I usually stayed at a cheap crappy hotels when I travel because for me it is just a place to dump my bags while I explore a place. As of late, however, I have been turned into a hotel-snob by my partner. Because of her, I splurged on The Spindrift Inn in the heart of Cannery Row at Monterey, California.
The building is a gracefully aged waterfront property. We got a room facing the street side which is significantly cheaper than the bayview side at about $200/night. On top of that, you should expect to pay for valet parking since parking is scarce in this touristy hotspot.
Upon entering the room, it felt like the inside of a vagina because it was so pink. The bay windows protrude out slightly offering a view down Cannery row. The fireplace and sauna are definitely the highlights of the room. This being my first time in a sauna, I wonder the whole time why someone would subject themselves to such suffering until afterwards when I hit the refreshing cold shower. I enjoyed pricking at the fireplace that was well stocked with firewood in the room. Other perks included: The complementary in-room breakfast, wine & cheese receptions in the afternoon, and rooftop deck.
The feature attraction here is obviously the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Purchasing tickets from the Spindrift gave us two days access for the price of one, which did not seem like a big deal until realizing how crowded it was on the afternoon of our arrival. Needless to say, it was far more enjoyable the next morning when it was less crowded and marine life are awake waiting to be fed. You can pet stingrays in the Rocky Shore exhibit or see Crystal jellyfishes change glow under in the Jellies Experience.
Baby sea otter and a surrogate mother otter.
As for ourselves, we dined at The Fish Hopper Seafood and Steak right on the bay. I got the skirt steak marinated in maple soy with mango papaya relish and my partner got Filet Mignon like she always does at any place that offers that cut of meat. I am not sure why neither one of us got seafood considering our proximity to the bay, perhaps we would have felt too guilty after touring the aquarium which gave us a confusing guide of which endangered fish we should not eat.
We sampled clam chowder along the streets but for a taste of class among the campy boardwalk environment, we stopped in to Carmel Ridge Winery for more wine and cheese. The two days, one night we spent there was enough time to peruse Cannery Row. If we had been more outdoorsy people then we perhaps we would spend more time there. While we did not stray far from the hotel, I still had quite an experience simply by staying in a hotel that was out of my comfort zone. I will try not to bitch so much next time I am in a sauna.
Is there a destination hotel that offered something out of the ordinary? A theme hotel perhaps? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Photo credit: Eming Piansay