If you are looking for a small, family owned hotel with excellent customer service, unique design, clean and comfortable furnishings in a great central location, this is your best bet in Monterey. It is right on Del Monte Ave, which runs along the beach and through downtown, a block from the El Estero Park, and five blocks from the central business district and Monterey Conference Center. You can walk to everything. We left our car in the parking lot for four days. Across the street is the linear park along the waterfront with a great paved walking/biking trail that takes you south to the harbor and beyond to Cannery Row or north to the beach dunes. One afternoon we walked along the trail all the way to the Monterey Aquarium (about a mile).
The hotel is more like a big bed and breakfast. The owner and two staff are there every day 7:00 am-10:00 pm. The lobby is essentially a living room with a private bar. Comfy chairs to lounge in (see photos below), good wireless Internet service, and pleasant conversation with the assistant manager Lance Staub and caretaker Nashua. The breakfast was unbelievable. Guests are served a full complementary gourmet breakfast every morning with a menu that changes daily. You don't choose from the menu, they just bring you the day's fare. One day we got yoghurt and fresh fruit followed by Belgian french toast with strawberries and whipped cream. Coffee, tea, and orange juice, too. Another morning we got a delectable Spanish frittata with homemade sausages and toast with the hotel's homemade jams and preserves.
There are only three floors and a handful of rooms on each floor. Rooms are very nicely furnished and the beds super comfortable with unusually spacious bathrooms. Ours had a jacuzzi tub. A special amenity is that the fourth floor is a full outdoor roof patio overlooking the city with enough tables and chairs scattered about for probably 40 people. You can order beer or wine and tapas or a cheese plate from the small bar in the lobby and they will deliver it to the roof where you can relax, talk, sip, and nibble admiring the view. I was up there one evening with my wife and two friends enjoying a beer at sunset when a young couple arrived with a bottle of wine and a tapas plate. They reclined into a cushy love seat next to a table with a gas fire set in its center. Nashua brought them blankets to snuggle under. After sunset, the ocean breeze was a little cool for us (March) so we asked the staff to turn on the overhead heater above our table. It kept us toasty for hours. Another nice amenity is that every hotel guest gets a free drink between 5-7 pm. Guests wander down to the lobby bar after 5:00 for a drink (wine or beer mostly) and chat with each other and with Lance. We had a nice conversation with a couple from the UK one evening.
This hotel is like something you would find in a small city in Europe: family owned, unpretentious but very tastefully designed, maintained with pride, and focused on customer satisfaction. If you aren't on a tight budget, I highly recommend this hotel. It is not especially expensive--its prices are comparable to other nice hotels in Monterey...with taxes you are normally looking at $150/night. But keep in mind that this includes about 18% tax and every guest gets a wonderful breakfast and a free drink each evening. If you are parking for free in the back lot that's another savings. So $150 starts looking like a pretty good deal with all that added in. If you can pay that much, then you should give it a try as opposed to staying in one of the other standard three star hotels where nothing will be particularly unique or memorable.
In the interest of full disclosure I would like to mention a couple downsides. The tiny parking lot the hotel maintains in a rear courtyard only holds about five vehicles and negotiating the entrance and the lot are tricky--very close quarters. You can reserve a spot there but it will cost you $10/day. Otherwise it is first come, first served. There is, however, ample street parking nearby. There is no place to pull up in front of the hotel and unload. You have to pull into the back or park around the corner on Park Ave (I recommend the latter). The staff gladly helped us bring our luggage into the hotel from the car. Also, Del Monte Street is the one busy thoroughfare in Monterey. You can hear traffic noise in the rooms, especially if you open a window. Ask for a room away from Del Monte Street to reduce that noise. The hotel is a historic building and there is little insulation between the floors. We heard the people above us walking around every morning at 7:00 am. If you are a light sleeper, ask for a room on the third floor where no one will be above you. Finally, the wireless Internet service on the 2nd and 3rd floors was often unavailable. The owner knew about the problem and was trying to fix it. For three of our four days there, we had to be on the first floor to get Internet access (lobby and breakfast room). Other people who have rated this hotel have mentioned the Internet problem, too.
In short, this is a place with far more assets than drawbacks that offers a unique experience for its guests. Best for those who are staying two or more nights. Great for couples and foreign travelers. Perfect for anyone going to Monterey for a conference or convention but who doesn't want to stay in the big conference hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our newly designed European-style Inn is an easy walk to Monterey's beaches, City Center restaurants, shopping, nightlife, cultural activities and Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Nearby outdoor adventures include kayaking, biking, hiking, golf, whale watching, horseback riding and much more. Enjoy a panoramic view of Monterey Bay, Del Monte Beach, Monterey's city center and marina from our Rooftop Observation Deck, while sampling complimentary afternoon refreshments during our afternoon tea time and wine tasting, or while just lounging about. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Inn At Del Monte Beach Hotel Monterey
- Del Monte Beach Inn