California - Road trip overnight suggestions, Los Angeles to San Francisco
I've done Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco before, and have a range of places identified to see, but this time am strangely bereft of places to stay.
Looking for midmarket-type places, few nights at each, hopefully within earshot of the ocean, at the following places :
1 - LA (I guess Santa Monica/Malibu).
2 - Santa Barbara/Montecito
3 - Monterey/round the bay or peninsula
4 - San Francisco, this one in the city - we'll get rid of the car after a day and ride those cablecars.
Thanks for any inspirations.
Oct 3, 10, 12:09 am
2 - Santa Barbara/Montecito
The Franciscan Inn - When I was doing my PhD at UCSB, this is where we often put academic conference attendees... Nice but not pricey, 2 blocks to the beach, 1 block to a nice park, the whole Lower State Street shopping/food/nightlife area is 3 minutes away.
Oct 3, 10, 12:43 pm
Santa Barbara -
Doubletree, across the street from the beach, close to town, nice places to walk or ride rental bikes or carts - maybe higher priced than you want
Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt - neither one with ocean views, however
Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove - a hidden treasure as they host conferences but book rooms for individuals when available - reasonable rates, beautiful grounds and setting along the beach
Oct 4, 10, 12:59 am
You might consider staying in one of the towns just north of Monterey, such as Seaside or Marina. There are a pair of Best Western motels in this area that are very close to the beach. I've never stayed at either so I can only vouch for their location. There's also an Embassy Suites in Seaside 1-2 blocks inland from Highway 1.
Thanks all. Here's what we did in the end.
Santa Monica - Ocean View Hotel. A basic place but good pricing (only one we booked in advance). We put our heads into adjacent properties we had considered and couldn't see what they offered for double the price. Nothing fancy, but location was great, nice view of the sea. Inclusive breakfast however so dreary (as ever with most such provision - but see below) so we always went out - good range of places just round the corner. Car parking was conveniently right there. Unfortunately low cloud and heavy rain all the days we were there.
Santa Barbara - ended up staying with friends.
Big Sur - Big Sur River Inn. Disappointment of the trip. We just stopped in when we were late and it got dark. Huge high price for what turned out to be a Mom & Pop roadside motel from a past era, complete with amateur-built unit fittings etc. Our "Suite" had been made by dividing a standard bedroom with a partition and door, fitting one half out for "sitting" and the remaining half as a notably small "bedroom". Integrated coffee shop which pretends it's a restaurant. Only highlight was watching a skunk (first sighting of one for Mrs WHBM :) ) in the woods alongside.
Monterey - Such a disappointment of a town we drove out again without really looking for anywhere.
Carmel. The opposite. Found a very nicely appointed place, Normandy Inn, right on the main street midway between shops and beach, just up or down the street. We enjoyed both of these, and the hotel was very nicely appointed and kept - port laid out in ther lobby. It poured with rain but we lit up the fireplace and relaxed. Another inclusive buffet breakfast, but one of the best such I have ever encountered in the USA - real plates and fresh orange juice. All for a fraction of the cost of the previous night.
San Francisco. Didn't have much hopes for elegance here so, knowing the city, we walked in and quickly out again of a couple of places on US 101/Lombard Street, then checked in to the Comfort Inn because it was the closest to the city (right on the corner of Van Ness, three blocks from the cablecars). Took a room at the back to avoid the traffic noise. Room was on the 11th floor. Just as entering the room opposite was being cleaned, and seemed to have an interesting view, so asked maid to see it. View was fantastic, from full view of the Golden Gate Bridge and ocean to the left, right across the whole of the bay, Fishermans Wharf in front of us, and round to Oakland. Traffic noise non-existent a that height. Straight back to the front desk to upgrade rooms, and it was still a fraction of the cost of that place in Big Sur. We felt it was a real result - we pushed the bed over to by the window to have the view at all times. We walked everywhere in the city from there, or went up the hill (quite a hill) and got the cablecar.
Pleasant trip !