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“Felt like Science Camp”

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Asilomar Conference Grounds
Ranked #10 of 17 Hotels in Pacific Grove
GreenLeadersGold level
Stockton, California, United States
Level Contributor
30 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Felt like Science Camp”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2013

I purchased the Living Social deal and thought this would be a great get away. Check in at the "Social Hall" was awkward and not very friendly. Finding the Social Hall was an experience with all the construction going on. Once checked in we were sent to our assigned room, with parking no where near our room. This is concerning if you are vacationing and have no line of site on your vehicle. The room was obviously an old office from the 70's with orange Formica counters in the bathroom, the "closet" was a pole suspended behind the "vanity", no doors. There was nothing on the wood paneled walls. No dresser, an old desk, one nightstand and wicker headboards stapled to the wall. No outlet anywhere near the alarm clock on the night stand. Breakfast in the dining hall, sealed the science camp experience. Served 7:30-9:00 - no sleeping in here. You are sent through a cafeteria line to grad a pre-filled plate and sent to the back room where you are told to sit with others are until the table is full. There you share the orange juice, coffee pot, and fruit bowl.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Donna A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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715 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (220)
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English first
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
46 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2013

We stayed at this property in March 2013. We were looking for a place where we could have an ocean view, and we were able to do that here. We took a LONG walk on the beach - so convenient to the hotel. Our room was in Whitecaps South, and we had a balcony with a lovely view of the ocean. The walls were so thin (seemed like panelling with no drywall or insulation) we could hear (without trying) every word of conversations in the rooms on either side of us. Asilomar is fairly removed from Pacific Grove so expect to drive if you want to try off property restaurants for lunch or dinner.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Paris4LDMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Netanya, Israel
Level Contributor
31 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2013

This place is just perfect! I come to Asilomar every 2 years for a conference . I have stayed in different rooms. Some are better then other but in general they are all good. In some of the rooms there is a fire place, very nice at night. It is very clean. The rooms a very nice and comfortable. The stuff is friendly and helpful. The food is good. I really recommend staying here. I do not know what the prices are as I had a package deal with fool board and registration to the conference but it does worth the money.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a fire place
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Davidfromisrael
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
312 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2013

I have stayed there 3 years in a row mid- December for a workshop - the first time, i was in the Pirate's one, old, creaky floors, could hear conversations from above and next door = BAD...the next year, i was placed in, I think, Long View/Long Acre - view of the distantish ocean, could hear waves crashing = so peaceful that i never wanted to leave my room =EXCELLENT, then this past year, they tried to stick me in a room from 60's with thick orange orange, musty++++ smell, windows old and being on the ground floor, if left open, anyone could have come in....suffice it to say, i lasted about 2 minutes there, went back to reception, kicked up a fuss and got put back in my lovely building, BUT on the backside, opposite the cleaning storage area; it felt like i was in a cave, and being on the main walkway, i did not want to leave curtains open and have everyone stare in...hated it, terrible, but i was so tired, i gave up fighting...So, regarding rooms, choose wisely...there are clusters of buildings all over the property from various decades and in various states of renewal...
Regarding food, the breakfast was fine, lunch and dinner were awful; after the first year, i did not sign up for them. I am allergic to garlic and i was given over cooked vegetables, bland fish or chicken...and you are summoned to food by a bell ringing, very 'little house on the prairie-esque!'
The scenery is lovely, location is everything; walking on the beach, among the dunes, along the rocks is brilliant; at times you feel like the only person on the planet...
I went due to the workshop, but would not stay here if not for that...too far a walk from life - need a car to drive down to Pacific Grove or Moneterey.
If you want a rustic experience, away from it all, and be one step up from camping in a glorious location, book it...
If you want wine and nibbles, walking distance to good restaurants, life, but not as touristy as Monterey, go for a B and B in Pacific Grove, then drive, or have a big wander up to the beach here.
If you want all touristy and action, stay in Monterey itself...hope this was helpful...
Incidentally, this time, although i had pre-paid months in advance, i was still charged extra for nothing...

