When people talk about the beauty of Monterey, California they are not just whispering in the wind.

Monterey is one of the most beautiful areas on the entire California coast with everything from Wuthering Heights cliffs to harbors filled with sexy speedboats and cruisers, along with sea life containing enough energy to light up San Francisco.

Monterey is at the top of the list of favorite places to visit in California, offering tourists an endless variety of hotels, eateries, and activities. Among them is Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa that has both family and corporate needs covered. Sophisticated cocktails and divine dinner plates rule at InterContinental The Clement Monterey, located at the center of the action on Cannery Row (once the center of the sardine packing industry). At Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, a wine tasting awaits new guests in the lobby lounge each afternoon and a plaza fire-pit brings them together evenings to watch the sunset. Each of these unique properties would be a California traveler’s wish list, as they should be. For boomers and travelers over 50, these luxury hotels in Monterey are made for making memories by the sea.

Three Luxury Hotels in Monterey

1) Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa

Entrance to the Hyatt Monterey

Entrance to the Hyatt Monterey (Credit: Hyatt Hotels)

With a choice of activities to enjoy together or separately, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa is not only a perfect property for multigenerational family vacations but also has an amazing dining room offering everything parents and kids prefer for breakfast and lunch, including great Eggs Benedict for grandmotherly guests like me. Dinner with kids is often best enjoyed at Knuckles, a casual restaurant with BBQ, fries and burgers, tacos, foot-long hot dogs, pizza and more.

For couples wanting a night alone, TusCA restaurant becomes a romantic candlelit venue after dark offering steak, seafood, pastas and a delicious charcuterie for two. The Fireplace Lounge next door features some of Monterey’s finest jazz musicians after dinner. If you are wondering, yes, the hotel does have babysitting services.

The hotel also fits the bill for business or bleisure travelers seeking great golf, tennis, two pools, and a state-of-the-art conference facility for business meetings, banquets and special events.

The Marilyn Monroe Spa is a favorite spot to unwind during a stay at the hotel. I thought the treatment menu at the Marilyn Monroe Spa was fun; it offered to cure guests suffering from anything to everything, including jet lag. The hotel is conveniently located near the freeway and minutes from the airport.

2) InterContinental The Clement Monterey

Bay view from The Clement Monterey (Credit: The Clement Monterey)

Bay view from The Clement Monterey (Credit: The Clement Monterey)

InterContinental The Clement Monterey is the centerpiece hotel of Cannery Row, beautifully sited on Monterey Bay with exquisite panoramic views from many of its suites. This picture perfect location makes the hotel a favorite site for milestone birthdays and other special occasions.

The C restaurant Monterey offers some outstanding food and unique drink offerings. While waiting to dine, I so enjoyed sitting in front of a beautiful burning fireplace watching people on the patio enjoying cocktails with an ocean view. On cool evenings, the outdoor fire pit is cozy spot for a pre-dinner drink. On hot days, guests can enjoy summer salads and cool beverage service beside the hotel’s relaxing patio lap pool and Jacuzzi.

Executive Chef Matt Bolton is a master at creating menus filled with seafood delights, paired with fine wines and imaginative cocktails. The chef’s abalone plate (a specialty in Monterey) is lovely to look at and simply delicious, as is the sumptuous fresh scallop dinner with artichokes. Their signature California sparkling champagne flight is a fantastic, not-to-be-missed collection of four champagnes, including Folktale Brut, Domaine Chandon Brut, Roederer Estate Brut and my favorite, Schramsberg Mirabelle Rose Brut.

The C Bar also serves delicious cocktail presentations including a Bloody Mary that some people would consider to be lunch, and a shiny copper pineapple filled with the most delicious punch whose taste is reminiscent of an island Mai Tai. This venue has a fast New York feel, with a mellow ambiance and very chic visuals. The C staff does a marvelous job, especially the wine steward who suggests pairings from a huge list of local and imported wines. Live music is featured from Thursday through Saturday nights.

3) Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

View from the Monterey Plaza Spa (Credit: Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa)

View from the Monterey Plaza Hotel (Credit: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa)

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has been my hotel of choice for years during the Seafood Watch weekend of events at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, featuring the best chefs in the area and endless information on seafood and sea life preservation. The hotel is warm, charming and its staff seems well-trained in five-star luxury when it comes to caring service.

The hotel restaurant, Schooners, overlooks the bay and offers an endless variety of seafood favorites, including my favorite oysters Rockefeller, Little Neck clams and steamed mussels as well as outstanding entree dishes of meat, chicken and lobster. Lunch on the outside patio offers great basics like hamburgers or salads as does the Plaza Cafe. The restaurant on the plaza is a wonderful place for planning your day over a coffee with breakfast items or for enjoying a cocktail at sunset near their beautiful fire pit and dolphin sculpture which is often the site of sweet endings to a serendipitous day of memory-making in Monterey.

The Monterey Plaza also showcases the Vista Blue Spa with a complete workout room overlooking the ocean. I love this spa because it has every amenity and the services are never a disappointment. Their gift shop is well stocked in the event you forget to bring something. The spa jacuzzi on the roof is the most heavenly place in Monterey to chill out and watch the sea life below.

Making memories in Monterey is a no brainer. This historic location has everything and is one of the most beautiful spots on earth.

Other things to do in Monterey

  • Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a place I never tire of because it is simply fascinating inside and outside.
  • View the Steinbeck Monument honoring John Steinbeck, world-renowned novelist, playwright, essayist and short-story writer. It was created by my favorite Carmel sculptor, Steven Whyte, and dedicated on Steinbeck’s 112th birthday on February 26, 2014.
Steinbeck Monument in Monterey (Credit: Bonnie Carroll)

Steinbeck Monument in Monterey (Credit: Bonnie Carroll)

  • Near the monument, dine at great seaside restaurants like The Fish Hopper, where Hawaiian inspired sips and bites are plentiful.
  • Countless boutiques and souvenir shops line the streets for gift purchases to take home.
  • The jazz loving traveler should know there are several clubs with live entertainment, but do check out who is playing at the historic Sly McFly’s Jazz Lounge, a renowned late-night spot to dance and listen to great local jazz.

What’s appealing to the over 50 traveler?

  • Monterey offers plenty of sophisticated activities for the over-50 group but also an array of choices for the younger set at well.

Take note

  • The weather is largely temperate, calling for light clothing during the day; A warm sweater, shawl or jacket many be required during the evening.


*All photo credits as noted in captions


The author’s stays at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, and InterContinental The Clement Monterey were hosted by the properties.