Our Story Begins
Artist Christian Jorgensen began construction of a stone mansion in Carmel. The home would be a gift to his wife, Angela, a daughter to the Ghiradelli family of San Francisco. Boasting the first swimming pool in Carmel, the home had spectacular views of Carmel Bay and Pebble Beach to the northwest.
A magnet for artists and writers during Carmel’s seminal bohemian period, the La Playa became a popular salon and the Jorgensens soon moved to Pebble Beach in search of privacy.1905
From Mansion to Hotel
After leasing the property for several years, Agnes “Alice” Signor purchased La Playa, converting the mansion to a boarding house called “The Strand.” In 1922, 20 new rooms were added making La Playa a full service hotel.
In a letter dated Aug. 13, 1915 Signor wrote a W.A. Sears that rates for room and board were $2.50 a day per person and $15 per week.1917-1922
Growing with the Town
The hotel was expanded to a luxurious 80-room destination.
A magnificent new dining room was added, overlooking Carmel Bay.1940
Howard E “Bud” Allen, a Carmel native, purchased the hotel and introduced several modern amenities including a full time bar and sprinkler system. Shrewdly, he also cultivated corporate business and foreign travelers who found similarities between La Playa and intimate inns across Europe.
A modern-day nod to his era at La Playa, the hotel features a 10-minute Happy Hour offering well drinks for just a dime. Dubbed “Dime Time,” it is facilitated at random once a day. Revelers must pay with exact change to partake.1968
Birthplace of the Mac
Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh computer prototype during a development team retreat at La Playa Carmel and ceremoniously christened it with a bottle of La Playa water.1983
Restoring the Grandeur
The Cope family of San Francisco purchased the hotel and completed a $5 million renovation. “People loved La Playa no matter what shape it was in,” said Cope, “But we knew we were dealing with a local legend and a part of Carmel’s history when we began renovations. It was only logical that we would want to restore the property to its past grandeur.”1983
Growing interest in La Playa’s award-winning gardens led to the first of many annual garden parties.
In 1992, La Playa Carmel became a recognized member of The Historic Hotels of America.
A program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America is an exclusive group of historically distinguished hotels with a total membership of over 200 hotels and resorts representing 42 states and the District of Columbia. Properties of the Historic Hotels of America members must be at least 50 years old, listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, or recognized by a local or state government as having historic significance.1990s
The furniture shown above was later donated to various local charities for resale with the mermaid headboards raising $50-$120 each.2005
Joining Classic Hotels & Resorts
Following a $3.5 million dollar renovation over 10 months, Grossman Company Properties and Classic Hotels & Resorts re-opened La Playa Carmel in July 2012. Classic Hotels & Resorts already had a strong record of restoring properties to their previous grandeur, most notably with the restoration of the Arizona Biltmore.
Shortly before the opening, Christine Delsol of SFGate.com wrote “La Playa’s past is, if anything, more present after this renovation than it has been for decades. The building itself is the greatest repository of Carmel history, but its walls are a virtual museum as well, holding historic photos, posters, covers of the 19th century satire magazine “The Wasp” and Jo Mora’s intricately detailed and wittily annotated maps of San Francisco and Carmel.”
Notable enhancements to the property included chic guestroom décor with crisp white paint, plantation shutters, pillow-top mattresses and a fresh citrus color palette. The addition of a Signature Champagne Breakfast Buffet, included in the nightly room rate, helped cement our position as Carmel’s newest luxury boutique hotel.2012
Still The Grand Dame of Carmel
Celebrating 110 Years of Romance and History2015