Gorgeous, charming, and a little rough around the edges (but in a good way!), the quaint seaside Californian gem is one of the must-stops along the Pacific Coast Highway. In such a special place it’s not surprising that you’re also able to find some gorgeous places to stay. From intimate boutiques to fun and modern, here is my pick for the best cool and unusual hotels in Monterey, California…
Portola Hotel & Spa
Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey is now one of my favorite places. Voted among the Top Twenty Hotels in Northern California by Conde Nast Traveller’s Readers, it’s become Monterey’s premier destination for family travel, and I experienced why.
While visiting, I fell in love with the pet-friendly, AAA Four Diamond charm. The award-winning spa, 60,000 square feet of meeting space, and 379 newly renovated guest rooms with extravagant amenities truly set it apart.
During my stay, I tried the epic wine-tasting tours they offer, adding an extra layer to the experience. Being one of the Central Coast’s first environmentally friendly hotels, it provided a guilt-free escape. Located on the waterfront, overlooking Monterey Bay and a short drive from Pebble Beach Golf Course, the setting was perfect for a relaxing vacation.
Themed rooms with marble bathrooms
Room balconies with ocean views
Craft brewery with outdoor pool
Scavenger hunts and free goodies
Paid ironing service
No microwave in rooms
Slightly pricey accommodation
This waterfront boutique hotel in California quickly became one of my favorite places to indulge my wanderlust and savor the essence of Monterey.
While visiting, my California escape gained an extra sparkle with a private beachfront, evenings filled with s’mores by a crackling bonfire, a tempting heated outdoor pool, and the option to explore the captivating inland vistas through bike rentals.
Staying in one of the 196 guestrooms was a delight, surrounded by vivid colors and adobe textures that created a lush ambiance, perfectly complementing modern luxury.
I loved the authentic touch in the on-site eateries, Bayside Bar and Lounge, and Tides Waterfront Kitchen. They not only satisfied my culinary cravings but also supported local fishermen and farmers by featuring the freshest produce from Salinas Valley.
Beachfront hotel with sleek rooms
Offers garden and bay views
Contemporary Californian cuisine
Outdoor pool and hot tub
Breakfast is not included
No grill or firepits
Pool closes at 10
One of my favorite places to breathe in the alluring coastal charm and beach-side energy is this tranquil seaside hideaway in Monterey. While visiting, I couldn’t go wrong with its ideal location along California’s central coast, just moments from downtown.
I love how the tranquility of the sea influences every corner, from the lobby to the breakfast area and the modern guest rooms. The redesigned rooms offer panoramic vistas of the Bay, and I even had the opportunity to experience an in-room massage.
I appreciated the celebration of Northern California’s bounty. The Spanish Colonial-style buildings are surrounded by lush garden scenery, creating a serene atmosphere. During my stay, I enjoyed a complimentary continental breakfast, adding to the overall delightful experience.
Spanish Colonial-style suite hotel
Breakfast and afternoon snacks
Private balconies and patios
Courtyard with a fountain and seating
Extra charges per pet
No air condition available
No jacuzzi in room
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
One of my favorite places, this stunning Monterey hotel welcomes guests with the classic California coastal experience. I love how it sits dramatically above the crashing Pacific surf on historic beachfront property.
While visiting, the warm hospitality impressed me, perfectly complementing the well-appointed guest rooms. Each room carries luxury touches, creating a delightful atmosphere that effortlessly blends elegance with contemporary coastal inspirations.
I experienced the irresistible spirit of conviviality and play. The rugged natural surroundings of azure blue waters added to the charm, and the breathtaking rooftop spa and fitness center left me in awe. I tried the chef-driven oceanfront restaurant, which provided an elevated dining experience.
Rooms with fireplaces and jacuzzi
Free car and bike loaner service
Lounge bar offering live music
Seafood restaurant with outdoor patio
No swimming pool
Per day parking fee
Fee for jacuzzi
Old Monterey Inn
One of my favorite places for a romantic escape is this Monterey bed and breakfast. I love how it captures the essence of Old World romance, creating a perfect haven for couples, especially those on a quest for an intimate and idyllic honeymoon spot.
