We stayed at the HIE Salinas during a weekend trip to the Monterey / Carmel area. I generally have a low opinion of most Holiday Inn Expresses as they tend to be very hit-or-miss. The HIE Salinas is a TRUE HIT! Wow! I was stunned by how modern, luxurious, and clean it is!
The rooms have great ammenities including comfy beds, fresh carpets, granite countertops, plenty of electrical outlets, free wifi, free parking, and HDTV that's actually in high definition (with a robust selection of DirecTV channels).
Lobby is efficient and clean enough.
There is a free daily breakfast which is ample and significantly more robust and tasty than what you will get at a Best Western. This is not 4-star dining, but it gets the job done and has a good assortment of cereals, sausages, biscuits, eggs, pancakes, yogurts, limited fruit, etc.
There is a business center, gym, and pool. I did not use any of these but they looked good.
There is plenty of parking at the rear of the hotel. It felt very safe, despite being at the end of a strip of motels and hotels. It is located next door to the Best Western and is right off an entrance to the 101.
There is an In-n-Out burger in walking distance.
The only downside is that i booked this hotel a few days before arrival and it was pricey for a HIE. They offer regular rooms and suites. I had a king suite, but really just wanted a regular room (sold out).
I would definitely stay here again.