European Charm in California at L’Auberge Carmel

Interior Courtyard L’Auberge Carmel

Located in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, L’Auberge Carmel is within walking distance of everything you’ll want to see while exploring the charming seaside community. A full-service Relais & Châteaux property, it’s just one block off of Ocean Avenue, the city’s main street, lined with restaurants, shops, and art galleries. It’s also just a handful of blocks from iconic Carmel Beach.

Dating back to 1929, it is one of more than 300 properties built by Carmel-by-the-Sea’s master builder Michael J. Murphy. The three-story wood frame and stucco building was the first residential apartment building in the city before being converted into a lodge. In 2004, the building was renovated and became L’Auberge Carmel.

L’Auberge Carmeldownstairs Standard Courtyard King room

The property features 20 rooms set around an interior courtyard with blooming plants, cushy seating, and a handful of tables and chairs with umbrellas. Room 21, a Standard Courtyard King room, is tucked in the backside of the property, steps off of the courtyard. When the windows are open, the sound of the gurgling courtyard fountain floats in.

L’Auberge Carmel Standard Courtyard King room

The king bed is surrounded by antique décor, including a desk, and small sitting area with two upholstered chairs. Floral draperies add to the European-feel, along with providing privacy, and subtle pops of color.  Hardwood floors are found throughout the main living space.

The bathroom features a vanity with single sink, a walk-in shower and large soaking tub. Radiant floor heating provides an unexpected but welcome touch. Penhaligon’s Quercus bath toiletries are provided, in addition to a dental and shaving kit.

The room is, for the most part quiet, but light sleepers might want to request upstairs accommodations. The noise of other guests on the stairs can occasionally be heard.

Nightly turndown service comes with fresh baked cookies. Along with a Nespresso machine, the room is stocked with trail mix and sea salt caramels from the property’s award-winning restaurant, Aubergine.

turndown cookies at L’Auberge Carmel

Served daily from 7:30am to 10:30am, breakfast at Aubergine is included with every stay.  It includes coffee or tea, fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit, two eggs any style, toast, and a breakfast pastry with homemade jam. The restaurant does not serve lunch; reservations are recommended for the daily changing eight course Tasting Menu served at dinner. The cost is $175 per person.

The property does not have a spa, but in-room massage treatments can be arranged for interested guests.

L’Auberge Carmel is a little less than seven miles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and about a 15-minute drive from the Monterey Regional Airport. Getting to San Francisco is approximately a two-and-a-half-hour trip.

Rates for a Standard Courtyard King room start at $499 a night. A $30 per day service fee provides gratuities for hotel staff; it covers the front desk, the bell staff, housekeeping, and concierge service. Wi-Fi and valet parking are complimentary. Pets ten pounds and less are permitted in certain rooms. All rooms are non-smoking. Compare rates at and see if you can get a better deal.

Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.

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