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“THE ABSOLUTE BEST! ”

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Pajaro Dunes Condominiums & Resort
San Francisco, California
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“THE ABSOLUTE BEST! ”
Reviewed July 13, 2014 via mobile

Pajaro Dunes is simply the best, most beautiful hidden gem in the Monterey area! I'm a huge fan! I seriously can't say enough excellent things about Pajaro Dunes! I've stayed there well over 7 times with family and it's absolutely excellent every single time. Pajaro Dunes is a private, upper scale gated development of condominiums in Watsonville, next to Monterey. It's somewhat of a lengthy drive all the way down Beach Road, but once Pajaro Dunes comes into sight, you know you've reached an excellent place!

The entire place has different sections of condos all along its own private beach right next to the coast. No matter where you stay (and I recommend upper level units simply because of the views) you will have community stair access right down to the sand and beach; about 1 minute walking time no matter where you're staying.

People with a hard time walking should definitely stay in the ground floor units because the condo developments are all accessed by stairs and well-designed wooden walking paths, but they're all at an incline, so ground floor is always best for people who have a hard time walking for any reason. At the parking areas, there are shopping baskets you can use to transport your luggage and other belongings right to the door of your condo up the walking paths.

It's a quiet area that isn't extremely touristy because many of the condos are not just rented for you to stay at, but many are owned with the owners living there full time. They have 24 hour roving security which is good and always visible and present. There is also housekeeping there too which cleans the units prior to your stay.

There is also a 24 hour gatehouse which is where security is stationed and where access is controlled. No one can enter Pajaro Dunes even by foot unless they are a registered guest or an owner that lives there. Security is well controlled here; a real plus for families. When you drive up, you'll reach the security gatehouse where you have to verify your identity each time, which security keeps on a daily updated list, so they know who belongs there and who doesn't. If you're on the list, security will open the security gate for you to let you drive through. Guests of yours must also be on the list otherwise their access is denied. Kids can go anywhere and feel comfortable knowing that access to the entire development is well controlled and security is always driving around.

I'm not an owner, I'm just a guest who absolutely loves this hidden gem of a place! You can't go wrong here. Driving into town is only about 10 minutes. You do have to bring your own groceries, but access to the city center is easy.

After staying a few times, you'll no doubt discover a condo you like more than the rest and you can always specify a particular condo when booking. Or another good idea is to ask the staff when calling. They're extremely nice and they do know the better, most popular condos. Trust me, I've asked before and they know the skinny on the best ones, so be sure to just ask. If you get someone who says they don't know, don't believe them. Ask for someone who knows the best units.

The singularly best piece of advice I can give you is that all the units are NOT the same. They're all individually owned, even the ones that are rented out for you and some are much better than others. There can be some duds; it all depends on the individual owner and how they chose to decorate and furnish the unit. Some owners put obvious care into making a great unit and some definitely do not.

I've stayed at some big duds here that were overall a nightmare, so if you encounter that, simply call up the gatehouse and demand to be transferred to another unit that is much better and meets your expectations. This is where the asking part comes in. Do not be afraid to speak your mind here, my experience has always been that they'll listen and try to make it right.

So, be sure to ask for a better, popular unit when booking and if you get a dud (and there are duds here for sure) be sure to call right up while you're there and demand another unit. Don't be afraid to speak your mind here. It's a great place and you should be 100% happy with absolutely everything because it isn't hard to have a great time here!

After staying just once at this quiet, upper scale setting, you'll understand what I mean and you'll keep coming back. For me, the sea air smells so good and is so intoxicating that I hate leaving. It's extremely peaceful and relaxing! You can make it exactly what you want! Pajaro Dunes is truly a beautiful hidden gem in the Monterey area!

Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank TheJurisDoctor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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71 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
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English first
Lynchburg, Virginia
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2014

The view and location by far give this place a high rating. It is on a quiet and secluded area of beach. We enjoyed watching the seals and otters daily. The units do need a bit of updating both outside and in, but overall this was a great family place to stay.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Travelingteacher407
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lafayette, California
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2014

Three girlfriends spent a few days here reading, walking on the beach, collecting shells and enjoying the sound of the waves. The kitchen was lovely and had everything we needed to prepare our dinners. A huge picture window gave wonderful vistas of the sea and dolphins swimming by.
A fireplace kept us cozy early morning and in the evenings.
.We visited Carmel to the south and the Buddhist retreat and Enchanted Forest in Soquel while we were here. Both a 30 minute drive.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank jimandsam814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, California
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2014

