Parent Getaways Review
Marina Dunes Resort
By Kathy Chin Leong

Sit. Read. Relax. Bask. And even if there are gray skies, it doesn't matter here at the low-key Marina Dunes Resort, an oceanfront luxury, boutique hotel property 15 minutes north of Monterey. Once you are inside one of these spacious rooms or suites, all you will want to do is plop on your bed and smile.


If you are the kind of couple that values quiet, peaceful, Zen-like surroundings, you will find respite here. Overlooking the beach dunes on the Monterey Bay National Sanctuary, the 19-acre resort consists of clusters of suites in a townhouse grouping. With prices at $99 to $449, some rooms have direct ocean views while others face the street with a glimpse of the ocean behind it. Right now, the resort is offering an Internet Winter Special , which, at $179, includes a one-night stay plus two spa treatments.

Amenities include a swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, and beach accessibility. While breakfast is not included, A.J. Spurs Restaurant, a western-style steakhouse similar to Black Angus, is within walking distance for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All rooms come with a bar sink and mini-frig. If you need a microwave for your late night popcorn fix, you will have to go outside and take your golf cart to the main lobby area and use the kitchenette.

Other than the restaurant and the beach, the site is not close to anything else within walking distance.  You are cloistered from the demands of city life.


Here's the low-down on the rooms: when we came in the summertime, we were immediately put at ease once we walked into the spacious junior suite featuring a sitting area with two couches, fireplace, coffee table and armoire with built-in TV. The palette of taupe and creamy hues are soothing, and the simple modern, uncluttered furnishings were a balm to the eyes used to seeing dirty dishes in the sink. You will snooze well in the high-end beds, each with extra-thick mattresses, down comforters and jacquard coverlets, and a whopping eight, count 'em eight, fluffy pillows. Rooms come with plush bathrobes and a generous two pedestal sink bathroom. Nice touches include a bedside CD/radio combination, so bring your favorite music.

What is different here is that instead of driving up to your room with your car, you are required to take a golf cart to unload luggage. Apparently environmental ordinances require that since the site is right on marine sanctuary-protected grounds surrounded by dunes, tall seagrass and buckwheat sheaves. Our cart named Jellyfish was actually fun to drive as we zipped around the premises.


For ultimate pampering, you can experience the resort spa services. The resort does not have a large spa treatment center, but you will find specific services such as facials, aromatherapy, and massages, which require advanced reservations.

Not on the menu is a restaurant overlooking the water. A.J. Spurs, the on-premises eatery down the hill is a real meat-and-potatoes type of place in the $15 and up price range, so if you aren't too keen on that, you can either drive out to town or order breakfast room service in the mornings.


We loved the Marina Dunes Resort's serenity, tasteful décor, and refreshing coastal access. What a difference compared to the traditional chain hotels. It would be an added bonus if there were a sitting room in the lobby or a common gathering area for guests. But if it's in-room intimacy you want, you'll be pleased to discover this subdued hideaway. Together with the sound of crashing waves and the crackling flames of the gas fireplace, the Marina Dunes Resort is an ideal spot for a romantic weekend.

You'll find the Marina Dunes Resort at 3295 Dunes Drive, Marina. Contact the management at 831/883-9478.



*Bring extra layers of clothing for temperature changes.
*Bring snacks and beverages because there is no market within walking distance.
*Bring beach togs and swimming gear.
*Reserve any spa treatments in advance.
*Remember spring and autumn yield the best weather for sunshine.


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