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Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Ranked #14 of 56 Hotels in Monterey
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 28 September 2009

We purchased a 4 star hotel room from hotwire - saved $50. Front desk was very pleasant. The room was nicely furnished overlooking a courtyard of sorts. After reading reviews we were concerned about noise. We didn't mind the sound of the seagulls and the seals. Reminded us that we were close to the ocean. And there was some noise from people having fun at a club - didn't bother us. And the location couldn't have been better - right next to the wharf.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled on business
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Thank mwill210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 September 2009

It was our seventh year anniversary, and my husband had made hotel reservations through expedia to stay at the Portola Hotel and Spa, a luxury hotel in Monterey California. Upon checking in, we were informed that the room that we requested was not available. My face dropped, and I began to walk away. My husband explained to the assistant manager that it was our anniversary, so she said "let me see what we can do." When she returned, she told us that she wanted to make our stay special and that she spoke with the manager because we want to offer you the platinum executive suite, free breakfast and parking at the expedia rate. Words could not truly explain how we felt. We have never been treated so well before that weekend. The hotel is beautiful, the decor is fabulous, the food was delicious and most of all the people treated us like we were royalty! My husband woke up the morning of our anniversary and the first thing he said was, "this was the best anniversary we've ever had." Many thanks to the staff and especially the assistant manager and manager of the hotel. We look forward to our next visit at the Portola Hotel and Spa.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank divadelights
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2009

I recently stayed one night at the Portola with 2 children, ages 5 & 8. The hotel is huge and seems impersonal, but probably is perfect for conference-goers. Fisherman's Wharf is directly behind the hotel, which made it great for strolling at night with the harbor lights and fun eateries and candy shops. We were upgraded to a "deluxe" room with one King bed. Not sure what made the room "deluxe", other than the fact that it opened onto the quiet courtyard of the hotel as opposed to a busy street, as some reviewers have mentioned. The room was not huge, but had plenty of room. The bed was decent, but the pillows were not much larger than a travel-size pillow. Bathroom was dated, but clean. Although I was aware of the $17/day parking, it was still painful to pay. I did not have time to check out the pool area and did not eat at any of the on-site restaurants. There are plenty of eating establishments on the Wharf or in Portola Plaza, the pedestrian-only area adjacent to the hotel. (Everything from Round Table Pizza and Taco Bell to cafes and gourmet eateries.) The hotel is within walking distance to a beachside trail for strolling/biking, but was a bit too far with kids (appx a mile) to the aquarium and Cannery Row. I only paid $80 for my room, so I can't really complain. My only real (big) problem was with the poor directions I received from a hotel staffer a few days prior to my trip. I wound up so confused by the area's one-way streets at night that I had to call the front desk 2 times for clarification. On my second attempt, I was so frustrated that the hotel operator stayed on the line and directed me turn-by-turn until I was within view of the hotel (thanks a million, Jessica!!!) Overall, a nice stay for visiting the area, but I would not pay full price.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank firsttimerstomaui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2009

I’m left disappointed by the Portola Hotel. From the moment we arrived and we were told just how much the hotel would take to park our car; to the checking where I found breakfast was not included (always a cheap, mean and grasping little touch, I feel); to the directions to our room which were vague and incomprehensible (I’ll explain why later); to the room itself, the idiotically-priced wi-fi, and the after-stay service. Not nice.

But every person checking in gets a free cookie. In a little paper bag. Thanks, that’s all right then.

Of course we could not easily find our room. From the glitzily impressive lobby we had to go outside, crossing a public area, into an altogether humbler boring concrete box. Not tatty, not dirty, but not nice either. The worrying thing about this separate accommodation block is that IN THE SEVERAL DAYS WE STAYED THERE – COMING AND GOING SEVERAL TIMES PER DAY AND EVENING – WE SAW NOT A SINGLE TRACE OF ANY HOTEL SECURITY. Anyone could have entered that block from the public area, unseen, unchecked and unchallenged – and probably did.

The room was nearly OK. I really would like curtains instead of those stupid wooden-slatted shutters that you cannot fully open (a truly idiotic design feature). There was no aircon, which is probably meanness rather than greenness. And is it a good thing or a bad thing that the room opened directly onto the hotel’s miniscule swimming pool? Probably a good thing, as the constant noise of playing children diluted the interminable noise of the busy highway just a few feet away.

