When I think of Monterey, the iconic Californian town about halfway between Big Sur and San Francisco, certain things come to mind – the legendary Pebble Beach golf course, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (oh so stylish and filmed in and around Monterey), the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and the seafood, the glorious seafood (if it’s chowder you’re after, it’s Monterey chowder all the way).

So heading to Monterey, the last stop on our road trip before San Francisco, expectations were high.

We left Big Sur after lunch at Nepenthe’s, stopped into the Big Sur bakery for the essential road trip supplies (flat whites, a long black and a jar of seeded mustard, which seemed like a logical purchase at the time), hit go on our playlist and continued up the coast.

Arriving in Monterey feels like you’ve happened upon a real life Cabot Cove (sadly lacking Jessica Fletcher, but happily lacking the dangerously high Cabot Cove murder rate), making the Murder She Wrote aficionado in me super happy.

You know you’ve arrived when you spot the very pretty marina

The architecture and streetscapes really do seem so familiar.


When in Monterey for the night, there is no other place to stay, no better option, then The Old Monterey Inn (I mean, technically there are plenty of other places to stay but this place is the pick).

Oh! We made it!


What an entrance! I want a house like this and I want it covered in vines.

Built in 1929 by Carmel Martin Senior, the first elected mayor of Monterey and known by locals as ‘Mr Monterey’, this historic property feels like a real life Dragonfly Inn.

Daily breakfast is served in the stunning breakfast room (Sookie St. James was a no-show but nonetheless, it was compliments to the chef for the delicious start to the day).


Baked eggs and croissants, anyone?

Each guest room at the Inn is different from the next and when booking online, you can view each of the rooms and specifically reserve the room you wish to stay in (which I love because how many times do hotels qualify reservations with the dreaded ‘the room you reserved online cannot be guaranteed’ – HOTEL WORLD, ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!).   

We stayed in the Dovecote and the Mayfield rooms, both beautifully designed and with separate sitting areas and private bathrooms.


Reading material supplied, but BYO Fossil backpack

  Reading material supplied, but BYO gorgeous Fossil backpack

You’ll want to explore the property, inside and out.   Inside is elegant and inviting and full of nods to the property’s past, with the original hand carved window frames, gothic archways and hand-painted ceiling panels all remaining and in beautiful condition.  

This is the stunning setting for afternoon drinks and cheese

   This is the stunning setting for afternoon drinks (with a cheese platter AND cookies because this is America!) 


 And the gardens, the glorious gardens.  Over an acre to be exact and featuring over 100 trees, including Monterey Pines, California Oaks and Redwoods.   

Give me a good book and I could hang out in these gardens all day. 

The Inn is a truly charming place to stay in this beautiful sea-side town.

There is so much to enjoy in Monterey – it’s one stop on your LA-San Fran road-trip that you shouldn’t miss. We’ll definitely be back.

Trip Notes

  • The Old Monterey Inn is located at 500 Martin St, Monterey, California.


  • If you love golf, don’t miss the world famous Pebble Beach golf course – this is a public course and it would be incredible to play it. For the non-golfers you can still enjoy the 17 mile drive, which is a scenic loop on the Monterey peninsula passing through the gated community of Pebble Beach. One of the highlights is the Lone Cypress tree – which is the official symbol of Pebble Beach. You will have to pay a toll to take this drive.


  • When in town, head to Old Fisherman’s Grotto on Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner and order their famous clam chowder. The staff were really lovely the night we went. It is a little touristy, but in a delightful way and the food is authentic and very good.



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