Upon arrival at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, you instantly know that you’ll be staying at a very special place. After all, it’s set along historic Cannery Row and offers commanding views of the Monterey Bay. What’s more, as the only Forbes 4-Star Hotel, it’s without question the best hotel in the historic city of Monterey. Coupled with gourmet dining, nicely appointed accommodations and world-class hospitality, it should come as no surprise that it’s also TripAdvisor’s top local hotel.
Lobby Space, Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (credit: Randy Yagi)
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
400 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940
The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa opened in 1985 and more recently underwent an extensive renovation. However, the land in which it rests upon has a history that stretches much further. In fact, the original 1901 structure known as Casa De Las Olas, was built as a summer home – well before this area was known as Cannery Row. While this mansion was meant to be the proverbial anchor of a California Riviera, it was eventually demolished in 1944 to make way for a fish cannery. Today, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is the premier hotel in Monterey and the preferred destination for travelers worldwide. The Plaza is a member of the Woodside Hospitality Group led by President and CEO Greg Alden. The Woodside Collection includes many of the finest hotel properties in Northern California. This includes The Lodge at Bodega Bay, Harvest Inn, Hotel Disco Pacific Heights and Napa Valley Lodge.
The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa offers 285 exquisite guest rooms and suites that are uniquely spread across three landmark buildings. Two of the buildings are literally bayside, with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. As for the other inland-side building, it sits across the street from the main complex. While you can simply cross the street to the inland building, there are two elevated walkways that connect to the main building. These unique features are a tribute to the historic elevated bridges you can see further up Cannery Row. During those historic times when canneries were still operating, these bridges were used to transport canned fish from one production facility to another.
Guest Room and Suites
Each guest room category has 400 square feet of living space, with about half of those equipped with a balcony and ocean views. You can choose between a single king bed or double queen beds for your room. Suite sizes range from 700 square feet for the Spa Terrace Suite to the luxurious 2,100 square foot Presidential Suite.
Each of the rooms and suites come with an array of premium amenities. For example, you’ll have a HDTV, laptop compatible safe, complimentary Wi-Fi- and Nespresso machine. Inside your room you’ll find stylish wood furnishings, fine linens and bedding as well as impressive artwork adorning the walls. Of course, there are many other fine amenities, like plush bathrobes, marble countertops and shower walls, and premium bath products. In some rooms and suites you’ll have mini-fridges, while in select suites you’ll have a cozy fireplace and/or outdoor whirlpool spa.
Like your king and double queen rooms, you also have accessible guest rooms with 400 square feet of living space. However, with this option, you’ll also have a roll-n shower with a folding bench, toilet grab bars amongst its amenities. Additional features you will fine convenient are extended curtain rods, phone flashers, ADA-height features and lowered beds.
Current Hotel Offers and Packages
You can enjoy additional savings by booking your reservations directly rather than with a third party. In fact, the hotel offers you Best Rate Guarantee by booking online or calling. In other words, you won’t find a better nightly rate than directly with the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. Among the current offers are a Stay Longer & Save savings of up to 15 percent and Adventures by the Sea, with two kayak passes.
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa Accessibility
As Monterey’s top-rated hotel, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has several accessible features. For instance, you can utilize valet accessible parking, accessible lobby entrances and accessible elevators. In addition, the exercise facility is accessible, as are meeting rooms and the hotel restaurant and bar. Equally important features are the accessible registration desk and accessible pathways to accessible rooms. In like manner are even more features like accessible routes to the spa, accessible hot tubs with an optional pool hoist. In case you travel with a service animal, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re always welcome.
In addition to your exceptional room amenities, you have many other hotel amenities and services. Not only do you have valet service with a friendly valet staff, but also access to electric charging stations. With your valet service for a daily $35 you have efficient service and in-and-out privileges. Of course, the lobby staff is equally friendly and hospitable and there’s an adjacent gift shop. However, the quality of service goes beyond the valet and front desk staff. Indeed, you can expect a similar level of stellar service from both the housekeeping and restaurant/bar staff. Among the other amenities are complimentary newspapers in the lobby, same-day dry cleaning and complimentary bicycles and Land Rover shuttle service.