My daughter absent-mindedly left some things in her room when we left (she’s a teenager, it goes with the territory). Good news and bad again: the good is that the hotel did get them sent back to us. The bad is that it took, literally, several weeks during which time the hotel did not reply to emails, kept me on the phone (transatlantic) for an age…and then found some benighted way to send a small package back to us that cost a goodly fraction of the cost of a night in the hotel.

I’ve mixed feelings about the location. It is “down town”, but there is not much town to be down in. A small, uninspiring town centre. The nicer bits is are the touristy attractions of Fisherman’s Wharf, just behind the hotel; and the touristy attractions of Cannery Row, a 10 – 15 minute walk along a pretty seashore. Notice I said the seashore is pretty – for me, it is a long way from the (unattributed) claim on the hotel’s website that it is the “greatest meeting of land, sea and sky in the world”.

One last word: this venue is more a huge conference/convention centre than a proper hotel. We lucked out – there was no large-scale convention when we went (actually, the place was just preparing for a classic car auction so we had the pleasure of seeing plenty of hyper-expensive cars being delivered, then we left before the auction). I’d guess it can get pretty unpleasant when filled up with hundreds of merry conventioneers.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank macroKenley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2009

Just spent the weekend at this hotel with my honey and I have to say, a bit disappointed based on the price of the hotel.

Let me start with the positive...the hotel is situated in an awesome location. Within walking distance to Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, the Aquarium, etc. There is also a great bike trail nearby, so whether driving, hoofing it or biking, the location can't be beat.

However, the hotel is so sadly outdated! We're guessing the rooms haven't been updated since the 80's. It's very clean, but for $300+ per night, it's in sad shape. There wasn't a fridge in the room and the remote to the ceiling fan had tape on it to keep the opening to the battery on. The TV was really old school as well. And, as others have noted, you do have to pay $17 per day for parking.

There are hotels with a better value just a short distance away, so even though the location is great, the value just isn't there. I would save your money, stay somewhere less expensive and spend your left over dough on a meal at the Monterey Fish House.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank supahu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2009

The Portola has many wonderful features and, of course, there are aspects that some people would find less than desirable. I have stayed at the Portola many times over the last 8 years or so. First, the location cannot be beat and therefore the room rates reflect that. Monterey has many motels and chain hotels that are much less expensive but also not situated near the bay. Rooms are offered at a variety of rates which reflect the room's location. Yes, you pay a premium for a bay view but there are less expensive rooms. You will not have the best view but the room interiors are essentially the same. The most expensive rooms usually include breakfast at Jack's (the hotel restaurant) and sometimes complimentary bottles of wine or fruit but everyone can get the complimentary oatmeal cookies. If you select a less expensive room, you may face the street or pedestrian/store side. You can always ask for a change but don't expect an upgrade you didn't pay for. None of the rooms are air conditioned, and yes, the ceiling fan does not seem to provide much air circulation. The seagulls can be loud, as well as the barking sea lions- you either accept that you are on their turf or stay at a hotel further inland. Sorry, but it's true. The restaurant options consist of a pub and Jack's. The food at Jack's can be very good yet pricey. They have added small plates to the dinner meal which provides a more reasonable option but, again, you are paying for location and convenience. There are many options, including take-out, across the street on Alvarado Street and Indian cuisine and Benihana's behind the hotel. As for the service, I have always been amazed at the courteous staff. Will I continue to choose the Portola? Yes. Do I wish it was less expensive? Certainly! I pay for the central location which puts most attractions, including the Cannery/Aquarium within walking distance and in the summer there is a free shuttle. I prefer the noise of the seagulls, etc. to the crowded and noisy Cannery district with traffic and even more expensive parking fees. If you are only in town for a couple of days to take the kids to the aquarium that location may be better for you. As with any hotel selection, only you can decide what is important to you (location, cost, ammenities).

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 101travelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2009

We stayed at the hotel Friday and Saturday night. We checked in at the front desk to a very rude woman. I felt like I was bothering her by checking in! We thought the location was great until Sat night when the club behind the hotel started the music. IT was so loud our room was almost shaking. Even with the door closed you could not hear the TV or anything. When we complained to the front desk we were told 'I'm sorry'.
The room was nice but definitely no more than a 2 star hotel. The lobby was very nice and location was close to the wharf, shops and restaurants. Next time we'll stay further away and enjoy ourselves and also not have to pay $20 a day just to park!!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank aliciac21
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: £134 - £312 (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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