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Monterey Plaza Hotel Reviews

Like any business, most hotels attempt to cater to a particular kind of guest. Some travelers don’t need 5-star accommodations, while others don’t mind paying extra for valet parking and 500-thread count sheets. The Monterey Plaza Hotel, for instance, boasts luxury amenities at a prime location on Cannery Row. Other establishments, like The Islander Motel in Santa Cruz, provide simpler amenities at a humbler price for cost-savvy travelers.


What Is the Monterey Plaza Hotel?



The Monterey Plaza Hotel is a historic beachfront property with elegant rooms, an award-winning spa, and a chef-driven oceanfront restaurant. On the south end of Cannery Row, guests get a beautiful view of Monterey Bay.

Monterey and Historic Cannery Row

Monterey is one of the bike-friendliest towns in the central coast with bike-friendly streets downtown and the Monterey Coastal Recreational Trail that stretches 18-miles from Castroville to Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove. This trail goes right by the hotel! With the complimentary bicycles from the Monterey Plaza Hotel, a rental car is hardly necessary.


Cannery Row was one of the most productive industries in the world until the canneries failed in the mid-1950s. Now, the gritty dockside streets can only be found in John Steinbeck’s novels. Since the early 90s, Cannery Row has been transformed into a vibrant boulevard with boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries.


The Monterey Bay Aquarium can be found on the north end of Cannery Row and is known for providing innovative exhibits and a unique visitor experience. The Aquarium has a mission to inspire conservation of the oceans and showcases sea life for Monterey Bay, one of the world’s richest marine regions.


Monterey Plaza Hotel Features



This impressive establishment houses two waterfront restaurants, a coffee bar, business center, spa, and the facilities for a small wedding.

Accommodations

The Monterey Plaza hotel has almost 300 rooms with flat-screen TVs, marble bathrooms, and microfiber beds. Some rooms have a private patio or balcony; others with an ocean view will cost guests more.

Spa, Fitness Center, and Business Center

The award-winning Vista Blue Spa is located on the top floor of the hotel. There you can find outdoor whirlpools and luxury services including facials and massages, along with body and nail treatments. Vista Blue also offers in-room services and complimentary tea, juice, water, and fruit.

The fitness center provides cardio machines, strength-training equipment, and yoga mats. Unfortunately, there is no swimming pool at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, but the whirlpool Jacuzzi’s make up for it.

The Monterey Plaza business center has some of the latest audio-visual equipment available for clean and effective presentations. You can also find 17 business rooms, off-site catering, and a meeting and event planner available.


How it Compares to Other Hotels



This impressive establishment houses two waterfront restaurants, a coffee bar, business center, spa, and the facilities for a small wedding.

  • Shore Hotel
  • The Islander Motel
  • Loews Hollywood Hotel

Monterey Plaza Hotel


This impressive establishment houses two waterfront restaurants, a coffee bar, business center, spa, and the facilities for a small wedding.

Price

$$

This luxury hotel pampers guests with a complimentary shuttle service, free daily newspaper, concierge service, overnight shoeshine, same-day dry cleaning, and complimentary bicycles for guests to use at their own leisure during their stay.

Services

This luxury hotel pampers guests with a complimentary shuttle service, free daily newspaper, concierge service, overnight shoeshine, same-day dry cleaning, and complimentary bicycles for guests to use at their own leisure during their stay.

Facilities

The Monterey Plaza Hotel has two chef-driven restaurants with gorgeous views of Monterey Bay. The gym also has great views of the bay. The Vista Blue Spa has a long list of ways to help melt the stress of life away. There are also electric vehicle chargers on the property.

Food and Drink

The Helmsman Lounge has small bites, cocktails, and live music on weekends. Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen & Bar offers mostly American cuisine and sustainable seafood. The Tidal Coffee shop has everything from iced lattes to hot cappuccinos, along with small artisan-style food items.

Nearby Attractions

The Monterey Regional Airport is only five miles away from the Monterey Plaza Hotel. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is within walking distance, only three blocks away. The Old Fisherman’s Wharf, with a variety of seafood restaurants and shops, is about a 20-minute walk, or a two-minute drive away. El Estero Park is about a 10-minute drive away, with the iconic Dennis the Menace Park and paddle boat rentals.

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PROS

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  • Prime location
  • Complimentary bikes in a bike-friendly town
  • Complimentary shuttle service

CON

  • No swimming pool
  • No pets allowed

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Shore Hotel


The Shore Hotel is a boutique establishment with 164 rooms, 20 of which are suites and a four-level underground parking garage. This hotel opened only in 2011 right across the street from the Santa Monica Pier and only a 15-minute drive from the Santa Monica Airport.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a bustling coastal town and a hot tourist destination with a thriving local culture. Right across the street from The Shore Hotel are the Santa Monica Pier, the Aquarium, and Pacific Park, an amusement park with a solar-powered Ferris wheel. There are three main shopping districts in Santa Monica: Montana Ave on the north side, Main Street on the south, and the ever-popular Third Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica, which is only a few blocks over from the hotel.

