Monday, May 6, 2013

Getaways - The Clement Monterey and Pebble Beach

Just getting my post out about our trip to beautiful Monterey a few weeks ago. Last getaway we were down here, but stayed in Carmel Valley. This trip we had our kids off for Spring Break and chose to stay in Monterey, right next to the ocean. It's such a fun place for families and a gorgeous part of the world.

Looking down on Cannery Row from our room. 

We stayed at The Clement, an Intercontinental Hotel, which was recently built and is right on Cannery Row. It's location cannot be beat. We were about ten steps from the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Right on the Cannery Row, you are on the waterfront as well as a great path that you can walk or bike all the way to Pacific Grove. 

We visited the aquarium earlier this year so this time we opted to go to Carmel and fool around a bit before an early check in to our hotel. My guys always have to stop at the Cottage of Sweets and we also love The Carmel Roasting Company. 

Personally my two favorite shops are The Carmel Bay Company which is filled with unique housewares, books, rugs, prints and things I never see anywhere else. I bought a French mustard jar this time. I'm also crazy about this cute shop, Jane Austen at Home which feels like a little English parlor with antiques and bits any Anglophile would adore.

After a stop for coffee and sweets, we took a walk on Carmel Beach, which is one of the most lovely  beaches in California and has some supreme dog watching. They love their dogs here and the variety of hounds seen is always fun. Good people watching as well... This is a fantastic spot for a sunset picnic too.

 A shot of Carmel Beach. Looking right you can see Pebble Beach and the lodge in the distance.

We were here in late April and let me tell you, everything colorful was in bloom. I don't think there is a more gorgeous time to visit. However, Monterey Bay is just amazing anytime of year.

Some snaps from the beautiful Clement . I was in love with the flowers, the rooms and the sea urchin light fixtures...

 This hotel had service as well as style. Everyone made you feel so welcome. We checked in early and stretched out a bit in the pretty and spacious room. I liked the fireplace for chilly nights, it had a desk or vanity to work on and my favorite thing was the chair and ottoman by the window.

 I snuck in a bit of reading here with the fire on while the boys went to the pool with my husband. They have a rooftop pool and jacuzzi which was perfect. Monterey is cool a lot of the year, but the pools were warm. There is a pretty spa as well as a workout room overlooking the pool. If you have smaller ones and want a night out, there is a kid's activity club with a large climbing wall.

My son on his way back from the pool looking out over Cannery Row from The Clement's bridge. I appreciated all the details like little lights that look like portholes and ocean themed design throughout.

While the boys hung out, my husband and I went downstairs to the bar for happy hour and listened to the live guitar music. You can take your cocktails outside and sit on one of the patios overlooking the bay. I loved how kayakers paddled by and sea otters were floating and relaxing in the kelp maybe 30 feet from the deck.

 The next morning we had an ocean view breakfast watched the otters while eating. Excellent breakfast.  I had the yogurt, California fruits and granola.

After checking out, we wandered along the coast all the way to Pacific Grove. This is one of the best parts of the Monterey coast. Once you hit Pacific Grove, you are bordering the Del Monte Forest with it's cypress trees and little deers wandering about. We stopped at one of my favorite beaches at the end of the path, Asilomar. There is a wooden path starting here that follows along the Spanish Bay golf links.  The sand is so white and soft and this beach has wonderful tide pools. Also lots of surfers out here. We flew a kite and meandered on the trail.

If you have the time, go a little further past Asilomar beach and you will hit the entrance gates for the famous 17 Mile Drive. You pay a toll to get in, but it's worth it to stop at these beaches which have lots of picnic spots for lunch. You can view the sea lions along here and this time of the year are just birthing their babies, so there are shelters in place.

The drive includes a fantastic view of the Pebble Beach golf course and others and you'll see some unbelievable homes. There is the famous lone cypress tree along here and myriad photo stops. Right when you start the drive, you can catch The Inn at Spanish Bay on your right. There's a fun place to have a drink here overlooking the golf links by fire pits. You can also have dinner at Roys there and if you are there at sunset, hear the bagpipers play.

 Coming back here and seeing the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February one year is on my bucket list for sure.

One of the beaches along the drive and the famous cypress tree below.

So many gorgeous homes to spy on this drive.

This time we opted to stop at Pebble Beach Resort near the end of the drive, and grab a bite. You should not miss a walk into the lodge. The view is legendary. You can have lunch at a few spots here including the clubby Tap Room.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

 We had lunch at a new restaurant here called The Bench. First of all, the design of this place...swoon!

The Bench at Pebble Beach

 I was in love with the white marble, white tiles, open pantry, navy banquettes, and a glass roof. This could be my dream kitchen!

If that wasn't enough, they had me at ice tea. Look how mine came...

