Heading south from our stop in Oakland, California, we jumped back on the Pacific Coast Highway and headed toward the famed region which the city of Monterey and its neighbors call home.
This area is world-famous, so it probably doesn’t need a whole lot of introduction. Pebble Beach, Monterey Bay, etc. Loved by fancy people and visited by everyone, its long history as a strategic port led to its interesting blend of old-world seafaring, ocean-based industry, and heavy tourism due to scenery surrounding and along the bay.
We of course needed a home-base from which to launch our sieges of the town, so we chose to stay at the Red Roof Inn in town, a short drive from downtown Monterey and basically on the border of Seaside, California.
The lovely people at Red Roof Inn are supporters of our “Fabric of America” tour. They covered our stay, and we’re writing about it in return. This journey would not be possible without them (and you). Read about their support right here.
In case you haven’t read about our tour: You can read about it here, read about sponsorships here, and support our project yourself right here.
This whole area is pretty small, area-wise, and it’s no problem whatsoever to stay outside of downtown. Believe it or not, parking is not that hard to come by if you want to spend time in the middle of the city. That is, if you can navigate the unbelievably terrible rush-hour traffic, which seems mostly due to poor planning.
After an amazing drive from Oakland, around the Bay Area, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and down the coast through Santa Cruz and other famed places, we landed at our hotel. At first, we ran into problems as our navi kept directing us to a building that’s actually a Travelodge. Oops. Some rerouting, searching on our cell phones, and consulting of the map finally got us to the actual Red Roof Inn.
This hotel is a newer member of the Red Roof Inn family, and has not yet been fully converted to an upgraded NextGen property. Okay by us, as we still got a redesigned room at the end of a corridor on the first floor. Perfect for Louis, and perfect for easy loading and unloading.
Being that it was high season and all, we didn’t grab a king room early enough. That left us with a double room, in which the extra bed always acts as a desk for me and place to put extra stuff.
NextGen mattresses aren’t yet being used, but the decor is correct and lends at 21st-century feel to the rooms during the window in which they will eventually be upgraded. That meant downsides like carpet instead of wood or laminate flooring, but upsides such as a full desk, flat-panel TV, and our coveted refrigerator.
Also interesting is that this property has breakfast included for all guests. This was actually the first Red Roof Inn where we found such a thing, and it was a nice addition. Neil, the manager, explained to us that it’s a must in such a high-traffic city, especially where the word “inexpensive” generally means “under $200 per night, if you’re lucky.” Ouch.
While we certainly have a problem with hotel rooms being priced so ridiculously (see: Rapid City, SD), the value here is a good one when compared to other hotels in the area.
Our room also came with a coffee maker, which is a must for us, but never actually got used due to the low quality of hotel-room coffee at pretty much every hotel in the entire universe. We opted for free coffee in the lobby, which is easier anyway since that means we can be extra-lazy in our just-awake dazes.
The thing that made us all sad-faced is that there’s actually a café and sandwich spot that shares a parking lot with the hotel. And we thought it was under construction when we were there. So, we never went, only to find out that it was indeed open the whole time. Stupid on us! It looks really good, and we do advise you to spend time there when you stay at the hotel.
We did find the property to be a bit curious, as it also offers RV parking and what appears to be some sort of short-term apartment rentals. It was kind of confusing, but nothing was out of sorts or a problem (like we had at another hotel on our trip).
There are no room-service options at this Red Roof Inn – or any others that we know of – but there are plenty of restaurants on the same street as the hotel, within easy walking distance.
Being outside of the center also gives you an opportunity to experience restaurant prices that are a bit lower and less touristy than what you’ll find downtown. E.g. Monterey Cookhouse, which was a hop, skip, and not even a jump away from the hotel.
Also in the area, you’ll be able to walk to grocery stores, drug stores, liquor stores, banks, and whatever else you need. There’s plenty of parking at the hotel as well, and it’s free, unlike most of the properties downtown.
Of course, the whole point of staying here is to see the area, and the close proximity to downtown and the surrounding area allows for plenty of that. Alas, more on that in our upcoming Monterey post.
Back to the amenities. You will unfortunately find no pool here; but let me be clear about your visit to this area: It’s not hot. It’s not warm. It’s quite chilly, even in the middle of summer.
You don’t need a pool unless it’s indoor, and that’s hard to come by unless you want to drop another bill every night.
One last thing we have to mention since it’s obligatory for us: wi-fi. Come on, hotels. Get your act together. Either offer good wi-fi when you offer it free, or charge for good wi-fi. All of these web log-ins – complete with ads you have to watch before you even log in – are uncalled for and complete nonsense. Especially at $200/night.
Get a good connection or don’t even bother. We will pay for it. It’s a service, after all, and it doesn’t need to be free and terrible. As this was a recurring problem at a lot of hotels on our “Fabric of America” journey, I’ve decided to no longer forgive it. It’s unacceptable. Good thing we sprung for a Verizon Jetpack before we left on our road trip.
Overall, we think the Red Roof Inn in Monterey provides the best value for a stay when it comes to the region. Sure, it’s not smack-dab in the middle of the city, but that also allows you to get out of the tourist crunch and away from the hordes of people when you’re not sightseeing.
It’s not a full NextGen property, but it does have (almost) all the amenities we want when we’re doing our thing, and will eventually be even better when it completes its transition.
Thanks very much to the folks at Red Roof Inn, as well as Neil and his family, who manage the property. We had a great time in Monterey and are happy to have had Red Roof Inn as our supporter there!
- Location: Just northeast of downtown Monterey, about two city blocks from the PCH.
- Clientele: Great for families, probably not great for business travelers due to the wi-fi.
- Technology: Slow-as-a-turtle wi-fi, free for an unlimited number of devices.
- Beds: Proper for a good night’s rest, but not yet up to the ultra-plush standards of NextGen.
- Rooms: Plenty large. I believe there may be a couple of balcony rooms, but I have no idea how you score one.
- Amenities: Cable TV, wi-fi, telephone, desk with a proper office chair, one central end table, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker. Unfortunately, there is no coin laundry. However, there’s a laundromat about a half-block away.
- Bathroom: Plenty of soaps and lotions that we didn’t need to ask for more during our four days here. Good shower with plenty of hot water.
- Dining: Breakfast is included, which is huge if you’re traveling with a family.
- Staff: Neil and his family are friendly hosts, and happy to provide recommendations for nearby restaurants and attractions.
- Cleanliness: Rooms are very clean. Property kept clean 24/7, inside and out.
- Distractions: No on-site distractions, but plenty of action around the area.
- Attractions: Monterey State Historic Park, Pacific House Museum, Downtown Monterey, Pebble Beach, 17-Mile Drive, Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pacific Coast Highway, Carmel, San Juan Bautista
- Snacks & Such: Plenty of delivery options, but light on vending and no room service. There is a CVS and a liquor store across the street.
- Value: Great for an economy hotel in the area. Recommended.
The Red Roof Inn in Monterey, California, is located here:
2227 N. Fremont St.
Monterey, CA 93940
Tel: +1 (831) 372-7586
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Have you ever been to Monterey, California, or stayed at this Red Roof Inn? Any thoughts about Red Roof Inn overall? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!