoy the spectacular sunsets from your very own balcony, maybe after a dip in the beautiful pool.

A warm and friendly boutique-style hotel with a real family atmosphere. 

15. Coachman’s Inn, A Four Sisters Inn – a cozy B&B that provides a semi-private outdoor whirlpool and a spacious sun deck with a patio

Coachman's Inn, A Four Sisters Inn - Carmel - California Coachman's Inn, A Four Sisters Inn - Carmel - California1

Fresh, bright, airy and modern rooms create an atmosphere of laid-back luxury in this boutique inn. Set around a courtyard there is parking on site and plenty of curated amenities to make your stay extra special.

Just 5 mins walk from Carmel beach and around the corner from The Sunset Centre and Carmel’s plethora of shops and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to soak it all in. 

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