Our goal was simple – to bring in new energy and let go of the old. 2014 was a year that tested both of us, and so, for the first day of 2015 we planned a trip down the California coast as an adventure that would be the catalyst for a truly new beginning.
We arrived on a sunny day in Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is no surprise. Personally, I have visited this absolutely quaint and beautiful town countless times and I am always impressed by the sun that shines brightly, while the wind gently caresses your skin like a lover on a Sunday morning. The views are uniquely breathtaking: anywhere you look, you are standing amid a community that inspires you to forget that time exists.
When we checked into La Playa Carmel, tucked away just a few footsteps away from the main part of town, we are greeted kindly — and with Champagne. Cheers to new beginnings, indeed!
For over 100 years La Playa Carmel resort has been known as the “Grande Dame of Carmel,” once a luxurious mansion built in 1905 by an artist as a gift to his wife, an heiress to the Ghirardelli legacy.
After a massive restoration, this 75 room historic hotel has become a singularly incredible West Coast destination, resting just above the sandy beaches of Carmel, and a delightful stroll from the town’s world-famous galleries, shops, and restaurants.
You’ll find endless nooks to snuggle into at the resort — gardens, patios, and courtyards, even a swimming pool for warmer months, and spectacular views all around. While the amenities are modern, the updated rooms still have an air of nostalgia to them. We could feel the historic presence but simultaneously have the comfort of modern day luxury — what a rare combination!
Morning time is always a great time for Champagne, according to La Playa Carmel! So, as we started our day, we enjoyed Champagne and fresh waffles, berries, lattes, and the hauntingly beautiful view of the ocean, so enticing that it still finds me in my dreams.
In the evening, strolling around town, we met the lovely proprietor of the White Rabbit, an Alice in Wonderland inspired local gift shop. Even though the shop was already closed, we were invited in by the warmth of the shopkeeper. She regaled us with stories about Salvador Dali and his wife, who used to own the bar downstairs, and all of old Hollywood stars who used to hang out in Carmel’s hey day of the 1940’s. She told us about the current artist who still lives and paints in Dali’s studio and pointed to it, just outside the window.
Transported back in time, we felt whimsically lost in nostalgia for a time that we never knew, but surrounded by it in Carmel, a time we can’t help but love.
As we walked back to La Playa Carmel, surrounded by the warm winter air, we felt a gust of old and then of new, and of gratitude and possibility. Being greeted by the friendly staff at La Playa Carmel, we feel gratitude for what brought us here, and of all the possibilities to come, and we fell asleep gently and content, knowing that Champagne, fresh local food, and the pacific ocean will once again be greeting us in the morning.
– Svetlana Saitsky
Svetlana is Socially Superlative’s California-based editor-at-large