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“Fascinating historical buildings, average services”

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Asilomar Conference Grounds
Ranked #10 of 17 Hotels in Pacific Grove
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed February 26, 2014

I've been there for a conference.
The buildings were designed by a famous architect tied to the 'arts & crafts' movements and still mantain a great charme and are definitely pleasant.
The chapel, we used as the main hall for our conference is lovely.
But I've to say that, despite the very attractive common spaces and halls, rooms were very simple and with a just average confort.
The landscape is truly unique and fascinating, with its special light and colours, very meditative and suggestive.
The restaurant is not bad but nor it is excellent. The name of dishes was fascinating but the actual meal was sometimes a little disappointing.
I've observed something curious regarding beverages... on each table a sheet informed customers they had to ask for water, because that part of California is poor of it and they value it very highly, but on each of those tables there was plenty of pinches full of ice tea... is not ice tea made with water?

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled on business
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Thank alebflower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 20, 2014

Depends on your priorities. Returning after a 17-year gap, I was happy to overlook the dated, camp-like aspects of our ocean-view balcony room (one queen & three single beds) in order to enjoy this remarkable location -- a state park of piney dunes and rocky coast connecting to miles of bike/running trails.

Some rooms are original to the 1920s project designed by Julia Morgan (best known for Hearst Castle), which you'll either find charming or cramped. Those small buildings include one open sitting area with Mission-ish wood-leather furniture and a fireplace. The majority of Asilomar rooms are in cluster buildings of eight rooms (four up, four ground-level) built in the 70s and apparently never upgraded. Functional, with a desk and small table with two chairs.

Wifi: All rooms offer decent-speed wifi with a free password.

Of those "ocean view" rooms, many are more "ocean glimpse." The resort is built in gently rolling dunes near, not on, the water. And some ocean views are now partially or mainly obstructed by pine trees. If this is very important to you, don't rely on online booking: call the helpful front desk.

Like a more modest version of a national parks lodge, the wonderful main hall has a big, working fireplace and many groupings of sofas, chairs, tables, and lamps. People can buy beer or wine but the atmosphere remains laid-back and respectful not boisterous.

The food can be hit or miss. Dinner (strictly only 6:00pm-7:00pm, $29 per person, limited selection) was fine, though not nearly as good as the restaurants in town, obviously more expensive. Breakfast ($14 pp) was basic.

For a fee, the staff will light the campfire/fire ring for you.

In early February 2014 we saw much construction underway but from our room we were never bothered by noise and never blocked from getting where we wanted to go.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Hapness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2014

Here for a 5 day quilt seminar and location is great ! I could live with the dingy darkness of our room since I didn't spend much time there but the conference offered 3 meals a day and most were inedible. I don't expect gourmet food but when a bagel at breakfast can be used as a weapon & most everything else is a huge serving of mostly disgusting food, this facility should be ashamed of the food it serves. I would willingly pay more for the seminar but the restaurant made prison food look good!
Rooms are rustic but the beds were comfortable. My biggest problem was the food. I came before in 2009 for the same seminar and the food was not gourmet but quite edible. I don't know what happened but I will rethink before returning to this seminar.

Room Tip: Go somewhere else.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank Yvette J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2014

Pros: The location is nice, with a short walk to the beach. We stayed in a king sized room which was spacious with large windows for viewing nature. Staff is friendly. Cons: They are in the middle of construction, so i dont recommend going until that is done because the materials take up lot of parking spaces. We arrived at night and it was so easy to get lost because there were not many signs or lights. The place becomes a scary maze. I understand it is a retreat like space, but there wasn't even a fridge in the room, which wouldn't work if someone has kids. I'm sure you can request one, but our leftovers spoiled. The curtains covering the window didn't close properly, and our room was on the first floor facing a road. So I felt we had no privacy and this was supposed to be a romantic vacation. Housekeeping came really early in the morning. As in 8am even though check out isn't until 11. She didn't even knock or announce herself, just tried opening the door. My husband went to the cafe at around 8:15, and they had nothing. I wouldn't call it an outtakes let alone a cafe. Overall, this place is ok for retreats, but I'd never recommend it for a couple looking for romance. It may be better once the updating has been completed. But I don't think I'd stay there again.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ebachan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2014

