Best Boutique Hotels in Monterey, California

The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Monterey, California

When most people think of cities in California, they think of Los Angeles or San Francisco. But they’re missing a whole section of California that too often gets overlooked. Los Angeles may be an exciting Southern California spot, filled with movie magic and theme park destinations, and San Francisco may be a bustling business hub in Northern California, but what about the Central Coast? 

The Central Coast is home to many gorgeous beachside cities and towns, but one of our favorites is Monterey. Tourism in Monterey has been on the rise for a few years, namely in the wake of the success of the HBO series Big Little Lies. But Monterey locals will tell you their city is even cooler than the show makes it seem!

Once one of California’s most successful fishing ports, known as the “Sardine Capital of the World,” Monterey is now a popular tourism hub, but it hasn’t forgotten its aquatic roots. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is frequently ranked among the top aquariums in the world. 

A visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium also means a trip to Cannery Row. Forever immortalized in former Monterey resident John Steinbeck’s book of the same name, this place is filled with some of the best shops and restaurants around. Over at the Monterey Fairgrounds, you can take in shows throughout the year, including the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, the Monterey Jazz Festival, which arrives each fall.

With so many areas of Monterey to explore, it’s tough to know where to stay in Monterey. From charming B&Bs nestled in gardens to luxury resorts with harbor views, there’s a hotel for everyone. We’ve rounded up a list of the 12 best boutique hotels in Monterey to help you plan your one-of-a-kind trip!

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Where to Stay in Monterey

Where to Stay in Monterey, California: Best Boutique Hotels

One of the best things about Monterey is that there’s something for every type of traveler. With so many dog-friendly spots, it’s even great for the furry members of your family. But there are locations throughout the city that stand out as the best places to stay in Monterey.

One of those picturesque places is Cannery Row. Located right on the Monterey Harbor, Cannery Row is a bustling area that’s popular with tourists. Once you visit, it’s easy to see why. Not only is it home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but it’s also filled with fine dining spots with ocean views, unique shops, and some of the most luxurious hotels in Monterey.

From Cannery Row, you can either take the trolley or a relaxing stroll over to Old Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can hop aboard a glass-bottom boat or a whale-watching cruise. You can also rent kayaks if you’d like to get out on the water yourself. 

With all the marine life in Monterey, you should keep your eyes peeled for sea otters, sea lions, seals, and even dolphins. You never know what you might see!

Not too far away from Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a perfect spot that your kids will love: Dennis the Menace Playground. Sitting next to Lake El Estero, the park was designed with the help of Hank Ketcham, the creator of the Dennis the Menace comic strip and a resident of nearby Carmel, who wanted a place for kids to be, well, kids. While at the park, you and your kids can finish out the day by taking a paddleboat shaped adorably like a swan or rubber ducky out on the lake.

If you head further downtown, you’ll find an abundance of walkable streets lined with restaurants, breweries, and shops, with Alvarado Street being one of the top spots to explore. Take in a show at the Golden State Theatre, or head to the farmer’s market every Tuesday to find some unique foods and gifts.

But no matter where you decide to stay, you’re sure to have an incredible time exploring everything this seaside city has to offer!

The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Monterey

1. Old Monterey Inn

Where to stay in Monterey California: Old Monterey Inn
Photos: Old Monterey Inn

Found in Old Monterey in the heart of Historic Downtown, this B&B stands out as one of the most unique Monterey hotels. The Old Monterey Inn is the perfect pick if you’re looking for a quiet, quaint getaway. 

It’s not quite right next to the city’s biggest tourist attractions, like Cannery Row, but it’s an easy drive or public transit trip to get there. Covered in lush ivy, this Tutor-style B&B has a kind of old-world charm to it, like it’s forever suspended in time. 

One of the biggest draws of this hotel is its enchanting gardens, where it’s almost too easy to lose track of time. There’s an air of romance throughout this B&B!

Each room is uniquely designed and named for its themes, such as the flowery Garden Cottage room or the book-filled Library room. However, all rooms feature high-class amenities, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. The rooms all have a private bath, as well as a sitting area next to a fireplace. 

