Monterey County Update: February 2009

MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIF – Polishing off renovations in 2008 and 2009, Monterey County is ready to shine. The fruition of the largest amount of capital invested in this destination in some time has come to pass and we have experienced more growth in new properties than we’ve seen in two decades.T

The new InterContinental The Clement Monterey made its big debut in Spring/2008 on $80+ million luxury beachfront property at 750 Cannery Row.  As the newest waterfront hotel on California’s Central Coast -- and possibly the last -- the property features 208 luxury rooms, 10,200 square feet of meeting space, 18,500 square feet of high-end retail, an on-site spa, and a 95-seat C restaurant. www.canneryrow.com

The Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort & Spa at Del Monte Golf Course recently completed a $40 million three-phase renovation including all of the property’s  575 guestrooms, 32 suites, President’s House, lobby and front desk area, restaurant and exterior landscaping of the 22-acre property. The property will be opening their spa in the first quarter of 2009.  This addition will be 8,000 square feet and will include a health club and 12 spa suites focusing on solitude and rejuvenation. Additionally, they are installing new property signage and lighting, painting the exterior of the entire property, resurfacing the parking areas and adding a covered walkway throughout the property. 831-657-6560 www.HyattRegencyMonterey.com

The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has received the prestigious Mobil Four-Star Award.  This award is extremely significant since the Mobil Travel Guide has been the time-tested gold standard for hotel rating systems for nearly 50 years, providing travelers with the most objective, most disciplined ratings for hotels in North America. Hospitality and travel industry professionals respect and revere the Mobil Star rating and certification system, and consumers have put their faith in it as they determine where to stay. In addition to this prestigious award The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has opened La Strada Café serving Pete’s Coffee and baked goods, completed an enhancement of the main entrance, added air conditioning to all guest rooms and added a cobblestone crosswalk to the main entrance and portico. 800-631-1339 www.montereyplazahotel.com

In the heart of historic downtown Monterey, and surrounded by the attractions of the spectacular Monterey Peninsula, the Monterey Marriott provides an ideal location for your business, recreation and meeting needs, featuring smoke-free rooms, and endless views of the Monterey Bay coastline. Fully completed and renovated rooms feature down comforters and designer appointments. The Monterey Marriott is equipped with high-speed Internet access and a spacious work desk for the business traveler and Revive bedding and bath collections.  There is 50,000 SF of meeting space, Complimentary Business Center with high speed Internet access, heated pool, whirlpool, and on-site Fitness Center featuring LCD screens on all cardio equipment.  831-647-4005 www.marriott.com

With 369 spacious guest rooms or 10 luxury suites the Portola Hotel & Spa includes amenities such as the recently renovated award-winning Spa on the Plaza, heated plunge pool, The Fitness Center, a variety of intriguing shops and galleries, 24-hour Business Center and three exceptional dining and entertainment choices as part of the package. Meet friends and warm up by the fire in the library-inspired Jacks lounge, enjoy casual dining, sports and a variety of hand-made beers at Peter B's Microbrewery or treat yourself to a sizzling steak and fresh-caught seafood at Jacks restaurant. The Portola Hotel & Spa truly provides everything that is the Monterey Peninsula. 866-711-1534 www.portolahotel.com

The Monterey Hotel is expanding with expected completion by the end of Summer of 2009. The renovation will add 24 new guest rooms (eight per floor; all with private fireplaces) to the current 45 rooms, as well as an additional 454 square feet of meeting space, which will seat approximately 40 people. This project is designed as a viable move to add needed amenities while preserving the hotel’s early 20th century detail and charm. Other changes include extra underground valet parking; a new elevator system; and a 1,500-square-foot fitness facility, including a spa, treatment rooms and an exercise room. The interior design will remain consistent with the hotel’s existing Victorian theme, while adding an indoor garden conservatory on the lower level near the spa entrance. The project also includes space for three new retail shops adjoining the hotel along Alvarado Street, and a new pedestrian walkway linking Alvarado Street to nearby Calle Principal. 831-375-3184 www.montereyhotel.com

With 171 guest rooms, including 51 fireplace suite-style rooms, Casa Munras hotel in downtown Monterey, offers a range of room types to perfectly accommodate the needs of business, group and leisure travelers. All of the rooms feature complimentary wireless High-Speed Internet access, coffee maker and luxurious LATHER bath and body products. Casa Munras recently opened their SANO Spa and completed the soft goods portion of their guestroom renovation. 831-375-2411 www.hotelcasamunras.com

Hotel Pacific is a boutique hotel conveniently located in downtown Monterey, just steps away from the Monterey Conference Center and a few minutes from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other top area attractions. Hotel Pacific offers luxury all-suite accommodations with fireplaces, complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon refreshments, luxurious feather bedding, recently renovated rooms offer flat screen televisions and wireless internet. 800-554-5542 http://www.innsofmonterey.com

The Spindrift Inn is a luxury hotel located directly on McAbee beach in the heart of historic Cannery Row overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Monterey which recently added 3 guestrooms to their original 42 and completed room renovations in December 2008. Your stay at the Spindrift Inn would include exclusive oceanfront location, luxury accommodations, elegant renovated guestrooms with hard wood floors, deluxe feather beds, marble baths, and flat screen televisions with wireless internet available and complimentary continental breakfast as well as afternoon wine and cheese and valet parking service. 800-841-1879 http://www.innsofmonterey.com/

After a multi-year, $13 million renovation, 36-hole Bayonet & Black Horse is back and better than ever. One of the largest scope and scale golf course construction projects to hit the Monterey area in years, award winning architect Gene Bates made dramatic alterations to hole routings, corridors and view sheds. New tees, bunkers and green complexes were installed and intrusive copse of non-native trees were removed to provide unobstructed views of Monterey Bay, downtown Monterey and Point Pinos from a number of holes on both courses. The agronomic changes were equally as impactful, as all kikuyu and poa annua grasses were replaced with Jacklin T1 Bentgrass from tee to green to encourage the best playing conditions in the region. For more information about both courses, please visit www.bayonetblackhorse.com or call 831.899.7271 (PAR 1).

