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“Not a $200 hotel, rooms with balconies, ocean views, new carpets”

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Asilomar Conference Grounds
Ranked #10 of 17 Hotels in Pacific Grove
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 10 September 2012

NOT A $200 ROOM: We stayed at the Asilomar Conference Grounds (ACG) July
4-8, 2012, paying 50% off the rack price, making the reservation 2 months in advance. The closer to the staying date, the higher the price. ACG rooms are cheaper in the summer on the internet, when they have fewer conferences, and a larger supply of available rooms for the leisure traveler.

MODERN BUILDINGS: There are at least 31 buildings housing with at least 330 guest rooms at ACG. These are constructed with cedar shingle sides, to blend in with the historic buildings. Buildings closer to the ocean are named after nautical terms, while buildings farther from the ocean are named after earthly terms. Buildings are grouped into clusters, with each building within a given cluster of the same design as the other buildings in that cluster. Generally, each room within a building will have the same type and number of beds as the other rooms in that building. Your building assignment will depend on the number of adults and children in your party.


TALL PINE FORESTS BUILDINGS: We drove into the ACG conference grounds, toward the entrance on Asilomar Ave from the highway 68 on the southern side of ACG. On the inland side of Asilomar Ave we passed three ACG buildings surrounded by tall pine forests, including Deer Lodge, Tree Tops, Live Oak in one cluster. These are modern two story buildings each with 10 guest rooms. They have no balconies, but have large adjacent windows at each corner of the structure on both levels, with common living rooms on the bottom floor, and interior corridors. They are far from the ocean, but not too far from the dining room. Some of the second story rooms facing west have a distant ocean view.

BALCONIES IN THE FORESTS: From Asilomar Ave, we viewed a building called Afterglow, a two story building, with outside balconies in the forests. Kiln, Hearth, Embers, and Woodside are in the same cluster closer to the corner of Synex and Crocker. These buildings have 10-12 guest rooms apiece, with huge common living rooms, many rooms with balconies. They have an underground parking garage, but are farthest away from the ocean and the dining hall.

OLD MOTEL BUILDING: We parked in the underground garage, and stretched our legs going outside. The Afterglow complex surrounded Forest lodge, a single story builiding. This is a 1950s motel style design with low ceilings and windows in the front, leading to dark interiors. No balconies and no privacy with people walking right in front of the window Farthest from the ocean, and a quarter mile to the Crocker dining hall. It is ringed by the the taller buildings of the Afterglow complex, contributing to the dark, dingy feeling.

UPGRADED BUILDINGS: We traveled on Asilomar until reaching the intersection of Synex, where we encounted two stone columns marking the formal entrance to ACG. Taking a right turn, we drove up a hilly area to the North, we saw a large complex of two story buildings, including Manzanita, Heather, OakNoll, and Willow Glen, with underground parking for Willow Glen. We were told later at registration that these buildings are upgrades, and that we would have to pay extra, to stay here. No balconies, although guest rooms on the west side would have an ocean view, with large rectangular windows, and screens over sliding windows

OCEAN VIEW BUILDING 2 BEDS: At the top of the hill, we ran into a column of three single story ranch design buildings: Long View North rooms 101-105, Long View Middle rooms 110-115, and Long View South rooms 120-125. These were perched on a hillcrest, with a panoramic view of the ocean. The windows face the front, with a covered carpeted outdoor passageway with railings and a few chairs near the end of the building, but no private balconies. On the other side of each of the buildings were rooms facing east, with a view of the pine forests. Looking inside, we could see that each of these rooms have two full size beds. This is the northern end of ACG, closest to the swimming pool, but some 300 yards to the dining hall.

MORE DARK,DINGY ROOMS Long View North room 106-110, Long View Middle rooms 116-120, and Long View South rooms 126-130. These face east, as they are darkened by the roof overhang, relatively small in size, with a view of the pine forests, no balconies, old 1970s motel design, and a steep upward trek from the dining room.

OUTDOOR BALCONIES NEAR THE OCEAN: We drove down the hill, and past the expansive swimming pool, until we reached a cluster of two story cedar shingled buildings. We had arrived at a complex surrounding a large central courtyard, close to the ocean. There are six buildings, each with outdoor balconies in the back accessible through a glass sliding door.