Eco-Friendly Design

The Shore Hotel is Santa Monica’s first LEED Gold Certified hotel, and about half of construction waste was recycled or salvaged. The hotel saves on water and energy with drought-resistant greenery, low-flow showers and toilets, and solar panels to heat the pool. Each guest room is also fitted with auto light and temperature control, detecting when guests enter or leave the room. About 90 percent of guest rooms have direct lighting throughout the day, lessening the need for artificial lighting.

Accommodations

The rooms are cozy with a private balcony or patio. The Shore Hotel provides iHome and LED HDTVs with cable and Showtime. Bedding is hypoallergenic, and there is also a laptop safe. Rooms are handicap accessible, and the bathtub has a seat.

Pool, Business Center, and Fitness Center

Within the U-shaped building, the courtyard area houses the solar-heated pool and whirlpool hot tub. Next to the pool is the Blue Plate Taco, a locally-sourced Mexican restaurant.


The business center provides their services 24-hours a day, including computer support. A large meeting space, known as the Green Room, can be rented with on-site catering and can fit from 30 to 60 people inside, or 56 to 120 people combined with the patio area.


The fitness center provides free weights, treadmills, and stationary bikes. Guests can enjoy the fitness center any day of the week at any time.

Pet-Friendly

For $100 per pet (with a limit of two per room, for up to a week), guests receive a bed, and food and water bowls to use during their stay.

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Price

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The price per night ranges from $350 to $550, based on average rates.

Services

The Shore Hotel has a large underground garage for worry-free parking and electric car charging points. The guest can enjoy room service, LED HDTVs with cable and Showtime, iHome docks, laptop safes, dry-cleaning, and laundry services, and hypoallergenic Egyptian cotton sheets.

Facilities

The hotel is highly handicapped accessible, including a seat in the bath. The Shore Hotel is Santa Monica’s first LEED Gold Certified hotel, dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint. The U-shaped building provides a variety of views overlooking surrounding Santa Monica.

Food and Drink

On-site, there is the Blue Plate Taco, with locally-sourced Mexican food, but it has some poor reviews. For finer dining, the Boa Steakhouse is only a 5-minute walk away. For Japanese food, the Robata Bar is also only 5-minutes away. To quench your thirst, try the English pub, Ye Olde King’s Head, only a 6-minute walk from the hotel. There is also a dive bar within the same distance, the Chez Jay.

Nearby Attractions

The beach is only a short walk away, along with a waterfront amusement park and aquarium. It is almost a ten-minute walk to the nearest metro station, but guests can take the train from Santa Monica to Downtown, Hollywood, and Universal Studios amusement park. Within walking distance, tourists will find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and things to do during their stay in Santa Monica.

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PROS

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  • Eco-friendly; Santa Monica’s first LEED Gold Certified hotel
  • Prime location
  • Pets allowed

CON

  • No spa on-site, but they offer in-room massages
  • $45 parking fee, but there is a $25 parking garage nearby
  • Complaints of sanitation issues in the rooms
  • Complaints of overpriced food on dirty dishes at the Blue Plate Taco
  • $100 fee per pet

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The Islander Motel


The Islander Motel is a two-story establishment with 22 guest rooms. It was constructed in the 1960s, but was recently refurbished in 2016. Unfortunately, there are no pets allowed and no extra cots or cribs available.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Santa Cruz sits on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, known for its water sports like sailing, diving, paddle boarding, and surfing. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is known for its variety of rides, games, shops restaurants, and craft beers. There are also boat rentals, bocce ball, and meet-the-wine-maker wine tastings. It’s the perfect spot for unique gifts like shells and abalone jewelry. It’s only a 20-minute walk, 10-minute drive, or 6-minute bike ride away.

Accommodations

The rooms are on the small size, but they come stocked with appliances like a mini fridge and microwave. The bathrooms have marble counters and a shower and tub combination. If you are expecting a home-away-from-home-type experience, this motel is not for you.

Price

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The price ranges from $70 to $200 per night, based on average rates.

Services

The Islander Motel is a budget lodging option that supplies only the necessities. They offer a complimentary breakfast every morning. They also provide fax and photocopying services.

Facilities

This budget option has a seasonal heated swimming pool, a vending machine, and heating/AC in each room.

Food and Drink

The continental breakfast is nothing special. For a heartier breakfast, try the Buttery, less than a 10-minute walk away from The Islander. Down the street, there is Ristorante Italiano, or Sala Thai and Hindquarter Bar & Grille for some different lunch and dinner options.

