Monterey Plaza Hotel, California, USA

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Where Is It: Absolute beachfront, located on Cannery Row in Monterey, California.

Why Go: Pure luxury with breathtaking views in a chilled out beach neighbourhood.

Best For: Romantic getaways, or anyone looking to totally relax and unwind.

Three Things We Loved: The sense of calm and luxury from the second you arrive, dining at the bar and grill perched out over the ocean, the spa on the roof deck.

The Ultimate Factor: The endless views across the Pacific Ocean accompanied by the constant sound of waves crashing onto the shore.


Driving down the Highway One coast road from San Francisco to San Diego over the space of a few weeks, we were looking for a stop a couple of hours out of San Francisco to stay and explore. We’d been told by friends and family not to miss waking up to the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore - and the view of the coast - in Monterey. The Monterey Plaza Hotel came highly recommended as the number one rated hotel three years running on TripAdvisor, and one of their top 25 hotels in the entire US.

Getting in far later than expected, it was dusk as we pulled up. From the minute we drove up to the hotel, we could feel our shoulders drop several levels. The subtly lit driveway, the discreet valets, and the welcoming hot towel at reception all combine to make you feel you’ve walked into another world – one where you are the most important person, and your sole responsibility is to complete unwind and leave everything to the friendly, capable staff.

After checking into our suite, we were torn between heading straight out for dinner and enjoying the amenities in the room. We rang down to the hotel restaurant, who booked us in for a table on the deck for 30 minutes later. While we waited, I filled the jacuzzi, nestled under a large window overlooking Cannery Row. Given the huge tub filled in three minutes, I had time to lie back and relax with a glass of local wine from the mini bar selection, while my husband checked out the view from one of our two balconies. Half an hour later, we were enjoying juicy steaks and a glass of local Californian bubbly, enjoying the view and the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore, before going back to the suite for one of the most comfortable nights sleeps I can recall.  

The Accommodation:

The Plaza has a range of rooms available – all 37 square metre rooms, some with balconies, plush down feather beds and bed coverlets, Biedermeier-style furniture, wired and wireless (WiFi) high speed Internet access, LCD flat screen televisions, microfibre spa robes, large marble bath with separate vanity, spa bathroom amenities and coffee makers. You can choose from an inland view, partial ocean view, harbor view and ocean view rooms.

They also have a number of suites. The executive suites feature a living room, separate bedroom, and sliding glass doors with exterior balconies. The one bedroom suites are approximately 83 square metres, and the two bedroom suites are approximately 120 square metres. The Spa Terrace Suite has a fireplace, wet bar, and two whirlpool tubs (one in the bathroom and the other on the outdoor deck), while the Cannery Row Suite is 140 square metres and the Grand Bay Suite  158 square metres.  Last in the lineup is the Presidential Suite, the 195 square metre jewel in the hotel crown, with a huge sun deck, custom-built whirlpool tub, deck furniture for four, outdoor stereo system and a 180-Degree view of Monterey Bay.

Where We Stayed:

Our accommodation for two nights was the Cannery Row Suite, a two bedroom, two bathroom space with a living area, separate foyer and powder room.  The suite opens into a large foyer complete with wet bar and large storage cupboard, and has a bathroom to the right, featuring an oversized marble shower, separate toilet and double marble sinks, with a full range of complimentary spa products. Through the foyer is the open plan living room with a king sized pull-down Murphy bed at the far end. The room features Biedermeier-style couches, coffee tables and desks, and a HDTV flat screen television. Double doors lead to a small balcony overlooking historic Cannery Row. The other half of the room is a living area with two couches, a table and large flatscreen television over a lit fireplace.

The living room is divided from the second bedroom and bathroom by wooden doors lockable from either side. There's ample storage and desk space, a king bed, and a flatscreen TV opposite the bed. There is a second set of double doors leading to a second balcony from this bedroom. The foyer area of the second room is far smaller, but also hosts a storage cupboard, and leads to the second bathroom. This bathroom has a double sink, large shower and two person jucuzzi with complimentary spa products, and a separate toilet area, including a bidet.  

What Else Is There:

The Monterey offers the full-service Vista Blue Spa, complete with a fitness center, sun deck and hot tubs offer unique 270 degree views of Monterey Bay from the top floor. You can enjoy a light spa lunch on the Spa's outdoor sun deck, complete with fireplace, or lay back in one of the two Bay-view whirlpool tubs. Vista Blue Spa has been voted one of Travel & Leisure's top 25 Spas, and made Conde Nast's top 75 Hotel Spas in North America three years in a row.

In terms of dining, the waterfront Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar juts out over the beach, providing the perfect backdrop for a gourmet meal, simple bar style snack, or just a few drinks from the extensive wine and beer list. The menu focuses on local produce – with everything from steaks to seafood, to locally produced wines. Cafe La Strada is located down on the Plaza and offers more casual café dining (and fabulous pastries and coffee.) And if you grab your coffee to go, there are over 30,000 square feet of outdoor waterfront plaza and terrace space to get a little zen as your coffee kicks in.

The Verdict:

The clientele suggest this is a much favoured resort for local and traveling boating enthusiasts, as well as those looking to kick back and be pampered. The staff were the perfect blend of welcoming and professional, and if you're looking for a hotel that offers the last word in luxury, this one's for you.

Monterey Plaza Hotel is located at 400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA,

Guest Writer: Melanie Hearse