RESERVATION: We stayed at the Wilkie's Clarion January 19-21 during the MLK holiday weekend. We had booked a queen bedroom about a week before our stay on the comfort inn website. The rate was $70 per night before the 10% AAA discount, the least expensive holiday weekend rate I had ever seen online in a hotel in Pacific Grove. Of course you will not find this rate available at other times of the year -like the Concours d'elegance in August. This hotel can be used to accumulate Quality Comfort Inn points, but based on the web site, it apparently cannot be reserved as a free night using those points.
LOCATION: the hotel is really a motel- you drive your car up to the door, with all doors on exterior corridors facing the parking lot. The motel is the first of a series of motels and hotels on Lighthouse Ave, when driving north from the town center. It is hard to miss during the daytime as it is painted a rather garish pink. Walk 15 minutes south along the sidewalks of an upscale apartment area, and you are in the center of town with innumerable restaurants. Walk 15 minutes north past the golf course, and you are at the ocean -although you would not want to do this at sunset, as the residential streets in that area have no sidewalks, and no there are no pathways along the street, so you would end up walking in the middle of the street alongside parked cars.
PARKING: there are 22 parking spaces on the property, and 24 rooms. Parking is also available on the street a short distance away. Some people even park across the street next to the other hotels. The parking lot is separated from the street by an attractive garden island. Employees apparently take up about 3-4 parking spaces -these are noticeable because they don't move and are in the same spot every day. We had no difficulty finding parking on the premises even late at night, when the hotel was apparently fully booked. The two closest diagonal spots to the check-in office are for compact cars only, as it is a tight squeeze to circle around the garden island into these spots, when all the other spaces are taken -I tried it with my 1998 Honda Civic and barley made it, without having to back up.
CHECK-IN: We checked in at 4pm with the parking lot only a third full, and were assigned to room 102. I asked if they had a room available on the second floor, and the manager said no. 102 is just behind the stairs, which is next to the ice machine, and closest to the check-in office, and the unloading area for check-ins vehicles. It is the room with the most noise, and least privacy as people go up and down the carpeted stairs at all hours, and can peer into room 102. In hot weather you would hear the ice-machine going. However at the rate I paid I wasn't about to haggle much about getting another room.
PLUSH FURNISHINGS IN A CRAMPED ROOM: My wife said the queen size bed was really a full size bed. The room also came with a microwave, a 33" tall refrigerator, a love seat, a three drawer dresser, a chair with padded armrests and backing, a desk 18" by 33", two night stands with lights, an ottoman next to the TV and a lamp next to the love seat. The sliding closet doors were fully mirrored floor to ceiling. Ceiling fan with attached bright lights. The bed mattress was firm but comfortable. Afternoon sunshine streamed in the windows. Window equipped with both sheer and blackout curtains, although the latter didn't quite close all the way. Ice bucket with two glasses, not plastic cups. Coffee maker with porcelain cups, not styrofoam cups. Red patterned carpeting was industrial grade, designed for maximum durability, and was not comfortable to walk on. Crooked floor near the dresser as if the foundation had settled unevenly.
TV: The 31" flat screen TV is located above the dresser in an entertainment system. The base pulls out, so you can pull out the TV from the entertainment system. The base also swivels on a mount, so you can watch it from an angle, instead of from directly in bed. There are 90+ cable channels available including a multitude of various ESPN and HBO channels. I watched 3 hours of the NFL game from the comfortable love seat on the side of the room next to the window.
REMODELED BATHROOM: The bathroom was remodeled with an attractive granite sink, bright overhead lights, a swing out makeup mirror, modern tiles on the walls above the bathtub, but was tight to get in -the opening door almost touched the toilet. There was also a helpful night light in the bathroom attached to the hair dryer mount.
NOISE: Flushing the toilet almost shook the entire building. Fortunately they were modern, low water, high flush types, so the toilets didn't run for very long when refilling. We could hear our upstairs guests footsteps on the thinly padded carpet. Noise also traveled around the locked interior connecting doors from our neighbors, as we could hear talking. Fortunately none of our neighbors were loud snorers. Modern screened windows with tight fitting openings to diminish noise from the parking lot. We could hear kids running around in the exterior corridors, and bouncing on the stairs.. There is no pool nor jacuzzi so perhaps so this place might not appeal to families with kids. Very little traffic noise from Lighthouse Avenue.
ROOM CONFIGURATION: There are 11 rooms on the first floor, rooms 101-111, and 13 rooms on the second floor, rooms 201-212,214 -there is no room 213. Rooms 102-110, 202-210 have their main window alongside the door facing the exterior corridor, and the parking lot. Rooms 101 and 201 at the north end have a main corner window facing the northeast with a partial ocean view above the residential rooftops across the street along Bayview avenue. 201 is a king size bedroom, and one of several not available on the comfort inn web site -you have to call directly to reserve a specific room number. Rooms 110 and 210 have their main window facing south. Rooms 201-210 also have a main window facing east -although not much to write home about - a view of a two story duplex. 202 has a partial ocean view to the side of the duplex. Rooms 212 and room 214 appear to be much larger rooms than the others, with two beds. Room 214 has windows facing north over the parking lot and west over Lighthouse Ave, and south over a residential house.
ROOMS TO GET, ROOMS TO AVOID The most desirable rooms would appear to be 101,201, 202, 212 and 214. The least desirable rooms would be the room that I got, 102 and 109 next to the stairs, and perhaps 110, with a window facing south toward an old residential house, with a motor home parked in front. Rooms 103-109 have a view of the front grills of vehicles in the parking lot, and would hear noises from their upstair guests' footsteps.
WIFI ACCESS: free wifi access. We were able to get a strong signal from the Wifi access during most the daytime hours. However there was no access in the early morning hours before breakfast.
BREAKFAST: the usual continental breakfast with waffle maker, toast with butter (didn't see any jam), apples, pastries, quaker oats, cold cereal, milk, orange juice. Breakfast is served in the check-in office at 730am. There are only 2 chairs, so most people eat standing up, with paper plates balancing on the fireplace mantle, or on the check-in counter. They do have trays to take back to your room -but our room had no sitting table.
ALCOVE: a unique feature of this hotel is the exterior sun room alcove at the top of the stairs next to room 201. There are 4 padded chairs around a marble table, surrounded on three sides by glass and a roof to keep out the elements. A great place to read a book in the afternoon sunshine, or a night with the overhead light, protected from the wind and rain.
BUS: A Monterey-Salinas-Transit mini bus stops at the bus stop near room 214 for those without wheels.
NEXT TIME: I would come back again, but would make my reservation by phone for specific designated rooms, using the comfort inn web site as a starting point for bargaining for price.
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- Also Known As:
- The Wilkie`s Inn (Clarion Collection) Hotel Pacific Grove
- Clarion Collection Pacific Grove