Portola Hotel & Spa Soothes the Soul
Time is precious, especially now. Think about it: How much time is there really for “you” now that we’re all are living in a world where everything from Twitter, celebrity obsessions, and 24-hour texting has consumed our attention.
I had all this in mind my during a recent stay at Monterey’s charming yet grand Portola Hotel & Spa. After all, I had just finished writing a book and I wanted to check out this unique portal. Yes—it was time to decompress. Or, in modern-day speak: Download me—and on the down low, thank you very much. Situated right in the heart of Downtown Monterey, Portola shines for a number of reasons. What stands out the most, perhaps, is how vast and spacious it is. Its “backyard” in fact is the glorious Monterey Bay and with easy access to the Monterey Wharf, Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, you really can’t beat this location. The lobby is welcoming and roomy, and leads to various conference rooms, boutique shops, a rustic bar and lounge and the hotel’s signature restaurant, which sports a rather impressive, diverse menu.
But take note of the stellar spa—experience everything from facials to massages and spa days here. Note: the spa itself has also been voted Best Skin Care in the county in the popular Monterey County Weekly readers’ poll.
And the rooms? The hotel seems to have matched the area’s outer opulence with its inner beauty.
Chalk it up to just having the perfect building to work with, it’s hard not to be impressed with the ample space offered in these rooms. I don’t know about you, but I can find it disheartening when I venture away for a trip only to find myself cramped in a small room—for a wildly high price. Not the case here. You actually feel like you can drop your bags, take a deep breath and have space to wander from one end of the room to the next without bumping into anything. Exceptionally clean and modern in its look, I appreciated both the ability to work from a desk, rest on a comfortable lounge chair—not all are, after all—and loose myself on the terrific mattress that was the room’s large bed. It was hard to leave this haven.
But, as most writers—true writers who plunge their entire body, mind and spirit into their work, only to get a bit burnt out after awhile—will tell you, there’s nothing like feeling completely welcome to help one with the refueling process. There are more than 300 guest rooms here and I suspect that each of them have their own flare and comfort/appeal. Another notable: the hotel was granted with a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Yes—this is an environmentally-conscious hotel.
True, this could be the ideal getaway for yourself, or couples, but Portola is also very family-friendly. Imagine vacationing with your kids at a hotel that offers a fun little scavenger hunt for your children? It all happens here. Kids are rewarded on a unique hunt around the property that also educates them on the history of Monterey Bay. One of main themes—pirates. What kid wouldn’t dig that? Kudos to the creative team for being inventive enough to realize that traveling parents could use a little diversion—if not fun time—for their kids.
I suppose that’s what stands out the most. What I was left with when I walked away from this marvelous place was how much detail had gone into making the hotel’s guests comfortable but also welcome. That’s the most perfect combo to strive for. Fortunately, Portola Hotel and Spa has done that—and then some. It’s truly one of the best stays on the Bay.
Where: Two Portola Plaza
Monterey, CA 93940
Spa, Fitness Center
Restaurants and bars:
Jacks and Peter B’s Brew Pub