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5 Things to do at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey

We stayed as a guest of the property

After spending a couple of days in Yosemite, our vacation continued. It was now time for some fresh sea air, clam chowder, and ocean views, so we left Yosemite and hit the coast. We made it to Monterey Bay in about 3 hours. We knew we wanted to stay somewhere close to The famous Fisherman’s Wharf so we could walk to all the fun waterfront attractions.

Photo courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

Photo courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

We found the breathtaking Portola Hotel & Spa, which sits right in the heart of Monterey with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Portola it’s so perfectly located in Monterey, there is no need ever to use your vehicle once you arrive. You can walk to Wharf, Cannery Row, local downtown shops, cafes, and even the Aquarium. Our room not only had a view of the Wharf, it had a private balcony overlooking the beautiful Monterey coastline, it was so fun to fall asleep to barking seals, and crashing waves each night.

Photo courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

Photo courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

The Portola is a great family hotel. It has a great pool and jacuzzi, a fun Pirate Theme Kids program, and two family restaurants; The hotel is home to two fabulous restaurants; Peter B’s Brewpub and Jacks.

Photo courtesy of Peter B’s BrewPub

Photo courtesy of Peter B’s BrewPub

Eat at Peter B’s BrewPub
If you are a beer lover like we are, you’re in luck, the Portola Hotel has the only brewery in Monterey. Peter B’s Brewpub not only has local brewed deliciously hoppy craft beers, but some delicious mouth water burgers! It’s located off the hotel lobby but also has a great outdoor patio facing the Plaza and courtyard.

Photo courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

Photo courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

Experience the Spa on the Plaza at Portola
If you have the time don’t miss The Spa on the Plaza, it’s the largest day spa in Monterey County. Portola Hotel & Spa offers overnight guests access to the finest of spa and fitness facilities in a beautiful, serene environment. Complete with a full salon, relaxing lounge, steam room, sauna, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, the 6,000-square-foot newly renovated facility offers ten treatment rooms and an extensive spa menu of more than 60 signature treatments.



Go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
We had the best time exploring the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium is beautiful, not only does it have the most incredible display of marine life, but amazing architecture, excellent kids experience, and it sits on the right on the water. I don’t think I have been to a place better equipped for toddlers. With the multiple areas for hands-on play for little ones, our son Maverick was in heaven. It was great for us to to have a place he could run around and get his wiggles out. I was so impressed with the amount of bathrooms and elevators. When you are pregnant, these are a huge deal. Mavericks favorite exhibit was the otters. He hasn’t stopped talking about them. We loved the Open Sea feeding show. It is a daily show at 11am and is not something you want to miss, truly incredible, it’s felt just like we were in the tank with the fish!



Mom Tip: The trolley shuttle system is great and free! If you are planning on riding the trolley, bring a stroller that can collapse easily.


Experience the iconic “Cannery Row”
After the aquarium, we had lunch at the famous “Cannery Row.” This historic waterfront district on Monterey Bay was made famous by writer John Steinbeck, who illustrated Cannery Row life in his colorful stories. The Cannery Row is kind of the “go to” spot for attractions and recreation, waterfront dining, shopping and Monterey nightlife. If you like seafood, make sure you eat at Schooners Coastal Kitchen.


Take a walk on Fishermen’s Wharf, and try some chowder.
We should mention if you like seafood, especially clam chowder Monterey is the spot to indulge in all things under the sea. Fishermen’s Wharf is a floating historical icon, full of fun shops, breathtaking ocean views, barking sea lions, and more restaurants sampling clam chowder then your heart’s desire. We highly suggest you walk the wharf ready to eat because the wharf has more free samples then Costco.

Native Orange County Waterman, and Owner of Pirate Coast Paddle Co in Newport Beach ( ) Husband to Korrie Lukei (, father to Maverick and soon to be Sawyer. Pastor at Mariners Church, Irvine. Follow Tim @ocsurfdad on Instagram.
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  1. Thanks, good to know about another nice spot to stay in Monterey. Love it up there. Great photo by the way on top…assuming that’s Yosemite?

  2. nice place.. indeed….

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