The Grande Dame of Carmel Gets a Golden Refresh

Post Company brings the sun-soaked La Playa Hotel into the present with warm touches and subtle accents befitting its idyllic seaside locale.

Opening Shot is a column that peeks inside new hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops with dreamy interiors.


Location: Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 

Designer: Post Company

On Offer: In 1905, an artist built an opulent mansion as a gift for his wife, which became known over the next century as the “Grande Dame of Carmel.” Thanks to a respectful refresh from Post Company, the California institution now beloved as the La Playa Hotel has never looked better. Nestled between verdant arcades and basket-woven brick pathways, the building honors its past while feeling utterly contemporary.

Wood box beams and corbels compliment the dark warmth of the terracotta floors in the lobby and reception, while sunshine floods the breakfast room (and its Champagne buffet) and nearby series of parlors. Each of the 75 rooms comes with a view, be it of the estate, the gardens, or the Pacific itself, but the interiors are worth gazing upon too, with timeless details including plaster shell pendants, tasseled cabinet pulls, and bathrooms fitted with blackened nickel Waterworks fixtures.

Standout Amenities: Bud’s Bar has long been the heart of La Playa, and Post Company keeps it cozy: amber-toned mirrors reflect just the right amount of light, picked up by unlacquered brass accents and richly patterned textiles. It’s just the spot to do a little time travel—back to Carmel’s bohemian heyday of 1965 with the Bud’s Martini, the gin-vodka-Lillet concoction served straight up—or maybe be in the right time at the right place, when the bartender decides it’s “Dime Time” and all drinks, for ten minutes, are ten cents if you’ve got the change. If not, never fear: back in the guest room, a curated bar beckons with ingredients sourced in the surroundings at the ready for you to shake up some new history.

Photography by Chris Mottalini.

All Stories