Hidden Gem in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of my favorite local getaway trips! If you haven’t been there I highly recommend visiting, even just for a night. It is a quaint little town on the edge of Big Sur that reminds me of an upscale fairytale village. Brett and I must get lucky because the weather was 70 degrees and sunny (mind you it is January). We booked an average room at the Normandy Inn for a crazy deal of only $130 for Saturday night which was unusual because normally there is a 2-night minimum and much pricier. How did we find this? By booking LAST MINUTE. If you can designate some time to checking your favorite spots on a consistent basis, prices are bound to drop. Luckily I have my very own personal travel agent Brett (at least he thinks he is one) who sends me daily links on deals anywhere from Carmel to Paris. Thursday after teaching I check my phone to see missed calls, text messages with all sorts of links, screenshots of weather, and multiple question marks. “Normandy Inn – $130 – sunny and 70 – book it?” YES! Back to the beach for the night in one of my favorite little towns – no convincing needed. If you are hoping to visit Carmel in the future make sure to consider if you are willing to give up the 5-star modern hotel vibe for a small, old, not-so-upscale type room. The Normandy is our favorite spot because it matches the character of Carmel, but don’t expect to walk into a JW Marriott.

So there is my simple travel tip #1…book last minute because hotels rather fill vacant rooms than let it go empty. Last summer, Brett put together a trip to Scottsdale, AZ for less than $350 each at a 5-star resort by booking the week of – flights and everything! I’ll save the details for our trip back in July.

Our hotel was located right on Ocean Ave which is the main street of Downtown Carmel. It’s a 5-minute walk to the beach and right next door to all the boutique shopping, wine tasting, and restaurants you could possibly think of.

Tip  #2 – bottomless mimosas. We found this modern restaurant called Seventh&Dolores where we had brunch. $20 for bottomless is a little steep but hey you could change the flavor of your mimosa. I started with raspberry lavender, then blueberry mint, and finished with plain orange juice because it is simply just the best. The vibe of 7D was exactly what we were looking for and the food was fantastic. Well worth the bit of splurge in price and highly recommended for a trendy atmosphere! After making sure we got our money’s worth of mimosas I dragged Brett shopping. He was stoked to aimlessly (as he puts it) walk into every single store so I could look around and most likely buy nothing – except a candle (pictured) which he bought.

3:00 and the room was ready. The Normandy Inn serves complimentary afternoon sherry and lemon cookies which we took advantage of (sherry is dark liquor so I passed and went straight for a lemon cookie. Ok 3 lemon cookies. Don’t judge me I went to the gym this morning. Fine 4). We changed into our bathing suits (perfect timing after 6 lemon cookies right?), grabbed a bottle of pinot (that will wash it down), our new candle that smelled like it was straight off the floor of Anthropologie and off to the beach to tan we went – yes that’s right sun tanning in January! Omg I seriously love my life – Brett, sun, wine, candle, and the OCEAN!

We made reservations for dinner at The Forge in the Forest where we sat outside under a heat lamp. The patio makes you feel like you are in this little forest – dark and romantic. Delicious butternut squash ravioli on a perfect night with beautiful weather – what more could you ask for!

Since Brett and I are early birds, we woke up Sunday morning and walked to the only thing that was open – a nearby coffee shop. The Normandy Inn does have complimentary breakfast but we were too full from stuffing our faces the night before. We walked down to the beach one last time so we could take it all in before my full-on sadness kicked in because we had to leave. Until next time…

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Xo, Nicole





One Comment Add yours

  1. Carmen says:

    Love Carmel! My sister and I stayed at The Normandy for our birthdays one year and it was the perfect spot!


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