Carmel-by-the-Sea Family Getaway: Where to stay and eat!
Carmel-by-the-Sea, a quaint, one-square mile incorporated town in Monterey, California is the perfect getaway, a hidden gem awaiting your family. Disconnect from your busy life in exchange for a slower pace and natural surroundings. Step across the white sandy beach, stroll along the center of town, browse adorable shops, eat at wonderful restaurants and take in all the rich art within this European-style village.
My family and I stayed in Carmel-by-the-Sea for two nights. We would like to thank Hosfas House for hosting us, Carmel-by-the-Sea is an amazing family getaway. This was our first visit to picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea, and it was a delightful family getaway. I fell in love with this little town! Everything is within walking distance. The uneven sidewalks are endearing and the landscape surrounding the beautiful cottages is charming. However, those precious cottages do not have any street addresses. There just aren’t any! This might be a bit of a challenge for first-time visitors, as the only markings are at cross streets. But, what a wonderful way to learn your way around the neighborhood, appreciate the sights, and maybe even have a conversation with the people who call Carmel-by-the-Sea home. Among other observations: all the business signs in the downtown area are made out of wood, and no buildings are higher than two levels. The settlers of Carmel-by-the-Sea didn’t want the nature surrounding the town to be obstructed by man-made structures. From Los Angeles the drive is approximately 6 hours which makes for a manageable visit to Central California. Here are my recommendations on where to stay and where to dine for family fun in Carmel-by-the-Sea. And don’t forget the pets. This quaint town is extremely pet-friendly, where most lodging will accept your pets!
Family-run Lodging at Hofsas House:
Hofsas House is a family-run boutique inn with 38 distinctive rooms located within a few blocks from the beach. The inn offers plenty of free amenities such as off-street parking, WiFi, continental breakfast, heated swimming pool and saunas. A large mural drawn by artist Maxine Albro greets you upon your arrival. The inn is built into the hill, and its pink shade makes it easy to spot from the street. Pink is my daughter’s favorite color (how did they know?). The hotel has a laid back atmosphere, and their front office staff is extremely helpful. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the inn or for recommendations.
A Dutch door swings open to large hotel roomdecorated with wallpaper and window shutters. Old World charm beckons as the room compliments the inn’s country-like setting. Our room had a kitchenette, fireplace, two daybeds in
the living area and a king bed in the bedroom. The room has two bathrooms and both the master bedroom and living area had a TV. One of my favorite amenities was the porch. Sliding glass doors reveal a picturesque view of the ocean and forest. Our room was very clean, the beds were comfortable and overall the room had a quaint, homey feel to it. No frills and thrills, everything was simply adorable. The fireplace was a pleasant feature. My family and I sat in front of it, while playing UNO. Then, we fell asleep to the sounds of nature.
Definitely take advantage of the continental breakfast at Hofsas. You can lounge in the reception area and read a paper. Or, grab a tray and bring it up to you room. Coffee, juices, fruit and delicious (seriously, they were really good) pastries are available every morning! I met with the General Manager Carrie who is the granddaughter of Hofsas House founder, Donna Hofsas. Carrie told us that the founders of Carmel-by-the-Sea wanted the feel of a village in the forest by the sea. The natural beauty is really refreshing. As a child, Carrie spent her summers working with her grandmother at the inn. I asked if things have changed much since she was a kid. She responded, “Not really, the locals try to keep the same feel, there’s a few more art galleries than there used to be. But, the focus on the natural beauty is still the same.” Hofsas offers special add-ons to help you celebrate a special occasion. Hofsas also offers a conference room if you are planning a family reunion!
Hofsas House Hotel
San Carlos St, Carmel, CA 93921
Where To Eat:
If your little ones are adventurous eaters than Mundaka is the place to introduce them to Spanish-style tapas. You’ll find finger foods at their finest! Order a few servings for a pre-dinner meal or order several to satisfy your tummy for the evening. The restaurant has been around for five years and offers an upbeat atmosphere with creative lighting in an intimate setting. We even had the chance to chat with our neighbors about our individual vacations! Back to the food- everything was tasty! Our favorite was the Bomba, a house-made sausage, mashed potatoes, mojo rojo sauce and it was EXCELLENT! We also ordered the fried Garbanzos, Almednras (marcona almonds) for starters. My daughter particularly enjoyed the Garbanzos with light sea salt. The crunchiness was flavorful and fun to eat (my daughter’s a fan of beans). We also ordered the Hamburguesa (mini lamb burger) and Bravas. For dessert, we ordered the Pan chocolate which was a rich piece of truffle chocolate with sea salt and olive oil. What a pleasant, decadent surprise! Parents can enjoy a night cap from their drink menu, possibly a Sangrias or sit back with a coffee drink, such as Con Lecho or Colo (double espresso). If you are looking for a funky spot, with friendly service and a variety of small trays than Mandukua is for you.
7th AVE San Carlos St, Carmel, CA 93921
The Grill On Ocean Avenue:
I was a little nervous that The Grill On Ocean Avenue would be too “fancy” for my daughter, but I’m really glad that we ate here. The staff was extremely friendly and the food was delicious. I don’t believe that this is a regular feature but when ate at the restaurant, the table clothswere sheets of large paper. My daughter was in heaven, as she drew all over the table. We were seated at the “Mayors Table” in a cozy spot at the back of The Grill. I ordered one of the specials, which was Blackened Sword Fish with mashed potatoes, topped with pineapple mango salsa and onions accompanied by asparagus. The combination of sweet and salty was perfect. The fish was firm, fresh and the mango salsa gave it a citrusy punch. My husband ordered the flank steak, which was cooked perfectly at medium well. The Grill offers a kid menu with familiar kid staples. My daughter decided on the hamburger, which was an ample portion for a child’s item. I do wish that the drinks came with the price of the kids meals. We left room for a dessert and shared the House-Made Double Chocolate Brownie which is served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and topped with raspberries. The food was excellent, and the restaurant has a nice relaxing, ambiance – nothing stuffy. The prices are on the medium-high range but comparable with other upscale restaurants.
The Grill on Ocean Avenue
Ocean Ave, Carmel, CA 93921
View our top 8 list of things to do during your visit to Carmel by the Sea.
* Hotel accomodations and dining were provided as part of a FAM trip provided by Hofsas House for editorial purposes. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ. All photos copyright That’s IT Mommy.