For sheer oceanfront beauty, it’s hard to top the Monterey Bay Inn. This boutique hotel is known for comfort, friendly service and amazing views of the water. It also marks the entrance to Cannery Row, one of my favorite places to soak up the culture and beauty of Monterey Bay.
A visit to Monterey is always an unforgettable weekend getaway filled with delicious food, shopping, picturesque walks, hiking in Point Lobos State Reserve, scuba diving at San Carlos Beach and whale watching – make sure to keep an eye out for seabirds, seals and sea otters too.
Monterey Bay Inn’s 49 rooms, most with stunning ocean views and private balconies provide a ringside seat to the ever-changing show put on by the ocean. In room binoculars offer a close-up look at the amazing scenery. Guest room amenities include plush king size bedding, expansive bathrooms, nightly turndown service and complimentary Wi-fi. Some guest rooms include a gas fireplace. If you really want to “do it up”, book the Panoramic Oceanfront Room and take in views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, San Carlos Beach, Monterey’s boat harbor and Coast Guard Pier. If you can’t book that room – make sure to check out their rooftop hot tub with awesome ocean views that contribute to a relaxing stay.
“We always enjoy staying here. Love the ocean harbor view rooms. So nice to sit on the balcony looking down at the beach and then the lights at night. Couldn’t ask for more”, said Susan Mayberry of Knightsen, California. “Such a great location. Nice walk to Fisherman’s Wharf, and then a wonderful walk the other way toward the Aquarium”.
When it comes to food offerings, each morning a continental breakfast is delivered to the guestroom, and freshly baked cookies are served in their lobby every afternoon. Grab a quick treat, head out the door and start exploring.
“Guests love visiting Monterey as there are so many things to do in such a small area”, said Randy Venard, VP of the Inns of Monterey, a collection of boutique hotels. “They love visiting the fantastic scenic coastline to spectacular wine tasting and dining, to riding bikes on the coastal trail or just enjoying sites such as Monterey Bay Aquarium and all the shops on Cannery Row”.
In addition to plenty of shopping, Cannery Row is home to over 25 different restaurants.
Dinner, Night One: Sardine Factory
One of the nice things about being right on Cannery Row is the amazing choices for dining and entertainment. Start with The Sardine Factory, founded in 1968 by Ted Balestreri and Bert Cutino.
Perched above Cannery Row and rich with history, the Sardine Factory is easily recognized by the red and white fishing boat on its front lawn. The boat was hand built by a local fisherman’s grandfather, and had seen years on Monterey waters looking for salmon, tuna, cod, squid and crab, which was sold to canneries from Monterey to San Francisco. The restaurant’s canopy-covered steps lead into the Lounge, adorned with wood, soft leather, and walls reflecting the area’s history with photographs, paintings, and documents. The intimate Captain’s Room glows from the light of the fireplace and candle lit tables, and the Conservatory features a glass-domed ceiling with a crystal chandelier.
Below the dining rooms lies the famous Wine Cellar for private dining, boasting a 25-foot long banquet table, antiques, and a collection of over 32,000 bottles of wine.
Just a 10-minute walk from Monterey Bay Inn, the Sardine Factory has been serving up fresh seafood to thousands including some public figures you’re sure to recognize. “Over the years the Sardine Factory has hosted celebrities, movie stars, and sports legends from all over the world, including Clint Eastwood, Tony Bennett, Julia Child, Rachel Ray, Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Leon Panetta, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh Kenny G, Ray Romano to name a few”, said co-founder and Executive Chef Bert Cutino.
Meeting Chef Cutino was one of the highlights of my visit to the Sardine Factory. He is a charmer and incredibly knowledgeable about the area. Diners are delighted when he walks through his restaurant greeting them and sharing stories of Cannery Row and how the restaurant started.
The menu options are plentiful, but Cutino has a top recommendation. “The Sardine Factory’s signature Abalone Bisque is a favorite”, said Cutino. It was served at “Taste of America” for President Reagan’s Inauguration.”
Some of my favorite dishes included the Wild Abalone Medallion, Main Lobster Ravioli, and Linguine with Clams. Dessert choices are all tempting – fresh fruit gelato, chocolate dipped ice Cream “BonBons”, cannolis with cinnamon and chocolate chips, but the most intriguing dessert of them all had to be sorbet served on an ice sculpture.
Dinner, Night Two: Estéban Restaurant
If you love Spanish tapas, try Estéban Restaurant, located at the historic Casa Munras Hotel. (sister hotel to Monterey Bay Inn) Estéban Restaurant serves a wide range of small plates: from Spanish cheeses, to Monterey calamari, to duck breast, to a Basque burger with tomato chutney, sheep’s milk cheese, grilled onions.
If you’re in town, don’t miss Paella Tuesday said Executive Chef, Tom Snyder. “Vibrant Spanish saffron rice dish including sausage, lamb, and chicken – Paella is made to order with a half hour cook time to achieve a bottom socarrat (caramelized crust) in the paella. Paellas are to be enjoyed family style”, said Snyder. To wash down the paella order up their most popular drink – a Boss Anna Margarita with Premium Partida Tequila, Patron Citron, Lime, & Grand Marnier.
Enjoy your Stay
The area is a vacation wonderland, and the Monterey Bay Inn is a great place to roost during your stay. Kick your shoes off, walk on the beach, sip a glass of fine wine and just enjoy.