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Asilomar Conference Grounds
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Reviewed 8 July 2013

It seems that many people come here for whatever reasons without doing any kind of research about where they're going. I actually came to Asilomar specifically because it doesn't have TVs or radios and is like a camp for grown-ups. And I loved it! Our room was sparse, but it was clean enough. We had a king bed in one of the more contemporary rooms (and by contemporary, I mean 1977) in Oak Knoll. We also had a clean enough bathroom. There was a sink area with lots of counter space and a bathroom with bath/shower and toilet. We had decent water pressure and plenty of hot water. Thankfully we were in a corner room so we didn't have to deal with any noise. I can hear the grass growing, so I always sleep with ear plugs, and thin walls are a huge, huge, huge pet peeve. At one point, we could very faintly hear the guy next door snoring, but thankfully our bed was against the opposite wall so it wasn't too disruptive. We did have a smushed spider on our wall for the entire time we were there, so I don't think housekeeping does anything more than make the bed and change the towels. But I wasn't there for luxury.

I loved the communal dining and the fire pits every night. The store also sells s'mores kits (more on that below). The setting is beautiful, with walking paths and a boardwalk that runs parallel to the beach. The staff were also very nice and helpful with all of our questions. Mostly, I loved just doing nothing. With no distractions, I spent a long weekend reading, walking, playing ping pong, listening to someone play the piano in the social hall, and sitting by the fire pit.

I have only a few issues with Asilomar. One is that the fan in the bathroom. It's automatic so that when you turn the light on the fan also goes on. It was so incredibly loud and annoying that I would rather pee in the dark. The other is the food. I was very excited to read about how they use local, organic, natural ingredients, and the one dinner we had there was pretty good (choose among 3 dishes: a meat, chicken or fish, and a vegetarian). But the breakfasts were clearly standard fare from Aramark: mass produced processed food. The eggs came out of a plastic bag and the pancakes tasted like barely cooked dough. I asked if they used real syrup (as opposed to the high fructose corn crap that many restaurants and hotels use to be cheap), my litmus test for any place. Sadly, the answer was no, so I had my processed dough dry. On the other hand, the greek yogurt with dried fruits and nuts available every day was quite good.

The s'mores kit they sell is also full of processed, chemical-laden stuff. The graham crackers have a laundry list of chemical ingredients, including partially hydrogenated oils and HFCS. The marshmallows were just in a ziplock-type bag with no labels, but I would bet a paycheck that they also had HFCS. And Hersheys is just gross. I'm sure these things are fine for most people, but if you're not a complacent person and actually care about what you put in your body, you'll skip the s'mores kit. I personally just couldn't stomach the idea of eating it, so we ended up driving out to Whole Foods for s'mores supplies and made them using the convenient roasting sticks that Asilomar provides at the fire pits.

Although I didn't end up swimming, there is also a heated pool that I would have loved to try if I wasn't too busy being lazy with my book. One thing that would make this place exponentially better would be a hot tub. I would have LOVED to sit in a hot tub each night.

Indeed, the prices are high for the room, and I would probably try to find a deal to go back, but I'll definitely go back!

Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Amyj1276
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2013

Asilomar is a great hub to rest up, after seeing the sites of Monterey and Carmel. What better place than a rustic lodge, great food and service, while being surrounded by the ocean views, sand-dunes and lots of space to relax in? and you can't beat the price, on the pricey-est piece of real-estate in the US. Great place to have a family reunion too. And did I mention, the drive to Big Sur??

Room Tip: Noticed that the walls are a little thin. ask for -no kids next door- and maybe an end room, off the dunes??
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank ozp2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2013

I recently attended a women's leadership conference at Asilomar and found it a beautiful, peaceful location, perfect for a conference or a retreat. The conference facilities were well-appointed, and the grounds are far enough away from distractions to keep everyone engaged. I stayed in one of the historical rooms, which was cozy and comfortable, perfect for one person. I could open my windows at night to hear the ocean waves in the distance.

The conference grounds are right across the street from the state beach, and there was a lovely boardwalk to explore when I needed to reenergize or clear my head after a busy day of conference sessions. The weather was cloudy and cool while I was there and ocean was too cold for swimming (though I did see a few people attempting it) but I got my feet wet.

I enjoyed the conference food, which was delicious and seemed relatively healthy. My one small gripe was how difficult it was to get water at meals -- there were signs saying that pitchers of water could not be provided because of water shortages, but the staff didn't circulate with pitchers enough to take care of this thirsty traveler. Maybe the dining hall was not fully staffed during my visit? The staff were very friendly and accommodating, they were just too busy to be constantly refilling glasses.

I think this location would also be great for a romantic vacation -- it's beautiful and quiet. It's easy enough to get a cab to nearby Monterey for adventure and shopping. I don't think this would be a great option for families with small children, though, because there isn't a lot to keep them occupied.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled on business
Thank Jennifer S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2013

The rooms are "rustic", bare bones, and worn. There was no ironing board, iron, or blow dryer in my room, which made it very difficult to look professional on my trip. I had to keep the opaque curtains drawn because there weren't any sheer curtains for privacy. The walls are paper thin, I heard multiple other people's alarms going off at 6:30 and 7. The bed was a small twin. The check-in staff is not friendly. The dining hall is tolerable but not great for the area (which is known for its food!). There were vegetarian options at every meal, which was a pleasant surprise. However it's still dining hall food.

The beach is beautiful, but there are many other places nearby that are near similar beaches.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled on business
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2  Thank apf_travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2013

This old California redwood siding conference hotel is worn out. The carpeting is frayed, the lounge furniture is burnt, the woodwork is scratched, the patio blinds do not operate, the drains are blocked, the fixtures are worn. It is clean and shabby. The grounds are a nature preserve with Monterey Pines, boardwalks through the sand dunes, and the Pacific Ocean is across the road. The facilities are in extensive need of refurbishing. With investment, Asilomar could be a fabulous conference and resort hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Robert A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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