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Escape to Carmel

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in Travel
Escape to Carmel

Vendange was a budget motel in a previous incarnation. Built in the 1920s, you wouldn’t  have given it a second thought let alone your first one.

Some things get reinvented, like Vendange Carmel

By Bob Page

Carmel is simply one of those places that makes California special.

Vendange is a small gem of a property with only 18 rooms and suites.

Vendange is a small gem of a property with only 18 rooms and suites.

Every time we skip out of town for Carmel, we always wonder what had kept us away. Why hadn’t we been back sooner?

Whether it’s the Cheese Shop or Bruno’s Deli, always two must visits, Carmel is charming even when the weather isn’t agreeable.

We dropped everything. Christmas shopping and a number of holiday parties, jumped in our buggy and escaped to Carmel in December. It was cold, damp and raining. But in Carmel, who cares. The joy of Carmel has the unique ability to rise above the elements.

Next we needed a place to stay. With an assist from some San Francisco friends, we jumped at their recommendation and chose Vendange Carmel.

Not everything old is new again in Carmel. Some things simply get reinvented.

The Vendange garden

The Vendange garden

Vendange Carmel is a perfect case in point.

Vendange was a budget motel in a previous incarnation. Built in the 1920s, you wouldn’t  have given it a second thought let alone your first one.

Jonathan Lee, a bright, 26-year-old UCLA graduate, his brother and parents literally ripped it apart once ownership was in their hands.

They needed a theme and a complete break from its days as a cheap motel known as the Carmel Crystal Inn. Their renovation began in August 2012.  Sang Lee, Jonathan’s mother, began replacing all the furnishings, and brother, Brian, started overhauling guest services.

“The previous owner ran it into the ground,” Jonathan said.  “It was last renovated 20 years ago, rooms were going for $40 a night and gets you a certain clientele which  exacerbates the problem.”

All the furnishings were replaced.Now, everything is new. They brought in extra soundproofing (a necessity on busy Carpenter Street), bathrooms with Spanish marble and glass mosaic tiles, and $2,400 beds topped with double memory foam that face 55-inch LG TVs with high definition channels.

In French, Vendange means harvest. In their re-do, the Lees have created a wine-themed Inn. The remodel is a celebration of Monterey County wineries.

Local wineries have helped with the décor and jumped at the chance to do so. Each winery has its own room. Some appointed accommodations with wine-related accoutrements such as furniture made from wine barrels or bedspreads with their embroidered logos.

Vendange is a small gem of a property with only 18 rooms and suites. A new twist is that no children under 18 are allowed. “We tailor to romantic getaways. Its hard to enjoy a glass of wine with six kids running around,” Lee said.

Vendange is about four blocks away from Ocean Avenue, the spirited center of Carmel, but don’t let that put you off. And if you’re in an athletic mood, you can always walk there.  A little exercise is always good for the soul.

VENDANGE CARMEL

22815 Carpenter Street

Carmel, CA., 93923

(831) 624.6400

www.vendangecarmel.com

jlee@vendangecarmel.com

 

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