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15 Best Hotels In Monterey CA: Where To Stay In 2023

15 Best Hotels In Monterey CA: Where To Stay In 2023

Are you looking for the best hotels in Monterey CA? Perfect! We’re going to show you the 15 top rated hotels available to you, including cheap, mid range and luxury hotel options in and around the charming city of Monterey on the central California coastline.

Instead of trawling through randomly listed hotel search engine results, use our research and data driven guide to find the best hotels near Monterey CA for your visit based on location, value, previous guest ratings and our own experiences.

Here’s how we will break down the best places to stay in Monterey California to help you find the perfect hotel:

  • Different areas you can stay in Monterey
  • Things to do in Monterey
  • Should you stay in Monterey or Carmel?
  • 15 best Monterey CA hotels
  • Previous guest ratings and scores
  • Top hotels for couples and families

Let’s find you the perfect Monterey CA hotel for your trip to the coast!

*Please note this guide contains affiliate links. If you click on one, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the free content we provide! Read more in our disclosure policy.*

Where To Stay In Monterey CA

Monterey is a very popular and high end tourist destination near world famous golf courses. As a result, there are dozens of hotels in Monterey CA available to you in each budget category.

But which area of Monterey should you stay?

Well, we are going to split Monterey into three distinct areas in terms of hotel groupings.

1. Freemont Street

Freemont Street is located in the Del Monte neighborhood and is set back away from the popular Monterey touristy areas.

The city is small enough for this not to be a significant issue, but you might need to take a taxi to reach Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row. Otherwise it’s a 30-45 minute walk.

The Freemont Street area is where you will find almost all cheap hotels in Monterey CA.

2. Downtown Monterey

Downtown Monterey or Old Town Monterey is sandwiched in between Freemont Street and Cannery Row.

This is a great place to stay if you want to sample authentic Monterey life, with plenty of amenities, places to eat and a good range of cheap or mid range budget hotels.

The closer to Fisherman’s Wharf you go in Downtown Monterey, the more expensive the hotels will become.

3. Cannery Row

Cannery Row is the touristy heart of Monterey and it is where you will find the best hotels in town. Expect plush beachfront hotel rooms with ocean views and excellent restaurants within easy walking distance.

This is the place to stay in Monterey if you’re looking to splurge or you really want to be in the heart of the touristy area near a sandy beach.

Woman looking through viewfinder out into the ocean in California
Kristen looking out for marine life on 17 mile drive in Monterey

Pacific Coast Highway

Monterey CA was the place we spent our first night when driving from San Francisco to San Diego on the California stretch of the legendary Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

There’s plenty to see and do between SF and Monterey, which means it is likely going to be getting dark by the time you arrive into Monterey.

After enjoying a late afternoon stroll along Cannery Row and the beaches, you can relax with a great meal and drink out.

Next morning you can be up and in Carmel for breakfast before heading down into the stunning Big Sur stretch.

Are you driving the Pacific Coast Highway?

Don’t miss our guide to the 23 best stops between San Francisco and San Diego on our travel site Where Are Those Morgans.

Bixby Bridge viewpoint overlooking Pacific Ocean on CA Highway 1 near Monterey and Carmel
Bixby Bridge on the California Pacific Coast near Monterey

Things To Do In Monterey CA

So what can you do if you spend a few nights in Monterey, California?

Let’s take a look at what is in store for your visit:

There’s plenty to keep you occupied for at least a few days and the aquarium in particular is a fantastic place to take the kids on a visit to Monterey CA.

Remember, there’s always the option to simply eat and drink your way through a weekend of escapism on the California coast!

Are Monterey CA Hotels Expensive?

Hotel prices in Monterey CA are around exactly what you would expect for a popular coastal city in California. You won’t be shocked by any unusually cheap or expensive rooms are in Monterey.

In addition, there are plenty of hotel rooms available in town. This results in competitive prices within each of the cheap, mid range and luxury hotel categories.

To help you determine the rough ballpark figures you’ll be looking at with hotels in Monterey CA, we put together a table of costs below.

This table features three purposefully selected nightly prices over the next 9 months at each of the 15 top rated hotels coming up in our guide.

Hotel prices for three future dates in Monterey CA infographic by Best Hotels Anywhere

The dates above are all Tuesdays for consistency.