Room Tip: Up the hill on LONG VIEW with ocean view at far end or middle is the only way to go!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Yvonne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Massachusetts
Level Contributor
64 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

I stayed here a couple of times for several conferences. The area is beautiful. Rooms vary from modern to wooden cabins. Wooden cabins are smaller and darker (because of the dark wood) and don't seem as clean.
The highlight of the place is the location and views.
The food is good but not great, and people is friendly and helpful all around.
WiFi is included an works great.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank batitravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunnyvale, CA
Level Contributor
372 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,510 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 13, 2013

We stayed March 2-4, 2013 at Asilomar Conference Grounds (ACG) at 1036 Willow Inn. This was our fifth visit in 11 months, all at different buildings with different amenities. Previously we had stayed at Breakers West, Spindrift North, Live Oak, and Pirates Den.

$99 VOUCHERS: We made our reservation through a Living Social deal on the internet, $109 for Saturday and $99 for Sunday. Travelzoo has similar deals, often advertised in the autumn, for deals through March. You purchase one voucher for each day up front. The vouchers are redeemed when you make the actual reservation. The advantage of these deals is the price, more than half off the $200+ rack rate. The disadvantage is that the reservation must often be made months in advance, with numerous weekend black out dates. We don't know what the weather will be like, when selecting the date. The voucher purchase fee is not refundable one month after purchase, and must be used within a given time period. Use it or lose it. The difference between this year and previous years is that the entire voucher purchase must be used in one stay only -you can't use multiple vouchers spread among different visits. . As with any hotel reservation, if you cancel within 72 hours of check-in, the voucher is expended, regardless of reason -food poisoning, illness, or simply didn't like the room.

PICK THE MODERN ROOM: When we made our reservation with our vouchers, and we were given a choice of modern room or historic room. No brainer: we chose a modern room. You get more bang for the buck: modern rooms cost a lot more than historic rooms, and are better furnished with more amenities and more living space. The historic rooms have 2-3 single beds,
with your neighbors' every sound amplified through the hollow walls and bare floors. If your neighbor talks, snores, or farts, you will hear it as if that person were right next to you. The only advantage of an historic room is the common living rooms with fireplaces. And the newer modern rooms have this feature also.

ATYPICAL WEB SITE ROOM VIEWS: The historic room with the beautifully wood paneled walls look great on the web site! This view certainly is not true of Pirates Den or Stuck Up with 24 of the 65 Historic rooms, which have plain yellow painted walls. The modern room with the the king size bed and fireplace and view of the ocean waves through the sliding balcony door looks romantic on the web site! There is only one room on the entire campus of 313 rooms with all those features, and that is the top floor room of Spindrift South closest to the ocean. Only 11 of the 29 main buildings have balconies, and no more than 45 of the westward rooms of 7 buildings have an ocean view. Exactly 3 of the 29 buildings have both balconies and an ocean view: Spindrift South (one king size bed), and Windward (3 beds), and Shores (3 beds).

WON'T TELL YOU THE BUILDING OVER THE PHONE: We arrived in Pacific Grove at 1pm, and called ACG to see if our room was ready. It was not, and they said they would give me a call back when it was ready. Fine, can I have the room building, so I can park next to the building before registering? Sorry, they are not allowed to give that information over the phone. This is a change of policy from the past. Apparently they don't want people cancelling if they don't get the building they want.

BALCONY ROOMS NOT AVAILABLE: we made our reservation 3 months in advance, and had asked for a room in Breakers West, Breakers East, or Whitecaps South, all rooms with balconies with afternoon sunshine with two full size beds. Unfortunately there were three Quilting conference workshops going on, and the two full size bed configuration is popular with conference attendees who get preference over the leisure guests. Apparently no rooms in those three buildings with balconies were available to the leisure guest couples, who are assigned to rooms with a single king size bed whenever available.

