history

Carmel by the
Sea Hotels

Carmel by the Sea hotels can vary widely, however, the best hotels in this area are some of the least well known to outsiders. The Carmel River Inn is of these lesser known gems of the Carmel coastline where you will find all the amenities you desire!

When the Carmel River Inn was built, California was a far different place. The rolling hillside of California at that time were sparsely populated and agriculture ruled the landscape. The original hotel was created in 1934 as a motor lodge. This was in the heyday of motor lodges in America as many folks were discovering Route 66 and may of the other great American roadways of the 20th Century. The original name was Rio Carmelo Motor Court, boasting 14 cabins for travelers. Then as now, the hotel was a perfect stop before heading south in the wilds of Big Sur.

Carmel vacation

During this period, there were not many Carmel by the Sea Hotels, but this little motor hotel or “motel” was a favorite among travelers of the time. Carmel by the Sea was already a famous destination for the Bay Area Elite, and was starting to gain national notoriety as a great destination for those seeking fun in the great outdoors of California. Carmel was already famous for Pebble Beach and Monterey was known for Cannery Row. John Steinbeck, however, had not yet published his book Grapes of Wrath which would also give more national and international attention to the Monterey County region.

highway 1

The Gateway to Carmel

In these days, Carmel by the Sea was a hidden oasis and an idyllic setting for travelers heading north and south along Highway 1. The road through Big Sur to San Simeon was completed in June 1937. Few hotels existed below the Carmel River Inn so when the road was completed, it was the perfect place to stay for those exploring the Big Sur coast.

Carmel sea CA hotels
Carmel accommodations

In 1960, 19 additional rooms were built to house the growing number of travelers to the area. This addition to the Carmel hotel saw a two-story motel style construction grace the property, as well as the addition of an Italian restaurant called Domenici’s in 1965.

Carmel by the Sea Hotels during the sixties were still, for the most part, quaint buildings with limited numbers of rooms. No mega hotels of national franchises to speak of. Accommodations during this period were typically characterized by Spanish style buildings or contemporary cottages.

today

Carmel River Inn

Today the Carmel River Inn is still the perfect Carmel by the Sea hotel for those that want to really get a good feel for the area. Located right off Highway 1, The Carmel River Inn is minutes away from the northern part of Big Sur. Point Lobos is less than a mile away. Carmel Valley and the Carmel Valley Village is a short drive inland. Monterey and the Aquarium are also just a short and beautiful drive away. 

Carmel boutique hotels

This Monterey County hotel is considered a boutique hotel with 34 free standing cottages including one glamping tent. The property is located right on the Carmel River and provides a sanctuary away from the bustle of daily life.

Play Video about Inn rooms

Make your reservations online, or call us directly at 831-624-1575. We look forward to helping you relax and explore Carmel, CA.