My wife and I just finished up a quick 2 night stay at the Monterey Marriott. Check in went smooth, I opted for the points as the welcome amenity when we arrived and received 2 vouchers for breakfast because there is no concierge lounge. A little tip, there is a public parking garage 2 small blocks away that offers parking for $7 a day...no ins/outs, but saves you some $ if you plan to stay parked and not pay the $25 on-site Marriott valet parking. We love the area and the location of the property is about a 5 minute walk to the bay and public pier and about a 20 minute walk to the Monterey Bay Aquarium/Cannery Row area.
I booked at the lowest rate, and they were sold out so they were not able to provide any type of a Platinum upgrade...not even a corner king. The room we were checked into was a king room, but on the interior side facing the pool. We may of had better luck with better location if we had a double/double room, who knows. There was a plaque on the door that indicates elite room, but I am not sure it really rates that description. This is the kind of place that the room types are varied based on the view, either city or bay and if people buy them all up, not really much to complain about. We had a microscopic bay view on the horizon, if you look at the photo below, you can see the tiny bit of blue next to what appears to be a Christmas tree, but what is really the top of a very tall conifer beyond the property. The view below is from our 5th floor room. A few floors up and we would of had a pretty decent bay view I think. Truth is, we were not in the room all that much...so it didn't matter. Some of the rooms have small balconies, and the suite we were upgraded to a few years ago had a rather large balcony. We have had some luck in the past with upgrades at this property during the spring, but never during the December holiday period...it is very crowded with families enjoying a holiday vacation.
The hotel lobby is very nice and was decorated for the holidays, but I would say the rooms may need some upgrades and the bed we had was pretty hard. In my case, it is the classic you get what you pay for. The hotel has a decent sized gym, an outdoor pool and hot tub along with outdoor ping-pong and Foosball tables. There are several large televisions in the lobby and there were plenty of bowl games being enjoyed.
We enjoy the breakfast at this property, typical Marriott fare from their full service restaurant with an omelet bar, a huge selection of baked goods and usually something regional like chorizo,eggs and tortillas. A word to the wise, get there early. Anytime before 8:30 and you are good to go, after that...you will be fighting the crowds...it gets crazy in there, especially on weekends with all the families. We learned that lesson the hard way a few years back. There is no concierge lounge which is a bummer, but if you ask the front desk, they give you bottled water when you want. The picture below is at Point Lobos, looking back towards Carmel.
In addition to the hotel restaurant, there are dozens of restaurants a short walk and even more a lyft/Uber ride away in Pacific Grove. This year we ate at the Montrio Bistro, they have an excellent selection of drinks and appetizers for happy hour and an amazing white chocolate bread pudding that should not be missed. There is very nice coffee spot called Plumes about a half block away where they feature fresh roasted coffee from the Santa Cruz Roasting company and you can get a made to order pour-over for all the varieties. Directly across the street is a small theater called the Osio that shows independent films. Last year we saw "The Shape of Water" and this year we saw a Japanese film called "Shoplifters"...both were really good. They only have a few screens so I walked across the street and entered through the adjoining cafe Lumiere and picked up tickets/reserved seats for an evening showing. This is the kind of art-house theater where you can order coffee/ beer/wine and some baked goods to take into the movie with you. The picture below was of a rock outcrop we came across completely draped in a native succulent.
The city of Monterey and the adjacent cities of Pacific Grove and Carmel have a lot to offer. I don't golf much anymore, but there are several nice courses in the area in addition to the world renowned Pebble Beach. Carmel is very unique, lots of little cottages and a great village atmosphere. Nice beaches, incredible scenery, fresh seafood, world class aquarium and mild weather. We drove about 10 minutes to Carmel from the hotel and did a nice 6 mile hike at Point Lobos Nature Reserve....the views were outstanding. Harbor seals, sea lions, otters and a wide variety of birds, flower and native plants are all easily observed. We did a pretty massive loop, but there are plenty of small hikes and accessible paths if you just want to see the sights and not get a work-out. Again, get their early if you want to park inside the park. Otherwise, you will be parking on Highway 1 and dodging cars as you walk into the park. We had a lunch after our hike at an oyster bar called A.W. Shucks on the main drag of Carmel. Parking is free, but tough in Carmel, just be patient and drive around the village, you will find something eventually. A.W. Shucks has a good atmosphere, tasty drinks and great seafood.
All and all, a great stay. The room this time was average, but I hope there will be upgrades to be had in the future! We are making a tradition of the December trip to this location and I look forward to our stay again next year. While this is not the most modern of Marriott properties, the location is hard to beat. The photo below is taken from the paved walking path between Monterey and Pacific Grove. This path if several miles long and is an amazing place for a walk, jog or bike ride. You can see Lovers Point in Pacific Grove way in the distance.
If you are looking for a great location, fresh seafood and amazing views...the Monterey Marriott is for you.