AFTERNOON SUN BALCONIES: We got out of the car and walked through the complex toward registration: Breakers West, Breakers East, and Whitecaps South face the south, with afternoon sun on the balconies. Spindrift North balconies face east, and have no afternoon sun. Whitecaps North balconies are largely obstructed by tall heavy brush and pine trees. The second floor of Breakers West and Whitecaps South have a partial ocean view from the balconies. The 8-12 guest rooms in the each of the Breakers and Whitecaps buildings each have two full size beds. The two rooms in Breakers East and Whitecaps South closest to the ocean are fireplace rooms, requiring an upgrade.

MORE DARK ROOMS: the first floor rooms in Whitecaps North: these are very dark due to tall brush between the building balconies and the ocean.

OCEAN VIEW 1 BED: We got a good view of the ocean, when we reached Spindrift South, the closest building to the ocean. This building is similar in construction to the other five buildings, with the private balconies facing south, somewhat obstructed by trees. The 8 guest rooms in each of the Spindrift buildings each have one king size bed. A boardwalk goes right by the front of the building, and winds its way 300 yards over the flat sand dunes to Asilomar Beach. The two rooms in Spindrift South closest to the ocean are fireplace rooms, requiring an upgrade.

REGISTER EARLY: go to registration a few hours before the official 4pm registration time. Your room may be ready, and you may be able to ask for a different building, if you don't like the location or features of your assigned building, based on this review.

NEW CARPET: We had to wait until 4pm, until we could enter 852 Spindrift North. The room had a new coat of paint, new bedding, on the ground floor with a full bath, and a new carpet with no wear, no stains, nor fading, nor dirt! The king size mattress was firm and comfortable, and the bedding clean and pressed. Otherwise same old child's size desk with spartan furnishings and bathroom as before. No TV, microwave, refrigerator, nor phone.

QUIET BUILDING: We had neighbors above and to the side of us, but did not hear them, except from our bathroom, when they ran the bath. The noise was muffled by the new carpet with extra padding, which probably was in all the rooms in Spindrift North. All the rooms in the Spindrift North and Spindrift South have a single king size bed, meaning usually 1-2 adults with no children, less noise, and fewer food stains on the rugs. Wind and noise travels through the wide gaps around and under the side-by-side front doors. Our room was an end unit, with a housekeeping closet next door between us and the stairs, and less noise because of it.

HISTORIC ROOMS After registering, and unloading our luggage in our room, we took a stroll of ACG. The buildings closest to registration are the historic buildings, built at the start of the century -the previous century, not this century! We passed Scripts, Lodge, Stuck Up Inn, and then Pirates Den. We inspected the buildings, finding quaint common sitting rooms on the ground floor of Scripts and Lodge. The rooms are smaller than the modern rooms, and often loaded with single beds, on hardwood floors. There are only about 65 of these guest rooms, out of over 330 guest rooms total. Many of them are reserved by conference attendees paying the full rack price, so often there are no historic rooms available to the leisure traveller.

VERY CRAMPED ROOM: StuckUp Inn: single sized beds, overgrowth of brush in the courtyard, cramped rooms, next to the corporation yard, an eyesore of industrial buildings on the conference grounds.

AFTERNOON SUNSHINE DECKS: Close by Pirates Den, going south, we encountered a V shaped complex of one story buildings. Surf and Sand are older single story buildings with private backyard decks delinated by partitions walls . They face the ocean and may have some ocean view. On the other hand, with only a single story, and minimal number of neighbors, Surf and Sand may be relatively quiet, if there is no volleyball game nor bbq pit party going nearby. Each room holds 3-5 beds.

OCEAN VIEWS 3-5 BEDS: At the Southern end of ACG we ran into a complex of three very large two story buildings, with outside balconies facing the ocean. Windward, Shores, and Cypress buildings have three to five beds apiece , with the second story rooms of Windward and Shores having the best views of the Ocean. Cypress's views of the ocean obstructed by tall brush.

We are on our way walking to the Fishwife restaurant just outside the southern end of the ACG grounds.

