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“We offer a very expansive hot breakfast in the mornings including pastries and granola, and all the items are made in-house, including our afternoon fresh-baked cookies,” explained Hilary Newsom, President of PlumpJack Group and owner of The Hideaway in Carmel. In an interview, we discussed recent renovations and the re-launch of the hotel, coupled with the best way to experience the town in terms of neighborhoods to explore, delicious places to wine and dine, and unique places to shop.
The President of PlumpJack Group since 2009, Hilary Newsom joined the company as Director of Marketing in 1996 after an early career working in fashion merchandising. These days she collaborates with department heads and oversees operations and marketing of the individual businesses. Passionate about philanthropy since childhood, she is a committed fundraiser and serves on the boards of several charitable organizations.
Almost exactly a year ago, The PlumpJack Group announced its acquisition of The Cobblestone Inn, renamed it to The Hideaway, and began a series of updates to the property. What kinds of renovations were made, and how did you balance the history of the property with the design vision you had moving forward?
The renovations to The Hideaway were pretty significant without changing the layout and structure of the building. The guestroom updates included new bathrooms, fireplaces, all new soft goods and furniture, plus window treatments. We revitalized the courtyard to include more communal areas, such as the fire pit with comfortable couches and nice bistro-style tables for guests to enjoy breakfast, snacks and wine hour outdoors. The lobby and lounge area was opened up and includes lots of space for indoor dining and lounging, where guests can relax and socialize during breakfast, wine hour or anytime in between – we have games and coffee table books to keep people occupied during their stay.
The décor is very much aligned with beachy feel of Carmel, which is very charming and quaint. We definitely maintained the cottage feel of the Inn, but elevated the design to be more clean and modern. Our design firm, ShopWorks, used simple, elegant materials and darker wood tones to give the space a warm and romantic feel.
Now open, what makes this property particularly unique for Carmel-by-the-Sea?
I would say the Inn’s modern feel is probably the most unique as many of the Inns and B&Bs offer a more traditional feel. We offer a very expansive hot breakfast in the mornings including pastries and granola, and all the items are made in-house, including our afternoon fresh-baked cookies. We also offer a great wine hour with cheese offerings from the local Cheese Shop in Carmel Plaza and wines that are made by our wine buyer for PlumpJack Wine & Spirits in San Francisco. We also offer PlumpJack branded wines for sale, along with local craft beer. The Inn has complimentary cruiser bikes for its guests to take out and our outdoor courtyard is very inviting and comfortable for guests to relax and socialize.
For those planning a trip for the first time to the area, what would be your top five things to do, see and experience?
In terms of dining, what kinds of restaurants and wine bars might you recommend to get a true flavor of the richness and diversity of the town?
For some retail therapy, what are some of your favorite shops, art houses or otherwise to peruse?