The vision of Carmel-by-the-Sea began in early 1903 as a seaside town on Carmel Beach in the pine forest alongside Carmel Mission. Roads were built to curve around the trees to ensure the natural beauty. Over the next 20 years, the community began to develop attracting teachers and professors from Stanford and UC Berkeley, as well as artists, poets, musicians and actors.

Fast forward to 1930, under the guidance of the cultured and independent-minded, Mrs. Ida Theurer, the Colonial Terrace was built. Over the years, she created and expanded the Inn by developing a considerable complex of cohesively designed and well-sited buildings, modeled to blend visually with the predominant Colonial Revival style of the time of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

As an excellent example of the type and style of visitor accommodations developed in Carmel-by-the-Sea during the decade of the 1930's, the Colonial Terrace combines a popular eastern building style with architectural elements from the surrounding community.

The use of stylized cornices, door surrounds, traditional building materials and other colonial detailing is coupled with the more local elements of Carmel stone, veneers and decorative exterior wood shingling that give the hotel a clear "Carmel" look.

Key elements of Mrs. Theurer’s creative design remain evident in the hotel today. The imaginatively shingled edifice housing the current lobby and lounge is only one such example. After her trip to Oberammergau, Germany, in 1937, Mrs. Theurer commissioned a German carpenter to create this intricate exterior reflecting the small town’s long tradition of woodcarving.

After nearly 90 years, The Colonial Terrace continues to be shaped by its celebrated history, but surely exceeds Mrs. Theurer’s original vision for this little Carmel inn-by-the-sea.