Nestled in the midst of downtown is a serene and beautiful French country oasis – L’Auberge Carmel. This Relais and Châteux offers luxe accommodations in a boutique setting. The landscaped courtyard was awash in bright flora and a lovely place to relax. Each of the 20 rooms is distinctive; all boast rich fabrics, warm interiors and large bathrooms (some with soaking tubs).
Dinner at Aubergine, the cozy 12-table restaurant in the hotel is memorable. Four luscious courses featured ingredients delivered by local farmers. The amuse bouches were awesome, especially the English pea sponge cake with pea purée and pea shoots. Savor hamachi with sea beans, sea water, bonito jelly and uni; ocean trout with crispy skin; halibut with sea lettuce, oyster and pig tail. And the international wine selections were incredible. End the delicious evening with a strawberry cream cheese parfait.
Next morning, the full breakfast (included with your room) will give you the fuel to make the scenic drive back to San Francisco.
Now is the time to visit Monterey and Carmel – the weather is gorgeous. You know you’ll eat, drink and sleep well!
Essentials: Getting There:
Monterey & Carmel, CA: about two and one-half hours south of San Francisco. Route 1 South on a clear day is exceptional. More direct is 101 South to 156 West to 1 South.
Tourist Information: www.carmelcalifornia.com; www.monterey.org.
Samsonite Wind Guard Umbrella: 800-593-5251, www.csnstores.com. Protects against the wind; automatic open/close; fits in your bag. $26.99.
Verilux ReadyLight Flashlight: 800-454-4408, www.verilux.com. Solar powered, rechargeable, durable, light weight. $29.95.
Caorunn Gin: Scottish, handcrafted, small batch, delicious.
Hovercraft 2 In-Flight Bag: 800-962-4943, www.magellans.com. Multiple compartments; fits under the seat; made of ballistic nylon. $82.50.