Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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 fa├žade. 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

Monday, December 17, 2012

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

Carmel Inns Of Distinction Tour - Part II - La Playa

After touring the cottages of Carmel Cottage Inn, I walked two blocks to the corner of Camino Real and 8th Avenue into the lobby of the "new" La Playa.

This building (mansion) was originally built in 1905 by Christian Jorgenson as a gift for his wife.  Jorgenson was fascinated by the Carmel Mission to the  point that he placed a window in the 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 late 1920's, and the sight of my college Junior Prom dinner in 1978.

The hotel has just undergone a $3.5 million restoration, reopening this past August as La Playa Carmel.

All tour guests were ushered through the decorated lobby passed the Fireside Room with its table set for a private party,

 the Bar,
and the Pacific Terrace,
to the Dining Room.

Here we were offered bite sized Cream Puffs shaped like mini hamburgers and yummy squares of fudge prepared by the La Playa Carmel kitchen.  Wine tasting was offered by Jullian Vineyards of Carmel Valley. 
One room was open for viewing at
the La Playa Carmel,
the Premium Ocean View Room

 with five tall dome shaped windows

overlooking the hotel gardens and ocean beyond.

For information and rates for
The La Playa Carmel
 call: 831/624-6476
Time to walk off a bit of this wine and snacks.  I Tally Ho one block north of Ocean Avenue to Monte Verde & 6th Avenue.
Tally Ho Inn
Monte Verde & 6th Avenue 
The Tally Ho Inn, located across from the Pine Inn, began life as a guest cottage for the overflow of the visitors coming to the Pine Inn in the early 1900's.  It has changed hands a number of times over the years.  It was even renovated in the 1940's by Hugh Comstock who was hired by the then owner Jimmy Hatlo a New York cartoonist. 
The relationship between the Tally Ho Inn and the Pine Inn contines to this day, as a complimentary full American breakfast buffet is served Monday - Friday from 8AM to 10AM in the Pine Inn Retaurant Il Fornaio for the guests of the Tally Ho Inn.
Today our refreshments are being provided by Il Fornaio.  Do I have room?
Rooms of the Tally Ho Inn are decorated with antiques and flat screen TV's, sometimes more than one per room - I actually found out on December 2nd that the RAMS beat the 49ers after being tied in overtime (for the second time this season) on one of the numerous flat screen TV's.   
Along with a fireplace, this king bedroom 
has plenty of sitting area.
Two long units stretch out off the main lobby area.
Though it was cloudy that day, the ocean is visible below the clouds.
These rooms have lavish ocean views,  
fireplaces, flat screen TV's,
and luxurious full baths.

A quaint outdoor fireplace welcomes visitors.
For information and rates on
  The Tally Ho
 please call 800/652-2632


Candle Light Inn
San Carlos between 4th and 5th
A few blocks up on the same side of Ocean Avenue I stopped to tour the Candle Light Inn.

A room off the lobby was set up for wine tasting provided by Ventana Vineyards,
 and small bites provided by The Grill on Ocean Avenue. As a gift to all tour guests we also received a coupon for a complimentary wine tasting at the Ventana Winery and coupon for 15% off dinner at The Grill. 

Located near many fine restaurants (Bistro Giovanni, Hog's Breath , Grasing's, and The Grill), the Candle Light Inn features three different room possiblities:
The Standard King Room
The Standard Double
The Deluxe Room or Suite with
Kitchen, Jacuzzi Tub, Wood-Burning Fireplace
or combination of any of the above
Besides a daily Continental breakfast and newspaper delivered to your door and fresh baked cookies in the afternoon in the lobby, the Candle Light Inn offers packages with discounts for dinner, golf or a visit to the Monterey Aquarium.  My favorite amenity is the large used brick fire-pit in the parking lot. 

For information and rates call

Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour Part III
Lamp Lighter, Ocean & Camino Real
Cypress Inn, Lincoln & 7th