The luxury is truly in the details, as the rooms feature plush feather beds, down duvets, terry-lined robes and slippers, perfumed bath salts, thick towels, and even candles to set some mood lighting for your romantic escapades. 

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2. Portola Hotel & Spa

Cool Monterey Hotels: Portola Hotel & Spa
Photos: Portola Hotel & Spa

One of the best hotels in Monterey, The Portola Hotel is just steps away from Cannery Row. Though its location is one of its biggest draws, it’s also known for its upscale amenities and elegant design. The rooms, which feature city, garden terrace, and harbor views, are inspired by its coastal location. The furnishings are contemporary, simple, and simply beautiful. 

The details will make your stay even easier. From headboards with built-in lighting to an abundance of USB outlets, you’ll find all your needs met. Your bedding is hypoallergenic, your comforter is feather-down, and your complimentary bath amenities are all organic. The hotel is also pet-friendly, making it easy to bring your furry friends along with you for the trip!

Overnight guests get access to a 24-hour fitness center, as well as an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi with cabana seating. If you don’t feel like going out to eat, you can dine in at one of the hotel’s two restaurants: Jacks Monterey and Peter B’s Brewpub. The Portola is also known for its spa, which features more than 40 signature treatment options, from aromatherapy facials to a coconut balm massage.

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3. Hotel Abrego

Cool Hotels Monterey California: Hotel Abrego
Photos: Hotel Abrego

Hotel Abrego is located right by the iconic Dennis the Menace Playground and just a short walk away from Old Fisherman’s Wharf. But you may not want to go anywhere at all because this Spanish-style resort has everything you need for a relaxing vacation. 

The earth-toned rooms are designed to calm you from the moment you walk in. Rest up in cozy Italian bed linens, or curl up in your complimentary spa-style robe. Many rooms also feature either a balcony or patio, as well as a fireplace. Wi-Fi is complimentary, and if you need to work during your trip, you’ll appreciate the ergonomic workstation each room contains.

Explore Monterey on one of Hotel Abrego’s bikes, available for rent, or take a dip in their heated outdoor pool and spa. The hotel also features a fitness center, daily breakfast buffet, and Bistro Abergo, which serves only local and sustainably sourced foods, as well as a selection of local California wines and beers.

4. Spindrift Inn

Best Monterey Hotels: Spindrift Inn
Photos: Spindrift Inn

Built right into Cannery Row, the Spindrift Inn’s location can’t be beat. Staying here puts you just steps away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

Sitting right on the beach, you’ll wake up to the sound of waves and the sights of Monterey Bay. If you want to be right in the heart of the action, Spindrift Inn is easily one of the best Monterey hotels!

The rooms and suites feature hardwood floors, fireplaces, window seats, and marble bathrooms. But the most incredible part of this hotel is that each room has a view of Cannery Row or Monterey Bay. 

Dine on your complimentary breakfast, delivered to you on a silver tray, each morning while you look out your window in search of sea otters. You can also take in the view from the hotel’s rooftop garden.

Food is a major part of the Cannery Row experience, and Lalla Oceanside Grill is known for its delicious fresh seafood, which you can have delivered to your room at Spindrift Inn. Every afternoon, you can also sip local, award-winning wines at Spindrift’s wine reception. The hotel also features complimentary Wi-Fi and a dry cleaning service upon request.

5. Hotel Pacific

Best Hotels Monterey California: Hotel Pacific
Photos: Hotel Pacific

Located right in the center of downtown, Hotel Pacific is just a short drive or a comfortable walk away from Monterey’s biggest attractions. This hotel is true luxury, with each room a suite. 

Each suite is designed with contemporary decor, hardwood floors, gas fireplaces, private balconies, and spa-quality bath amenities. With complimentary Wi-Fi and a spacious work area, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be able to work on your trip if needed. Plus, both cats and dogs of any size are invited to stay in your suite in case you want to bring your furry friends along.