We selected 1 week ahead to show last minute prices in off season, a date in Spring and a date in Summer during peak season for reference.

Note: The prices shown above are correct at the time of writing, but they are subject to change. This is a demonstration of how booking a long way in advance can save you money.

There are two more important things we want to make you aware of before booking your hotel in Big Sur, CA.

1. Bed Tax

The first thing you should bear in mind when booking hotels near Monterey CA is “Bed Tax”, which is officially known as Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).

Monterey is located in Monterey County, California which levies 12% bed tax on all stays, no matter how you book your hotel room.

So let’s say a room costs $200 for one night in Monterey, your total cost is going to be $224.

  • When booking your hotel using Booking.com look under the price for “includes taxes and fees“. This means the price you see is final and will not be subject to further add ons.
  • Conversely, if you see text reading something like “+$30 for taxes and fees“, that means you will pay the hotel room cost + the additional 12% fee for bed tax and other fees.

This is something to be aware of so you avoid any nasty surprises when you come to pay.

2. Seasonality

Monterey has a traditional peak season, an off season and two shoulder seasons. Hotels will be priced accordingly.

In the Summer months of June, July, August and September, you can expect to pay a higher nightly fee for hotel rooms compared to the Winter months of January and February.

If you have control over your dates of travel, choose to visit Monterey on a weekday in Fall, Winter or Spring to save money at hotels.

Carmel Bakery pretzel sign hanging on side of building with american flag flying
Bakery in Carmel by the Sea near Monterey

Should You Stay In Monterey Or Carmel By The Sea?

One final question to cover before we jump into the list of hotels:

Is it better to stay in Monterey or Carmel by the Sea?

Well, both are excellent choices and we highly recommend either.

The difference is Carmel is more expensive on average for nightly hotel room rates compared to Monterey. Plus, Carmel is much smaller and more intimate, but it has fewer amenities.

If you’re driving the Pacific Coast Highway from north to south, we would suggest staying in Monterey. But if you’re coming up from the south, you might want to choose Carmel.

That way you won’t miss either of Carmel or Monterey no matter which way you are driving.

15 Best Hotels In Monterey CA

OK, let’s take a look at each of the best places to stay in Monterey California for every budget.

We will begin with cheap hotels, work into mid range budget and finish with the more expensive luxurious hotels in Monterey.

Cheap Hotels In Monterey CA

Let’s kick things off with the 5 top rated cheap hotels available to you in Monterey, California.

We have ordered the list in a very easy to follow format, with the 5 highest rated hotels from cheap, mid range and luxury categories to follow.

1. Stage Coach Lodge Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.5 / 10
  • Google – 4.3 / 5
Road and drive leading to building with porch on a sunny day with blue sky
Photo courtesy of Stage Coach Lodge
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, outdoor swimming pool, putting green
  • Location: Fremont Street
  • Parking: Free

Stage Coach Lodge is a wonderful and highly rated cheap hotel in Monterey CA. You won’t find many low budget hotels with this level of cleanliness and comfort in the Monterey or Carmel area.

The only downside is a 20 minute walk to Fisherman’s Wharf and 40 minutes to Cannery Row. However, the walk is pleasant and easy. Stage Coach Lodge is also very close to Del Monte golf course.

>> Book Hotel: Stage Coach Lodge

2. El Castell Motel Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.3 / 10
  • Google – 4.1 / 5
Indoor swimming pool with low roof and lights
Photo courtesy of El Castell Motel
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, indoor heated swimming pool, laundry
  • Location: Fremont Street
  • Parking: Free

El Castell Motel is another of the cheapest hotels near Monterey CA with a good rating from previous guests. This one is a little further out from downtown Monterey, but it is closer to Del Monte beach.

The heated indoor pool and comfy beds in clean rooms are frequently remarked on in guest reviews. El Castell is a great budget option for those on a longer road trip. But you will need a taxi into town.

