Let me begin with saying that I have stayed in many pet friendly hotels and the Cypress Inn is not just a pet-friendly hotel. I would call the Cypress Inn a PET HOTEL that is PEOPLE FRIENDLY. A pawsome experience that I highly recommend.
When I was a child, my mom used to sing “Que, Sera, Sera” often enough that it’s message has guided me through life. Recorded in 1956, Doris Day sang the words, “What will be will be.” Learn more on Doris Day here.
Over twenty-five years ago, Day bought the Cypress Inn located in Carmel, California partnering with Denny LeVett, a local business owner. Que Sera Sera, the theme song for the Day movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much could be the theme song for a stay at the Cypress Inn with its eclectic mix of human and canine visitors. What will be will be-but it will be wonderful.
It is well known that Day devoted her life equally between the silver screen and silver bowls. At ninety-two years old she still answers fan mail and remains actively engaged in animal rights having been a celebrated activist as much as she was a celebrated actress. Her unconditional care and generous attitude along with her on-screen personality sets the tone for the Cypress Inn.
A white adobe style building built in 1929; the entrance to the Inn is similar to boutique hotels found in Old Town Alexandria, Gettysburg or Paul Revere’s Boston. Gas-lit candles on either side of smoky glass entrance doors and a small black sign with brass letters identify the Inn. It is deceiving that there are forty-four rooms given the meticulous attention to detail, the seamless flow of guests and the intimacy provided.
Chris, a tall handsome bellman in a subtle uniform welcomes you with as much enthusiasm and appreciation as he welcomes your dog. “May I take this for you,” he asks as he reaches for the leash you're holding tight.
Randy, at the reception desk took over with perfection, knowledge and patience while my dog excitedly tangled his leash in the luggage turning me in semi-circles. The staff smiles gently, unmoved by the unexpected disorder.
“I guess you’re used to all this,” I said, as I shushed my dog and pointed him away from the flowerpot he was eyeing and reaching towards.
“We certainly are. Don’t be concerned. We have an attentive housekeeping staff and are always prepared” Randy said.
One gets a good visual of the Inn from the welcome desk. On the immediate right is the “Living Room,” a large lounge with chairs, sofas, pillows, a fireplace and piano. Live music is played on the weekends. A small plate menu is available.
When I went in there were two poodles, one puppy with pink bows flirting with a Portuguese water dog while a white Samoa looked on as he sat on the couch. A pug on a lap. A German shepherd with his snout resting on the patterned carpet. And my dog, woof! who wanted to acknowledge all of them.
My room left out no detail offering from what you would expect of a boutique hotel. A perfect blend of pet and people needs and extras.
A few steps out of the front door of the Inn you are immersed into picture postcard Carmel-by-the-Sea. Manicured streets with fairy tale cottages where window boxes explode with seasonal blossoms line the streets and integrate with stately larger homes.
Shops and restaurants offer no shortage of window-shopping or in-store buying, dining, or pampering. The lack of generic signs that crowd other destinations are clearly absent offering a refreshing introduction to this charming place.
But the magic is time spent with your dog in a place that encourages quality time. For us, a quick early morning walk on Carmel Beach, a pleasant five-minute walk from the Cypress Inn turned into a four-hour excursion traversing the north to south ends of the long and wide beach.
Dogs running. People running. Laughing. Barking. Photographing. Coffee on blankets. All part of the goings-on along the white powdery sand with low waves that gently turn over shades of blue water.
We strolled back a different way than we started, zigzagging the side streets lined with boutiques and cafes before returning to the Inn. We sat at the bar where I ordered a customized salad offered as an option when I couldn’t decide between two items. Jimmy the food and beverage manager took my order and remarked that it sounded so good it might have to be on the menu.
woof! fit right in napping at my feet as I ate along with several others and their canine pals doing the same.
“What kind of dog is that?” “Your dog is beautiful.” “Oh, how cute!” “How old is he or is it she?” “Are they related?” Common conversation breakers repeated among people in hallways and the nooks and crannies of the Inn. Often, only dog names were exchanged even when the conversations lingered.Our pets became familiar friends throiughtout town and throughout the stay.
Terry’s is the primary restaurant. Indoor seating and outdoor. Kimberly, my server for the night was outstanding.
