Big Sur + Monterey Bay

Hotels in Big Sur + Monterey Bay

Hotels in Monterey Bay range from luxurious seaside resorts to stylish boutique establishments to friendly bed and breakfasts to budget motels. Because vacationers tend to flood into the city on holidays, weekends and during the summer, plan on making a reservation well ahead of your visit.

Those looking for luxurious yet relatively affordable Monterey Bay hotels should consider staying at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa or Hotel Abrego. Considered to be one of the best hotels in Monterey Bay with a wide-array of amenities including a full-service spa, golf course, health club, and outdoor pool, a room at the Hyatt Regency can often be booked for less than $140 a night.

Visitors traveling on a more stringent budget have a number of affordable Monterey Bay hotels to choose from, including Casa Verde Inn, Rodeway Inn Monterey, Bayside Inn and America’s Best Value Presidents Inn, all of which have rooms available for less than $50 a night.

The whitewashed interiors of this 1929 luxury hotel channel a Greek Island hideaway, despite the hotel’s location in California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea, a posh, oceanfront town along the Pacific, just 120 miles south of San Francisco.

A white picket fence and a 300-foot cliff are the only things that come between guests of Lucia Lodge and the Pacific Ocean.

Request a room with an ocean view, whirlpool tub, and fireplace at this cheerful yellow property surrounded by succulent gardens.

Craftsman-style hotel on a bluff above the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, 4 miles south of downtown, offering standout views of the rugged coastline from almost every room.

Formerly a dairy (dating from the 1850’s), and saved from condominium development by Clint Eastwood in 1986, the hotel features a delightful restaurant.

At the waterfront property, 32 of the 33 rooms have ocean views (and a handful have fireplaces, for when the nights get chilly). The restaurant, open for dinner only, looks out on the vast expanse of the Pacific.

Splurge for an ocean-view suite with fireplace, wet bar, and whirlpool at this unabashedly romantic 34-room B&B is built into a cliff above the Pacific.

A rope swing—dangling from an oak tree just outside the lobby—signifies the youthful aesthetic: what was once a gray-haired golf resort just east of Carmel is now a sprawling outpost well-suited for families, and couples too.

Built on pylons over Monterey Bay, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is the closest hotel to the ocean on the northern California peninsula. Dolphins swim by the property almost daily, and travelers on their private balconies can often spot sea otter searching for oysters.

At the end of the day, backtrack 13 miles to the spiffy San Jose-foothills suburb of Saratoga and the upscale 46-room inn. It’s a bit businessy and sedate, but the beds are big and comfortable.

Book a room with a fireplace this stone-and-stucco, intimate hotel, where many of the 16 rooms have vaulted ceilings and wooden shutters. A Belgian draft horse, Chester, is the luxe property’s mascot, spending his evenings pulling guests around the town square.

The hotel opened in 1992 and is made up entirely of small buildings set on a ridge high above the Pacific. In 2008 Post Ranch added 10 new sculptural structures, spiraling Pacific Suites, cantilevered Peak Houses, and Richard Serra-esque Cliff houses clad in torques of rusted steel.

Nearly every Mongolian-esque yurt at this eco-resort has ocean views from the redwood decks and Adirondack chairs, but without the thread count or plumbing—the bathroom is a short walk away—a small price to pay for a spectacular location.