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“Clean Room, Yummy Cookies”

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Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Ranked #15 of 56 Hotels in Monterey
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 16 August 2007

I was a bit jittery about arriving at our hotel after reading some of these reviews. I booked our room at a great deal on Portola's "Summer Delight" internet special (my husband, my two kids and I all went) and THEN read the reviews. Well, from the moment we arrived, my jitters disappeared. I called from Big Sur to let them know we'd be late, and they told us no problem. We arrived and checked in without any hassle and received a nice room in the main building (508). We also got those nice, warm, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The room was bright and cheery (a buttercup yellow) with two double beds. Granted, two queen-sized beds would have been slightly more spacious for sleep, but we had no problems. Our room was serviced early in the day which was great, especially as we stayed 3 nights. I've been at hotels where I've tried to come back for a mid-afternoon nap--and with kids this is essential--and my room wasn't ready. But here, the room was clean and ready to go by the kids' naptime. For those parents who might be concerned about the TV resting on the dresser, it appears to be bolted down on a swivel and I had no concerns about my rambunctious 3-year old. I also had no concerns about the balcony we had. I was going to request a room with no balcony because we have a young one, but decided against it. I was happy I didn't because the sliding door had a chain lock so we could have the door open and not be fearful that she'd run out.
My only concern was that the hotel parking lot ($15/day) was also a public lot, so when we arrived after a long day on our second day the lot was full. We decided to go get dinner and returned back an hour later and were able to find a spot without a problem. It didn't help that we came into town during the time of the Classic Auto auction / race thing and they closed off the streets making it somewhat hard to get back into the hotel. There were also many, many covered ferraris parked in the garage, but I will reserve judgment and say that they belonged to hotel guests.
In all, I really liked the Portola. It was quiet (we had a courtyard room, better than anticipated), we got to hear seagulls in the morning, our room was clean and cheerful, the maid service was excellent, and the people at the desk were all very nice. I do recommend the hotel and will gladly stay there again should we travel to Monterey. One more thing: I had almost booked at the Hyatt Regency and am glad I didn't because it was too far off the beaten path. I liked our central location.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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2  Thank marlindorie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,236 - 2,242 of 2,488 reviews

Reviewed 12 August 2007

The Portola Plaza Hotel is a beuatiful, sedate hotel. We stayed with our 2 children for a 3 day getaway to Monterey from the San Francisco Area.

It is likely a 4 star hotel; we did not eat in any of their restaurants or have much interaction with the hotel staff. I agree with other reviewers that the pool/hot tub was nothing at all, and the in room coffee is terrible. To get around the 2nd problem there is a wonderful Italian Cafe and breakfast street right across the way.

The main thing I loved is their location has to be the best we could have hoped for - far enough away from the kitsch and noise of Cannery Row but a pretty walk there and to the aquarium; right near Fisherman's wharf. There is another great Italian restaurant - non touristy - across the street and plenty of places in downtown Monterey.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
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1  Thank Stephen Deadelus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2007

We stayed at the Portola Plaza for two nights in early August 2007. We were assigned the hotel as part of a conference arrangement and we had no idea what to expect, Frankly, having been to Monterey on day trips, we were not expecting much. The Portola Plaza was a pleasant surprise--the location just cannot be beat. It is close to the wharf and boat excursions there; it is an easy walk to the Duck Club (very good food) and to the Cannery Row sights.

Our room was on the 7th floor, overlloking the pedestrian plaza and waterfront. We could not have asked for better. The bed was very comfortable, housekeeping immaculate. View spectacular, complete with sound of gulls and sea lions barking. True there was no refrigerator, but there were complimentary candy bars and wine, good cookies on checkin and at turndown (made good snacks for our trip to Point Lobo), and the ice machine was just down the hall. I am not sure how much the room cost, but after reading the other reviews, if your budget permits, by all means get one of the "Platinum level" rooms with a waterfront view!!!

The only negative about the room is that the in-room coffee was decaf both days and it was horrid. On the bright side, the Italian coffee/breakfast place on the plaza at the side of the hotel had GREAT capuccino and looked like it was a good spot for a quick meal. Our room included the breakfast buffet and it was fine.

The lobby is cavernous and taken over by conference groups most of the time....not an inviting spot to hang out. Did not check out the pool, but there are great places to run or walk along the waterfront.

