Carmel is one of our highly-recommended places to spend the night when you're driving the Pacific Coast Highway. In fact 2-3 nights would be better, as it's a relaxing spot and we just love strolling the streets to look into the best shops and find somewhere to eat for the night - and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
If you're traveling with family then you might want to consider Monterey instead. It's only a few miles away but bigger and busier, with more things to do and see. But if you're driving PCH as a couple and want a romantic place to stay then Carmel is always our choice.
Here are two other suggestions for where to stay in Carmel, which appear in our PCH Hotels guide. Both are in the Moderate price range of roughly $100-200 a night:
26270 Dolores Street
If you're planning a short stay in Carmel, the Mission Ranch has to be one of the accommodation options you consider. It's not just that it's owned by Clint Eastwood, but because it's a relaxing place set in 22 acres and centered on an 1850s farmhouse that has a charm all its own. There are 31 rooms, many with ocean views, and facilities include the six championship-standard tennis courts, a health club, a piano bar with nightly music, a Sunday jazz brunch, a restaurant with great views, and a friendly, intimate atmosphere. The prices are reasonable too, given Carmel's general standards. The rooms in the farmhouse are the least expensive.
Mission Ranch, Carmel
Sea View Inn
El Camino Real between 11th and 12th
The Sea View is a characterful Moderate/Expensive option a few minutes’ walk from the center of Carmel and close to the beach. The house itself was built at the turn of the century and the owners have tried to keep that historic atmosphere. There are eight rooms, with the two most inexpensive rooms sharing a bathroom. The others all have private baths. There's free wi-fi, but this is definitely a getaway place and there are no TVs or phones in the rooms. Non-smoking, no children under-12.
Sea View Inn, Carmel
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To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.