>> Book Hotel: El Castell Motel

3. Colton Inn Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.2 / 10
  • Google – 4.2 / 5
Huge sign with writing and building behind lit up with dark sky
Photo courtesy of Colton Inn
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, dry sauna, sun terrace, continental breakfast
  • Location: Pacific Street
  • Parking: Free

Colton Inn is another top low budget choice for those who need a cheap hotel in Monterey CA. This one is located in a more built up area with eateries and it is just a 15 minute walk to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Location and staff are the two highest scorers at Colton Inn. A basic daily breakfast is available, but it is very close to plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars on the way to the main tourist areas in town.

>> Book Hotel: Colton Inn

4. Pacific Inn Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.5 / 10
  • Google – 4.0 / 5
Queen bed in a room with table lights and mirror
Photo courtesy of Pacific Inn
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, pet friendly
  • Location: Fremont Street
  • Parking: Free

Pacific Inn is a no frills low budget place to stay in Monterey. There’s no pool or breakfast and it is a long way from Fisherman’s Wharf. But it has large rooms with comfy beds and it is affordable.

This hotel would be a good choice for those driving the PCH and using Monterey as a stopover. Reviews are very good on Booking, but not as hot on Google which we always find interesting.

>> Book Hotel: Pacific Inn

5. Casa Munras Garden Hotel Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.5 / 10
  • Google – 4.3 / 5
Outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers and two story white building behind
Photo courtesy of Casa Munras Garden Hotel
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, outdoor pool and spa, on site restaurant, fitness center, pet friendly, bar with happy hour
  • Location: Munras Avenue
  • Parking: $17 per night

Casa Munras Garden Hotel is the best quality and most highly rated place to stay in the cheap Monterey CA hotels category. The hotel with Mission style charm is just 13 minutes walk from Fisherman’s Wharf.

Staff, comfort, cleanliness and location within Monterey Old Town all have high ratings at Casa Munras Garden Hotel. This is where to stay in Monterey CA on a budget and we recommend booking in advance.

>> Book Hotel: Casa Munras Garden Hotel

Mid Range Budget Hotels In Monterey CA

Let’s move out of low budget and into moderately priced hotel rooms in the Monterey area.

6. Victorian Inn Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.5 / 10
  • Google – 4.4 / 5
Stunning victorian house lit up at dusk stairs leading to building one of the best hotels in Monterey CA
Photo courtesy of Victorian Inn
  • Price: Mid Range $$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, complimentary continental breakfast, wine and cheese hour, pet friendly
  • Location: Foam Street near Cannery Row
  • Parking: $17 per night

Victorian Inn is a lovely boutique hotel with historic charm in the heart of Cannery Row. The location is fantastic and this is one of the best breakfasts you will get at a hotel in Monterey CA.

Ratings are highest for staff, cleanliness, comfort and of course location. Plus, this bed and breakfast is pet friendly. Weekday rates are far more affordable than weekend rates which might suit road trippers.

>> Book Hotel: Victorian Inn

7. Wave Street Inn Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.7 / 10
  • Google – 4.4 / 5
Exterior photo of a building in California at dusk with colorful clouds
Photo courtesy of Wave Street Inn
  • Price: Mid Range $$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, outdoor fire pits with seating,
  • Location: Wave Street near Cannery Row
  • Parking: $17 per night

Wave Street Inn is one of the very best hotels in Monterey CA and it comes in at the lower end of the mid range price category. Recently renovated, what the inn lacks in amenities, it more than makes up in quality.

Reviews show high scores in comfort, cleanliness, staff and location. Wave Street Inn is just a stones throw from all the top attractions in Monterey, California. Excellent choice.

>> Book Hotel: Wave Street Inn

8. Merritt House Hotel Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.6 / 10
  • Google – 4.2 / 5
White colonial looking building with columns and green vegetation trees and bushes outside Monterey CA hotels
Photo courtesy of Merritt House Hotel
  • Price: Mid Range $$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, complimentary continental breakfast
  • Location: Pacific Street near Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Parking: $15 per night

Merritt House Hotel is an attractive and historic boutique style hotel nestled between Old Town Monterey and Fisherman’s Wharf. The small, quaint and charming hotel provides a basic breakfast each morning.

If you are visiting Monterey on a weekday or in off season you’ll be able to pick up a room here at a great price point. This is a good place to stay if you would prefer Old Town over Cannery Row.

