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“Spectacular Area”

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Asilomar Conference Grounds
Ranked #10 of 17 Hotels in Pacific Grove
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 15 February 2013

The history of Asilomar Conference Grounds is very unique. The grounds themselves, and the surrounding area is fabulous. The room that I had was nothing special at all - it was clean though. I didn't spend much time in the room - there is too much to see and do... such as grabbing an early morning (and yummy) latte from the little cafe and heading out for a stroll near the ocean; spectacular! I would go back in a heart beat, however; I would ensure that I secured a room with a balcony, or fireplace... or in a historic building. I booked last minute, so ended up in a room that felt like I was at summer camp...

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled solo
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Thank mellissawood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 February 2013

I'll start out by saying that I didn't stay here, so I can't comment on the place itself--but this negative review is entirely due to horrible customer service.

I purchased a Travelzoo deal to stay here for a night and booked it months in advance. Unfortunately I got food poisoning the night before my boyfriend and I were supposed to go to Asilmoar and was unable to make the drive there. I called Asilomar the day of and tried to explain the situation to an extremely rude employee.

I first asked if we could reschedule, not even shooting for a refund. He kept repeating that I hadn't given enough notice--to which I tried to explain that you can't really give notice when you get sick suddenly. Once I realized the conversation was going nowhere and I had lost this battle, I said "Okay, I won't recommend your business to anyone." And THEN he actually got ruder and said, "That's fine, we don't need your recommendation, we're a large establishment and have plenty of customers."

Seriously, talk about attitude. And also...if you get so many customers why do you need to keep my $100 that I didn't get to use?! Anyway, if this guy is a reflection of how Asilomar is run, it's a pretty terrible approach to customer service. This is just a big corporate conference center pretending to be a cute retreat getaway--I'd advise individuals or couples looking for a relaxing weekend to steer clear.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank Caitlin K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2013

Asilomar is not a luxury resort but is ideal for a quiet and restful getaway. It has simple rustic lodge accommodations scattered all over like many other national or state parks. The grounds – not necessarily where the lodges are, as that would depend on what building you are in - but the surrounding areas have some of the most spectacular scenery Monterey Peninsula has to offer. I was there for a few days last week at a conference and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My two colleagues and I shared a room with 4 beds in the “Sand” building, which didn’t have much of a view of anything other than a somewhat desolate but serene scenery of sand and shrubbery from our back porch. The room we had was the most basic – other than the beds, there was just one single schoolroom desk and chair and absolutely nothing else – not even a safe (there are of course pricier room types with more furniture and even fireplace). There was a walk in closet by the door, and very small bathroom and shower facilities. But it was clean, beds comfortable enough, and shower fairly strong and hot.

For dining the hotel has just one restaurant, where food is served at the counter by kitchen staff and you sit at a large communal round table where salad, soup, dessert and iced tea are laid out in advance (coffee/tea self serve on the side). Alternately, you can get the food in a takeout box and eat at an outdoor picnic area (definitely recommended on a sunny day). The food, while very healthy – a vegetarian’s dream – is good but not great (sometimes quite wonderful, sometimes over or undercooked, all meat dishes tended to be tough, and dessert nothing to write home about) but the ingredients are fresh and the preparation has a definitive hearty, home cooked feel. Menu changes daily but you don’t get much choice. For our conference, meals were not cheap, $17/breakfast, $24/lunch, and $32/dinner, not sure if these are the regular prices for all guests.

One thing to note: this being a popular conference destination, best to go when there are no events there, or you should make sure not to be housed near large groups or any of the meeting rooms where there could be late night functions.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank paxa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2013

When I booked the reservation (which was via a Living Social coupon), I was given a choice of a historic or non-historic room. When they mentioned a fireplace in the latter, that’s the one I picked (though I had to pay a little more). I think an ocean view also costs more. Though I love a fireplace (since mine at home is cracked), the unit my room was in was barely on the Asilomar property at all. I should probably have picked a historic one, which probably would have been within earshot of the ocean. However, it was a fairly short walk (uphill coming back) from my room to the beach (gorgeous sunset). And though I used the fireplace, I have to say it made my room REALLY hot (too hot) all night long.

