Monterey Tides: Family Friendly at Every Turn of the Tide
By Kathy Chin Leong

Waves cresting, then crashing on the sand, and ebbing away in a hypnotic rhythm is the picturesque scene immediately visible outside the lobby window. I am convinced it is not an accident. The $12 million remodel for the newly flagged Monterey Tides Hotel reminds guests they are ocean-side everywhere they turn their heads. In the lobby, the chairs front the windows, framing an ever-present movie.  While it is considered a boutique hotel by Joie de Vivre, it is not smallish by any means. With 196 rooms to its credit, the three story property was formerly a Best Western, and the new enterprise has retained its footprint.  Furthermore, it is Monterey Bay’s only beachfront hotel. 

Based off a side street from the main highway, the hotel is anchored at the cusp of Monterey’s biggest attractions, and situated on a paved bike trail, so you can embark upon a flat, pleasurable cycle ride into town.  As far as its location goes, the fit is perfect for families with little kids. Less than ten minutes to Costco and supermarkets, you are in the right place when you need to purchase sun screen, diapers, sand buckets, or a swim suit in case someone forgot to bring one.  

What families will take kindly to is beach accessibility. The water is steps away from the rooms.  What a great opportunity for toddlers to partake in the shoreline for the first time and to come in quickly when it gets too hot or when they need to take their needed naps.  And what a great opportunity it is not to have to drive any farther when you need to.  Moms, Dads –  leave your car at the hotel for the weekend and never turn on your Google Maps after your park your car.  Everything you need is here. 

The many rooms here come in various categories, so you can pick your pleasure depending on your budget. Rooms facing the ocean with views are more expensive. If you want a parking lot or garden view, you pay less, and those rates start at $142 per night, depending on the season and day of the week. Do look on the website for its various bed and breakfast specials.

Because this is a remodel, in this case it means there is new bedding and a fresh coat of new paint, and updated soft goods. In our ocean view room, there was still the old furniture (some chipped), and newly painted navy blue walls, and some nice accessories to remind me of the aquatic theme. Our carpet was deep blue with wavy gray lines.  I found it kind of awkward to see old, chipped dressers and side tables, so if I had it my way, I would have had them replaced or refurbished to match everything else that was new.  Rooms are of average size, not too big, not too small.  I thoroughly enjoyed my window view and the thunder of the rolling waves while sitting at my round table with two chairs.  Even though people walked by my front window, it was not a hindrance. 

The beach was right below, and at night, I enjoyed going outside on the walkway balcony, observing the many families lighting small bonfires on the sand.Bathrooms are small; the toilet and shower are together, divided by a pocket door, and the sink and mirror area are exposed to the bedroom. 
Like most hotels these days, it comes with a flat-screen TV, coffee maker, and complimentary wi-fi.  

The downstairs swimming pool and hot tub is a must-have for kids and parents. Everyone needs to burn some energy off during vacation, and the pool and whirlpool really come in handy when you don’t want that daunting feeling that the kids may get swept away by the ocean. Plus, there are times a pool is preferable to the sea when you don’t want the kids to come back into the room with swimming suites full of sticky sand!The lobby is comprised of floor-to-ceiling windows, an open area with groupings of conversation zones, and the fireplace is always the most cozy.

Other places such as the picture window spots are also great, especially around sunset.  Also in the lobby is a small bar area for cocktails at night, and in the morning, you can order up a coffee. Upstairs on the fourth floor, the fine dining restaurant called Vizcaino features seafood and a blend of offerings that merge Mexican cuisine with fresh California.  On the menu are items such as braised pork belly and huevos rancheros.It would be nice if there was a casual, inexpensive café where families could grab breakfast or lunch.

Fortunately, a bevy of places are close, so you are never far from food.  You are only about 10 minutes away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Old Monterey, and the Cannery.  

There are amenities and services considered quite  convenient. The management allows you to bring a pet into the room for an additional fee, so that's good news for folks who want to share their joy with their animals.  Two computers in the lobby allow folks to access their airlines or find a good restaurant via the Internet.  Cruiser bicycles are on the ready for guests to rent and checkout.  And guests can purchase a bundle of firewood and a yummy s’mores kit for a memorable time on the beach.  

A beautiful renovated lobby with a fireplace, upgraded rooms, a refurbished pool and plantings, and wonderful beach access, plus close access to big box stores and a bike trail, make this super  convenient and affordable for families.  With dark blue painted rooms, they may feel a little dim and small for your brood.  You can ask for a room with white/gray walls if you request ahead of time. However, when you want a beachfront getaway close to the Bay Area, consider coming any time this year.  The weather is mild, and in the upcoming fall, Monterey is at its best.
Monterey Tides Hotel
2600 Sand Dunes Drive
Rates:  $142 to $586

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