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“Location, location, location...and that's it.” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Asilomar Conference Grounds

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Asilomar Conference Grounds
Ranked #10 of 17 Hotels in Pacific Grove
GreenLeadersGold level
Taipei, Taiwan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Location, location, location...and that's it.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2013

The grounds are very nice and the lodging and grounds are a 5 minute walk to the beach at Pacific Grove. The rooms are large but plain, the bathrooms could use some updating, and the beds are comfortable, but IMHO there isn't anything spectacular about Asilomar other than the grounds and the location. We had a room with a queen bed and 3 single beds for $180 on a Sunday night. That's a bit on the pricey side if the room is the only thing you're considering; but, again, it's all about the location. Breakfast is not included with the room (a separate adult breakfast is $14). There are outdoor gas fire pits near the rooms, and you can order a s'mores kit to roast marshmellows and make s'mores. Yum.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Tai C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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708 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
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Northern California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2013

I think the key to enjoying a stay at Asilomar is to have it very clear in your head exactly what the place is, and what it isn't. In a previous life one of my job duties was to help plan an annual conference at Asilomar, and to tabulate the results of the participant satisfaction survey. So years later, when I decided to check the place out for myself as an overnight guest, I had a pretty good idea what awaited me.

What Asilomar is:
*A former YWCA with buildings designed by famed architect Julia Morgan. The original (aka "historic" buildings) were built to be rustic like summer camp. They are 100 years old. The floors creak and the walls are thin. No, there are no televisions or telephones in the rooms.
*First and foremost it is a conference center, so their focus is not on providing the kinds of amenities one would expect in a luxury hotel. It is NOT a luxury hotel.

What Asilomar isn't:
*A resort or a spa.

The reason I decided to take a solo trip to Asilomar was that I wanted a quiet getaway for just me. I wanted someplace that was near the beach, but not a noisy, bustling beach like at Santa Cruz. I wanted something that was rustic and free from urban distractions, where I could just sit and read a book, maybe listen to some quiet music in front of a roaring fire. I had planned on getting one of the older "historic" rooms, because I'm always willing to give unique lodgings a try (and they're a bit cheaper), but the only availability was in one of the newer "Asilomar" rooms, which were built in the late 70s or early 80s, but were designed to complement the existing style. This ended up working in my favor, because the historic rooms don't have in-room fireplaces, and I very much enjoyed having the fire. Yes, the rooms could do with some updating, particularly in the bathroom. A new vanity would do wonders. But I was there for rusticity, not marble counters. My room was in a building that was across the road from the main compound. Con: walking up a small hill; Pro: beautiful wooded area. My room was large, and the stone fireplace dominated the room. Bundles of wood and kindling, as well as matches, are provided. There was a nice little balcony with a woodsy view. Be sure to get a second story room for the balcony. The first floor rooms have a little patio, which isn't as private.



Asilomar State Beach is a very short walk from the main buildings, through the dunes, and across a moderately busy road (drivers do yield consistently). The beach is great. Not too big, not too small. The sand is white and clean (except for what washes up in the tide) and the waves were better than I've seen in Santa Cruz. It is animal-friendly, and it's fun to watch dog owners play with their pets in the waves. There are some rock outcroppings with small tide pools. There is a boardwalk through the dunes that allows people to walk all the way up to the Inn at Spanish Bay, if one so chooses. I've heard they have a bagpiper there at sunset, but he must have had the day off. Signs say that bonfires are not allowed, but I saw numerous groups disobeying that particular rule-- some were even seated right next to the sign that said "No fires."

Meals are at Crocker Dining Hall. Breakfast is generally included for overnight guests, but the dinner prices are pretty exorbitant. So for dinner I chose to get take-out from the Fishwife restaurant which is across the street, well within walking distance, from the grounds. Based on my sole piccata, I would recommend them. I chose to dine in my room, with my fire and bottle of sparkling wine, but if you choose to eat at the restaurant, I advise calling ahead for a reservation. I was somewhat nervous about breakfast in the morning, because I know that seating is family-style around large round tables, and I'm kind of a keep-to-myself kind of girl. I also know that service is a cafeteria-style/family-style hybrid, and I had this idea in my head that we'd be using old-school sectioned metal trays. I don't know where I got this idea from, except that I keep thinking of Asilomar as summer camp. The reality is that they take your meal ticket and direct you to a (short) line where the entree is served on restaurant-quality white china. There is only one hot entree offered, but I was more than happy with the selection (chorizo hash with scrambled eggs). If you're not crazy about the hot entree, alternate options such as cereal, oatmeal, or Greek yogurt, with granola or other toppings are available at the counter. At the table there is a lazy Susan in the center with various pastries, fruit, orange juice and coffee. I had to hunt down tea and hot water. Fortunately I was seated with some nice people, and the conversation was pleasant. My only real complaint about the meal setup was that there are no trays to help you carry your food to the table. So balancing my entree, bowl of yogurt and glass of milk was difficult.

