I have to admit that Monterey hotels are generally a rip-off. I am working on a guide to help visitors sort through the crap choices. Sure, we have some of the most highly rated hotels in the USA in the vicinity of Monterey, however, most of us can't even consider a $500-1,000 per night room in a posh hotel. And those are the starting rates for places like Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur, Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, and Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach.
There are over 50 hotels, motels, and B&Bs within a 3-mile radius of my home and another 50 lodgings within a 6-mile radius. Most of them I would be embarrassed to recommend. The Monterey Peninsula with Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel, Carmel Valley, Carmel Highlands and the Big Sur coast is Vacationland, California. And there is even Santa Cruz for a totally different experience on the north side of Monterey Bay.
When the top rated hotels are pulling $400+ per night and the chain hotels like Hyatt, Marriott, and the Embassy Suites are $300+, the casual tourist is looking at $150-$200 night for a motel that would be $60-75/night in most places. My latest project has been gathering data and photos of the motel districts of Monterey and Carmel to select the best of the underwhelming motels one will likely find yourself in when visiting Monterey.
As far as tourism goes, the Marriott Monterey is the only major loyalty program hotel within easy walking distance to most of the attractions Monterey has to offer the visitor. The Hilton Garden Inn is about a 15 minute walk to downtown Monterey, and the Hyatt is about a 30 minute walk. A car (or bicycle) is essential to get around without spending the day on a bus. I live near the Hilton Garden Inn and enjoy the walk into town, but repeatedly walking to the beach, Cannery Row, and downtown Alvarado Street can get old as a tourist.
The difficulty in Monterey is a severely limited ability to build new hotel properties in the city and only a few new hotels have been built in the past 20 years. The Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row is the last major hotel to be built new in the city a few years back. Next month, the new InterContinental Clement on Cannery Row will open. The hotel project was started nearly 20 years ago and the lot sat empty until last year when finally a new development project got underway. Embassy Suites, Seaside, bordering Monterey is the tallest building at 12 stories on the Monterey Peninsula. Few buildings in the area are higher than 4 stories. The Marriott downtown Monterey is a 10-story hotel remodeled from an older hotel property. Nothing that tall will likely be built in Monterey again for some years to come, if ever.
This means most hotels in Monterey are older buildings from the 1960s and remodeled every decade to upgrade the place.
Hyatt Monterey 12,000 bonus points for a 3-night stay.
The Hyatt Monterey is just about complete with a remodel of the property. This hotel was famously known by Hyatt Gold Passport loyalists as one of the dumpiest Hyatt Hotels in the world. Unfortunately, the hotel is old and the remodel does not change the location next to the freeway. Hotel rooms on the golf course side are preferred for the better view and less noise.
Popular wedding arch
The outdoor pool and activity area are adequate and one of the larger pool facilities on the Monterey Peninsula.
The lobby is large and comfortable with dining facilities and bars.
Hyatt Monterey lobby
By the numbers:
Offer: 12,000 points for a 3-night or longer stay booked using MRY12K offer code. Promotion Dates: May 1- Oct 31, 2008
Sample Rates: As low as $199 per night for dates in May and June. Monterey has lowest rates Sunday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday nights are peak rates. May and June are less touristy and then the season picks up and the rates increase for summer. The Monterey coast tends to have the best (warmest) weather of the year in September and October and rates generally remain high through October.
A Hyatt Gold Passport member can expect to earn 15,000+ points for a 3-night stay for about $700 after taxes during the lowest rate periods.
15,000 points are good for Hyatt upgrades, a luxury or upscale Category 4 hotel night (many of these hotels will run $400+/night), or 3 nights at a Category 1 hotel (5,000 points/night) or even 5 nights at Hawthorn Suites hotels (3,000 points/night.)
The Hyatt Monterey may not be the nicest Hyatt around*, but the rebate for future hotel rooms using the 15,000 points earned (3,000 points for $600 in room rate + 12,000 bonus) on a 3-night stay is substantial and the hotel has much more to offer than the 23 budget motels located on Munras Avenue, Monterey that will likely run as high as $150/night.
*(There is also the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel Highlands with spectacular oceanfront location, but also a commanding rate in the $400+/night range in summer)
The freeway borders the north side of the hotel. Try and get a golf course view room for better views and less noise.
AAA ranking - 3-diamond
TripAdvisor ranking #34 of 62 Monterey hotels.
Hyatt Gold Passport Category 3 hotel = 12,000 points/free night award
Sample Rates: July 13-16, 2008 3-night stay as low as $219/night or $259 night for room with preferred view (highly recommended for this property). Total cost after tax for preferred room view is just under $900. The best thing about a $300/night room at the Monterey Hyatt is the knowledge that you can take the points earned and get another $500+ value out of future hotel stays if you use your Hyatt Gold Passport points wisely.