I'm a sucker for these kind of details. Did I mention the waiter's chic bow-ties? You can choose to sit outside on some very comfy couches as well, over looking the bay. We had wood-fired pizzas, caprese salad, potato leek soup - all delicious. I do think The Bench was reasonable for a fancy resort and I'd venture to say that you could probably eat for the same price as buying sandwiches at the Pebble Beach Deli and Market, also on resort property.

 I thought the name was strange, but my oldest read the menu (apparently while I was covertly sneaking photos) and told me later there once was a bench where the current restaurant is and that was where the  deal was made to buy the Pebble Beach resorts back from foreign owners. (Gee, I think I'm shocked when they actually read the menu!)

Another view from the main lobby...

 You know if you are on the drive it's really worth a stop here. Even if you can't afford to check in, the lodge alone is worth a visit to see the history here and the views! There are also some terrific shops in a small outdoor shopping arcade.

Of course there are many wonderful golf courses and if you cannot swing Pebble Beach there is Pacific Grove, Poppy Hills, Spyglass, Cypress Point and Spanish Bay! They are all fabulous and front the same ocean and forest area.

I've only touched on a bit of Carmel and Monterey. There is even more to see and do. Next getaway posts, I'm going to share some other favorites including wineries, more shops and restaurants, and the Big Sur area as well.

Thanks so much for reading!



  1. this is god's country for sure.

    the one place in the states i would looove to live in is Carmel and the surroundings. I was there for a week a few years ago and i never got sick of driving up and down the highway and eating at nepenthe. how could you not have an amazing time there right? x

    1. I know I just never tire of this area! So many beautiful spots here. I am overdue for a trip to Nepenthe and Big Sur! I hope I can put a visit there on the blog. You were so lucky to stay here for a week..Love to do that sometime!


  2. Kim- Another great trip, thanks for bringing me along! ;-)

    Do I spy with my little eye (best car trip game!) a new font style? Or have I noticed kinda late?


    1. Hi Linda! Yes, fiddled around a bit and changed it up. I probably need a designer to help me.. So far I've been hacking my way through this stuff! Thanks for noticing!


  3. Kim, another lovely trip. Thanks for sharing. I want to book tickets now! :)

    1. Brenda, Thanks so much! I hope you can get out here. You would love it!


  4. I just love Carmel and the surrounding areas. You're making me want to hop in my car and drive down there right now!
    The Clement looks gorgeous. I hope that you'll send them a link to this post. I bet they would enjoy seeing it.
    xo, A

    1. Adrienne, Thanks so much. It is lovely. Aren't we lucky here with your Napa and Monterey and so much between? I will send the Clement the link! Thanks for the idea.


  5. Lovely photos, Hubs and I would love to do a driving trip there one day. The drives must be just gorgeous.

    When's your Europe trip, that has to be coming up soon?!

    1. You would love it! I hope you can on your next California trip. You need a few days in this area.

      My Euro trip is coming up at the end of June!! Still working on plans. I'm so excited. Thanks for remembering.


  6. Glorious photos!!! Love! I am smitten by that Cement place, so chic and its got a pool which is always ace for the kids. I have never been to the Pebble Beach place, I hear its very fancy dancy! What a great break you had. Steinbeck is one of my favourite novelists (though a bit depressing...) and I love to walk around amongst Cannery Row

    1. Thanks Jody.The Clement was super. Love to get to Pebble Beach Lodge to stay sometime, but you are right seriously fancy and in the what I'd call extreme luxury pricing for a hotel room!!

      You know I didn't even touch on the history of Cannery Row here. Some very cool things to see like Doc Ricketts' lab and lots of historic stuff from Steinbeck's novel!


  7. Loved this Kim! .. like a trip down memory lane. We would go every year before we moved to Seattle. My aunt still lives in Carmel ., lucky lady! 17 mile drive is a must see!! Looks like you hit all the best spots and had a great time. Thanks for taking us along;)

  8. Hi Kim, you just brought me back to my summer trip to Monterey and the Pacific Grove last year. Loved those views and enjoyed every moment of it. The Cypress tree was a sight to behold. I remember also those huge mansions around it. Lovely, lovely place

  9. Kim,

    This is a great post. What a beautiful area.

    I love the architecture of those little places you found. Love! Love!

  10. Love Monterey Bay and your review of some of the sights here - one of the things I love is the color blue in parts of the Bay is unparallelled, if your into that kind of thing! I remember visiting as a kid when Cannery Row was just abandoned canneries. My favorite Steinbeck read is Tortilla Flat. The annual Monterey Jazz Festival is an event I encourage you to attend at least once - beware, it's addicting! The Jane Austen shop is new to me - now I have to visit again! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Looking forward to your Big Sur adventures -