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“Fantastic Location”

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Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Ranked #17 of 56 Hotels in Monterey
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 14 September 2009

My husband and I booked two nights at this hotel due to a wedding we were going to in Carmel. I was able to get this hotel for only $90 a night through priceline, and thought it was well worth what we paid for it. The hotel is extremely large, so if you are more of a boutique hotel type of person, this may not be for you.

The location was perfect, as you were right in the center of town, with many restaurants and activities to choose from. The aquarium was only a short walk along the coast, and what a walk it was! The hotel is situated along the bay, however, there are lovely walking paths going either direction in front of the hotel that offer amazing views, and the chance to see seals playing in the water below.

The rooms were clean, however, the bathroom was a bit out-dated. As mentioned in several earlier reviews, there was no airconditioning which made for a stuffy room. We were slightly above the street, so if we opened our window to cool the room off, we would hear street traffic.

The beds were comfortable, even though they gave my husband and I two doubles instead of a queen or king. All in all, I would recommend this hotel if you are looking to be close to town, and the water, and you do not mind the big hotel feel.

*By the way, there is a great massage place next to Trader Joe's where you can get an hour massage for only $49. I highly recommend Cedric Johnson.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank enigmatic1jen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,160 - 2,166 of 2,552 reviews

Reviewed 9 September 2009

Staying in the hotel for 2 nights at Priceline rate, I feel the hotel barely worth my money. If I would have to pay regular price, that's definitely better places to stay in. As I book through Priceline, at check in, guest services gave us a city view room at street level, facing a very busy street. As the hotel does not have air conditioning and with room facing west, we have no choice to open the balcony door to cool down the room, not to say leaving the room open throughout the night. With how busy the street is and trucks stopping with engines on right in front of our room, none of us are able to catch a good night sleep. The next morning we reflected our problems to guest services, who graciously offered us another room at a higher level facing courtyard. Sleep the following night was much better, though you can hear sea gulls declaring their territory intermittently throughout the night.

Following are my evaluation of the hotel:

Pros -
- Double rooms quite roomy, with big working desk in between the beds
- Washroom very clean and roomy
- Guest services very friendly and professional
- Pool and hot tub are clean and spacious, though it's located in a separate building that requires us to walk from one building outdoor to another, crossing a pedestrian only public road. Thus, you may not want to leave the kids going back to the room by themselves.
- Hotel located within minutes of walk to Fisherman Wharf, where you can find some great restaurants. Farmers market is held every Tuesday (at least during summer) where you can enjoy food from all countries.

Cons -
- Lack of air conditioning
- Rooms facing city view are too far from elevator and be prepared of the traffic noise
- Parking - $17 parking fee not included as part of the rate
- Internet access - at an outrageous fee

Suggestion - if you're sensitive of noise, at check in, ask for room facing courtyard at higher level instead of just letting the guest service offer you any room.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank Chillimouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2009

Nice looking hotel within a five minute walk of Fisherman's Wharf. Close enough that with the windows closed, you can hear the seals barking. Also within walking distance of Cannery Row and the aquarium. The path to get to those is well paved, scenic, and safe. The best part of the walk is to see the seals basking on the rocks and the otters playing in the water. Doesn't have a free Continental Breakfast unfortunately. It's a bit expensive, but it's Monterey and that's just how it goes there. Lastly, do yourself a favor and also check out nearby Pacific Grove. It's gorgeous.

  • Stayed: September 2006, travelled as a couple
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Thank doke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2009

My sister and I stayed at Portola Hotel & Spa for 2 nights and we will never go back - what a nightmare!

The first room they gave us was a room for disabled persons (as we requested). However, the "disabled" room had a standard low-boy toilet which is extremely difficult to use for people with motility problems - we made due. Then we discovered there was NO air conditioning and one very noisy & wobbly cealing fan. We opened the sliding door that looked on to the top of the glass atrium (streaked with bird poo) to discover a flock of HUGE seagulls right outside the door. The birds squawked constantly and made so much noise that after 30 minutes of their abuse we finally called the front desk and requested another room (you cannot simply keep the slider closed because there is NO air conditioning). They moved us to a Non-disabled room on the 5th floor.

That first night my sister was walking from the hotel parking garage to the hotel lobby - she tripped & fell on the sidewalk out front of the hotel because the pavement was cracked and uneven due to tree roots. The hotel Bellman said that he has tripped there also, and he has seen other people trip too. The security guy was quick to point out that the sidewalk belongs to the City of Monterey and not to the hotel. My sister suffered only bruises to her knees, wrists, and abdomen but this is NOT what we expected from a 4 star hotel!!!

