InterContinental – The Clement, Cannery Row, Monterey
The Clement, InterContinental Hotel opened Friday afternoon on a record heat day. The temperature on May 16, 2008 maxed out around 95 along the coastal communities of Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel. I was outside in Carmel, saw a flower show at the Sunset Center, and walked around the center village area for two hours and I was sunburned and overheated despite slathering on the SP 30.
Bay View Courtyard, InterContinental Monterey, The Clement, Cannery Row
In many places 95 degrees is nothing to write home about, but this is the Monterey Peninsula. Truly hot days are infrequent. And like Maverick’s Surf events, the weather forecast can only be called 24 to 48 hours in advance around here to predict the hot days. The extreme weather lasted 48 hours with another day up in the 90s on Saturday. Yesterday the fog returned to our Peninsula and the temperature varied from 62 on the coast to still in the 90s just six miles away into Carmel Valley.
InterContinental Monterey, Lobby entrance of the Clement, Monterey, CA
The microclimates of the Monterey Peninsula are the unique facet to life on our Central California Coast. Tourists are at the mercy of the weather here as in any place. Where most places tend to view weather as wet or dry, cold or hot, in Monterey we tend to look at our weather as how cold is it going to be today and not how hot will it be.
lobby, InterContinental Monterey, The Clement, Monterey CA
The Clement went from a hotel where the first day’s guests had views of clear blue skies over the Monterey Bay water on one of the hottest days of the year for those experiencing the hotel’s opening weekend (I was not a guest) on Friday afternoon and then back to fog within 36 hours and nearly a 40 degree drop in temperature by Sunday noon checkout. The skies have been turning bright after the fog moves out to sea around noon the past couple days, but the temperature has gone back to the more average 65 degrees in the sun.
lobby – InterContinental Monterey, The Clement, Monterey, CA
The InterContinental Clement is still being constructed during the next couple months with guests being booked into the main waterside building for the time-being. The spa is still lots of unfinished walls, however, the opening date is as soon as 6 weeks away according to staff. There is a Kids Place room where a 5 foot high climbing wall was the only piece in place.
Newly built public coastal access on Monterey Bay side of The Clement
Restaurant “The C” is waterside with nice Bay views and the bar features several draft beers, mostly local microbrews. A signature featured item on the bar menu is a champagne sampler for American or European sparkling wines and champagnes.
InterContinental Monterey, The Clement, The “C” Restaurant
Cannery Row has only developed into some semblance of a cohesive tourist strip in recent years since the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened in the mid-1980s. The other hotels on Cannery Row are located at the far end from the Aquarium and The Plaza Hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Aquarium. The InterContinental Clement is located next to the Aquarium. A brand-new IMAX theater built in a building that has struggled to hold lasting businesses over the past thirty years will help continue development of the infrastructure of Cannery Row for a better tourist experience. Locals with memories from the 1970s may remember the 812 theater where the seats were dozens of floor pillows in a small room for less than 40 and the film experience was a lie down movie theater. That Cannery Row, like the canning factories, is now history. The 812 was located in the physical space of the present-day Aquarium.
InterContinental The Clement, The “C” Bar
The Clement is in a space on Cannery Row adjacent to and east of the Aquarium. There had been a building foundation in place there for 20 years on the south side of Cannery Row street, away from the water. The recession of 1991 and subsequent closure of Fort Ord dealt a heavy economic blow to Monterey. There has not been much new development along Cannery Row in the past decade. The Clement may not strike you initially as an architecturally significant addition to the InterContinental family. The exterior is quite understated, but when viewed in the context of the existing Cannery Row architecture, the new building fits in seamlessly with its surroundings.
InterContinental The Clement, lobby art
The hotel has metal lamps rather than chandeliers, natural woods, sharp lines, and earth tone colors. The Clement is a modern style hotel with “In Design” type furnishings and provides the tourist an upscale contrast to the traditional style of The Plaza, Monterey’s other premier hotel on the opposite end of Cannery Row.
The stairway from the lobby level to the second floor conference rooms features a Monterey Bay Aquarium style jelly. The lighted art piece and colored projections on the walls and ceiling around the stairway are a pleasant experience.
InterContinental Clement Jelly Light Art
Stairway to second floor conference rooms of The Clement
An enclosed walkway over Cannery Row leads to the southside Cannery Row building. Rooms on this side of the hotel do not have ocean views. The exercise room and a lap pool are located on this side of the hotel adjacent to the Monterey bike and foot path. (This strip of pavement between the hotel parking garage and the southside rooms was an unused railroad track in the 70s and rebuilt in the 1980s as a bike path through Monterey (the path starts in Marina and goes about 8 miles along Monterey Bay). The lap pool at 3 feet wide and 30 ft long is a relatively extravagant feature for this hotel, but it sure is limited with its size. Is there a sign-up sheet for workout times? The pool is a one-person pool, if swimming. Nobody was swimming at the time I visited.
lap pool – InterContinental The Clement, Monterey
Workout room looked adequate for a hotel this size with about 20 pieces of equipment. (The Clement has 200+ rooms).
Rooms are simply furnished with various sizes of decks and interiors, and marble tiling in bathrooms. Freestanding or wall-mounted LG 37″ flatscreen HDTVs and most rooms have gas fireplace. Nice tubs in suites.
InterContinental The Clement, Monterey, Spa tub window to bedroom in suite
Words of advice. Come here soon if you want the low rates. Introductory rates under $200 per night for this opening summer are expected to climb to around $400 per night – if the economy permits that kind of rate to be sustained here in Monterey for 2009.
As a local I like the Cannery Row area much better now than in past decades. Cannery Row was burned and abandoned over the years as the canneries died out between 1950 and 1970. There are still several vacant lots to this day along Cannery Row and the lots have been that way since I was a teenager here in the 1970s. The absence of capital to invest in Cannery Row has always amazed me. How can there not be a return of investment on developing a vacant lot on Cannery Row in 2008, a prime tourist street with restaurants, bars, tourist shops, and a little entertainment? These lots sit empty on one of the world’s most beautiful views.