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L'Auberge - Carmel, CA

Not the Experiece We Imagined


L'Auberge Carmel – Carmel, California: A restyled inn painted white outside, roughly plastered, and trimmed with green shutters, the L’Auberge Carmel is a French-inspired boutique hotel that is pretty enough to look at and stay in but has quite a number of areas which need to be improved upon before they can actually claim to be anything close to a true luxury hotel.

In true French boutique hotel fashion, the restaurant is out front while the guest rooms are in the back. The reception area is tiny and the public areas are virtually non-existent, although they have a small courtyard with a fountain where guests can hang around and sip some wine from the restaurant’s impressive cellar. The lounge is quite charming, fitted with antique armchairs and furniture. The hotel’s restaurant, Aubergine, belongs to an entirely different level all together, which deserves its own review.

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Our guest room was small, but richly decorated in browns and golds. The motif produced a warm and comfortable feeling. The bathroom was beautiful and was fitted with heated marble floor. It had a large and luxurious soaking tub and a separate shower that was one of the better ones I have tried. The "partial view" of the ocean, which the brochure had promised, was very disappointing as we only had a view of trees! Housekeeping was fair at best. The room service was not only expensive and lacking in options, the service and presentation was lackluster! The doorman and bellman did the bare minimum and helped us with our luggage only when we asked them to.

With the exception of a superb restaurant, there’s no reason to go back and stay in this hotel again. It seems that all efforts were concentrated on creating a fabulous restaurant to the detriment of establishing a hotel with mediocre service. I would recommend staying at another hotel and slipping over the Aubergine Restaurant for dinner. Overall the service at L'Auberge was not bombastic, however, the hotel property itself was nice enough to keep the hotel's overall rating somewhere between bombastic and not.

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