Then, on the second night the fire alarms went off at 11 pm. We were on the 5th floor and had to get out of the hotel. We went down 2 flights of stairs and ended up on top of the 3rd floor terrace. The ONLY stairs we could see to lead down were taped off with CAUTION tape - we shoved the tape and cones aside and used the stairs anyway, frightened because we didn't know why the caution tape was there in the first place. Down that flight of stairs we see a walkway that went over the roof - once again the exit was taped off with cones & caution tape. We had to push aside 2 more "barriers" just to get to the street level! We never saw any emergency exit signs or arrows - VERY frightening and confusing. Then, when we told the night security what a hassle we went through just to get to safety, he was very defensive and flippant towards us and tried to minimize everything we were telling him. We did not feel safe enough to go back upstairs (the fire alarm was a false alarm) so they finally gave us another room that was on the 2nd floor.

Other things that we NOT nice was $17 a DAY to use the hotel parking garage which is the ONLY parking around. They wanted $10 a DAY to use their internet (it should be free). The hotel restaurant is wildly expensive. No air conditioning! The seagulls are taking over the hotel and unless you like to listen to dozens of seagulls squeaking all night - Yes, ALL NIGHT - then do NOT stay at this place.

My sister and I have stayed at hotels all over the west coast and even in England and we both agree that we will never stay at this place ever again. In fact, if they offered me a free room I would turn it down!

Good points:
* beds are very comfortable
* its a clean hotel
* desk staff and wait staff were helpful and pleasant (NOT the security staff!)
* located close to the wharf & shops

  • Stayed: August 2009
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2  Thank MerryCook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2009

The photographer did a great job because the hotel isn't as nice as it seems in the pictures. It is a nice place to rest, but I'm just surprised that this hotel received a 4 star rating. It's an older hotel lacking in amenities like microwave, fridge, and free internet. In fact, the rate they charged for internet was ridiculously unheard of! It was $5 for 5 minutes, $50 for 1 hour, and the so on. This hotel is not within walking distance to the aquarium although there are plenty of unexceptional shops and restaurants around. It is within a short walking distance to Farmer's Market though. I got a room for $85 through Priceline. If you don't plan to go in and out, you can pay $7 for overnight parking across the street instead of the hotel's $17 rate which includes in and out privileges.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled solo
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Thank TwiggyC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2009

The front desk help was so nice...Caitlin was helpful, freindly and very efficient. You know it's a good place when the employee smiles , and greets you with warm cookies. Too good! Caitlin was helpful and went the extra mile-make sure to ask for the upgrade. It's worth it! WE had an excellent stay, the restuarant was good service, and tasty. The room was extremely clean, and beautifully decorated. We even got to keep the bath toy! My granddaughter loved it! Kudos to a great staff, and excellent hotel...I plan on staying here everytime I come to Monterey. A great place for all of the parents of CSUMB!! Go Otters...

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled on business
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Thank MaryBashkim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2009

.This hotel is spread graceful along the edge of Monterey Bay and a short walk to central Monterey. The hotel staff is friendly and helpful. We lost our way trying to find a certain terrace we could see out of our window, but did not know how to get there. We met a staff person, Ms. Carabarin, who took time in her busy schedule and led us through the hotel and graciously add the complete interesting details of the hotels history. After, we returned to our room that night, we founda box of the hotel's special chocolate chip cookies.Every staff member of the hotel from Spike in Jack's Lounge to Juan and Erin who served our outstanding meals in Jack's Restaurant made us feel like home.

The hotel is clean and quiet. Everything is in walking distance. There is a trolly that takes you around town and waterfront for free. Don't eat at the Fisherman's Restaurant if you are a connoissuer of fine sea food. Breakfast was great at the Portola. Service superb. For a fun time at a English pub, try the Crown&Anchor . A good breakfast can be had at the Monterey Cafe. Get their early, it gets very crowded. Monterey is a magical place to stay. The Portola made our stay memorable.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Patadepero
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Address: 2 Portola Plaza, Monterey, CA 93940
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Monterey County > Monterey
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Monterey
#3 Luxury Hotel in Monterey
#4 Spa Hotel in Monterey
#4 Business Hotel in Monterey
#7 Family Hotel in Monterey
#9 Romantic Hotel in Monterey
Price Range: £123 - £292 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay 4*
Number of rooms: 379
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Portola Hotel & Spa reflects the captivating spirit of a rich, historical setting surrounded by everything that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer. Your stay at the Portola Hotel begins with warm homemade chocolate chip cookies, provided at check-in. As the only Silver LEED Certified hotel on the central coast of California, the hotel boasts 379 guestrooms and suites, an award winning full service day spa, three on-site restaurants including a craft brewery and more! Portola Hotel & Spa is one of California's premier family-friendly destinations offering easy access to Monterey's favorite attractions. The hotel is also pet friendly. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Portola Hotel And Spa At Monterey Bay
Portola Hotel Monterey Bay

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