Many rooms feature separate showers and bathtubs, allowing you more space to relax or get ready to go in the mornings. You can start each morning off with a complimentary breakfast, then head to the outdoor garden to enjoy the fresh air. If you want to head to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, simply pick up your tickets at the front desk. 

If you’re looking for a luxurious and relaxing retreat, Hotel Pacific is definitely one of the coolest boutique hotels in Monterey!

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6. Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Cool Monterey Hotels: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Photos: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, located just steps from Cannery Row, not only offers stunning views of Monterey Bay but also gives you access to your own private beach. 

Each room at this unique Monterey hotel is designed for comfort and elegance, featuring pillow-top mattresses and luxurious bedding, plush bathrobes, spa-level bath amenities, and even Wall Street Journal online portal access. Select rooms also have both walk-in showers and soaking tubs, wet bars, fireplaces, and a private ocean-view balcony. 

Its unique services make this place one of the best hotels in Monterey. In addition to complimentary Wi-Fi, you’ll even be able to pick up a complimentary bicycle, perfect for cruising around town. On-site Coastal Curators can help you map out your days and teach you all about the Monterey area.  

The hotel contains two restaurants, Coastal Kitchen and Schooners Monterey, and a coffee shop, Tidal Coffee. But you can also head to the Lobby Lounge for cocktails and small plates, or you can order from the hotel’s 24-hour room service menu. 

Work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center with views of Monterey Bay, then head to the Vista Blue Spa for a relaxing treatment.

7. La Playa Carmel

Unique Hotels Monterey California: La Playa Carmel
Photos: La Playa Carmel

A resort-like boutique hotel, La Playa Carmel, can be found right next to Monterey in nearby Carmel. By staying here, you get a break away from the hustle and bustle of busier destinations, giving you a quiet and luxurious stay. 

Nestled in the heart of the charming Carmel-by-the-Sea, you’ll be just steps from Carmel Beach. Each room features ocean, garden, or estate views. Despite the hotel’s large size, the rooms are designed to make you feel like you’re staying in a private beach-side cottage. You’ll sleep atop an ultra-plush platform bed with a pillow-top mattress bundled up in high-thread count linens and enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi access. 

As Carmel is one of the most dog-friendly cities in America, it’s no surprise that La Playa Carmel welcomes dogs, but keep in mind they do have a 40-pound weight limit. 

Dining is a major highlight of staying at La Playa Carmel. Start each day with a champagne breakfast in the Library and Terrace overlooking the coast, and in the evenings, you can enjoy a craft cocktail in the hotel’s bohemian-style bar, Bud’s. The hotel also has a heated outdoor pool available for use every day until sunset.

8. The Monterey Hotel

Best Monterey Hotels: The Monterey Hotel
Photos: The Monterey Hotel

The Monterey Hotel, located in Old Town Monterey, is a historic hotel in a gorgeous downtown setting. While the rooms look untouched by time, they feature modern and luxury amenities. This unique Monterey boutique hotel is the perfect spot if you’re looking to explore Downtown Monterey! 

You’re right next door to breweries and restaurants, including the cozy, delicious, and dog-friendly Alvarado Street Brewing. The hotel itself is also dog-friendly and features complimentary Wi-Fi and Boyd’s organic coffee. 

Many of the rooms offer fireplaces and views of Downtown Monterey. Each room contains Victorian-inspired accents, Victorian-era furniture, and antiques throughout. If you’d like more space to spread out, the suites also have separate sitting areas.

The Monterey Hotel frequently works with local attractions to offer you discounted admissions to Monterey’s many attractions. Whether it’s a discount to the Monterey Bay Aquarium or a beer flight at Alvarado Street Brewing, it’s a great way to get out and explore Monterey. 

Though The Monterey Hotel isn’t a full-service resort, it’s one of the best hotels in Monterey for those who intend to spend most of their time exploring rather than relaxing at a pool or spa.

