Earlier this week I wrote about our trip down the California coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea. I told you about its famous residents and bizarre laws, like that it is prohibited to walk in high heels in Carmel. We spent a nice weekend in Carmel, even though it was raining a little bit. We stayed in a European style boutique hotel called Hofsas House which was right by downtown, and it was easy to go everywhere from there by foot. The people in Hofsas House Hotel took really good care of us, and we could feel the warm and caring atmosphere that they have in this family owned place.
FROM SMALL COTTAGES TO A BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Donna Hofsas and her husband Fred moved to Carmel from Los Angeles in the 1940s. They bought four cottages, moved into one of them and started renting the three others. This was the beginning of the Hofsas house, which in 1957 expanded into a hotel. When Donna died in 1981 she left the hotel to her son, and ever since the business has been run by the family. The owner and general manager of Hofsas House, Carrie Theis talks about her grand mother with warmth, and told me how she used help at the hotel when she was a girl. It was nice to meet a person who truly has this much love for her job.
Hofsas House went through another expansion later and today it has 38 unique rooms. They also have a year round heated pool which is not very common in Carmel, since the hotels are typically in very small lots. The pool area has two dry saunas. Also the original cottages are still there and being used. For groups Hofsas House offers a meeting room with a full kitchen and a fire place.
The hotel is furnished following a European style. There is a big bavarian themed mural outside the hotel and other art work from Donna Hofsas' friend, an artist Maxine Albro. Most doors are built in the Dutch style, so you can just open the top part and look outside. Even the building itself reminds me of Europe.
EACH ROOM IS UNIQUE
Each room in Hofsaf House is different which makes staying there more exciting. Many of the rooms have an ocean view and Dutch doors that let you enjoy some fresh air. Some rooms also have a balcony, fire place, wet bars or kitchens. Wi-fi works throughout the hotel. We stayed in a King Suite which had a nice view of the ocean. When we arrived, there was a bottle of wine and cheese in our room, as well as a frisbee for our daughter. The room had a romantic flowery wallpaper which was kind of cute, even though I normally wouldn't go with that pattern. It was clean, and we had a fire place in our room. Especially when travelling with kids, it is good to have some kitchen supplies so that you can keep their food cold or warm it up if needed. And of course, pets are welcome in some of the rooms, like almost everywhere in Carmel.
A continental breakfast is included in the room price. One thing that I really liked, was that the breakfast was set up at the lobby, but it was easy to take it with you to your room. There were little baskets for the bakery things, and the staff offered us a carafe of coffee and gave us a tray. They had both sweet and savory baked goods, yogurts, fruits and juice. I liked that it was a little different from most hotels in the U.S., and that we were able to eat in our room while watching the sunrise. Many times at a hotel breakfast, you have to fight to get a table for your party. This way we got to fully enjoy our morning.
DINNER AT BEACH HOUSE AND SOME WINE TASTING
We also enjoyed a dinner in the neighbouring town of Pacific Grove. The Beach House restaurant was an amazing spot by the ocean at Lovers Point. The name says it all! I almost wish we could have driven back there during the daylight just to see the view. 17-Mile Drive, which is said to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world, goes through Pacific Grove. So if you are driving either 17-Mile Drive or are on Highway 1, this is a great place to stop for a break! I recommend making a reservation to the Beach House since at least on that Saturday night, it was full. The food was great, and I have to say that their Beef Stroganoff was to die for!
Like in so many other areas of California, Monterey has some wine growing areas. It mostly produces Pinot Noir grapes. Carrie, the owner and manager of Hofsas House, told me that there has been a growing number of tasting rooms in Carmel which have opened, and people come there a lot to taste wine.
MY STRONG RECOMMENDATION
Hofsas House Hotel made our weekend very cozy. I really like places that have some personality and dare to be different. Even though it was raining on Saturday, it didn't ruin our vacation when we were in a beautiful room eating our snacks from 5th Avenue Deli. They were actually for our next day's beach trip, but we got a head start on all the treats. Well, at least we saved some carrot cake for the next day. If you are doing a road trip in California or driving on Highway 1, and looking for a place to stay, this is your spot!
*Our trip was made possible by Hofsas House Hotel, but as always all opinions are my own.