Travel Bargain destination on the California Coast
Many magnificent grand hotels great and small built in California cities in the boom of the late 1800’s early 1900’s fell victim to the ravages of time and suburban spread, their beautiful wood floors, ornate Victorian design elements covered over with thick coats of paint and plywood, turned into Skid Row “residence hotels”. With the rediscovery of downtowns with coffee houses and the romance of the old and unique, many of these grand dames have been remodeled, restored and offer a convenient, comfortable and colorful alternative to the modern chain hotel, and often with a room rate at a significant discount to their newer cookie cutter relatives. The Monterey Hotel is one such rediscovered unpolished gem, originally constructed in 1904 by Harry Ashland Greene as a model of the hotels he had visit in Europe and considered very modern in its time because it had both gas and electricity.
Monterey had turned from a thriving fishing town on the California Coast to perhaps one the most famous skids brought to life by John Steinbeck and his tome of “Cannery Row”. The Sardines disappeared and the town of Monterey turned to a slightly seamy shadow of a town, mostly launching point for a fishing trip out onto Monterey Bay, with a quick exit. Today, is a different story. Monterey is a thriving, warm and fascinating tourist destination for a weekend getaway or a week by the sea. A range of activities about on the Monterey Peninsula for a variety of tastes. The Monterey Bay Aquarium (See Sea Life on Cannery Row) is one of the best water life experiences in the world. The golf courses from Spyglass to Pebble Beach are the stuff of duffers dreams. Whale watching boats leave from the Monterey fisherman’s wharf for several months a year. The fishing boats still go out, though the fish have lessened over time. For the active traveler or family, ocean rowing Kayak lessons are available, either individual or in a group outrigger like the native Americans who inhabited the Cypress Groves before the arrival of Juan de Portolo, discoverer of Monterey Bay. And every March, the city is host to the Dixieland Monterey Jazz Festival.
The Monterey Hotel is located in the heart of Monterey’s historic downtown. The city’s “History Walk” markers that lead from the first Historic Building in California, the Monterey Customs House where the the hotel today. state essentially began, lead up Alvarado Street right past the front door, yet it is not history, but thriving night-life which surrounds it. The Monterey Live Jazz club with live nightly performances is just next door, the Montrio Bistro restaurant around the corner. A number of very popular local bars and other nightspots populate the neighborhood just outside the door. Fisherman’s Wharf is five minutes walk.
The Monterey Hotel has forty-five rooms in a European style and continental breakfast is included with the stay. The rooms and suites have hand-carved furnishings, some of the Master Suites have their own fireplace and wet bar, with data ports and two line phones for the business traveler in town for a conference. Some of the rooms are on the smallish side as is the case with older buildings and one cautionary drawback is the elevator remains as a monument to the hotel’s past - it doesn’t work, but a porter will gladly take your bags up the thick carpeted stairs. Perhaps not the place for the mobility challenged, but otherwise a unique view into an almost forgotten elegance. Valet parking is fifteen dollars a day or you can self-park in a city garage a block away for 5five dollars per entry off Del Monte Avenue the main road into town. © Bargain Travel West
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