A Pet Friendly Carmel Stay with Hofsas House Hotel!

Another glorious weekend getaway to Carmel-by-the-Sea is in the books. Each visit for my husband and me has been so unique, yet manages to be more fun than our last trek. I’ve mentioned it’s usually been our mini vacation celebrating a first milestone–first trip as a couple (the first time I was invited to spend a weekend in Carmel, Mike and I were barely official and I was nervous I’d be too forward to invite him! Ah, the young days…), first trip once engaged, you get the idea.

This holiday season trip? Perhaps the mother of all ‘firsts’. We had our fur babies, Hammy and Nova in tow! You may know them from my Instagram or Facebook posts. They are an odd couple. They will bark, jump, drive us nuts. But, funnily enough, get them to the beach and free of their leash, and they’re the most sociable and fun dogs you will ever meet. We knew they’d have fun in Carmel, often said to be the most dog friendly city in the USA but, the level of excitement and happiness these guys had for our 2 day stay was pretty wild.

Our Friday morning drive up the 5 (just under five hours) found our rascals behaving well in the car yet they loved to get themselves tangled in their seat belts Daddy bought them, as well as the handy dog seat cover he found. No whining, no potty boo boo’s. They looked to be loving the adventure from the back seat…..

Hammy being a ham…
Nova looking like all smiles…
Carmel is so pet friendly and has dog stations throughout the town.

When we arrived at our favorite place to stay in Carmel, the Hofsas House Hotel, owner Carrie Thesis and her mom, Doris, welcomed us with one of their warm check in’s. Carrie has managed to create the ideal “Home away from home” for all of her guests, both 2 and 4 legged. She took us to our room and made sure everything was to our liking. Well, more the dogs liking, as they are the picky ones! We were thrilled to arrive in our room and get settled in with their Tail Wagging package, while mom and dad enjoyed a welcome package with a bottle of Dog and Pony Pinot Noir from Monterey’s Comanche Cellars and local chocolates from Lula’s.

The Hofsas’ Tail Wagging package has all the essentials to keep your pooch happy. Hammy and Nova were treated to their own beds, a keepsake Hofsas House frisbee (sans any harsh chemicals that regular frisbee’s may have and be harmful should dogs chew on them), treats, dog shampoo and cloth (for those post-beach ventures) and a collapsible water bowl. The latter could not have been more helpful for all of our hikes, walks and excursions we 4 went on.

After a quick fresh up, we wasted no time to take the pups down to Carmel River State Beach. Easily my most favorite beach to visit. Just under 2 miles from the Hofsas, this is an easy walk to do with dogs in tow. We went down Carmel’s main drag of Ocean Boulevard and window shopped along the way. I stopped in for my first time ever, to grab an espresso from Carmel Valley Roasting Company, which is also what you get in-room at the Hofsas. A cozy little coffee house with a friendly staff and plenty of baked goods to go with your java, I inquired if they happen to make any gluten free goodies. They do not, but do carry a packaged gluten free brownie that didn’t look bad.

Tail wagging fun treats!
Welcome package with wine, chocolates and Hofsas House cookies. Welcome, indeed!
Fun time at the beach.
Nova cozied up on her bed right away.
While Hammy hogged the treats.

We arrived to the beach just in time to catch the end of a gorgeous sunset, with the aftermath stunning multi-colored skies that looked like a painting. The dogs were in heaven as we let them run free along the water. Hammy even went in a little! The stretch of water along Carmel River State Beach is absolutely breathtaking, with views of Pebble Beach and the gorgeous beach homes surrounding you. We had trouble wrangling them to come back onto their leashes so we could find some dinner.

We decided we could not do a Carmel trip without one of our traditions, dining at Dametra Cafe. A wonderful, family owned Mediterranean restaurant, Mike and I have made sure to eat at Dametra each visit. While they do not have a patio for pups, you can take out anything from their menu. It was ideal as this meant we could unwind in our room and enjoy that wine and those chocolates!

The 2014 Pinot Noir from nearby Santa Lucia Highlands was exquisite and smooth. Mike enjoyed testing my wine tasting skills and it was easy to detect the nutmeg, cinnamon and cranberry listed on the notes. I smelled a lot of tobacco on the first nose. Leather was also listed, and I am thinking that was the smoky, nostalgic scent I was getting along with those strong spice notes. It was an excellent Pinot and paired expertly with our meals and dessert feast of Lula’s Chocolates, a local company selling their confections throughout the area. Their sea salt caramel is not to be missed, FYI.

We enjoyed our take out food and Pinot Noir with the fireplace on.

When we awoke on Saturday, we did our usual Hofsas morning ritual of Mike grabbing us some goodies from their continental breakfast in the lobby. Fruit, yogurt, local pastries and even carafes of coffee are available for guests to enjoy either in the lobby or, if you are like me, take back to cocoon in your gorgeous room. We headed to our private patio to enjoy the views and the pups being ever so curious….

While the heated swimming pool and hot tub may not be as dog friendly as the rest of Hofsas, their humans will enjoy them….I think Nova had hoped to go in 😉

We decided to hit up a trail or two and came across the Carmel Meadows Trail Head. It actually will connect you back over to our beloved River State Beach. Parking just adjacent to a school house, the dogs had a blast on this stunning path along the coast and, you should have seen their excitement when we did wind up at a different part of the beach–alas, it looked to not be off-leash, so they whined a bit having to stay with us.

After the 6 mile trek (and besides from Nova being held a bit, they were champs), we headed back to town to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Stay tuned for my next recap in traveling with our un- traveled dogs to Carmel when I share with you the highlights of a wine tasting afternoon. Did Hammy and Nova discover a great Chardonnay or another Pinot Noir? You will soon know. xo

(*Disclosure: I received a media stay at Hofsas House Hotel. All opinions are my own.
Photography: Michael Farah.)

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