La Playa Hotel Carmel

When Historical And Contemporary Become One: La Playa Hotel

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Since its inception, Post Company, an award-winning firm based in New York, has established a holistic approach and an immersive methodology as its foundational materials. The talented team of architects, interior designers, carpenters, art directors, and graphic designers led by partners Ruben Caldwell, Jou-Yie Chou, and Leigh Salem consistently delivers unique designs that are worth a thousand words. The recently renovated La Playa Hotel in Carmel, CA, is no exception. The updated hotel interior design once again signified Post Company’s belief that design should be an amalgam of beauty, elegance, and utility.

The History Of La Playa

It was destiny that brought Post Company to La Playa’s extensive $15 million renovation. The original building was constructed in 1905 by the artist Christian Jorgensen as a gift to his wife Angela, who was the daughter and heiress of the Ghiradelli family fortune. In 1922, it was turned into a hotel that quickly established itself as a sophisticated charming playground for artists, writers, sculptures, and all those with a creative spark. La Playa has always strived to maintain tradition and history while embracing the ever-changing nature of the world.

Marc & Rose La Playa Hotel Carmel, Outdoor guest deck
La Playa Hotel, Carmel, Terrace


La Playa’s design inspiration comes not only from within. The hotel is situated in one of California’s finest cities, Carmel, which has a rich history of its own. The place is widely known as a gorgeous seaside resort and the ultimate artistic getaway. As a result, the hotel’s irresistible charm is amplified by the magnetic nature of expansive seascape views, bohemian gardens, and captivating architecture. La Playa is a place where guests can reconnect with history, nature, art, and themselves.

“This property has a lot of interesting missionary architectural vernacular so we wanted the design to celebrate that and feel contemporary and new, yet bring fresh eyes for guests. The design needed to be subservient to the overall concept and help tell the narrative rather than stand out and take away from the overall experience. Staying true to the original details and character of the building was important.”

– Partner, Leigh Salem
Marc&Rose Hotel Guest Room with Vintage Stained Glass
La Playa Hotel, Carmel, Guest Room With Missionary Stained Glass

Hotel Interior Design

The renovation included 76 rooms within the hotel, F&B Outlets, a lobby, a pool, and outdoor spaces. Post Company approached a project of such a significant scale as true professionals of their craft. They leveraged preexisting as-built plans and 3D scans of the entire building, ensuring a successful start to the La Playa renovation. The team’s first step was to create a unified design that was adaptable yet still allowed each room to have a unique touch. 

F&B Experience

The hotel has undergone many changes since its establishment. This time, the client wanted to focus on creating a special food and beverage experience for every room. As each room is different, Post Company came up with the idea of developing three variations of the “barmoire” to adapt the concept to all the rooms. Interestingly, the hotel has a meaningful historical connection to beverages dating back to 1968 when Howard E “Bud” Allen purchased La Playa. He was the first to introduce a full-time bar there. To honor that, now the hotel features a 10-minute Happy Hour offering drinks for only a dime.

“We had to develop individual FF&E pieces and simultaneously test them in all of the room types, so our strategy was designing adaptable components throughout” 

– Partner, Ruben Caldwell

Streamlining The Process With Design Spec

DesignSpec has been an invaluable source of support for Post Company throughout La Playa’s renovation. The project’s primary objective was to maintain design consistency while creating unique and distinct spaces. To achieve this, the team had to keep track of a comprehensive catalog that contained a wide range of furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) options. Design Spec played an essential role in ensuring that all specifications were meticulously organized and easy to modify.

“We’re learning that front-loading projects with more information and strategy before we start saves everyone’s time” – Partner, Leigh Salem 

Marc&Rose La Playa Hotel, guest room with view
La Playa Hotel, Carmel, Guest Room With a View

Timeless Hotel Design

The renovation of La Playa Hotel was a challenging but creatively stimulating project for the Post Company team. They delved into Spanish missionary design, which inspired new creative thinking throughout the project. Post Company was able to preserve the building’s historical roots, artistic nature, and grandeur while introducing modern art and a contemporary feel. As a result, the hotel now boasts a perfect blend of old and new, preserving the passage of time within and beyond its walls.

Marc&Rose La Playa Hotel, Restaurant
La Playa Hotel, Carmel, Breakfast Buffet
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