SIDEWALK AND ROAD CONSTRUCTION: the main road leading to guest registration was closed due to construction. They are constructing sidewalks along the wide roadways on the ocean side of Asilomar Ave. A lot of the pathways are often cracked and chipped from weathering effects. The cedar shingle buildings themselves have singles missing, spider webs in the sheltered corners, and dirt on the windows. Otherwise the campus reminds me of the University of California at Berkeley, with wide pathways going up the hills, among well landscaped terrains, and majestic viewpoints.

CUSTOMER SERVICE HASSLES: I forgot my vouchers at home, and it complicated check-in, as my ACG reservation confirmation number with the Living Social Deal listed was not good enough. All this information is computer linked from one electronic site to another. So here I was trying to find my voucher on my e-mail from 3 months back, in front of the registration. How many different Living Social deals are there? Finally I told them I couldn't find the e-mail, and they relented, and accepted the Living Social price, after some needless hassling. After all, I had to give the voucher numbers when registering by phone 3 months earlier.

WHAT OCEAN VIEW ROOM: Want an ocean view room or a fireplace room? Ocean View rooms are upgrades. We were told that we would have to fork over an extra $49 per day for an ocean view room. There are a very limited number of ocean view rooms. In our case we were assigned 1036 Willow Inn, facing the east, while the room across the hallway faced west and cost $49 more. It turns out that the ocean view is a narrow distant strip of ocean obstructed by the tops of pine trees. Don't confuse an ocean view room with an ocean front room -there aren't any at ACG, which is a quarter of a mile from the nearest beach.

FIREPLACE ROOMS: Each modern building has two fireplace rooms, on one end of the building. These are also upgrades, and certain to be filled with the leftover fumes from the previous guest's fire. Our room had an electric heater coil the entire length of the room along the bottom of the wall, and came on quickly to warm up the room.

BRING YOUR WHEELED LUGGAGE: Certain sections of the central area of ACG have very limited nearby parking. This is true if you are in Lodge, Scripts, Whitecaps South, Manzanita, Oak Noll or Willow Inn. The last three buildings with a total of 36 rooms share an underground garage with 39 parking spaces. Unfortunately at least 6 of those spaces were taken up by storage of excess room furnishings and ACG equipment carts. So in cases of a full house, several people would have to park on one of the more distant lots. We are talking about in excess of 150 yards away, so bring your wheeled luggage, and be prepared to lug it up the stairs even to the first floors. There are 14 parking lots, of which exactly two are underground lots. The other lot serves the Afterglow, Embers, Hearth buildings, and has an elevator directly to Afterglow- these are in the boondocks, the area beyond Asilomar along Sinex Ave.

NEW CARPETS: We got the next to last parking spot in the underground garage at Willow Inn, and lugged our luggage up three flights of stairs to get the our second floor room at 1036 Willow Inn. The first thing we noticed were the smell of new carpets! ACG has advertised that they are replacing all the carpets by the summer of 2013.

LARGE SPACIOUS ROOM: Room was 16' x 12' with a three contiguous windows: a large 7' center window, surrounded by two 2' crank side windows with screens. No balcony, with view of the next door building, Oak Noll. Very firm king size bed mattress atop of two twin box springs joined together. Four 14" by 18" pillows. Strong electric heater along the entire length of the room at carpet level. Cathedral ceilings for the second floor room, with wooden beams on the ceiling.

MOTEL 6 FEATURES: The lampshades for the side tables, the desk and sitting table also looked new, but so spartan that they looked more fitting of a Motel 6 hotel. The chairs had padded seats, but wooden armrests and were scarred from previous use. As usual no TV, no phone, no electronic safe, and no refrigerator. (The Live Oak building had an electronic safe and refrigerator). The only AC was the draft coming through the cracks around the front door. Old faded paint scarred with nail holes in spots on the walls. Bathroom was immaculately clean, but had holes on the wall near the floor, cracks in the tile floor, and chipped enamel under the bathtub faucet. Curtains were a bit worn, and translucent to sunlight -not exactly black out curtains, nor were they sheer curtains. The sunlight bothered my wife in the morning.