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9. Merritt House Hotel

Best Hotels Monterey California: Merritt House Hotel
Photos: Merritt House Hotel

Located near Old Fisherman’s Wharf, the Merritt House Hotel is a green paradise amid the Monterey Bay shores. This is one of the best boutique hotels in Monterey, with all the charm of a B&B and the service you’d expect from a world-class resort. As a family-run hotel, the Merritt House Hotel focuses on ensuring that accommodations suit every member of your family. 

The rooms vary in amenities, with some having a shared patio and others overlooking the garden with a common balcony. All of the rooms also feature fireplaces. Each suite has a parlor and a fireplace and can be found tucked into the magnolia, pepper, holly, and olive trees. 

All rooms and suites also come with bathrobes, free Wi-Fi, a coffee maker, and a small refrigerator. You can relax and unwind in the garden or get to know your fellow guests in the common area. A continental breakfast is also served every morning, which is the perfect way to fuel up for another day in Monterey!

10. Victorian Inn

Monterey Boutique Hotels: Victorian Inn
Photos: Victorian Inn

With classic Victorian charm mixed with more modern amenities, the Victorian Inn is a blend of comfort and elegance. The Victorian Inn is located just a few blocks away from Cannery Row, making it an easy walk, but it’s off the beaten path enough that it’s a bit quieter than a hotel directly on Cannery Row.

All rooms and suites feature gas fireplaces, sitting areas, an ergonomic workspace, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Some rooms also contain private balconies, patios, or window seats overlooking the inn’s garden.

Wake up each morning with a complimentary breakfast, and kick off every evening with an afternoon wine and cheese hour in the parlor. Victorian Inn welcomes pets, but it does have a weight limit of 60 pounds. 

Your pet will be living a life of luxury with souvenir water bowls, dog snacks, and even their own bedding. This is one of the coolest hotels in Monterey if you’re looking for a pet-friendly place to stay.

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11. InterContinental the Clement Monterey

Where to stay in Monterey California: InterContinental the Clement Monterey
Photos: InterContinental the Clement Monterey

Located right by Cannery Row, the InterContinental the Clement Monterey provides you with plenty to do and see. All rooms feature plush beds, balconies overlooking Cannery Row and Monterey Bay, soaking tubs and separate showers, soft bathrobes, electronic charging stations, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Some rooms also offer fireplaces to keep you warm when the weather turns chilly.

Take in ocean views on the boardwalk and pier or from the Pacific View Courtyard. Get out in nature on the Coastal Recreation Trail, where you can walk, run, or bike with a view of the bay. Get in a workout at the fitness center, then take a dip in the heated outdoor pool or hot tub. 

You can also treat yourself to a day at the spa, which specializes in skincare treatments. Finish the night off with dinner at the award-winning C restaurant, which showcases local ingredients and stunning ocean views.

12. Butterfly Grove Inn

Best Monterey Hotels: Butterfly Grove Inn
Photos: Butterfly Grove Inn

Each fall, the migration of monarch butterflies brings thousands of them to Pacific Grove, which is just next to Monterey. The Butterfly Grove Inn is located adjacent to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, where you can head off on the trails to take in the sight of these stunning creatures. 

The location is also a quick drive to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, as well as the famous Pebble Beach golf course. The inn’s placement on Lighthouse Ave. gives you easy access to fine dining, shopping, and entertainment on Pacific Grove’s quaint and walkable city streets. 

Butterfly Grove Inn’s rooms are simplistic, with a focus more on comfort than aesthetics. Each room has vaulted ceilings, beds with premium linens, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Many also feature gas-burning fireplaces. 

You can wake up each morning to a complimentary breakfast and then relax in the outdoor pool or hot tub before you hit the sanctuary’s trails. If you’re heading to the aquarium, skip the ticket line and buy your tickets right at the inn’s front desk. 

Although dogs under 50 pounds are invited to stay, you may want to keep in mind that dogs are generally not allowed at the sanctuary.

That completes our list of the 12 best Monterey hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Monterey? Comment below so we can add them to the list!

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About the Author:

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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