OK: An adorable little bed-and-breakfast outside Dublin is just dynamite—the cows in the pasture, a Victorian pillow beneath your head, Irish breakfast on your plate.
But wait a second. It takes thousands of dollars just to get there, land of constant dampness, the moos from the "cute" cows often double as an unwelcome wake-up call and the bed's likely lumpy. Besides, the greasy, limp bacon in the traditional Green Isle breakfast is often the most lively element of the meal. Ugh.
Allow Tradewinds, the definitive boutique hotel in Carmel, Calif., to redefine the greatness that the bed-and-breakfast experience can offer.
The first step: the bed. Each of the 28 luxuriously appointed guest rooms at Tradewinds enjoys a custom-made platform bed hand-made in Bali. On it go featherbed mattresses, 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens, down pillows with Thai silk pillowcases and duvet covers made by Frette. The stunning ocean views from the beds—plus the Jacuzzi tub before it and the fireplace nearby it—are but icing.
Then there's breakfast. Tradewinds' signature continental breakfast buffet, armed with fresh fruit and juice and starring divine French pastries from Parker Lusseau, voted Best Bakery religiously by thousands of local Monterey County Weekly readers, among other treats, can be served in the beautifully appointed Catlin room or delivered right to your suite.
Katy's Place does 16 Benedicts by itself, including a Romanoff with salmon and caviar, Santa Fe with grilled onion, tomato and avocado and spiced Hollandaise ($15.50) and “probably the most popular,” according to owner Randy Bernett, the lobster Benedict. The Little Swiss Cafe cheese blintzes deserve a statue, or at least a gold star from the governor. Pastries and Petals pairs worldly Champagnes with otherworldly breakfast sandwiches. La Biciclette's French fare doesn't have a weak spot. Carmel Belle's Green Eggs and Ham are as mindfully sourced as they are delicious. And that's but the beginning of the choices in the most densely breakfast'd square mile you'll find in the country.
So sorry Ireland, and Pacific Grove, and Nantucket. The bed-and-breakfast game has changed—or, better put, it has evolved. And Tradewinds is at the top of that game.