|The grounds at the Old Monterey Inn|
The Monterey Peninsula attracts millions of visitors every year. But most people never fully flesh out their experiences by staying in a lodging that is as unique to Monterey as all the other reasons people come here. To many travelers, a hotel or motel is the least of their considerations, but staying at the right place, one which is indicative of exactly where you are, can enhance your entire trip. These three properties; in Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel, will get you grounded in the local while making your stay in Monterey memorable.
The Old Monterey Inn is set on an acre and a quarter is the only English Tudor B&B in Monterey. The lush gardens have a European sensibility with proper hedges, mature trees and thick vines clinging to the entrance of this beautiful Tudor property. It's fitting I stayed in the library room (I’m a writer, so…ya know) and this was the home of the first mayor of Monterey, built in 1929. Local wines and cheese are put out every afternoon, and there's always tawny port in the parlor (we like this idea).
|The formal dining room at the Old Monterey Inn|
A refrigerator holds free water and juices and breakfast is served at 9 a.m. in the communal formal dining room (I love this room), or in the garden when the weather is nice, or in your room if you want privacy. Even though this is a small oasis you're an easy 12-minute walk from downtown Monterey. Since The Inn was built as an actual residence and not a replicated lodging, you get a great continuation of history with coffered ceilings, spacious rooms and detailed hand carved woodwork – all the while knowing than families lived here for decades. The mayor's wife traveled extensively in Europe hence the English Tudor feel and this is a delightful spot, perfect for a romantic getaway. The rooms are large with comfortable beds, hot tubs and carpeting throughout which adds to the quiet atmosphere. Choose from over 100 DVDs to watch in your room as you lounge in a large Jacuzzi tub. (800/350-2344 - OLD MONTEREY INN
The Martine Inn is certainly the most eclectic lodging you'll find on the entire Peninsula. There are 5 vintage MGs on the property, courtesy of Don Martine an avid collector, restorer of old cars, and racing fanatic, not to mention super nice guy and a wealth of Monterey history. The interior courtyard contains a pool table, ping pong, board games, real wood burning fireplaces (an increasing rarity on the peninsula). Originally this was the 3-story Victorian home of a wealthy pharmaceutical owner who seemed to need to keep changing the property to suit their tastes and keep up with the latest design trends. The façade keep being reinvented, but now it’s unique looking precisely because it’s so undefinable. Scheduled for demolition Don Martine bought it in 1972 and today it's fun, funky and every room is different with a collection of wood antiques ranging rom English to Asian to Deco.
|The exterior of the Martine Inn|
Breakfast is served from 8 to 10 in the mornings and you’re directly facing the Monterey Bay from the second story - the proper way to enjoy coffee and breakfast. Wine and snacks come out in the evenings. The property was walled-in during the 1920s when that was the design fad so there’s a lot of seclusion. The interior courtyard was once home to three koi ponds when the original owners visited Japan and wanted to relive that experience. When one of their kids almost drowned they removed two of the three ponds (why not all three, you ask? No one knows) but you can still enjoy part of the orient, as well as a variety of eras in this smorgasbord B&B. It’s located across the street from the ocean and the extensive walking path which runs the length of the south part of the Bay, so you have incredible access to the ocean, and it’s a only a few blocks to downtown Pacific Grove. (800/852-5588 - MARTINE INN)
|Buddha watches at Tradewinds|
Tradewinds Carmel is a pet-friendly spot, unlike anything else in Carmel, or Monterey for that matter. Featured in Architectural Digest, the 28 rooms, most of which have fireplaces and ocean views, have a unique fusion of Asian, Balinese and tropical design. Since uch of Carmel is cute Hansel & Gretel style, Tradewinds stands out as atypical. The original owner lived in Japan hence the Asian theme. Now his daughter continues the theme with beautifully appointed Asian inspired décor including Egyptian cotton linens, down pillows and featherbeds, orchids in every room and instead of standard white cotton robes, you have kimono robes. A continental breakfast is served 8 to 10 a.m. every morning including fresh fruit, yogurt and pastries which you can have served in either your room or in the dining area known as the Catlin Room.
Tradewinds has three parking lots, so you car isn’t left on the street (common for space-squeezed Carmel) and you have quick access to it. Water features around the property include Buddha, ferns, waterfalls and reeds, creating a small oasis, and the evenings light up with the fire pit and tiki torches. You're very close to the middle of Carmel, easy to walk to restaurants and a few wine tasting rooms. Tradewinds has a tranquil feel which will keep you grounded. (831/624-2776 - TRADEWINDS)
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