“May I get you some water or perhaps, a Prosecco?” She asked.
“Sure, and I’m ready to order.”
She took my order before turning to my four-legged companion and asking, “And what can I get you, handsome fellow?”
While I waited, I asked the couple sitting near me, without a dog, if they had one.
“Yes, we do. She is back home as the trip was too long and she is too old.”
After learning they were from Taiwan, I asked, “How does it feel to be in a hotel like this with all these dogs everywhere?”
“I love it, it makes me feel like home but it makes me miss my dog so much.”
Kimberly returned with my four star arranged plate and cooled wine glass. She set them on the table and then brought over a red bowl filled with fresh burger and a shiney water dish which she set down at woof!’s front paws.
Music played and the aroma of honeysuckle floated in from the open air outside. I looked around the room and for the moment I chuckled thinking this is a perfect setting for a dog affair.
I finished my evening with a gelato. Woof! with a biscuit.
What moved me about the Cypress Inn was the unconditional attention with no sense of compromise for guests to have a special time. Guests that include everyone. The “humans” who chase the balls on the golf course and the canine’s who chase the balls on the beach.
At breakfast from 7AM – 9AM, a small room behind the bar offers an array of baked pastries, fresh fruit, bagels and popovers. Oatmeal. Eggs and potatoes in warm serving dishes. Coffee, tea and juice. Darleen or Mary is there to help you prepare your meal or lend a hand as you navigate with a hot cup of coffee on one hand and a happy pooch following close-by and attached.
There is enough to do in Carmel without driving. I found myself wanting to indulge in the no schedule and no have-to-be-somewhere mode. With no shortage of lattes, beachfront strolling and attention to quality time with my one-year-old puppy it was a perfect way to spend two days.
There are few rules at the Inn not uncommon to travelers. The one specific thing the staff asks is not to leave your dog unattended in your room. Dogs in unfamiliar places left alone will bark or whimper disturbing other guests and is upsetting to your frightened dog. I asked if that rule is often broken.
“Let’s just say that if the situation occurs we bring the dog to the front desk and try to reach the owner. We relay a short message, you’re dog is at the front desk.” Nothing else has to be explained. They get it.”
The Cypress Inn offers dog sitters for guests who want to play golf at nearby Pebble Beach, go out for an extended fine dining experience or indulge in spa facilities nearby. The spectacular Monterey Aquarium which does not allow dogs other than service animals, is nearby.
I spoke to one gentleman and his elderly companion who admitted they do not have dogs but come to the Cypress Inn regularly. “To us, it’s a joy to watch all the energy and happiness we see in everyone. It’s a beautiful place with just enough of casual flair for us to have a comfortable time. Places like this can be stuck-up and that’s not us. The dogs and the attention to them by their owners and the staff make this very special for us.
It had been a long time since I napped in the middle of an afternoon but woof! had gotten me up at 5:45 to go out. I was not the only one coming and going in a grab-n-go pair of shorts, a t-shirt and a baseball cap tethered to a prancing four-legged companion.
Around 3:00 p.m. we both fell asleep. Him on his special floor blanket from the hotel, me in the cozy queen sized bed. The shutters open to the inside courtyard of the Inn. Soft conversations between people and dogs became white noise.
I sat with Crystal Peterson, Manager of the hotel in the living room just before I left. The passion she has for the establishment and the people is heard in her voice and seen in her expression. “It’s the amazing staff here, our amazing guests and this wonderful setting,” she said. “It all works together. Whether people come with their dogs, as a couple, alone or with friends and family—we make it personal so our guests have a great experience.”
I asked Crystal about special events to which she shared Poodle Day in Carmel.
“It’s a must! But it sells out fast.” After checking the website here, I can see why.
Come to the Cypress Inn. Engage with the people. Shop the shops. Dine. Indulge. Walk or run on the beach without a schedule. Get a massage. Have a beer. Visit the bakeries. Smell the fragrant air. It’s all inside or steps away.
Most of all enjoy the time with your companions, two-legged and four-legged. All more than welcome by the Cypress Inn staff that will create a magical stay.
Directions, rates, availability and more information on the can be found on their webiste, http://cypress-inn.com. Direct information on Terry's Restaurant can be found here http://www.carmelterrys.com/