>> Book Hotel: Merritt House Hotel

9. Monterey Bay Inn Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.6 / 10
  • Google – 4.3 / 5
Upscale guest bedroom with bed arm chairs fireplace leading to huge windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean hotels in Monterey CA
Photo courtesy of Monterey Bay Inn
  • Price: Mid Range $$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, beachfront, rooftop jacuzzi with bay views, continental breakfast served to room, outdoor terrace and fire pits, massage services
  • Location: Cannery Row right on the Bay
  • Parking: $25 per night

Monterey Bay Inn is a highly rated mid range hotel in Monterey CA, sandwiched between Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf right on San Carlos beach. Some rooms have full ocean views.

Staff, comfort, cleanliness and location all get rave reviews at Monterey Bay Inn. The only negatives are that the hotel is getting old and needs updating. Good value among the few Monterey CA hotels on the beach.

>> Book Hotel: Monterey Bay Inn

10. Hotel Abrego Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.5 / 10
  • Google – 4.4 / 5
Two queen beds with white duvets and desk in a big guest room
Photo courtesy of Hotel Abrego
  • Price: Mid Range $$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, outdoor heated swimming pool, on site restaurant, bar and lounge, laundry, bike rentals
  • Location: Abrego Street in Old Town Monterey
  • Parking: Free

Hotel Abrego is a solid mid range hotel in Old Town Monterey with free parking, a small gym and a pool. The resort like boutique hotel has an attractive Spanish style, plus it serves up a healthy breakfast buffet.

Review scores are pretty even across the board, with staff and comfort just edging out the rest. Upgrade for a room with a fireplace if you can stretch the budget.

>> Book Hotel: Hotel Abrego

Luxury Hotels In Monterey CA

Let’s round out the best hotels in Monterey CA with the 5 top rated expensive hotel options available for your visit.

11. Jabberwock Inn Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 9.4 / 10
  • Google – 4.9 / 5
Old vintage furniture in a conservatory sunroom bed and breakfast hotels in Monterey CA
Photo courtesy of Jabberwock Inn
  • Price: Expensive $$$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, full hot gourmet breakfast, wine and snacks
  • Location: Hoffman Ave near Cannery Row
  • Parking: Free

Jabberwock Inn is one of the very best places to stay in Monterey CA if you enjoy personalized and interactive lodging over standard hotel rooms. This bed and breakfast has almost perfect reviews.

Personally, we love to stay at Inns such as Jabberwock. The owners will be lovely, you will meet and mingle with like minded guests, plus breakfast is bound to be wonderful. Top choice.

>> Book Hotel: Jabberwock Inn

12. Spindrift Inn Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.9 / 10
  • Google – 4.5 / 5
Exterior photo of a four or five story long building colored a soft pink or salmon at sunset with waves lapping onto a beach at the entrance one of the top affordable hotels in Monterey California
Photo courtesy of Spindrift Inn
  • Price: Expensive $$$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, beachfront, complimentary breakfast, on site restaurant
  • Location: Cannery Row
  • Parking: $32 per day valet parking

Spindrift Inn is a high end beachfront boutique hotel at the heart of Cannery Row. Nightly prices are starting to creep up but the quality increases to match. Ocean viewing rooms are available here.

Ratings on Booking are very high for staff, comfort, cleanliness, facilities and location. If you can get a cheaper room here midweek or in off season, it would definitely feel like better value for money.

>> Book Hotel: Spindrift Inn

13. Portola Hotel + Spa Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.1 / 10
  • Google – 4.3 / 5
Outdoor swimming pool turquoise colored against the dark night sky
Photo courtesy of Portola Hotel
  • Price: Expensive $$$
  • Amenities: WiFi (not free), outdoor swimming pool, spa, fitness center, bar, pet friendly
  • Location:
  • Parking: $22 per day self parking / $27 valet

Portola Hotel and Spa is a AAA Four Diamond hotel situated between downtown and Fisherman’s Wharf. It has the highest volume of Google and Booking reviews of all hotels in Monterey CA.

The location of Portola has the highest score rating on Booking and it is a very popular place for dog owners to stay in Monterey. However, rooms aren’t cheap and the overall review scores are lower than expected for a 4 star hotel.