We did not bring a computer this trip so used the in-lobby business center...two PCs for use at $15 for 30 minutes. One was tied up for hours with a fellow playing poker, so if you need business-level access, bring your laptop and use the $10/day wi-fi!!

On this trip we enjoyed the Duck Club restaurant. It's in a hotel that appears to be more posh and probably costs more, but we'd definitely stay at Portola Plaza next time if we could be sure of getting the same room. The location cannot be beat.
We went on the Science at Sea morning sail--pleasant but we wished they sailed a bit more for the price. Boat is great but very limited seating...probably why they don't sail for long because they have a lot of sail and standing around is not feasible under way, Point Lobos is a great place to hike--just a few miles south of Carmel on Rt. 1 and easy to find.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Honu_Ohana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2007

We stayed at the Portola Plaza for three nights; one of us was there for business; the other two (spouse and son) came along for the trip. Overall we enjoyed the property - very nice, spacious and well appointed room, bathroom, lobby/atrium area, and fantastic location. A trolley stops in front of the hotel, it is right next to the fisherman's wharf, and very close to everything else. I had colleagues stay at the Marriott across the street, and by most accounts the Portola was much nicer than the Marriott.

Downsides are that the hotel is much larger than it appears; the walk from the elevators to the room was a trek. Also, there is no fridge or mini bar with snacks in the room - things that are very useful when you have a 2 year old toddler with you! Also, our room at the end of the hallway was noisy - we kept hearing toilets flushing, sounded a bit like bombs going off.

Room service was prompt and the food was quite good. Staff was courteous and also prompt. Bed was very comfortable, much more so than most of the vaunted "Heavenly Bed" type contraptions that are often touted.

We liked the hotel; the only thing that might keep us from staying again is the fact there's no fridge in the room (for milk, snacks, etc.) and the trek to the room. While a minor thing, the convenience factor is huge. If you do stay, ask for a higher floor room that's quieter.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled on business
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3  Thank TeamJK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2007

We just arrived today August 4, 2007 and are frequent travellers. The location is good if you like to be near the marina and some pubs. We paid $499.00 plus tax for room 627 and it is maybe worth $100.00 during prime season. There is not even a fridge in the room and they want you to pay for parking $15.00 per day and internet $9.95. The pool is across the street and it is soooo small, that we thought it was the kids splash pool. All they go for is the location. Alot of batter, but not much meat. I hope this helps.

Stayed: August 2007
2  Thank GatzCalgaryCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2007

My family and I spent 2 nights at the Portola Plaza Hotel. The hotel is conveniently located by Fisherman's Wharf. We parked our car upon check in--$15 per day, valet is $18 per day, and never moved the car until we checked out. We were able to walk to Fisherman's Wharf, Canery Row, and the aquarium. The walk to the aquarium is 1.2 miles one way, but is a nice walk and my two children ages 8 and 10 didn't complain during the walk to the aquarium and opted to walk back to the hotel instead of taking the free hotel trolley.

We found all of the hotel staff very friendly and helpful, and the chocolate chip cookies we were given upon arrival were delicious and very welcoming. The resturant on site was very convenient for breakfast, but a little pricey.

Other than the convenient location of the hotel and friendly and helpful staff, we did find some areas of this hotel less than what we had hoped for. We found this hotel to be very pricey when you consider that you must pay an additional $15 a day to park, and $10 a day for a refrigerator in your room over the room price of above $200 a night. We found the room to be an average hotel room, although clean, the room was nothing fancy and rather small. The balcony in our room overlooked the street , but made the room very noisy. We heard traffic noise throughout the night. All in all, this was an ok hotel, but we will look to stay elsewhere upon our return to Monterey.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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1  Thank jmjh02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2007

We only stayed one night, but the room was very nice - beds were very comfortable especially after a long day of driving and sight seeing. The staff was helpful in telling us where to go to enjoy food and drinks at a local pub. The location is within walking distance to everything. All that and some warm cookies at check in and a rubber seal on the bathtub :o). The soap and creams were Bath and Body Works- nice touch. There were some beautiful hotels by Cannery Row but obviously more than what we paid for at Portola Plaza Hotel. FYI - Parking is $18 per night extra for valet. Overall, great experience.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with friends
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1  Thank luv2travel_socal
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 Business Hotel in Monterey
#4 Spa Hotel in Monterey
#8 Family Hotel in Monterey
#9 Romantic Hotel in Monterey
Price Range: £149 - £348 (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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