Hofsas House a prime lodging option in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Sitting outside in the early morning on the top deck of the Hofsas House is almost reason enough to stay at the property in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Sitting above the tree line, the views of the Pacific Ocean are a sight to behold.

The Hofsas House is a great place to stay if you are a golfer and your wife doesn’t. But it’s much more than a place for golfers to stay. Anyone seeking a wonderful escape from the Bay Area is in for a treat.

The Hofsas House is located a short walk from the heart of downtown Carmel, meaning the shopping and wine tasting possibilities are endless and more important, appealing to your wife while you are knocking the little white ball around the course.

The Hofsas House has been around for 70 years and is currently under the guidance of Carrie Theis, the grand-daughter of original founder Donna Hofsas.

Theis grew up in Southern California, as well as Saratoga, before attending UCLA. She did however spend summer vacations with her grandmother and was showing people to their rooms at the age of 8 and working the front desk by the time she was 12.

When Donna passed in 1981, her only son Jack took over and he ran it until passing away in 1996. From there, Theis’ mother Doris and brother Scott ran the Hofsas House until 2000.

When the opportunity presented itself in 2000 for Theis take over the family business, she didn’t hesitate.

“It was an easy decision,” said Theis. “I enjoy the business. I get to talk with people from all over the world. Just yesterday I talked with someone from Brazil.”

Moving and running the hotel was also made easier as Theis continued the belief Donna established when she originally opened for business.

“Our vision is European elegance with warmth of family hospitality,” said Theis. “And we have the ideal location.”

On many levels.

First, the Hofsas House is built into the side of the hill so they have four floors in a city where nothing is to be higher than two stories from street level. The unique design allows for arguably the best view of any of the Inns in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The upper floors, as well as the deck area, all have views of the Carmel Bay/Pacific Ocean. All the doors at the hotel are Dutch-doors, allowing for the top half to be open, with the bottom closed.

Our two days saw our top door opened whenever we were in the room, providing views of the water, along with all that comes with being close to the ocean – fresh air and the sounds of the ocean.

Other options the Hofsas House offers is off-street parking – a vital component in the area – and a year-round heated swimming pool.

The parking allows the travelers to have an anchor for their trip.

“If you are staying overnight, you don’t have to get in your car,” said Theis. “We have people come in and don’t have to move their car. If you are staying in Monterey or Pacific Grove and you want to visit Carmel, you must drive. You stay here and you don’t.”

It’s a point well taken. We got into town Friday around noon, spent out time shopping, wine tasting, hitting the beach and dining and never once used our car until we left late Sunday morning.

The continental breakfast each day in the lobby is accompanied by a staff willing and eager to offer advice in planning your day.

Everything is within a reasonable walk, including the Carmel beach, a mere eight blocks away. The 5th Avenue Deli offers gourmet lunch options, included box lunches to go, perfect for grabbing on your way to the beach.

If you do feel like getting in the car and exploring the area, there are attractions such as Point Lobos and the Carmel Valley in addition to Monterey and Pacific Grove. Big Sur – which Theis stressed is “open for business” – is just an hour away.

The 38 rooms are decorated differently, providing a unique lodging experience.  The rooms are spacious and comfortable, offering amenities such as wet bars, balconies, kitchens and patios, as well as free WiFi.

Back to the golf. Theis is an avid golfer – hard not to be when living in the Monterey Peninsula – and is in tune with what the traveler wants, both on and off the course.

“We partner with Quail, Pacific Grove, Laguna Seca and Carmel Valley,” said Theis I regards to some of the local courses. “We have reasonable golf values.”

Not to mention being very close to world-class public courses such as Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Bayonet/Black Horse and Spanish Bay. There certainly is no shortage of incredible golf, all a short drive away.

The hotel has seen its share of celebrity guests during the major golf events such as the AT&T or the U.S. Open, which returns to Pebble Beach in 2019. Golfers such as Chris DiMarco and Jesper Parnevik have stayed at the Hofsas House. Nationally known journalist Art Spander is also a regular at the property during golf tournaments.

Guests at the property are eligible for $20 a day to take a shuttle from downtown – yes, a short walk away – to and from Pebble Beach for the tournament. No having to park out at Ft. Ord and endure the long lines for the buses.

Or, it is possible to walk to the course, entering by the 10th green/11th tee from the Carmel Beach.

The Hofsas House is also dog friendly, as are many of the Inns and businesses through the village. The dog-friendly movement in Carmel-by-the-Sea started when Doris Day opened the Cypress Inn in the 1970’s.

It’s an attitude carried throughout the village. Many of the businesses have bowls with water out front and many restaurants offer outdoor dining so the dogs can dine with their owners.

“We also have one of the few beaches that allow dogs off the leash,” said Theis. “People like to travel with their dogs.”

Hofsas House offers a “Tail Wagging” package, the includes a Doggie Welcome Package upon arrival. Included is a Hofsas House dog frisbee, a collapsible dog bowl, a special dog bed, and a letter from Tank – the onsite Pet Concierge.

The staff also offers tips and recommendations for your visit with your dog, including a copy of the Coastal Canine Magazine.

“Carmel is one of the most dog friendly towns you will find,” said Theis. “Our only rule is that you can’t leave your dog alone in your room.”

There is also ample meeting space at the Hofsas House as they offer a room with a fireplace, full kitchen and can accommodate up to 30 people for a sit-down dinner or 40 for a stand-up reception.

There are over 40 lodging options in Carmel-by-the-Sea and upwards of 1,000 rooms available. Each Inn has its special features, but the Hofsas House has the total package and is a place to seriously considering when making a trip to the area.

For more information go to www.hofsashouse.com.

By Dennis Miller