We went with a big group of work colleagues for a retreat here. It's nice as they are houses and not apartments - they also overlook the water. It's only a stones throw to the beach. With a lot of people surfing. We stayed in house #98 and #126. House #98 was a direct access to the beach house, #126 was a line of houses away from the beach. #98 was definitely the better house to stay in. I imagine this place would have a great atmosphere in the summer holidays with families coming and going. Seems like a great place to get a group of people together such as a family reunion, birthday, special occasion.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled on business
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank danykelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2013

We had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend in a gorgeous location. Our condo was right on the ocean, simply walk outside the door. Fireplace for cold evenings, comfortable furnishings. Grounds are nice for walks, with ponds full of wildlife. We had a bonfire on the beach one foggy night - encouraged as long as you follow the rules. Not far from Watsonville so easy to shop for supplies.

Only caveat, watch your belongings. My partner had been coming to this location for many years with no issues, simply left all belongings outside the front door. It is gated and manned 24/7 so we felt safe. However, his expensive surfboard and wetsuit were stolen. Not much of a reaction from the management, who simply denied there had ever been thefts at the property. Did not hear the same information from the police when we filed a report, they said that someone had a bike stolen the same night.

Room Tip: Pajaro Dunes is all about the ocean view, hard to imagine there is a bad location.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank Itinerant2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alameda, California
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Over the years my wife and I vacationed here many times with our kids when they were young. It's close to the Bay Area and an easy and scenic drive. We chose Pajaro for a romantic place for a long weekend to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. We stayed at the Shorebirds complex in a one bedroom condo (#186) with incredible beach views. The beach, as always, was magnificent, and the condo itself was well appointed and comfortable. Sunset at Pajaro, sharing champagne...doesn't get much better. We enjoyed hiking at the Elkhorn Slough bird preserve, having lunch at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing and stopping to buy wonderful locally grown organic produce for dinner. It was a pretty close to perfect weekend. This is one of my favorite places on earth.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank floydbro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Cordova
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

Love this area and these condos and can't wait to go back! The condo we stayed in (S25) was clean and comfortable and had a nice side view of the beach and ocean. The carpet was brand new, which was very nice, but the place could have also used some paint and a few new utensils in the kitchen (there was only one big pot and the handle was broken). (If you want clean, it's fine. If you want fancy or ocean-front, pick another condo.) The beach here is wide, clean, open, long and beautiful! And, it's covered in sand dollars! Definitely a great place to stay if you want to hit the beach every day!

Room Tip: Call the front desk and have them help you. They are VERY knowledgeable about the condos and are fri...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank LoFro2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pajaro Dunes Condominiums & Resort

Property: Pajaro Dunes Condominiums & Resort
Address: 105 Shell Dr, 2661 Beach Rd., Watsonville, CA 95076-9632
Location: United States > California > Watsonville
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Watsonville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 110
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Why settle for a room, when you can enjoy a beautiful coastal home?! Nestled along the Monterey Bay is one of the most scenic stretches of California's central coastline. Spanning 1 1/2 miles of pristine beach, Pajaro Dunes Resort is in a secluded, gated community featuring a collection of beautiful beachfront homes, townhouses, and condominiums - available for vacation rentals & group retreats.Looking for a perfect Santa Cruz County family vacation, family reunion or seminar site? Pajaro Dunes is 4 miles west of Watsonville and conveniently, 20 miles south of Santa Cruz and 25 miles north of Monterey/Carmel. Enjoy the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz Mountain Redwoods, Monterey Bay Aquarium, central coast wineries and world famous golf! When booking with us, you'll enjoy full service! No hunting for a key n the dark like some vacation rentals. We provide personal check in, 7 day on site staff 9-5:30. Visit our Lobby for free DVD movies, tennis rackets and sport equipment, ice, coffee and a morning paper. Our gift shop has almost anything you might have forgotten, along with local winery favorites, fabulous kites, gifts and more. Plenty of tennis courts, basketball & volleyball, walking trails and we'll even set up a reserved beach bonfire with s'mores for you! We offer homes from 1-3 bedroom condos, to fantastic 5 bedroom beach front houses. Choose your level of view and luxury in this memorable getaway. We'll save a sunset for you! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pajaro Dunes Condominiums Hotel Watsonville

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