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May 06th
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The Vagabond's House Inn

vag fireCarmel Haven Wins Points For Perfect Locale and Cozy Setting

Some of Carmel's larger hotels get—and deserve—a lot of attention, but lately, I've discovered that it's the smaller, more quaint establishments that deserve some real kudos. Enter The Vagabod's House Inn. Conveniently perched just blocks from Downtown Carmel, you get a lot for your buck here— charm, solitude and an idyllic setting.

Much of that is, in thanks, due to Vagabond' central courtyard—all of the rooms overlook it and the upper level rooms even boast some nice views of the Pacific Ocean. The inn's lobby--complete with piano, fireplace and fun collectables on display--offers a kind of addictive comfort from which it is hard to pry oneself away. True, one can say that about plenty of inns--we all love to travel, after all--but there's something magical here and you can sense that in the lobby area, which isn't really a lobby, per se but more like a big living cozy living room.

I arrived at the inn for a two-day writing retreat recently—which quickly turned into a three-day thing. There's so much to do in Carmel—from dining to wine bar hopping and more—so staycationers may already be in the know about where to go and what to do in Carmel and the surrounding area, so let's focus on some of the finer things about the inn.

Things to know: An impressive redesign of some of the rooms last year have made this long-running inn even more attractive. Think: clever, cozy, nouveau barn loft by way of latter day Restoration Hardware cabin—they had me at the killer floor heating in the bathroom and, really how can you not dig a window curtain in the shower with excerpts from "The Raven" running down it? Especially if you're a writer. And even if you're not, it never hurts to catch up on a classic piece of literature in the one place you vag 7453bedmight not have ever you would. Speaking of ... I was in a second-floor room and I got a kick out of excerpts from Don Blandin famous "Vagabond's House" on the wall—the management actually turned some of the book's pages into wallpaper. Blandin, by the way, was a famous poet of the South Seas. He fell in love with Carmel and would stay for months at a time, writing. In the late 1920’s, he published his book with a poem by the same name. Flashforward to 1941 and the owner at the time, Charles F. Rider, who was also a carpenter, expanded the original building, and built apartments. Later that decade, the guest apartments were renamed Vagabond's House Apartments, right after Don Blanding's poem. That creative, soothing spirit lingers on here.

Most rooms offer king-sized beds. The upper-level rooms stand out with their cozy-mod designs, fireplaces, big-screen tvs and sunken bathtubs, but some ground-level rooms are big enough for small families and even come with a kitchen and small lounge area. There's plenty of spaciousness here and, unlike your standard hotel room, there's a sense that you're occupying a second home or cottage. A nice vibe all around.

Other perks include wine and cheese after 4:30 p.m. every day, a complimentary continental breakfast and some massage packages—the staff will most likely recommend Kush Day Spa, which still wins high marks in Downtown Carmel—and a number of dinner hotspots nearby. The fact that the inn is just a block from Downtown Carmel, there's no shortage of places to consider. Sure, Casnova still packs them in, and so does the newly expanded Demetra, but there are other options.

I recommend grabbing some take-out food nearby (Tommy's Wok or Sushi Haven) and coming back to the room. Once you're there, light a fire—you're always welcome to get more firewood in a small shed outside—and just chill. You can pick up some terrific wine at Nielsen Bros. Market nearby, as well. Game night never hurts. Grab some cards and play a round of something with your partner. (Fun thing: there are Bluetooth-triggered speakers arounda so you can boost the sound of whatever playlist you have on your SmartPhone.) We opted for board games. Afterward, a walk through Downtown Carmel at night is always enchanting—nothing like that dreamy little town by the sea. Try early-morning or late-evening walks. Coffelovers take note: consider The Carmel Coffee House and Roasting.

Bottom line: Keep The Vagabond's House Inn on the top of your list. (Pet-friendly.)

Learn more about the inn here.

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