Last Updated on April 8, 2023

Though my spouse and I have visited Monterey several times, it never ceases to amaze us how each time we’re drawn to it like moths to a flame. With charming hotels like Monterey’s Casa Munras, visits are made even better.

Perhaps it’s the grey marine layer that often smothers the California coastal peninsula like a cool wet blanket or the azure blue waters-waves crashing over jagged rock formations. One thing is certain, coming to Monterey always feels like we’re grabbing life by the moment.

Casa Munras Garden Hotel and Spa

Our junior suite at Casa Munras.
Our junior suite at Casa Munras. Photo courtesy of Casa Munras

There’s something special about staying in a boutique hotel with a fascinating history. Our favorite Monterey retreat has to be the authentic Casa Munras Garden Hotel and Spa, Monterey’s first hotel.

Constructed in 1824 by Spanish diplomat Don Estéban Munras as his family home, the enchanting Spanish-inspired property was one of the first residences to be built outside the walls of the old Monterey Presidio. The individual, handmade adobe bricks used in building the historic home still remain on site in a portion of the original structure.

Located in the heritage district of Old Town Monterey and just a few blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf, everything about Casa Munras exudes warmth, tradition, and a true sense of hospitality. A large seating area with leather sofas, pillows and a roaring fireplace welcomes guests entering the lobby.

Staff is friendly, engaging and more than helpful with area recommendations.

Monterey Casa Munras features 163 rooms arranged over two floors. These include traditional rooms with two queens or a king bed to junior suites. Select rooms also have fireplaces.

Our 505-square-foot junior suite was charming and elegantly appointed with a king bed and full bathroom with a marble sink top. An alcove, sitting area with queen sofa, and wet bar made it feel more like a villa than a hotel room.

To our absolute delight, we enjoyed the warmth and ambience of a three-sided gas burning fireplace. Our first thoughts were, “why would anyone want to leave this room?”

Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa Monterey, CA

Hacienda-style buildings pay homage to Northern California’s Spanish heritage. True to its past, the design of the hotel leads to a timeless feel creating a sense of place. It wasn’t difficult to imagine what the property must have looked like in 1824.

Exploring the Monterey Casa Munra’s grounds is all part of the historic experience. Its heated pool and outdoor seating area with a fire pit are extremely popular with guests when the cool Monterey air begins settling over the peninsula.

The gardens and sprawling grounds embrace California’s love of the outdoors.

Those who love a spa experience will embrace the ancient therapies and wellness rituals for the mind, body and soul at DESUAR Spa.

Book your stay at Casa Munra in Monterey.

Dining at Estéban Restaurant

Spanish-inspired cuisine is the highlight of this lovely onsite restaurant, a winner of the Open Table 2023 Diners’ Choice award.

Breakfast and dinner entrees are inspired by the harvest of the North California coastal community. The culinary team works with local farmers, ranchers, fisherman, artisan producers and winemakers to create the best and healthiest offerings. These include authentic paellas, tapas, seafood and meat dishes.

Tapas Hour is popular with both hotel guests and Monterey locals featuring creative Spanish appetizers such as spicy Patatas Bravas, Croquetas de Jamon, and Pimentos de Padron (charred peppers).

Sangria is the star of the beverage menu that also includes cocktails, Spanish wine, and draft beer.

Guests may choose to dine indoors or on the picturesque heated outdoor patio.

Wharf in Monterey

Walking to Monterey Fisherman's Wharf.
Walking to Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Enjoy walking the Path of History that begins in Monterey Old Town District, a two-mile path that includes 55 historic buildings and sites throughout the historic district and park. Yellow-tiled markets set into the sidewalk guide visitors along the path.

Dennis the Menace Park is only a half-mile from the hotel, a scenic paved path running along the Monterey Bay popular with walkers and bikers.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a 10-minute stroll from the hotel. This is one not-to-be-missed experience with historic restaurants, boutique shops and stunning Monterey Bay harbor views. Of course, one cannot possibly leave the wharf without having claimed they had a bowl of rich, delectable clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.

Whale-watching and other ocean activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, and glass-bottom boat tours all leave from Fisherman’s Wharf Harbor.

The famous Cannery Row, immortalized by author John Steinbeck, and the fabulous Monterey Bay Aquarium are within two miles from Casa Munras.

What to do in Pacific Grove, California

Known as the “Butterfly Capital of the World” for its Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, dreamy Pacific Grove is located on the tip of the scenic, rocky tree-shrouded Monterey peninsula. Just two miles from Monterey’s Cannery Row, this picturesque town with its Victorian mansions and vintage architecture exudes an ambience of charm, grace and timeless beauty.

Monterey is one of California’s most attractive coastal cities, a place that always holds a special place in our hearts. Staying at Casa Munras just makes the experience that much more authentic and unique.

Book your stay at Casa Munras in Monterey.

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