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Big Sur + Monterey hotels

With two notable exceptions, plus a just-opened InterContinental too new to review, Monterey is better known for motels than hotels. But of the area's communities, it's the closest to San Francisco and therefore ideal for a quick getaway. For romance, you can't beat Big Sur; the ocean is never out of earshot, and the night sky blazes with stars. This is where you go for the majestic coastal vistas you've seen on postcards and in car commercials. Carmel-by-the-Sea's chintz- and lace-heavy inns will appeal to window-shoppers and beachgoers. In fact, it's the only community with wide, sandy strands. If you want to golf at a full-service resort, stay in Pebble Beach or inland in pastoral Carmel Valley, which is also the area's viticulture center.

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Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley

Gourmands and oenophiles tend to choose this place, an extension of the eponymous winery. Here, it's all about the grape: Each of the 57 rooms has a "wine...more

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Editors' Pick
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Casa Palmero, Pebble Beach

Live to golf? You won't get closer to the game than at this grand 1927 Mediterranean-style villa: It sits right on the first fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links....more

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Editors' Pick
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Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Carmel-by-the-Sea

This Craftsman-style property is "a short drive from the heart of town." Rooms have color schemes of taupe, caramels, and steel blues, along with wood and metal...more

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Editors' Pick
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Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach

This red-roofed coastal inn overlooking the Pebble Beach golf course has rooms with fireplaces, decks or patios, gold fabrics, and ocean or forest views. "Staff...more

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Editors' Pick
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L'Auberge Carmel, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Built around a flower-filled brick courtyard with a fountain, this classic Carmel inn has hidden staircases, gabled windows, and a tiny dining room that's one...more

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Editors' Pick
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Lodge at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach

Expect a "postcard-perfect location on Carmel Bay" at this white lodge that hosted the 2010 U.S. Open golf championship. Oceanfront accommodations pair...more

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Editors' Pick
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Monterey

The Plaza is the only large-scale full-service hotel right on the water in Monterey. The decor of the Mediterranean villa–style buildings is tasteful but...more

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Editors' Pick
Old Monterey Inn, Monterey

The best place to stay in Monterey is—surprise!—not the Monterey Plaza. In fact, it's this ten-bedroom Scottish Tudor mansion, built in 1929 for...more

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Editors' Pick
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Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

The hype is true: This place really is spectacular. It sits on a narrow ridgeline 1,200 feet above the crashing surf, and its architecture brings out the best...more

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Editors' Pick
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Treebones Resort, Big Sur

Green is the watchword at this cushy Mongolian yurt camp, set on a steep hillside midway between San Simeon and Big Sur. The 16 yurts have been constructed with...more

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Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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