As you plan your road trip to Monterey County, do you like to book hotels first and then decide on sightseeing? Or do you prefer to lock in your top sights, and then find hotels nearby? I think our family is a combination of both. Because I am such a hotel junkie, I find choosing hotels in Monterey County is a great way to start planning.
Next thing to decide is whether you plan to camp out in one hotel for the duration of your stay, or hop around. The beauty of Monterey County is that you and your family can easily approach it either way. Since we are obsessed with great hotel stays, our family tends to like a hotel hop or three.
Plan Your Trip to Monterey County
Choosing hotels in Monterey County can be hard simply because there are so many great places. We aim to make it a little easier based on sharing our own personal experiences staying at some great hotels in the area.
Recommendations on Hotels in Monterey County
We’ve stayed in several places over the course of a few visits to hotels in Monterey County. And yes, we have amassed a list of favorites. Honestly there are so many great options we cannot possibly list them all here, but a few really stand out for us.
Located in downtown Monterey right in the historic zone and just blocks from the ocean, the Monterey Marriott is a great family hotel. Close to everything and full of amenities, the hotel is ideally situated for exploring all the cool historic destinations in the downtown area. Even better, the property just went through a huge rooms refresh and our suite was beautiful, shiny and new. Actually our suite was really incredible, with a giant living and dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath and another bedroom for the kids.
The living and dining room furniture was stylish and comfortable, but oh those beds were HEAVEN. Comfy bedding and a dreamy mattress made for a great night’s sleep. We could have stayed in our room all day, because we were just so darn comfortable. But there was so much to see and do!
OK let’s talk about views for a minute. Monterey County is famous for some of the most gorgeous views in the world, and this Monterey Marriott does not scrimp in this area. The tallest building downtown, rooms on the upper floors have sweeping views of the famous Monterey Bay marina, wharves and Cannery Row. Our suite had an outdoor balcony patio larger than most hotel rooms at other places, so we could really enjoy the vistas. I just on that patio, drinking my morning coffee and watching the world wake up across the waterfront. I even had some seagull visitors come to keep me company.
This hotel has plenty of parking, and we just scooted right up in our 2021 Mazda CX-5 loaner. That car was an amazing ride for the duration of our road trip to Monterey, and proved to be an agile, solid and safe family car for our vacation.
Rooms at the Monterey Marriott normally start at around $269.
Other Monterey County hotels to consider:
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
The luxurious Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is right on the waterfront and smack dab in the middle of Cannery Row. We loved being walking just a couple of blocks down to the center of activity, restaurants, shops and the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium. The restaurants in the hotel are very good, and we also loved having treatments at the spa. (The spa has several cozy rooftop hot tubs that overlook the crashing surf below – sooooo relaxing.)
Rooms at the Monterey Plaza Hotel normally start at around $304.
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
If you like to play golf, you will love this Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa. The hotel wraps the Del Monte Golf Course with several buildings containing rooms facing the course or the woods. With 560 rooms and several large gathering areas, we still felt like we had plenty of space to ourselves here. Large outdoor seating areas and fire pits sit just outside the lobby bar, and this hotel has all the amenities, bells and whistles. There are two pools, a fantastic-looking spa (we did not have the chance to visit, darn) and fitness facilities along with the gorgeous 25-acre golf course.
Rooms at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel start at around $189.
The Cypress Inn
Located in the village of Carmel-By-The-Sea since 1929, the legendary Cypress Inn was owned by Hollywood icon Doris Day until she passed in 2019 at age 97. Its location could not be better for exploring artsy Carmel. Stroll to the village galleries, shops and restaurants, or down to the white sand beach at the bottom of Ocean Avenue. Rooms surround an interior courtyard, and are well appointed and pet-friendly.
Rooms at the Cypress Inn start at around $249.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach
Arguably one of the most famous golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach has been home to the US Open and so many other world class events over more than 100 years of golfing history. The Lodge at Pebble Beach overlooks the green fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links. Stillwater Cove and gorgeous beaches of Carmel-by-the-Sea are also clearly in view. Stately and full of casual grandeur since 1919, the Lodge is a landmark resort hotel that many aspire to visit. Rooms are enormous, comfortable and tailored to a luxury lifestyle. Each comes complete with easy access to the golf courses, restaurants and of course the famous 18th Hole. During our visit, the weather could not have been more perfect. Sunrise over the famous fairways is something truly special to behold.
Rooms at the Lodge at Pebble Beach start at around $980.
Ventana Big Sur
If you are feeling flush and want a truly lux experience, then Ventana Big Sur is one of the best in the world to visit. So exclusive that no children are allowed, this hotel is meant for secluded getaways. It’s set among the giant redwoods and craggy oceanfront cliffs of Big Sur. To be honest, we have eaten dinner at their unbelievably delicious restaurant but not yet stayed at this property. (Note: meals are now included in the hotel stay and dining is not open to the public.) Recently we had a chance to visit and view the glamping arrangements, which are pretty luxurious themselves. One day, we aspire to stay here and are saving up for a splurgy weekend without kids at Ventana Big Sur.
Rooms at Ventana Big Sur start at around $2300 and glamping tents start at around $300. Regular campsites can also be reserved for around $80 (bring your own tent and equipment).
Things to Do in Monterey County
Now that you’ve got your accommodations all lined up, see our list of top family activities in Monterey County here.
Also make sure to check out seemonterey.com for some additional ideas and suggestions!