My unit (called “afterglow” – really!) had a bottom floor garage. There was an elevator to the first and second floor rooms. The room doesn’t have a fridge or microwave. It had a bathtub. There was a balcony. But the balconies are very close together – if your neighbor’s using theirs, no privacy. The group on one side of me had cigarettes and a lighter on the patio table, though smoking is not allowed on the property according to the rules. I watched 4 deer in the small wooded area behind my room! (There are deer all over Pacific Grove – living lawn art!) The high ceilings and the large glass sliding door helped the small room seem bigger.

They sell a s’more pack (for $10) in the gift shop and there are several firepits on the property. But you can also bring your own marshmallows. You can also buy wine, snacks, clothes, etc. in the gift shop (bring your own corkscrew if you are bringing or buying wine. The rooms don’t have one and the one sold in the gift shop is $9.)

Though rooms are pretty basic, there were two sinks, a desk, table and chair inside, and then a table with two chairs on the deck. The carpet could use replacing but everything else seemed clean and in good repair. It was great lying on the bed and having trees (and deer!) right outside the glass door.

I believe there is a community room in each unit (there was in ours) with sofas, a big fireplace, etc. Nice gathering area for people who come in groups.

Breakfast came with the room, served in the historic Crocker Dining Hall. But it was a standard (and I have to say kinda boring) scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns. There was also oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, pastries and croissants, so plenty to choose from. Also, because I wasn’t with a group (lots of workshops, retreats, etc. at Asilomar), I was told to eat in the side room, so not in the lovely main room of the building designed by Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed female architect. If you are having dinner while here, go to the Fish Wife across the street from Asilomar (but be sure to make reservations ahead).

There is some ongoing restoration on roads, etc. in the area. There are detours, etc. Driving could be a little complicated. And I don't know about parking for any unit other than the one where I stayed. I would say in general they don't go crazy with signage, to help keep the atmosphere woodlandish.

The environment of Asilomar can’t be beat, of course. The woodsy setting, historic architecture, and above all the beach just across from the property, should make any stay enjoyable.

Room Tip: Ask about location and request close to the ocean if that's what you want.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank Sharon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2013

Being completely ignorant of Asilomar until I arrived on the property makes my perspective a fair bit unique. I stayed here as part of a conference and was not worried about the accomodations and I had no expectations. Its fair to say that on first glance I was impressed.

I'm a fan of the arts and crafts movement of architecture so to be able to stay at a property like this is pretty amazing. The history of the property also enhanced my stay. That being said, I will add the caveat that this is not a luxury accomodation. The room I had was very clean and simple but the fixtures were old. I didn't really care since I was lulled to sleep every night by the sound of the pacific crashing on the shore nearby while looking up at a beautiful vaulted exposed wood ceiling.

The grounds are beautiful and the location is stunning. The boardwalk through the dunes on a sunny day or on a clear full moon night (I had the opportunity to do this) is a wonderful way to take in the natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula. Not far from Asilomar there is a Trader Joe's and a Safeway, where you should pick up your provisions or else be subject to the steep prices at Phoebe's Cafe in the Hearst Social Hall. Also nearby is downtown Monterey, tony Carmel, and one of my favorite places on the California central coast, Point Lobos. All are worth a visit.

In summary, this was a positive experience as part of a conference. Whether or not this is a place I would chose to stay if I were going for leisure I am uncertain of but its definitely worth a visit.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled on business
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Thank AdPal80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2013

This was our 6th or 7th visit to Asilomar. We have come annually for the Midwinter Conference of Immunologists and always look forward to returning. The lodging is quaint. We have been in Spindrift with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and rugged beach. The grounds are a nature reserve and recent upgrades to the grounds, lodge, and dining hall are appreciated. This is not a luxury hotel or spa...more like summer camp in a spectacular setting. We will continue to visit annually the mix of excellent conference and learning with spectacular setting.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank Wayne T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2013

After looking at the web site and the cost of the rooms and the pictures, I was very excited to get a deal off TravelZoo to stay here. Well It is very basic. The rooms are very plain. The ocean view rooms are just that!! Ocean view from your window. We had no balcony, only a front porch where every one walked by to get to their rooms. The pool was under repair as well as all the roads and paths, which made it very hard to get around. They feed you family style which was nice if you like that kind of eating. The food was good for Breakfast. That is the only meal we had there. Our room was dirty! I called the first day and told them about it, no one came and cleaned it. When we checked out, I showed them a picture of the vents in my room that I took with my phone. It was just disgusting and the manager agreed and adjusted my bill. I would not go back again. There are lots of places close to the ocean there that are clean.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sally J
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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