>> Book Hotel: Portola Hotel + Spa

14. InterContinental Monterey

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.7 / 10
  • Google – 4.5 / 5
Exterior photo of a plush wooden building with lights below on a raised wooden decking over water
Photo courtesy of InterContinental
  • Price: Expensive $$$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, outdoor swimming pool, spa, on site dining, fitness center, jacuzzi
  • Location: Cannery Row
  • Parking: $35 per night self parking / $45 valet

InterContinental the Clement is an upscale bayfront hotel in the heart of Cannery Row’s tourist area. This luxury Monterey CA hotel is more like what you would expect from a 4 star hotel in terms of review scores.

Staff, comfort, cleanliness, facilities and location all score very high with previous guests. In truth, there aren’t many complaints except for the higher price, but it is one of the best hotels in Monterey CA after all.

>> Book Hotel: InterContinental The Clement

15. Monterey Plaza Hotel + Spa

Guest ratings:

  • Booking.com – 8.9 / 10
  • Google – 4.6 / 5
Beautiful guest room high quality furniture leading to windows overlooking the bay best Monterey CA hotels
Photo courtesy of Monterey Plaza
  • Price: Expensive $$$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, full service spa, private beach, rooftop fitness center, hot tubs, on site restaurant and bar, free bike hire
  • Location: Cannery Row
  • Parking: $35 per 24 hours valet parking

Monterey Plaza Hotel is a spectacular beachfront 5 star hotel in Monterey CA. This is as good as it gets, the place you go in Monterey for celebrity treatment and world class service.

Rave reviews for almost all aspects with top marks for comfort and cleanliness, the Monterey Plaza Hotel is the best hotel in Monterey, CA. The only thing missing is a swimming pool.

>> Book Hotel: Monterey Plaza Hotel + Spa

What Are The Best Monterey CA Cheap Hotels?

Are you driving the PCH and need a cheap place to crash for a night in Monterey? Or maybe you’re planning to visit Monterey in summer when prices can be eye watering?!

The good news is you have plenty of affordable hotel options in Monterey:

What Are The Best Monterey CA Luxury Hotels?

Are you planning a much needed break and want to splurge on luxury lodging in Monterey CA?

You have four options available, two of which are top rated and included in the full listing above:

What Are The Best Monterey CA Dog Friendly Hotels?

Are you planning a visit to Monterey with the dogs?

Here are the top Monterey CA pet friendly hotels:

Man sat in golf cart next to photo spot at Pebble Beach golf club
Mark enjoying the grounds of Pebble Beach Golf Club in Monterey CA

What Are The Best Monterey CA Hotels Ocean View?

Looking for that quintessential California sunset view overlooking the Pacific Ocean?

Here are the top Monterey CA hotels with ocean views:

What Are The Best Monterey CA Hotels On The Beach?

Do you want to stay in a hotel right on the sand?

Here are the only four Monterey CA hotels on the beach, three of which are top rated and feature above:

Monterey is a lovely place to visit and it is the ideal stop over for night one when driving between San Francisco to Los Angeles and beyond.

Hopefully one or more of the hotels above work for your travel goals and your budget.

Remember to always compare prices and see if you can find any deals on higher end hotels, especially if you are visiting in midweek or in off season.

Best Hotels In Monterey CA FAQ’s

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most frequently asked questions about where to stay in Monterey, California.

Is Monterey CA Worth Visiting?

Yes, Monterey CA is definitely worth visiting! Monterey is the perfect place to spend the first night of your California Pacific Coast Highway road trip after leaving San Francisco. You can visit Aquarium of the Bay, enjoy the picturesque 17 mile drive and shop on Cannery Row.

How Long Should I Stay In Monterey?

One night and two days is long enough to stay in Monterey if you just want to see the most popular places, but staying in Monterey for two nights means you can relax and see more of the peaceful coastal town.

Is It Cheaper To Stay In Carmel Or Monterey?

Monterey is a cheaper place to stay when compared with nearby Carmel by the Sea. Monterey has more budget hotel options, whereas Carmel is more high end and hotel prices match a higher quality overall.

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We hope this guide to the best hotels in Monterey CA helps you book the perfect hotel for your visit to the stunning California coastline!

Please let us know if you have any questions about any of the hotels in our list of best places to stay in Monterey California by commenting below.

Happy Booking,

Mark and Kristen
Best Hotels Anywhere