BREAKFAST: comes with the room. It is not a buffet style, but served cafeteria style, with portions doled out by the staff. A hot meal of scrambled eggs, with meat and potatoes.with every meal. You are directed to the tables of 8 or 10, and share orange juice and pastries, with other leisure guests -conference attendees have their own separate dining hall. No waiting, as few leisure guests, and the conference attendees had already eaten by 830am.

CLOUDY, COLD AND WINDY: The weather was cloudy the entire three days of our stay in March, with strong winds during the evenings. No place to be on a balcony, or to take an evening stroll. In the summer the marine layer will cover the area for days at a time.

SOCIAL HALL: we huddled around the social hall fireplace. The modern buildings on this side of Asilomar Ave lack the common living room with a fireplace found in the buildings on the east side of Asilomar ave.

WIFI access was free, strong and continuous with no dropped signals.

MY ROOM PREFERENCES: Ask for a room with new carpets. I know that Spindrift North,
Tree Tops, Oak Noll, and Willow Inn have new carpets. My next preference would be for a room on the second floor. Second floor rooms have cathedral ceilings. First floor rooms have lower ceilings and are noisier with the foot falls of people upstairs. Also the ceilings are lower, and if there is a balcony, the room considerably darker, from the shadow of the upstairs balcony. My third preference would be for a room with a king size bed. Buildings with king size beds are usually occupied by couples with no children. No children means less liquid spills on the rugs, and less noise, especially important if you share a common living room with a fireplace in the most modern units east of Asilomar ave. My fourth preference would be for a room with a balcony with afternoon sun. The drawback of a balcony is that they have more spills on the rugs than rooms without balconies.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with new carpets, on the second floor, with a king size bed, near the ocean. A balco...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atascadero, California
Level Contributor
57 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2013

My husband and I purchased 2 nights through Travelzoo at $99 per night and we upgraded to an oceanview room for another $49 per night. We thought we would have a nice getaway for 2 nights and what a terrible experience .. after checking in we finally found our room and hauled our luggage up 2 flights of stairs...the only thing that was appealing in the room was the bed.. there was an old beat up desk, the walls were very overdue for a paint job and the windows were so dirty you could not see out of them. Our ocean view was a joke as it was a view of trees with very a sparce view of the ocean...the complimentary breakfast was not for anyone who wanted to sleep in as it ended at 9am....if you are looking for a camping atmosphere then we would have been fine but we thought the place would be at least a clean and comfortable place to stay... guests need to know there are no telephones or TV's in the rooms and the room felt very cold and we ended up not staying there and went to the Marriott in downtown Monterey. When I asked for the 2 night certificate back as we did not use it they were not sure if it would still be good as they had put it through the system. Evidently they have had issues with other guests leaving and not staying. We have traveled the world and have all kinds of accommodations but this was one of the most disappointing.

Room Tip: Would not recommend unless you are looking for a camping atmosphere
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank hlthee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Asilomar Conference Grounds

Property: Asilomar Conference Grounds
Address: 800 Asilomar Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950-3704
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Monterey County > Pacific Grove
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Pacific Grove
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Pacific Grove
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Asilomar Conference Grounds 2*
Number of rooms: 312
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This refuge by the sea is a tranquil oceanfront retreat cradled by pine forests and white sand beaches. Situated along the shoreline of California's famed Monterey Bay, Asilomar offers historic lodging with views of the forest, surf and sand, plus unique conference spaces. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Asilomar Conference Grounds Hotel Pacific Grove
Asilomar Conference Grounds Pacific Grove
Asilomar Conference Center
Asilomar Hotel

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