“Monterey Bay is in a state of perpetual springtime,” I thought as we turned up the road to the Portola Hotel & Spa. With an invitation to a post-wedding celebration in hand, David and I were already happy to be rid of the oppressive heat in Denver. Our visit was in late June, but I hear beautiful weather is the norm here in this charmed piece of the country.
ARRIVAL and LOCATION
The lobby of the Portola features a large atrium. A glass ceiling floods the trees growing right through the floor with sunlight and gave me the distinct impression I was still outside. With a quick bag drop-off at the room, my husband and I went directly back outside to enjoy Portola’s location.
The hotel is right on Monterey Bay with a water view from many of the rooms. The docked boats were as interesting to look at as the Sea Lions that play alongside the shore on the many rocks grounded in the shallow water. Step a foot outside the hotel and the serenity seems to almost stop time – a helpful feature if you’re trying to get away from it all or just stepping away from your meeting inside for a quick break.
The day after our arrival, we headed out on a walk to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, called on the website “a marvel of an attraction.” The walk lead us down a winding path mostly along the water, past historic points of interest like Cannery Row (made famous by literary legend John Steinbeck), shops, hotels, ice cream shops and restaurants. The walk itself was so relaxing I nearly forgot about the final destination. After a quick and delicious unplanned bite to eat along the way, we arrived at the aquarium. I would agree that it was a “marvel.” Each exhibit was well-planned and entertaining. I especially liked seeing and learning about the sea horses. Also, don’t miss walking under the wave.
Our Harbor View room looked out over the walkways and a bit of the bay. We left the balcony door open most of the time to enjoy the sounds below and that amazing breeze. The room itself was of standard size with a comfortable mattress, good sheets and a small sitting area. The 42” TV was nice to have when it was too dark to watch the world go by.
In the bathroom, the Portola had the most incredible towels I’ve experienced yet (and that includes towels from all the five-star world-renowned hotels to which we’ve been invited thus far).
Upon arrival I realized I had only brought one pair of jeans on which I promptly spilled. The laundry service was just $8, they picked up the jeans quite late at night and returned them quickly the next day. Great job, Portola.
The Portola Hotel & Spa is a comfortable hotel in a beautiful area at a good price. My recommendation is go and don’t forget to take the walk to the aquarium.
For more information on Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay or to book a stay, please visit their website.
Examiner’s Note: My appreciation goes out to Dara Toulch for arranging our visit. Not only was it a wonderful stay, but your enthusiasm for what you do is infectious. Thank you!