Just went to a two day conference at Asilomar. I love the location right across from a wonderful beach with strolling and tidepooling. The facilities themselves were originally an old Girl Scout summer camp designed by Julia Morgan. This is my 5th stay at Asilomar in the past five years. I'd stay at some of the newer facilities which are across a small road from the original Asilomar sight. We stayed in Hearth and had a fireplace in our room. The staff set it up so that all we had to do was light a match. It was wonderful especially since the weather on the coast can be overcast and windy. The staff are very helpful and the food is surprisingly good. But the rooms themselves are quite basic. Even in this relatively new room, the bathroom wasn't up to snuff with outdated fixtures and bad caulking around the tub. But the rooms in the "historic" lodges are much worse. I stayed in "Stuck Up" and "Scripps" before and couldn't sleep on the hard beds. I think this is a good place for families if you aren't looking for much in the way of luxury. It's an ideal location for exploring up and down the coast from Monterrey to Big Sur.

Room Tip: Go with one of the buildings across the little road from the main facility - Hearth and Embers are t...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled on business
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Thank pawdy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2014

We just got back from a 2-nt stay at Asilomar. We stayed there before in the same type of room about 9yrs ago, I did not recall the room being so shabby, I guess 9 yrs did a lot of wear and tear. Love the location, short stroll away from the beach, very nice and beautiful surrounding, nice walk on the boardwalk. But the room is another story. The bathroom has separate toilet and shower areas that are very tiny, with just enough clearance to open the door. No countertop area whatsoever around the sink. I understand the need for low flow faucet, but the sink faucet was extremely low flow, almost just trickling water. The shower area was disgusting, the drain was extremely sluggish, the shower door frame was falling apart. The water in the shower was very difficult to adjust to the right temperature, it was either scalding hot or too cool. We had to adjust it for the kids, definitely be careful if you have kids. So much for conserving water, lots of it down the drain trying to get the right temperature. The walls are paper thin, we could hear people sneezing, coughing, just normal conversation, I am sure no one was blasting their music or shouting, we had to turn up the heater to drown out the chatter. The comforter was also thin, it got pretty cold at night, we had to turn up the heater for warmth as well. We are ok with no TV but the wifi connection was absolutely horrible, we kept getting disconnected every several minutes, trying to get on the network was a challenge as well, kept getting "unable to join" message. I don't think we will stay there again.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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Thank SLee2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2014

This was a pretty neat place to stay. It's located in (and basically is) a state park right on the pacific coast. It was maybe a 10 minute walk from my room to the ocean. It's very quiet and peaceful, and the grounds are pleasant to walk around. Everyone who works here was also friendly and helpful.

That said, it's clear this place needs an overhaul. The room I stayed in looked like it has last been decorated in the 1980's, and there were lots of hard-to-reach places where dust and grime had accumulated and not been cleaned. The plumbing was also odd. To take a shower, I'd first set the temperature of the water coming out of the bathtub spout to be comfortable, and then switch the diverter to start the shower. The first time I did this, I was quite surprised that the water coming out of the shower was about 20 degrees hotter than the bathtub spout. The toilet also didn't feel quite sturdily attached. And in the conference facility my group used, the bathroom had these really annoying spring-loaded faucet levers that you had to hold down to get water out of.

The food, provided in the dining hall, was quite decent. There's not a lot of choice in the offerings, but they compensated by having different things available each day. Several people I was with complained about the taste of the water in the dining hall, but I didn't notice anything.

Wifi was adequate---it was on the slow side, but entirely usable.

All in all, it was fine to stay here once, but I don't think I would come back until it gets a facelift.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled on business
2  Thank a_traveler54
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

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: $150 - $238 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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