Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Carmel Inns of Distinction 2013 - Part 1 - Vendange Carmel, Carmel Garden Inn, & Tradewinds Carmel

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"It's ours to protect."
Carmel Heritage Society 


On, December 8th, an absolutely gorgeous Sunday afternoon, the Carmel Heritage Society held their annual Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour with seven unique inns in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea 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 my husband and I used frequently throughout the afternoon, as local wineries and restaurants provided scrumptious food and drink at each venue. 

Before commencing our tour one should note that one of the most charming things about Carmel-by-the-Sea is nothing is "cookie cutter"  everything is unique.  You will never see two homes exactly alike, nor will you experience two inns exactly alike.  This is what draws people to visit, and ultimately stay.  



Vendange Carmel 
24815 Carpenter Street 
Carmel, CA  93923
Attributes: Breakfast, On Site Parking

The Vendange Carmel is located on Carpenter Street, about a 15 minute walk to the heart of town. Co-owner Jonathan Lee purchased the 86 year old motel in August 2012 and renovated the entire property. The Vendange offers 18 unique guestrooms, each named after a local winery.


Our tour began in the cozy lobby, where overnight guests are served a complimentary signature breakfast.


Maegan Wareham, Sales Manager for Dawn’s Dream Winery poured a 2011Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco to the guests of the Inns of Distinction.   


The rooms we tour
surround the garden


 pergola 


and firepit,


where guests may sit and sample wine and cheese
 from 5 to 7PM Fridays and Saturdays. 


The Ventana King Suite room, 
decorated by Ventana Vineyards


boasts a siting area with gas fireplace which on tour day was occupied by Flaherty's Seafood Grill serving their Award Winning Lobster Bisque and Signature Crab Cakes.  


I appear to have caught Coach Harbaugh mid
 expletive on the 55 inch high
 definition flat screen TV
in the Ventana Room.


   Dawn's Dream Winery of Carmel Valley decorated a Standard Queen room on the second floor and 


McIntyre Vineyards, located at the foot of the Santa Lucia mountain range, is responsible for the 100 year old grapevine hung over the headboard in the McIntyre Standard Queen room.  


For reservations or questions
regarding the Vendange Carmel
call 831/624-6400


Carmel Garden Inn
4th Avenue and Torres Street
Carmel-by-the-Sea
Attributes: Pet Friendly Rooms,
 Breakfast, On Sight Parking 

Our next stop, Carmel Garden Inn, is just three blocks north of Ocean Avenue, across the street from the Carmel Police Department (be good) and just one block to town and dining such as Katy's Place for breakfast or The Forge for dinner.


The Carmel Garden Inn was originally constructed in 1948 as eleven apartments, it is now a ten room bed and breakfast shaded by oak trees.


In March of 2013 this inn came under familiar ownership.  Julian owned the property during the 1990's, sold it, and moved to Japan for 10 years.  Upon his return to Carmel Julian found his old inn up for sale and purchased her again.


Each morning guests are treated to a scrumptious homemade breakfast of scones, frittata or french toast.


In the afternoon guests may enjoy
 wine and cheese or other treats. 


During our tour Bruno's Market and Deli served
 a delicious Pulled Pork Slider and 


Cima Collina  served their 
2012 Tondre Grapefield Chardonnay 
and one of their fine Pinots.

The Carmel Garden Inn had three
 rooms open for viewing. 
 The Rosita is the largest,
 a second level suite 

with wood burning fireplace,
and a peek of the ocean.

With the queen bed in the bedroom
and the queen sofa sleeper, this
suite sleeps four comfortably. 


This unit also features a kitchenette
with small sink, refrigerator, and microwave.


A wonderful element of the Carmel Garden Inn are the 11 by 13 foot private patios that attach to the five suites lining the garden. For larger groups, request adjoining patios and you can double your outdoor space.


Julian welcomes us to Fuchsia, a mini-suite 


 with private patio.


 Fuchsia features a king bed, wood burning fireplace, 


reading area and 


Carmel kishy kitchenette and sitting
 area with a microwave and refrigerator.



 Rosemary sits at the end of the walkway, 
it also features a private patio 


and a secret which Julian plans on capitalizing on early next year.  If the top three boards are removed from the wall below a lovely ocean view will be visible from the patio.


Rosemary has two queen beds, 


 kitchenette,


and wood burning fireplace. 


For questions or reservations on the
call 831/624-6926



Tradewinds Carmel 
Mission Street between 4th and 3rd Avenue
Carmel-by-the-Sea
Attributes: Breakfast, Ocean Views,
 Pet Friendly Rooms, On Site Parking 

Two block south of The Carmel Garden Inn we arrive at Tradewinds Carmel, Carmel-by-the-Sea's only Asian inspired hotel, designed and built by Richard and Patricia Catlin in 1959, and a favorite hideaway of  Bing and his family during the early years of the Crosby Clambake. No that is not Bing below, but it is a photo circa 1960's of a room at the Tradewinds.


In 1998, Richard and Patricia's daughter Susan Stilwell took over Tradewinds and gave it a major renovation with help from designer Charles Gruwell (best known for his work on the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas).

Since the renovation Tradewinds has been featured in the November 2004 issue of Architectural Digest as one of their most glamorous hotels, and Forbes Travel Guide's as one of the best small hotels. 


The original courtyard was overpowered by a rarely used swimming pool which can be seen in this old photograph displayed in the Tradewinds, Catlin (breakfast) Room.


Gruwell removed the old pool


and replaced it with a multilevel space


 of Carmel stone walls 


 lined with tropical plants, 


multiple tranquil sitting areas with torch lights, 


a firepit for two or twenty,


cascading fountain, and


meditation garden with life-size stone Buddha. 


 Exact replicas of the 1959
 bamboo railings were custom made to
 surround the exterior walkways and


 private balconies, 

  
many of which have Point Lobos and ocean views.

We tour room 24


with one king and one queen bed 


tansu-style vanity 


in the large bathroom 


with soothing water feature, 


and room 19 


 a king room with ample sitting area


gas fireplace and 


a Chinese cabinet hiding the TV.

The following video highlights the
beautiful gardens that replaced
 the dated swimming pool
and the magnificent ocean
and Point Lobos views.


Tradewinds also offers a continental breakfast served in the Catlin room or it can be delivered to your suite.  During our tour we enjoyed delicious small bites impeccably made from Portabella Restaurant


(and I am only showing a small
portion of the yummy options).


Our wine pour is by J Lohr Vineyards.


For reservations or more 
information on Tradewinds Carmel
 please call
831/ 624-2776 


For a  map of the tour click here.

We are only one third of the way through the Carmel Heritage Society's Inns of Distinction 2013.  Next up Part II - Carriage House and Coachman's Inn 

___
Credits
Photos and video by L. A. Momboisse except for
b & w of First Murphy House, courtesy of Harrison Memorial History Library and two old photos of Tradewinds Carmel room and pool - they were taken from photos at the hotel.