A bedroom with a king-size bed facing a large window overlooking the ocean. The bed has a white duvet and blue pillows. There is a nightstand on either side of the bed with lamps on top. In the corner of the room is a armchair. The room has white walls and a cream colored rug.

Charming Cali Hotel Perfect for a Wedding by the Sea


June 26, 2024
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Chris Mottalini

California is one of our favorite destinations for weddings. The abundance of backdrops is one major reason why. Everything from modern and eclectic to historic and laid back, California serves it up right.

One of the most charming locations in all of California (in our humble opinion) is Carmel-by-the-Sea. Situated just south of Monterey in Central California, you might have heard about iconic nearby resorts like The Lodge at Pebble Beach or attractions like the 17-Mile Drive. And just a few miles away, you’ll find the idyllic town of Carmel, filled with boutique hotels, winsome bed and breakfasts, delectable restaurants and family-owned shops. 

On a recent visit, I uncovered a true gem and a historic one at that – La Playa Hotel.

Romance is part of the history behind La Playa Hotel. Back in 1905, the property was originally designed by an artist for his wife (who also happened to be a daughter of the Ghirardelli family). Later, in 1922, rooms were added and the mansion became a boarding house. Changing hands a few more times, the boarding house eventually became a hotel. Newly restored, La Playa Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea stands as a premier destination for couples seeking a truly unforgettable wedding experience. 

With its rich history, stunning ocean views, and impeccable service, La Playa offers a unique and romantic setting that distinguishes it from other oceanfront venues. Heres why this charming hotel is the perfect choice for a destination wedding.

A Historic Gem in Carmel-by-the-Sea

La Playa Hotel exudes historic charm while offering modern amenities. The classic architecture, lush gardens, and vintage details create a timeless elegance that couples can appreciate. The hotel’s unique blend of service from a bygone era and richness in every detail ensures that events held here are both stylish and memorable.

A collage of three images showing a hotel room, swimming pool, and a statue. The hotel room image shows a plush king-size bed with white linens and blue pillows. There are nightstands on either side of the bed with lamps. The swimming pool image shows a clear blue pool with lounge chairs and palm trees surrounding it. The statue image shows a white statue on a fireplace mantel.

The Enchanting Town of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its artistic community, quaint shops, and beautiful beaches, is a destination in its own right. The towns storybook charm adds to the allure of the destination. Guests can explore local art galleries, enjoy wine tastings at nearby tasting rooms, and take leisurely strolls along the scenic coastline making the wedding weekend of unforgettable experience for everyone.

Versatile and Unique Event Spaces

La Playa Hotel offers several distinctive venues, each providing a unique feel for different aspects of the wedding celebration.

The Pacific Room and Terrace

Overlooking the ocean, the Pacific Terrace is ideal for those interested in an indoor/outdoor option. Couples can exchange vows with the sound of waves in the background and panoramic Pacific Ocean views before them. The Pacific Room, adjacent to the Pacific Terrace, offers a fully indoor option with equally captivating views. Large windows frame the ocean, allowing natural light to flood the space. This sophisticated venue, with elegant chandeliers and rich wood accents, is perfect for receptions, blending indoor comfort with outdoor beauty.

A collage of three images showing a living room, patio, and garden. The living room has a fireplace with a fire burning inside. There is a couch and armchair facing the fireplace. The patio has a fire pit and comfortable seating. There are palm trees in the background. The garden has lush greenery and flowers.

The Courtyard

The Courtyard provides a serene garden setting, surrounded by blooming flowers and lush greenery. Ideal for both ceremonies and receptions, this venue offers a tranquil escape that feels like a secret garden. Its romantic, whimsical atmosphere is perfect for those seeking a fairytale wedding.

La Playa Patio

This venue is ideal for intimate celebrations, again allowing for La Playa’s beautiful landscaping to shine through but with overhead protection in case of inclement weather. Despite the small space, the terra cotta tiled terrace overlooks The Courtyard for a spacious feeling.

A spacious living room with a fireplace, bar, and stairs leading to the upper floor. The fireplace is made of stone and has a fire burning in it. The bar is made of wood and has several stools in front of it.

Fireside Room

For smaller, more intimate gatherings, the Fireside Room is an excellent choice. This cozy indoor venue features warm wood furniture, classic decor, and an inviting fireplace. Its perfect for a cocktail hour or pre-wedding festivities, exuding old-world charm and elegance.

Luxurious Accommodations and Amenities

La Playa Hotel offers beautifully appointed rooms that combine comfort with elegance. Rooms and suites feature stunning ocean or garden views, plush bedding, and modern amenities. The charming and expertly designed rooms make you feel like you’re in a home away from home. Thoughtful touches like local libations, snacks and treats are a refreshing touch from the usual mini-bar options. 

Guests can enjoy the heated outdoor pool, indulge in a relaxing dinner, or take in a beautiful sunset overlooking the ocean each night.

An image collage of a historic two story building with front garden, a pub-style restaurant with framed photos on the walls, an event hall lined with windows and wooden beams.

Service is exceptional here. You’ll be greeted with a chilled glass of Rosé upon check-in and a freshly baked cookie in the evening. Each day a sumptuous Champagne breakfast is served in The Library from 7:30 to 10:00 am and includes locally sourced ingredients, fresh pastries, and–of course–Champagne!

La Playa Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea is a premier choice for a destination wedding, offering a blend of historic charm, versatile event spaces, exceptional service, and stunning ocean views. The quaint town of Carmel, with its artistic community and scenic beauty, adds to the overall experience. From the breathtaking Pacific Terrace to the intimate elegance of breakfast in The Library, La Playa Hotel provides a quintessentially romantic experience that will be cherished forever.

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