Review: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Perched on the water, overlooking Monterey Bay, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa makes you feel welcome the moment you pull up.  The covered entry was busy, but well staffed as we arrived.  A valet immediately greeted our car and a bellman offered assistance with our luggage.  I mention this because I’ve stayed at four star hotels where this is not always the case.

The hotel is located in Monterey’s historic Cannery district, slightly west of many of the tourist shops and restaurants.  I actually found this location to be quite enjoyable.  The hotel is a short walk to the Wharf and Monterey Bay Aquarium.  

The building is an elegant mix of dark woods and marble.  The architecture is grand and fits with the neighborhood.   Much of the hotel is suspended over the coastline offering fantastic views of the bay.  Unfortunately it was cloudy the day I arrived, so the views were not as expansive.

The front desk is just to the right of the entry.  I found the staff to be very pleasant and helpful.  I booked a king room with a balcony.  The desk attendant tried a few times to sell me on an upgrade to an ocean view suite, but I decided not to fork over the additional three hundred fifty dollars.

I arrived early for check in.  It was about midday, and check in is 4pm.  However, the front desk was able to find me a room that was available immediately.  I appreciated the early accommodation.  In my experience, many hotels won’t do this.

The room was elegant, clean and well put together.  It felt like a four star hotel room.  The bed was comfortable and included crisp, clean high end linens.  A desk, seating area and fully stocked mini-bar filled out the rest of the space.  The bathroom was large and included a separate vanity right outside the door.  I was located in the tower with the hotel’s spa and fitness center.

The hotel has a good compliment of amenities.  Vista Blue Spa is located on the top floor of the hotel and has fantastic panoramic views of the bay.  I found the fitness center quite deserted for my 7am workout.  Half way through my run on the treadmill the spa attendant brought me a towel and water.  Nice touch!  I didn’t get to try and of the spa treatments, but the facility looked nice.  I found the prices to be a bit on the high end compared to other resort spas.

The hotel has a couple of dining options.  The main restaurant is Schooners Coastal Kitchen and Bar.  The restaurant is a mix of indoor and outdoor seating, with the tables outside providing diners with a panoramic view of Monterey Bay.  My only big complaint, and it’s really not that big, is that they didn’t allow outdoor dining at breakfast.  I only had a chance to try this restaurant for breakfast and the food was excellent.  Menu pricing is reasonable and the options are creative, not just your standard hotel breakfast fare.  The bottomless glass of orange juice was fresh squeezed and worth the price.  If you want something lighter, the hotel also has a cafe serving coffee and pastries.  A full room service menu is also available.

In summary, the Monterey Hotel & Spa is definitely worth a visit.  It’s perfect for a long weekend or special occasion.  See my trip report on Monterey, CA for other things to do in and around this hotel.  I give this hotel four stars for it’s elegant rooms and fantastic service.  Service is big for me.  Even as I got into my car to depart, the valet brought me a couple of cold bottles of water for the road.  Service is what makes a good hotel great, and this is a great hotel.