Insider Tip: The Monterey Trolley
If you are visiting during the summer months, there is a free and convenient way to get around. The Monterey Trolley is a free trolley provided by Monterey Salinas Transit and makes stops at many local attractions. For example, this free trolley has stops at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf and Monterey Conference Center. This convenient, electric-powered trolley runs every 10-15 minutes and operates between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day. But the most important aspect of the trolley is that there are stops on both sides of the street at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. Yet another insider tip, especially if you’re a John Steinbeck fan, is to visit the Doc Ricketts Memorial. You can find this local attraction just beyond the Plaza’s trolley stops at the corner of Wave Street and Drake Avenue. Further up Cannery Row, you’ll find Doc Rickett’s Lab near the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa features not one but two signature dining experiences with bayside views. For one, you have Schooners Monterey, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you prefer a more lavish culinary experience, try the Coastal Kitchen’s tasting menu, led by Executive Chef Michael Rotondo. Each restaurant offers fresh local produce and many seafood items that are caught in the Monterey Bay. As for menu recommendations, consider the Belgium waffle ($17) or huevos rancheros ($18). For dinner, you may like the Monterey cioppino pot ($39) roasted Pacific salmon ($41) at Schooners. While Chef Rotondo’s tasting menu changes seasonally, current items include sashimi of Monterey halibut and 48-braised beef short rib. Coastal Kitchen is listed in the California Michelin Guide.
Additional Dining Options
Complementing the hotel’s signature restaurants is Tidal Coffee and the Lobby Lounge. Offering gourmet coffee and food, you can find Tidal Coffee adjacent to the hotel’s Plaza de Monterey. This stylish coffee shop has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and food items are made in house each daily. Among the items you can order are panini sandwiches, breakfast burritos, salads and an assortment of tasty sweets. The Lobby Lounge is a prime spot for crafted cocktails, artisanal bar bits and or simply relaxing by the lobby fireplace. The Lounge is open daily, with extended hours on weekends.
Fitness Center & Spa
As a guest of the elegant Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, you have access to both the fitness center, locker rooms and the hot tubs. Located on the top floor of the second bayside building, you can access that building’s elevator on the plaza level. Alternatively, on the lower level of the main building, just walk past Schooners and Coastal Kitchen for another set of elevators. Once you reach the top level, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff who can assist you with spa appointments or retail sales. At one section, you’ll find the fitness room equipped with Life Fitness cardio machines, free weights and weight machines. That’s to say nothing of the Peloton stationary bikes, complimentary water and spacious locker room facilities.
Outdoor Spa Tubs at the Terrace
Adjacent to the front desk and retail store, you’ll find the Terrace outdoor sundeck and spa tubs. With its top-level location, you can enjoy a soothing tub while admiring panoramic ocean views and its surroundings. In addition to the hot tubs, you’ll find lounge chairs and a fireplace to keep warm on those cool evenings.
Vista Blue Spa
One of the premier options at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is its award-winning Vista Blue Spa. Adjacent to the fitness center and sundeck, Vista Blue Spa is ranked among America’s best spas by Conde Nast and Travel + Leisure. At this luxurious spa facility, you have a full menu of spa treatments including massages, facials, manicures and waxing. For the ultimate spa experience, you will love the Private Spa Suite with a private deck. Among the options available for the Private Spa Suite are chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne.
Yet another reason why the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is Monterey’s best hotel is its array of upscale retail stores. Located in the Plaza de Monterey and the inland side, you’ll find boutiques like Alchemy beauty salon and the Wine Experience tasting room. At the Wine Experience, you can enjoy fine wines from California appellations like Alexander Valley, Paso Robles and Monterey. Also on the inland side are a Thomas Kinkade Gallery and Magnolia Monterey Bridal. One last store that may be of interest to you is the Mad Dogs & Englishmen bike shop. Located across from Tidal Coffee, Mad Dogs & Englishmen sells high quality bikes and e-bikes, including a carbon e-road bike. The shop named after a classic rock live album by Joe Cocker also sells bike clothing and accessories but also offers bike rentals and tours.
With over 30,000 square feet of event space, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa offers one of the finest conference facilities on the Monterey Peninsula. This includes the outdoor plaza, with its captivating ocean views and Cypress Ballroom, with a theater capacity of 500 guests. Among the other options are the Dolphins and smaller rooms for seminars, business meetings and more. As Monterey’s finest hotel, the Plaza is also a very popular wedding venue and you can make all arrangements online. Currently, the hotel has a current promotion through September 30 for groups arriving through December 31, 2024.
About the Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 stories still appear in syndication across over 20 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.