An Indulgent Coastal Weekend
Since life is all about the journey, a drive along the coast seemed like the perfect start to a weekend adventure. Leaving San Francisco behind, the winding road afforded views of the Pacific Ocean while traveling through pastures and farm land with the ocean never far away. As the miles rolled by, I was able to appreciate the beautiful ocean vistas along the route. Upon finally arriving at my destination in Monterey, I had a head start on relaxation.
I couldn’t be more excited for the start of my weekend at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. My room had a water view with a balcony that was perfect for watching the sun rise while savoring a cup of coffee or sipping a glass of wine as the sun dipped below the horizon. As a special treat, I was thrilled to watch a cooking demonstration by the hotel’s Executive Chef, James Waller. He prepared artichoke chowder made from local produce, wild caught salmon en pappiotte with artichoke and cherry tomatoes, and a crème brûléefor dessert. After learning how to make these tasty dishes, we got to enjoy the fruit of his labor over a leisurely lunch with wine.
After lunch it was time to enjoy the beautiful views from various vantage points throughout the hotel property. It was fun to watch the kayaks, paddle boards, and boats exploring the bay visible from my balcony. The hotel showcases paintings and photos by local artists and depicts scenes from the area.
The rooms were so inviting with plush featherbeds, sumptuous bedding, and soft pillows; and I practically lived in the soft, cozy robe. Rooms were designed to be soothing and restful. I loved the Spanish marble used in the bathrooms—so distinctive and elegant. Watching the brilliant sunrise in the morning and the moon ascend over the water inspired a sense of tranquility.
The location on Cannery Row is ideal for visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, renting bikes, walking along the trails from the hotel to Pacific Grove and Asilomar beaches, or renting kayaks and exploring the bay. There is even wine tasting nearby featuring local wineries. I chose to linger at the hotel and enjoy the amenities offered.
True to my intention of having a restorative weekend, I had booked a spa appointment in advance. Vista Blue Spa is located on the top level facing Monterey Bay. I planned to enjoy the amazing views while soaking in the jacuzzi and later sitting in the sunshine on the terrace prior to the much-anticipated massage. Their outdoor fireplace made this a perfect place to lounge.
The spa was welcoming and comfortable from the moment I entered. Even the fitness center had coastal views. Citrus water was located throughout the spa to ensure proper hydration. The spa waiting lounge was soothing, helping me to slip into relaxation mode. From the first strokes of the massage, I could feel my tension dissipating as the masseuse worked magic on my sore muscles.
The hotel capitalizes on its ideal location facing Monterey Bay with plenty of outdoor plazas and seating. Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen & Bar offers patio dining as well as indoor seating, with an extensive menu including locally caught seafood. The hotel is part of Seafood Watch, an organization that promotes sustainably-caught, non-endangered seafood. And the food is delicious.
After a satisfying dinner, I opted to enjoy the outdoor seating around the fire pit while sipping a glass of wine. The full moon shone brightly over the water, casting moonbeams like a string of pearls. It was the perfect ending to a relaxing day.
After a leisurely room service breakfast watching the sun burst into bright citrus colors over the water, it was time to pack for home. The magical, relaxing weekend was coming to an end. A quick stop at the local produce store for fresh-picked artichokes would allow me to attempt to make the tantalizing chowder at home in an attempt to prolong the fabulous weekend.
Details: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has 290 guest rooms and suites perched above Monterey Bay near Cannery Row. The spa provides facials, massage, body treatments, and nail services. The outdoor deck has two jacuzzis with views and fitness center. Located at 400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA. Call for reservations at 831-646-1700 or view their website.