There are many things I enjoy and appreciate about living in Northern California. One is the close proximity to a variety of beautiful landscapes, from the majestic mountains of Lake Tahoe to the world-famous coastal area of Monterey.
The latter is one of my favorite California destinations. With so much to see and do, Monterey an ideal place to get away for a romantic weekend with your favorite person or take the entire family and enjoy all the family-friendly activities this coastal destination has to offer.
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. Long ago, while visiting the area with my husband for the first time, we walked through the lobby of the hotel and around the property. I was in awe of its grandeur and the magnificent views. I told myself that someday I would stay to take in the ocean’s beauty and get to know Monterey better. Someday finally happened and it surpassed my expectations!
We arrived in the early afternoon and were welcomed by the parking staff. They were so friendly and helpful. They made a great first impression on us.
The expansive lobby is stately, elegant and inviting.
Once we checked in with the front desk staff, we were escorted to our ocean view room. I was delighted to see that it was beautifully and tastefully appointed and had a big luxurious King bed from which I could see, hear and smell the Pacific Ocean.
The balcony overlooking the ocean was ideal for watching the abundance of activities happening below, from frolicking sea otters and seals to sail boats and kayakers. Binoculars are provided in the ocean front rooms to add to guests’ viewing pleasure. We were quite entertained watching all the action. We never once switched on the television and barely looked at our smart phones!
Once we unpacked, we decided to take a walk around the property. Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has such a European feel.
Trellises, statues, and 30,000 square feet of spacious plazas and terraces combined with plenty of flowers and decorative pots made me feel like I was back in Lake Como.
It was hard to believe we were just a few hours from the grassy hills and rolling vineyards of Wine Country.
While enjoying the sunshine and a local beers on the patio of the property’s outdoor bar, Schooners Bar, we noticed a group of sailboats off in the distance.
As we lingered, the number of boats multiplied. Our server told us it was the locals’ Wednesday night sailing regatta. It was such a peaceful event to watch.
Afterwards, we returned to our room to relax a little more and watch what was happening from our balcony. A group had rented kayaks, likely launched from the hotel’s beach, and were cruising by our room on the lookout for sea life.
We saw lots of sea otters playing around in the kelp. One finally came close enough for my husband to photograph. They are just the cutest little creatures!
We eventually pulled ourselves away from watching life unfold in the Monterey Bay to get ready for dinner. We dined at Schooners Coastal Kitchen. It’s a lively atmosphere with plenty of ocean views, a menu of local and sustainable seafood and other fare, and excellent service. I enjoyed an Asian-inspired mahi mahi as my main course with a bowl of clam chowder to start. The entire meal was wonderful but the chowder was my favorite. It was flavorful and rich but not overwhelmingly so and the clams were tender and fresh.
After dinner, we spent some time in the lobby listening to the piano that plays by itself when they don’t have live entertainment. We were soon exhausted from our full day and returned to our room.
My husband and I both love the sounds and smells of the ocean. We decided to leave the doors and drapes open all night while we slept. In the morning, we awoke to an incredible sunrise. I could not believe my eyes! It was like looking at an evolving painting. I watched the sun slowly rise as the fishing boats left the harbor and headed out to the open ocean, all while listening to the waves crashing on the rocks below our balcony. It was an unforgettable experience and I can’t think of a better way to start the day.
The next morning, I had a massage scheduled at Vista Blue Spa. After breakfast, Bill and I ventured up to see the spa and gym facility. Just past the reception area, there is a seating area to relax after a treatment or a workout or both.
They offer a variety of cardio machines, many that overlook the ocean. It’s a gym with a view!
My massage was heavenly! My therapist, Darlene, was wonderful. I have had my fair share of massages over the years and that was by far the very best. Darlene was comfortable to be with, listened to me intently and has superior massaging skills. She told me what a wonderful company Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is to work for. She has worked there for 14 years and told me most of the employees have also been with the company for many years. I was not surprised to hear that. From the moment we arrived, we noticed how friendly and genuinely happy the employees seemed to be. It made us feel welcome and comfortable.
We couldn’t leave the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa without a soak in the rooftop tubs and a rest on the sun deck. Along with two hot tubs, luxurious lounge chairs and an outdoor fireplace, it boasts a 270 degree view of the bay. My husband was in his element!
Perched on the edge of Monterey Bay, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has 290 rooms on four floors and is locally owned and operated. It offers stunning views, gorgeous European architecture, a gracious and helpful staff and outstanding food. To me, it’s the crown jewel of Monterey Bay.
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is located within a short walk of Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium. An array of shopping and dining options are also located close to the property and championship golf courses, including Pebble Beach, are just a scenic drive away. Other popular activities include whale watching, scuba diving, and kayaking in the protected marine sanctuary of Monterey Bay.
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is one of the highest rated hotels in Monterey. For the past three years, they have been rated the #1 hotel in Monterey by Trip Advisor. In 2012, they achieved an even higher honor from the users of Trip Advisor and were named one of the Top 25 hotels in the United States.
They were also one of only 224 Forbes Four Star-rated hotels in the U.S. and the only one in Monterey. Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has been a AAA Four-Diamond hotel for 28 consecutive years.
These impressive awards and honors are not very surprising given the high level of service and attention to detail found at this property. Many guests return to the hotel year after year not just for its great location, beauty and array of amenities but for the hotel’s superior hospitality. I will definitely be one of those guests. My husband and I plan on making many return visits!
To contact Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa for more information or to make a reservation, visit their website or call (800) 334-3999.
Disclosure: My room at Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa was complimentary for one night as was my massage. All opinions expressed here are my own.