Room Tip: The Long View buildings facing west have the best ocean views, but no balconies. Breakers West, Brea...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 September 2012

I may be biased - I got married at Asilomar - but I think the grounds, buildings and setting are something special. The rooms vary widely in size, mood and quality, but they are going to be remodeling them all soon. They are all comfortable, and range from historical (wooden floors and smaller rooms) to more contemporary styles. The grounds are camp-like, with paths through forests leading to the buildings, all historical structures designed by one of California's leading architects. Boardwalks take you to the ocean and through sand dunes. The food is wonderful and breakfast (included in most room rates) is delicious and filling. It's a welcome retreat in one of the most beautiful areas of California. And if you need a place to host an event - they are pros at handling conferences with over 1,000 people at a time, so they can handle any smaller event with grace and ease.

Room Tip: Ask for a view room if available.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank kkpina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2012

My husband and I love to take advantage of low fall and winter rates to do an overnight at Asilomar. The ocean is right there and the breakfast very nice. We love the historic buildings -- not fancy but nice. And we can have an enjoyable evening playing games and pool in the Social Hall. Pool is heated all year and the boardwalks along the beach are a delight.

Room Tip: We like the historic rooms but the more modern ones are slightly more plush. Our favorite building...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jan536
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2012

We spent our Labor Day weekend here at Asilomar. The most impressive experience we had was our complimentary breakfast (through a TravelZoo special). Understanding severe nut allergies, Antonio Espino (kitchen manager) put us at ease with being able to enjoy a great breakfast. He made sure we stayed away from the pastries and the granola bar.

Room Tip: Not sure if it was because we booked through TravelZoo but our room was furthest from the main hubbu...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank GrapeBall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2012

We just had a two day stay at Asilomar and had a great time. We stayed in a historical Julia Morgan room, and found it quite nice. The shower was one of our travel favorites. The breakfast was excellent and generous. The muesli and yogurt were high quality and the country potatoes included generous amounts of purple potatoes. The coffee was very good. The food is very thoughtfully done, with fair trade coffee, locally sourced and organic produce. The staff was universally helpful, enthusiastic and friendly.

There are excellent nature walks for long distances whether heading north or south along the ocean. The southern trail is best accessed from the Asilomar beach for a short distance to a marked entry point to the boardwalk. This access saves a long walk along Highway 68 to get to the southern trail.

We are looking forward to returning. Note the room pricing seems to be dynamic, so if you don't like the price, try another day, and get another price.
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Room Tip: We like the original Julia Morgan rooms.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank zelins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2012

I stayed there for a conference. My room did not equip with telephone or TV. The room is spacious but quite simple and out dated. The rooms are spread out in many buildings and not easy to find. I felt like that i was in a national park. The location was quite excellent, you can walk to the beach and enjoy the nice scenarios. I am not sure if it's an ideal place for conference but definitely a good place for back to nature retreat.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank MontrealBen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2012

Wow. What do I say? From the outside, the grounds look really nice and you expect to walk into a nice room. Once inside, you find badly faded red carpet, no TV, wood paneling, minimal furnishings, exposed box springs (not even a dust ruffle!). Rooms look like they haven't been updated since the 1970's. Rooms are housed in sections and very hard to find. You have to park in the lot and then try and find the section your room is in and walk to it. At night, the grounds are really dark. The only positive things I can add are the beds and pillows were decent and the room was clean. Expensive for such a bare-bones room. Wouldn't stay here again.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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8  Thank TrevsLaLa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Asilomar Conference Grounds

Address: 800 Asilomar Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950-3704
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Monterey County > Pacific Grove
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Pacific Grove
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Pacific Grove
Price Range: £137 - £206 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Asilomar Conference Grounds 2*
Number of rooms: 312
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This refuge by the sea is a tranquil oceanfront retreat cradled by pine forests and white sand beaches. Situated along the shoreline of California's famed Monterey Bay, Asilomar offers historic lodging with views of the forest, surf and sand, plus unique conference spaces. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Asilomar Conference Grounds Hotel Pacific Grove
Asilomar Conference Grounds Pacific Grove
Asilomar Conference Center
Asilomar Hotel

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