Nearby Attractions

In the heart of Santa Cruz there is so much to see and do. The famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is only minutes away. There is also The Catalyst and the Rio Theater, if you have time for a show.

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PROS

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  • Great location
  • Free parking, but on a small lot
  • Decent price, when compared to other hotels in the area

CON

  • No pets allowed
  • No business center
  • Not handicapped accessible
  • Guests claimed outlets and appliances didn’t work
  • No coffee maker in-room
  • Rude staff
  • Complaints of dirty rooms and poor Wi-Fi

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Loews Hollywood Hotel


The Loews Hollywood Hotel is right around the corner from the iconic Hollywood Boulevard. The establishment is also attached to the Hollywood and Highland Center, so guests have easy access to shops, restaurants, and Hertz. It was recently renovated and now presents a contemporary look and utilitarian details with modern oak furniture and bright accent colors.

Hollywood

Whether you are visiting for business or for pleasure, Hollywood has a few places that you can’t miss if you have the chance to see them. The Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard has many shops and restaurants as well as the famous Chinese Theatre. Music lovers should stop by Amoeba Music, the largest independent record store in the country. They have a huge selection and knowledgeable staff.

Accommodations

The Loews Hollywood Hotel has 628 guest rooms and suites, some with views of either the Hollywood sign or the city itself. A standard room is about 400 square feet with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and some have floor-to-ceiling windows.

Pool, Gym and Events Center

The rooftop pool has a large sundeck with white shaded cabanas, lounge chairs and umbrellas.


The fitness center is located poolside, on the fifth floor, with new equipment and great views of LA. The fitness center includes a yoga studio, which offers several types of classes: private, boot camp, barre, and personal training.


Their largest event space can hold up to 650 people. There are also printing and sign making services provided, along with a customized reservation webpage for each group event. They have the latest audio-visual equipment and 24-hour access to self-service computers and printers.

Pet-Friendly

The Loews Hotels has a special pet room service menu, with options for cats and dogs, prepared by an award-winning culinary team. They also provide dog-walking route maps, placemats, water bowls, treats, and doggie bags.

Price

$$$

The price ranges from $230 to $450 per night, based on average rates.

Services

They provide bellhop, valet, currency exchange, and concierge services. They also provide shoeshine, same-day laundry, and clothing fixing services. Guests can connect up to three devices to the free Wi-Fi. They also have a babysitting service.

Facilities

The Loews Hotels caters to both business and leisure travelers, combining big-chain conveniences with an upscale vibe. The hotel houses two restaurants, Preston’s and K2 Hitchen & Bar, along with a Bodega shop, a swimming pool, a yoga and fitness studio, and a massive business and events center. There is also a four-level parking garage located under the hotel for safe parking, but there are cheaper parking options on the same block.

Food and Drink

Preston’s offers California-inspired cuisine with beautiful views of Hollywood. They serve a breakfast buffet, lunch, and dinner. K2 Kitchen & Bar is newly renovated with 120-inch TVs for sports games and different theme drinks. The Bodega market next to the lobby includes a Starbucks coffee house, wine, beer, pastries, paninis, pizzas, and luxury candy and chocolates.

Nearby Attractions

Attached to the Loews Hollywood Hotel is the Hollywood and Highland Center with several shops and restaurants.


Nature and horse lovers should check out Sunset Ranch and Runyon Canyon Park. Sunset Ranch offers daily trail rides with great views of the Hollywood sign. Runyon Canyon Park is a popular trail system. Located in eastern Santa Monica, it has 160 acres to wander and enjoy breathtaking views of LA.

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PROS

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  • Prime location
  • Elegant event space
  • Pet-friendly

CON

  • $100 fee per pet
  • $45 fee for parking for valet or self-parking
  • Always busy with tourists; not a quiet and cozy establishment
  • Breakfast is not included

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Conclusion



If you are traveling for business, you may need printing, copying, or laundry services at a moment’s notice. Establishments like The Islander in Santa Cruz probably won’t meet your business needs. Instead, high-end establishments are a better option to ensure you have everything you need to get the job done. However, there are times you just need a bed and a quick breakfast to keep your road trip going. In that case, places like The Islander are perfect for you. The Loews Hotel is nice, but we have noticed that they love to tack on fees.


Our favorite hotel on this list is the Monterey Plaza Hotel. The Monterey Plaza knows how to balance its amenities between business and pleasure. Even if you’re committed to meetings or appointments, you can still enjoy views of the bay, and local culture only steps away from your room. But since they don’t allow pets, we rated this 4 out of 5 stars.

Featured Image Source: CC BY 2.0, Sandip Bhattacharya, Flickr

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