Monterey Plaza Hotel

Mimi ON Jun 25, 2010 AT 12:46 pm

Monterey Plaza Hotel

Monterey Plaza Hotel

Monterey Plaza Hotel

Even though we were sad to leave the CC we were excited at the prospect of being by the ocean and set off along Highway 68 to Cannery Row. Arriving in Monterey you can smell the ocean and it has a real slow seaside town atmosphere, almost a bit Caribbean in the way everyone seemed so laid back and friendly.  We handed the car over to the valet and walked into the Monterey Plaza hotel and it felt like we had entered a luxury cruise liner with its wooden interior and the glass wall that displayed that magnificent blue colour of the ocean. The huge wrap around terrace has a unique viewpoint in the town and you can see why it is a busy and popular place to stay in town.  Whist our rooms were perfectly nice, they were quite corporate, with all good facilities being perfectly provided but nothing special. The best parts of this hotel were the amenities it offered and all the spectacular outside spaces.

A View from our bike ride

The most amazing view from our bike ride!

We loved the gym so much we were there every day, it was well equipped with cardio machines, free weights and mats for yoga.  All machines faced a floor to ceiling glass wall that just looked out at the ocean so you were transported by the view and the workout seemed more of a pleasure.  The spa was excellent, situated on the same floor as the gym with a private and very lovely terrace complete with hot tubs and a natural stone fireplace that you could sit out in your robes till sunset drinking cocktails. I had a papaya body scrub and one of my best massages here, it’s always a good way to judge the standard by a simple massage, and this was a good one. There was also a steam and sauna out on the terrace with water and towels and fantastic staff, we spent a lot of time here!

Monterey Plaza Hotel - Bedrooms

Monterey Plaza Hotel - Bedrooms

Something you must do is hire a bike for a ride along the coast, trust me on this, it was one of the highlights of our trip. There are a lot of safe cycle paths but we happily went further onto the road which was quite safe and stopped off at the breathtaking Alisomar Beach . Miles of white sand and just deserted, we parked up and went for a walk and hardly saw a soul, just a few locals with their dogs, like you see in the movies.  The route we took was a picture postcard view of a rocky and dramatic coastline that I try and conjure up in my mind when I am in my spin class to while away those painful 45 minutes.

Dinner at Passionfish in Pacific Grove
The centre of Monterey is a busy tourist resort and has a the typical steakhouse and burger joints that were not really to our taste so we drove to Pacific Grove where we found lots of great restaurants and cafes. This is only a 5 minute drive away from the noisy and bustling Cannery Row but has a very up market and totally different vibe from the seafront.  I would recommend you choose your dining spots here for lunch and dinner.  As we walked along the main street all the places were busy and looked warm, cosy and very inviting. We were booked in at Passionfish which was packed full, with a queue waiting for a table, the walls were covered in glowing reviews and awards so we knew we had come to the right place.


As the menu, warm bread and our chilled white wine arrived we really could have closed our eyes and pointed at any dish, they all looked tasty.  Lots of fish (obviously) but all presented in a modern and tempting way. I started with squid salad, with a spicy orange and mango dressing  which was hot enough to know you’d had red chillies but my mouth wasn’t on fire.  Sarah Dungeness crab and avocado which she enjoyed too. I went for scallops, which were almost the size of my fist when they turned up with tomatoes and thyme flavoured risotto custard, really tasty. The other main was Sea Bass with sweet potato tempura and grapes, again, clean plates all round. We shared a crème brule and were very impressed by their tea menu, and went for a Chrysanthemum and a Snow Mint tea to digest. It was a great meal and that excellent American service that you just don’t get back home.  This was definitely one to recommend if you are looking for dinner with a buzz as soon as you walk in, white tablecloths and a mixed crowd of nice  families and couples!

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