Dolphin Inn is a reasonably priced hotel right in the heart of Carmel. While it's not as fancy as some of the other Carmel hotels, it's certainly sufficient for a Carmel vacation as you won't be spending a lot of time in the room anyway. Continental breakfast delivered right to your door every morning is a nice touch, and the desk staff is extremely friendly - they even offered us complimentary bottled water for the drive home.
Beltramo's has some of the best prices you'll find on a wide selection of liquors, including some you won't find in the grocery stores or large chains. The store also boasts a warm, attractive decor. Highly recommended.
Town and Country Village is a rather unremarkable store across the street from Stanford. It's hard to tell at a glance what you're in for, which is unfortunate because the decor makes exploring rather unappealing. That being said, there are some quality merchants if you know what you're looking for.
There's a reason you'll frequently see tourists at Stanford Shopping Center; the open-air mall is nicely landscaped and well-maintained. Shopping consists mostly of high-end stores; restaurants are by and large excellent, many with heated outdoor seating even in the winter.
Kepler's offers a unique community experience now that it has reopened under a membership program. It offers a mom-and-pop feel with a large-chain selection. Top-notch authors frequently stop by.
Eddie's offers a wide variety of fabrics, typically more unique than those you'd find at chain stores. Service department is reasonably priced with quick turn-around. I had a machine repaired there and they managed to misplace the power cord, but they replaced it no questions asked.
Sonica offers friendly service and good prices, but suffers from its small size. Frequently only one salesman is present, and their time can be monopolized by a picky customer. Selection is also not great.
I had a bass guitar re-strung and adjusted here. Price was reasonable and the quality of the work was very good. Turn-around time was a week due to a high volume, probably because other music stores in the area don't offer comparable services. Highly recommended.
Draegers has higher prices than other nearby grocery stores, but you get what you pay for. Food is high quality and the liquor section has an impressive selection. Housewares and other sundries are available on the second floor, and prepared food from the stalls in the front of the store is quite good.
Menlo-Atherton Shell lives up to its reputation for incredibly friendly customer service. No appointment is required for most service. I'd never before encountered a mechanic honest enough to recommend against expensive work when it's not required. Service is prompt and prices are reasonable. Highest possible recommendation.