The Fairmont Resort Seaside is currently scheduled to break ground in Mid-2009 and will open in 2011.  A 275-room, five-star Fairmont Hotel & Resort, 14,000 square foot spa, 24,000 square feet of meeting space, 170 fractionals / condos and 125 home sites are also part of the master plan for the property in addition to the existing golf courses, Bayonet & Black Horse. The resort and two 18-hole courses are situated on a 440-acre site overlooking the Monterey Bay—part of the former Fort Ord. www.fairmont.com

All Pebble Beach Resort properties including The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero have added complimentary WiFi in all guestrooms and public spaces, replaced guestroom carpets, some soft goods, added Plasma TV’s to compliment substantial golf course upgrades and renovations at Pebble Beach Golf Links. 800-654-9300 www.pebblebeach.com

Carmel Valley Ranch, cradled in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains, provides a delightfully modern setting to inspire and entertain corporate groups. With the recent completed renovation of the lobby, restaurant and meeting space after the year prior’s golf course and clubhouse renovations; the secluded resort features an impressive array of meeting space and location on the sunny side of the Monterey Peninsula. Located within the completely renovated and refurbished Lodge, the restaurant, Michel Richard’s Citronelle, features foods infused with locally grown ingredients and produce, creating a platform for a uniquely Californian twist. Enjoy the casual ambiance indicative of the relaxed West Coast sensibility. Whether dining in the informal bistro or fine dining room, feel at ease to savor delicious food, approachable service and comfortable surroundings. 831-625-9500 www.carmelvalleyranch.com

Carmel Mission Inn recently completed a comprehensive renovation of their guest rooms, lobby, restaurant/lounge, meeting space and hotel exterior. The hotel’s stylish setting and array of gracious amenities that include a heated pool, fitness center and room service delivers the type of stay that makes a business trip or vacation feel complete. 800.348.9090  www.carmelmissioninn.com

Ventana Inn & Spa is emerging onto the small meetings destination scene. After more than 30 years of hosting couple retreats, the resort opened its doors to select groups, board meetings and retreats in winter 2008 in the wake of a property-wide $18 million renovation that included the addition of new meeting space. The resort provides a tranquil backdrop for executive board meetings and leadership retreats, incentive groups and special events. Ventana Inn & Spa includes 60 spacious rooms and suites, each with private balcony or patio and either valley, mountain or distant ocean views and most rooms and suites have fireplaces. Due to a structural fire in August 2008 the restaurant, Cielo, is closed and the projected reopening date is April 1, 2009. In the interim breakfast, lunch, room service and dinner for resort guests is serviced from the Ventana Bistro located in the Inn lobby. 831-667-2331 http://www.ventanainn.com/

BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY:

Central California's leader in agriculture, wine tasting and customized educational tours, Ag Venture Tours offers different packages that include transportation, lectures, winery dinners and events. 831-761-8463 http://www.agventuretours.com/

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium you and your group can meet otters, penguins, and the newest exhibit opening on April 6, 2009: The Secret Life of Seahorses, as well as greet other denizens of the ocean. Take a backstage tour, follow the aquarists on their morning rounds or have a function at one of the greatest aquariums in the world. 831-648-4888. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org

Aerial tours from Monterey Bay Aviation showcase the spectacular coastline and scenery of Monterey County, including the Monterey Bay and Big Sur. Each plane holds one-three people. 831-375-2FLY http:// www.montereybayaviation.com

With Monterey Movie Tours you and your group can see the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula, including 17-Mile Drive, through the eyes of Hollywood. Visit sites where movies were filmed and watch the actual scene on overhead monitors in a luxury tour coach. Individual and group tours offered. 831-372-6278 http:// www.montereymovietours.com/

Elkhorn Slough Safari provides two hour boat cruises of one of California's largest wetlands featuring an in-depth look at various aspects of slough ecology, fascinating history, and birding in the company of a naturalist guide. Like an African Safari on water! Guided Nature Boat Tour—831-633-5555 http://www.elkhornslough.com/

With Carmel's famous guided tour - Carmel Walks- you can stroll through secret pathways, hidden courtyards, award-winning gardens, and by enchanting fairytale cottages, the homes, haunts, and history of artists, writers and movie stars. 831-642-2700 http://www.carmelwalks.com

Central Coast Day Tripper of Pebble Beach—Providing intimate tours of Monterey and the surrounding areas. Tours can be booked for anywhere from two hours to an entire day. 831-657-9442 http://www.ccdaytripper.com/

Big Sur Guides and Hiking provides guided hikes and walks for people of varying capabilities into the breathtaking Big Sur Wilderness. All walks begin at the lobby of the Ventana Inn and Spa. 831-658-0199 http://www.bigsurguides.com/

VISITOR INFO.

                Monterey County is located 120 miles/192 km south of San Francisco and 345 miles/552 km north of Los Angeles along the classic California corridor.  The region boasts 99 miles of prime Pacific Coastline, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, three historic missions, 40,000 acres of premium vineyards, 25 golf courses and over 200 lodging properties.  Monterey County includes the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, North County and the Salinas Valley.  The Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY), just three miles from historic downtown Monterey and minutes from the area’s major attractions, is served by non-stop flights to and from Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and starting May 3, 2009 San Diego (SAN)www.SeeMonterey.com