What do you think of when you hear the name Tally Ho? It has a joyful ring to it even if you don’t know what it means and most likely you’ll guess that it has to come from the British. Right you are! If you look up its meaning, you’ll find that it is a mail coach or a four-in-hand pleasure coach.
You will also learn that Tally–ho is the traditional cry made by the huntsman to tell others the quarry has been sighted. It may also be used with directions, including “away” and “back”. It turns out that there’s an INN with its name in Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of our favorite romantic escapes in the Bay Area.
One of the things we love about Carmel in general is its attention to detail and luxury “finds” on every corner. This means that the hotels, inns and B&B’s must step up to the plate to match the clientele and they do. Each time we’ve stayed in the area, we have never been disappointed, whether it’s a luxury rustic style hotel like Bernardus Lodge which we reviewed a few years ago, or a family-friendly option like Hofsas Hotel which we also reviewed. Then, there’s a larger brand like Hyatt; they have one in Carmel Highlands which we also reviewed a few years back and it’s one of the better Hyatts we’ve reviewed over the years.
Tally Ho is small and ever so charming, which we love. With only 12 rooms and suites, you’ll rarely run into anyone and there’s no internal hallways either, which makes it a safer option that larger hotels where you may have to pass guests. Their partner restaurant Il Fornaio is across the street (was closed during our stay but that is likely to change in the coming months). You can get a full American breakfast there during the week, or enjoy an expanded Continental breakfast in their lobby on weekends.
There’s also a firepit outside which is going 24/7, so you can sit in front of it for a picnic or a cuppa tea late at night.
We had a King Suite on the ground floor so if you want even better views of the ocean, then opt for one on the second floor. The rooms have 55-inch LED TVs, Bose Wave radios and complimentary (as it should be in all hotels) high-speed Wi-Fi, but these features are far from the reason you’d want to stay here. That said, I have to admit, uploading high resolution images one early morning was a breeze, and faster than it would have been using our home Wi-Fi, which is one of the higher speed packages.
Comfortable mattresses is worth noting because as we all know, all mattresses are not the same. They have super comfy handcrafted pillow-top mattresses and cushy pillows — we both had deep sleeps during our stay with no outdoor noise or interference. And, if you think its because the hotel was empty because of Covid, think again. Carmel’s main drag was busy with tourists — thoughtfully masked tourists — but tourists nevertheless.
Above and below, the King bed in our suite during our February stay.
There was also a couch and lovely sitting area with plenty of sunlight. And, of course, there was a gas fireplace which was fully adjustable so you never felt too hot or too cold. How many times have you left a hotel frustrated because the heating system was “off” or you were roasting or freezing because of old systems?
Another highlight are the whirlpool tubs and modern showers, all with marble-accented tiles.
They have a variety of other room types as well including one with a four poster bed for the traditionalists out there.
Since we are still living in a time of Covid-precautions, it’s worth mentioning the “cleanliness factor.” Frankly, I’ve always been a bit of a clean snob when it comes to hotels. Even in a pre-Covid world, I used to wipe down TV remotes, hair dryers and light switches with disinfectant.
Call me anal, but these tend to be the areas that are overlooked or simply not cleaned thoroughly enough. We found our suite very clean and even though I wiped things down as a protocol, it’s because it’s a matter of habit, not because the hotel underdelivered. One thing to note: they don’t clean your rooms unless you ask because of these Covid-protocols, however they deliver clean towels in a plastic bag that is left outside your room door each day – bravo! And yes, the staff were always masked even when walking in outside areas.
For a romantic escape, it’s a great option. Have your bottle of champagne or wine ready for a little toast either inside your room suite by the fireplace or on the patio facing the sea.
We had a lovely patio that looked out towards the ocean. And again, if you want an even better view as we mentioned above, book a room “up a floor.”
The lobby area is about as quaint as it gets. While there isn’t a large sitting area to lounge about, why would you want to when your room has it all? There’s a fireplace going and they serve tea, coffee and European style pastries, muffins and fruit in the mornings.
There’s plenty of tea choices and if it is a cooler evening, there’s Hot Cocoa as well.
You enter the Inn on Monte Verde Street, which is just off Ocean, the main drag in Carmel. That means that you are a hop, skip and a jump from all the best that Carmel’s downtown area has to offer, from luxury goods, fashion and cafes to restaurants, art galleries and antique stores.
Another great feature is a complimentary Tesla car charging unit and a standard car charging unit as well as free parking in an underground garage area. This makes it oh so easy to leave your car while you explore the town for the day, without having to worry about moving your car or finding an alternative parking option.
Two thumbs up! Would we return? You betcha. The staff was incredibly friendly as well and willing to go the extra mile given the current Covid restrictions.
Tally Ho Inn
Monte Verde Street at 6th Ave
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921
Note: we were hosted by the Inn but all opinions expressed are entirely our own.