While visiting, I found myself transported to a different era as I wandered through the estate’s enchanting landscape. The gentle sounds of water features accompanied me, harmonizing with the shade of majestic live oak trees and the allure of dazzling English gardens. Each room and suite is a testament to refined taste, adorned with exquisite furnishings and equipped with top-notch amenities.
During my stay, I experienced the true magic of this inn, which has rightfully earned national acclaim. It holds a special place in Patricia Schulz’s renowned book ‘One Thousand Places to See Before You Die,’ and has proudly secured a spot on the coveted Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Gold List.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens
Rooms with an English country theme
An evening wine-and-cheese reception
Fireplaces with seating areas
No lift at the property
Children are not allowed
Dark at night
InterContinental The Clement Monterey
Nestled by the serene, azure waves of Monterey Bay on Cannery Row, I found one of my favorite places. The breathtaking ocean views and coastal allure truly captivated my senses with beauty and luxury.
I couldn’t help but fall in love with the waterfront dining experiences. The taste of exquisite dishes against the backdrop of the shimmering bay was a moment to cherish. Additionally, the rejuvenating spa sessions added a touch of relaxation to my unforgettable experience.
While visiting, I discovered that the InterContinental caters to every occasion. For someone like me who craves adventure, the adrenaline-fueled activities were a dream come true. Hand-gliding, biking, hiking, and boating experiences were conveniently available right at my doorstep, making my stay even more exciting.
Rooms with fireplace and minibars
Balcony with breathtaking bay views
Outdoor heated pool with hot tub
Contemporary restaurant with a terrace
Poor soundproofing system
Limited restaurant hours
Small swimming pool
Wave Street Inn
I love this beautifully renovated boutique hotel—it’s become one of my favorite places for romantic escapes, weekend getaways, and family vacations. The vibrant modern design and warm coastal vibe immediately captured my heart, creating an atmosphere of sophisticated style and comfort. The hip, contemporary décor and nature ocean-inspired color accents in the 32 rooms and suites complemented the overall ambiance perfectly.
While visiting, I enjoyed the authentic hotel experience that Wave Street Inn offers, especially after exploring scenic Monterey or strolling down Cannery Row for local dining and shopping. The attention to detail in the rooms was impressive.
I appreciated the in-room amenities, such as a refrigerator, laptop safes, and a welcome basket with hand-selected treats. The softwoods, plush beds, and flat-screen TVs further enhanced my refreshing experience at this glorious Monterey getaway.
Free morning coffee and pastry baskets
Free in-room coffee
tea and snacks
Rooms with bay views and fireplaces
Free champagne to honeymoon couples
No laundry facilities
Breakfast not included
Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa
This serene Monterey retreat quickly became one of my favorite places. The enchanting gardens, hacienda-style buildings, and revamped accommodations beautifully honor Northern California’s Spanish heritage, immersing me in the allure of the great outdoors.
During my stay, I fell in love with the seamless blend of modern comforts and historic elegance. The Spanish influence gracefully extends to every corner, turning each guestroom and suite into a haven of hacienda charm. The custom furnishings, granite bathrooms, fireplaces, and other chic features added a delightful touch to my experience.
One of my highlights was the rejuvenating spa, where I indulged in a blissful escape for both body and soul. The Estéban patio became my go-to spot, offering delectable Spanish-California cuisine and the most amazing homemade sangria.
Set in a charming
Soaking tubs and fireplaces
Mediterranean bar with patio dining
Posh day spa and outdoor pool
No microwave in rooms
Paid laundry service
The tranquillity of a seaside vacation is epitomized at Victoria Inn, one of my favorite places in Monterey. While visiting, I loved the boutique hotel’s warm, historic charm. Only a stone’s throw away, scenic coastal trails, whale-watching afternoons, and kayaking experiences kept me always engaged.
The beautiful rooms and suites became my sanctuary, welcoming with marble fireplaces and terraces offering ocean breezes. Serenity, romance, and adventure are all part of the hotel’s splendor. I experienced the seamless blend of luxury and history.
During my stay, I appreciated that Victoria Inn meets the Green Seal Environmental Standard for Lodging Properties. The hotel’s emphasis on sustainability protocols added a layer of consciousness to my experience, making it even more memorable.
