A pool view room with balcony at InterContinental The Clement Monterey, a 70,000 points IHG property on the Pacific Ocean waterfront of Monterey’s Cannery Row, seemed like an opportunity to celebrate a big score for my free Chase credit card anniversary free night. Last year rules changed limiting the Chase IHG free night to hotels with standard reward nights priced at 40,000 or fewer points. Monterey was my last unrestricted free night. Most of my Chase credit card annual anniversary free nights have been redeemed at InterContinental Park Lane London. Last October I mixed it up a bit to stay at Hotel Indigo London Leicester Square during the BFI London Film Festival with a room overlooking the red carpet entrance to the theater.
At check-in I received room 481. Top floor of the 4-story hotel. Nice.
I was offered a coupon for a free beer at C bar. Cool.
The receptionist even tossed in 600 bonus points as a Platinum amenity for double welcome amenities. Gratitude.
“Take the elevator behind you to the second floor and cross the skybridge.” Shit.
As a local, I knew crossing the skybridge meant crossing the street away from the ocean side of the hotel. Undesirable.
Finding room #481 on the far side of the hotel, I also knew the room view overlooked the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Sucker.
I can’t say how many times over the past ten years I have walked the bike trail behind the InterContinental Monterey and said quietly to myself or out loud to my company as I gazed at the rooms above the bike path, “Poor suckers. Pay all that money to stay at an oceanfront luxury hotel and you got stuck on the shitty view side.”
A 1971 aerial photo I saw while walking around Cannery Row showed me the landscape I remember as a teenager in Monterey walking the railroad tracks along the waterfront across the city. The lovely pavement of the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail seen from the back side of InterContinental Monterey today reveals cyclists, joggers and pedestrians, lovers, families and partying friends, baby strollers, bicycle carriages and wheelchairs. Get up early and homeless men occupy many of the benches and gather in the park spaces for morning chats.
In the 1970s the recreational bike path space consisted of railroad tracks – difficult to walk, yet well-traveled by pedestrians as the most direct route along the coastline of the city of Monterey. The railroad tracks of old are smooth black pavement today. Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is the finest infrastructure change for the Monterey Peninsula of past 35 years.
Waking up and walking through the InterContinental hotel to the oceanfront deck quickly allowed me to gaze on high waves crashing against the old concrete pilings of Cannery Row. A nice way to start the morning.
A partial ocean view room for an extra $54 would have made the hotel stay more memorable if I could have watched waves from my room. Anyway, my plan was to be out and about on Cannery Row. A staycation in a hotel less than three miles from my home is not as much of a thrill as I anticipated, even when staying in a luxury hotel on Cannery Row.
$33 for valet parking at the hotel. I skipped that fee by parking my car for free on the streets of Pacific Grove, about ten minutes walk from the Cannery Row hotel.