I have to admit, that my main issue with the place is the cost. In my world $200 a night is pretty steep. Of course, in the Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove area that's a decent price. If you're looking for a charming inn, there are plenty of those around. If you're interested in a unique experience, with a little history, and you've got an open mind, give Asilomar a go.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Alice514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
184 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2013

I stayed here two nights in a newer room with a balcony and a fireplace. i stayed here a few years ago and was in an original arts and crafts room, which i initially was disappointed not to have this time. but, the balcony was so nice to have as was the fireplace. these rooms are dated but clean and have everything you need. the wifi is excellent in the rooms and common areas. the grounds are well kept and you absolutely cannot beat the location. i found the food in the dining area to be restrictive (you get what you get with very few choices) but very good - always lots of fruit and salad to be had as well. the main lodge is nice. i found the reception staff to be sometimes welcoming and engaged and other times bothered. i can only hope i get to go back to asilomar again!

Room Tip: some of the rooms are very far from the main lodge and dining house - you should try and request a c...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank citysuburb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Beach, California
Level Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2013

We elected to stay in one of their historic rooms and it was exactly as presented on their web site... small, dark paneling, small bathroom and quaint. To be honest, next time I might opt for one of the new rooms instead. It's a great location and property and I'm generally a fan of historic properties.... but a little more space and a bigger bathroom would be better for two people. There's no room for your suitcase and not much light in the room. It appears that the newer rooms have outdoor balconies which would be nice. The lounge in the main building is gorgeous... big fireplace, pool tables. The property is on the ocean via a short (under 5 min) walk along their boardwalk. I was surprised to find that breakfast is an additional $14 per person. There is Wi-Fi in the rooms but no TV or phone service. The location isn't walkable to anything... it's a get in your car place.

Room Tip: Historic rooms are small, dark paneling, few windows and small bathrooms with shower stall only... l...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank dancing d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Level Contributor
247 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2013

Traveling through the Carmel/Monterey, California area, Asilomar is a unique place to stay. Asilomar is a "Conference Center" that caters to small and large groups for "Off-Site" Meetings. Asilomar is a great location for this, but a bit "dodgy" for a overnight hotel location. The good news; Asilomar is located right next to the small, charming City of Carmel, California and Asilomar is very "price competitive" in this area. However, the Arrowmark operated, California State owned facility is like staying at a Boy Scout Camp, read "shared rooms", minimal dorm room style, and poor food on site. It is what it is. no dinners on this site.

My suggestion is if you are traveling through the area... Pick another place to stay.

Room Tip: There are some dorm rooms near the Pacific Ocean, of course we were not located there.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank George M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
126 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2013

We stayed here over the July 4th weekend. Its quiet environment and close proximity to the beach make it a good choice for family retreat. The rooms are sparsely furnished. As advertised, there's no TV or phone in the room, but free WiFi is available. Another inconvenience is that they only have a couple of ice machines (freezers) for the entire site. It's also very dark outside the buildings at night, so you might have some trouble getting around. Breakfast is included but it's just average. The lines might be long if there are large groups around. Its price in general is not cheap, but it would be a bargain during the Monterey Car Week in August as all other hotels and motels jack up their rates to some ridiculous prices.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank djc2k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vacaville, California
Level Contributor
67 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2013

If you want beautiful views, a peaceful place to relax, the perfect place for yourself or the family, then Asilomar is for you and yours. I just got back after three days of attending a conference. It's hard to believe I was at work and yet I am so relaxed. The grounds are large so getting some exercise is a given, but the scenery is so beautiful and the fresh air is amazing. The rooms are comfortable, not luxurious, but have all the necessary amenities. The beach is just steps away. Even the deer come out and play. I went two years ago with my family and had a terrific time also. Work or play I recommend Asilomar for a great place to stay when going on a vacation that is more relaxation than get up and go.

Room Tip: Upstairs to get a good view of the beach or Pebble Beach golf course.
See more room tips
Green Features: I thought they did a good job. Recycling in the rooms.
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Alyson B
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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