This weekend my husband and I took a jaunt down to Monterey. It’s our favorite time of year to make the quick drive — less than two hours from our home base of San Francisco — to see Cannery Row, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and simply enjoy the Northern California coast.
We are city folk, and love to stay right in the thick of things, so we were delighted to accept a weekend at the very centrally located Spindrift Inn, one of the four “Inns of Monterey“. It’s located right on Cannery Row, just a couple of blocks down the street from the Aquarium — perfect if you like to drop off your car and explore as much as possible on foot.
Spindrift Hotel, Monterey, California
The Spindrift is a comfortable and friendly hotel, and was just renovated so everything is fresh and clean. We had a gorgeous corner room, with two sunny window seats and a view of the bay. Both mornings we watched the sunrise while enjoying the Spindrift’s signature in-room breakfast.
By the way, just in case you think I can’t give an impartial review to the hotel because they comp’d us, don’t worry. Sure, I always like hotels because I always like fresh towels and a bed that someone else makes. But also I can’t resist telling the awful truth, if there is one, because it’s always the best part of the story.
First, the good stuff. The staff is a delight. Sure, they might have been nice to me because they knew I was there to review the place. But I also spied them being equally sweet to everyone, including a rotten, complaining, bitchy woman who I wanted to kick. (Lady, you’re on vacation, chill.)
Also, it was the first weekend of March Madness, so my husband was pleased to see that the room had comfy chairs and a big ass flat screen TV hanging over over the fireplace. More on the fireplace in a minute.
We totally enjoyed the afternoon wine and cheese in the lobby, got great recommendations for restaurants, received our morning room service on time, and they didn’t kick us out when I accidentally put the “Service Please” sign on the door instead of “Do not disturb”.
TV, fireplace with actual unburnt log, and comfy chair
Our My Mistakes
Yeah, the maid sort of walked in on us, but it was totally my fault for that whole sign thing. Also, we weren’t doing anything! At least not right that minute. It was fine, she was perfectly professional, backed out quickly and no one saw anything.
Really, it was fine.
Okay, now about the fireplace. When we got in on Friday night, we ran out for a late dinner, had a couple of margaritas, and then came back and “turned on” the fireplace.
See, it’s wood burning, but you start the fire with gas jets. We thought we turned all of the right knobs, and opened the window as instructed to get a good draw. In the morning, while sipping tea and listening to the waves crash under our windows, I peered over at the fireplace.
“Why is the fireplace still on, but the wood didn’t burn?” I asked my husband.
He shrugged, went over and poked the log, and it started to burn. “Seems okay now,” he said.
No, before you ask, we don’t have a fireplace at home.
Approximately two minutes later, I looked up again from my tea and said, “Hey, does it seem smokey in her–” and then the smoke alarm went off.
We opened windows, flapped towels and shut off the fireplace. No harm done, the hotel did not burn down. Note to all future guests: read all of the instructions about how to open the flue.
The Cashew Test
Cashew-free honor bar with affordable peanuts
I always love to poke through the mini-bar, even if I don’t use anything. I was totally impressed by the Spindrift’s very logical and affordable honor bar — Snickers Bars, husband-approved beef jerky, and an umbrella. Smart, right? Plus, the prices are so legitimate. The big can of peanuts in the photo only cost $4.50. That’s way better than the $16 cashews from the last place I stayed.
Yeah, that's John Tesh. And I liked it!
Also, every room has a cd-player/alarm clock, and three cds. The big surprise here was … Tesh. Yes, John Tesh. His cd, Monterey Nights, blended perfectly with the sound of waves crashing under the window. Stop laughing, it’s true!
Things I’d Change
Really, hardly anything. I’d like to see a little more green effort, considering their location on the edge of a fragile natural wonder. The bathroom was really nice, all brand new and clean, with low-flow water fixtures. It would have been nice if they’d taken the next step and installed shampoo, conditioner and lotion dispensers instead of having tiny, individual-use bottles.
Also, I didn’t realize they had in room recycling until I poked around and accidentally found the (recyclable) plastic bag they put in the room for you to recycle cans and bottles. People might actually use the bag if it was more obvious.
Would we go back and use our own cold hard cash to stay at the Spindrift? Heck yeah! We might not shell out for the fancy corner room (we loved the space, it’s just pricey), but we’ll definitely go for something on the ocean side. Waking up and listening to the waves under the window, the great location, the attentive staff — all things that make for an enjoyable and memorable stay.
You can check rates and availability on their site. J