With its artful frescoes, coats of arms and half-timbered architecture, Hofsas House (www.hofsashouse.com) would look right at home in a Bavarian village. Instead, the 38-room inn fits in perfectly well among the forested lanes and storybook cottages thousands of miles away in Carmel, Calif.
Checking into Hofsas House, I was greeted by Owner and General Manager Carrie Theis, whose grandmother Donna Hofsas established the property with a handful of cottages some 60 years ago. Learning the hotel business from the ground up, she began helping her grandmother out at the inn at the age of 12.
"In 2000, I moved my family here and took over the hotel on a full-time basis," says Theis, a former biologist who also has a background in computers and accounting—useful skills for a hotelier. "We're now making more of a push for group business."
While undergoing expansions and updates throughout the years, including the addition of a meeting room equipped with audiovisual and Wi-Fi, Hofsas House retains many original touches, including a Bavarian-inspired mural on the entryway wall by Maxine Albro, an artist whose work also adorns San Francisco's Coit Tower.
Hofsas House typically accommodates small meetings of 30 or less, but groups can also buy out the property. The accommodations, which range from king-bedded rooms to large two-bedroom suites with fireplaces, are all different from one another, but most feature spacious balconies with views of the ocean framed by pine and cypress trees.
The main meeting area, a pine-paneled room with a large fireplace and a full kitchen, opens onto a swimming pool area and can host up to 30 for a small meeting or banquet or up to 50 for a reception. It can also be configured for board meetings.
"Groups have held full-day meetings in there, but I really encourage them to get out and enjoy the area," Theis says. "We can provide box lunches for an outing to Point Lobos, a gorgeous state park, and we also have relationships with several golf courses, including Quail Lodge and Bayonet and Black Horse."
While Hofsas House has no on-site restaurant, the room rates include a complimentary continental breakfast, which can be set up for groups in the meeting room, with fruit, yogurt and delectable pastries from Monterey's Paris Bakery.
With Theis as my guide, I discovered that nearby off-site dining options serving locally sourced cuisine and equipped with function areas for small groups are plentiful. One of the best is Fandango (www.fandangorestaurant.com) in Pacific Grove, a European-style charmer with several private dining rooms with stone walls and beamed ceilings.
Old California-style atmosphere pervades at Tarpy's Roadhouse (www.tarpys.com) in Monterey, which is set in a 100-year-old stone ranch house that boasts such architectural curiosities as a fireplace made of seashells. Its several meeting and event areas include The Library, which seats up to 50 and has a private garden patio.