Classic rooms have marble fireplaces
Private balconies and patios
A free daily continental breakfast
Complimentary afternoon wine receptions
Breakfast served early
No hot tubs available
No air conditioning in the rooms
Merritt House Hotel
One of my favorite places, the Merritt house, is a beautifully preserved, family-owned adobe. Walking into the historically furnished rooms and suites, I instantly fell in love with the elegant charm reminiscent of another era. The suites, each boasting fireplaces, offered a cozy retreat, and some even treated me to balcony views overlooking the private, secluded gardens.
Nestled among towering magnolia, holly, and olive trees, the surroundings of this well-appointed accommodation truly added to the nostalgic atmosphere of the Merritt house. It felt like stepping into a different time.
The hotel’s location is unbeatable, situated within walking distance of Fisherman’s Wharf, surrounded by fine shops and restaurants. Moreover, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the lavish golf courses that define the region. I felt I was in the heart of it all.
Nostalgic vibes with antique furniture and some 4-poster beds
Free continental breakfast every morning
Dining room overlooking the garden
holly and olive trees
Staying at this historic boutique hotel, housed in a charming three-story stucco building from 1927, felt like stepping into one of my favorite places. The elegant design created a nostalgic and intimate atmosphere, making it a true landmark on Cannery Row.
Perched right on McAbee Beach, the Spindrift Inn became my go-to romantic getaway. The breathtaking waterfront views, visible from the European-inspired rooms and suites, added a touch of magic to the experience.
I love this chic hotel, and it’s no surprise it has secured its spot in TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice ‘Top 10 of the Best Hotels for Romance in the United States’ for three consecutive years.
Patterned room with canopy beds
Scenic balcony with window seats and great views
Breakfast served on a silver tray
Rooftop garden offering ocean views
No air conditioning
Paid valet parking
No swimming pool
One of my favorite places, 11th Heaven, is a trendy tranquil retreat surrounded by serene beauty. Recently remodeled, this spacious Monterey getaway stole my heart with its stylish, high-end finishes, a statement gas fireplace, and chic furnishings that added a creative touch.
While staying at 11th Heaven, I loved whipping up delicious, home-cooked meals in the state-of-the-art kitchen. Dining at the cozy table-for-four was a delightful experience, and ending my days in the warm and inviting living area felt like a perfect conclusion. The wall-mounted flatscreen TV added to the charm of the place.
Situated in Seaside, often praised as the sunniest part of Monterey, this gem is just a quick three-mile drive from the tremendous kayaking adventures of Del Monte Beach.
Delicious and home-cooked meals
High-end and statement gas fireplace
Furnished patio with BBQ facilities
Hiking and fishing activities
No extra beds available
Slightly out of the way
Pets not allowed
Comparison of Best Hotels in Monterey
Here are the top 12 cool and unique hotels in Maui, the table allows you to conveniently sort them by various criteria such as price range, amenities, proximity to attractions, and nearby dining options:
|Hotel Name||Location||Price Range (per night)||Fitness Facilities||Distance to Attractions (km)||Nearby Restaurants|
|Portola Hotel & Spa||Two Portola Plaza||$387-$667||Yes||0.60||3|
|Monterey Tides||2600 Sand Dunes Dr||$335-$573||No||3.1||3|
|Hotel Pacific||300 Pacific Street||$301-$359||No||0.55||3|
|Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa||400 Cannery Row||$504-$959||Yes||1.5||3|
|Old Monterey Inn||500 Martin Street||$645-$811||No||1.5||3|
|InterContinental The Clement Monterey||750 Cannery Row||$501-$1841||Yes||1.8||3|
|Wave Street Inn||571 Wave St||$408-$430||No||1.8||3|
|Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa||700 Munras Avenue||$236-$427||Yes||1.0||3|
|Victorian Inn||487 Foam Street||$215-$238||No||1.7||3|
|Merritt House Hotel||386 Pacific Street||$340-$419||No||0.55||3|
|Spindrift Inn||652 Cannery Row||4413-$828||No||1.8||3|
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Beth Pinches – writer and photographer
Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. Other places she loves include Croatia, Finland, Japan and India. In between adventures, travel writing and performing she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele. Find Beth on Linkedin or Facebook.