The first thing I’ll share with you about Carmel – Clint Eastwood used to be the mayor, so expect nothing less than class and sophistication in Carmel – the quaint lodges, boutique stores, and fine dining. My husband and I are suckers for romantic getaways and we’ve been coming to Carmel ever since we met each other. If you’re looking to spend some intimate time with your partner or your family, and you wanna bring your 4-legged family members along to a seaside, art-filled village, Carmel is absolutely perfect for you.
Where to stay: La Playa Carmel
Link: La Playa Carmel
While we’ve stayed at different hotels in Carmel, this was my first time staying in a place so spectacular and iconic in Carmel that I cannot imagine staying any place else!! 🙂
We checked in to a gorgeous ocean facing room in the lovely and iconic La Playa Carmel for a quiet romantic weekend in December. History has that La Playa Carmel was once a luxurious mansion built in 1905 by an artist as a gift to his wife! For over 100 years La Playa Carmel resort has been known as the “Grande Dame of Carmel.”
Only steps from Carmel Beach, La Playa Carmel is in the heart of the cornerstone of one of California’s most prestigious neighborhoods, Carmel by the Sea
After a long evening walking by the ocean under the moonlight, we were up early and hungry for breakfast. And I am a brunch person! I’ll travel miles for a good brunch! La Playa Carmel’s signature gourmet breakfast buffet is served each morning in a warm and inviting atmosphere by our attentive staff.
Every dish is a masterful creation, featuring the season’s freshest produce and locally-sourced ingredients including fresh pastries, European cheese boards, fruits, juices, hot entrees and made-to-order specialties.
We savored the delights each morning in the Library, overlooking majestic views of the hotel’s gardens and the Pacific Ocean. Click here to read more about my stay at LaPlaya.
Winery: Folktale Winery
Link: Folktale Winery
Voted as the 2016 California Winery of the Year by California Travel Association and Best Winery to visit in 2017 by Monterey Weekly Magazine, Folktale Winery is an idyllic setting to discover and enjoy the great wines, food, natural beauty, and hospitality of Carmel Valley.
Situated on 15 acres of sustainably-farmed vineyards and gardens along the Carmel River, unlike most other wineries, Folktale Winery has a community vibe where people come together to spend an afternoon with friends and family.
The River House is used as a recording studio used by artists that perform at Folktale. They host live musical performances in the Barrel Room and in the Wine Garden weekly, with tickets selling out fast for each event.
The intimate and beautiful Barrel Room, perfect for weddings and private events, is also where the winery hosts Chef Duels, much like Chopped! The barrel room holds up to 300 seats, usually all sold out weekly, where the audience gets to vote for the best chef!
I’m not having a glass of wine, I’m having 6! I spent all afternoon wine tasting at Folktale an intimate afternoon with my husband. We’ve had such a long year with a rollercoaster of changes, we needed a place to unwind, slow down and just be with one another. Folktale’s ambiance and attentive service were just perfect to reconnect!
Fine Dining: Seventh & Dolores
Link: 7d Steak House
7D is the restaurant that makes every occasion special whether its the place where you gather with family and friends, or your partner, and it is the neighborhood spot that feels warm and inviting. It’s both comfortable and full of possibility every time you enter.
The Seventh & Dolores Steakhouse, or 7D, is founded on a commitment to quality and honesty – naturally farmed and humanely raised foods prepared in simple, soulful ways.
While the heart of the restaurant is a classic steakhouse, the experience and menu are contemporary and the service is impeccable! Unlink several other restaurants in Carmel, the rich, fertile land of California and the spectacular Pacific Ocean dictate the seasonally changing menu.
My husband and I had an exquisite 4-course meal at 7D, indulging in their prime steaks and signature cocktails. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist a good Old Fashioned. Well, if you’re ever in Carmel, you must absolutely swing by to taste their one-of-a-kind, signature Smoked Old Fashioned, smoked and prepared before you. The technique is unique and the dense smoked flavor is embedded deep into the cocktail so you taste it till the very last sip.
We started with the Roasted Acorn Squash & Burrata salad made with Pomegranate Seeds, Salata Verde, Sea Salted Brittle. Followed by Diver Scallop Raw Seafood place, garnished with Passion Fruit & Gin Vinaigrette, Chive Oil & Grapefruit. My filet mignon was unbelievable, juicy and cooked just the way I love it, as was my husband’s Kansas City steak. We concluded our meal with a classic Creme Brulee.
Home to several elite boutiques and high-end luxury brands such as Cartier, Window shopping on Ocean Ave is one of my favorite things to do! With several excellent cafes, restaurants and other small boutiques, you can spend days just exploring the little nooks in Carmel.
Overall my husband and I can see ourselves coming back to Carmel at least once in two months. Its only an hour from the Bay Area, and is the perfect little getaway! Close to Monterey, you can plan your trip to catch the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium or go Whale Watching or do the iconic 17-mile drive. Whether you go sight seeing or you just want to spend a quiet weekend, Carmel by the Sea will not disappoint!