Pros

  • Quiet woodsy property tucked into coastal dunes
  • Historic Julia Morgan-designed architecture
  • Direct walking path to Asilomar State Beach
  • Simple rooms with original features and no TVs (con for some)
  • Some rooms have fireplaces, balconies, or patios
  • Lots of activities on-site including hiking, biking, and bird watching
  • Heated outdoor pool open daily year-round
  • Dining hall-style restaurant and a cafe
  • 30,000 square feet of meeting space
  • Huge lobby area with seating, fireplace, and free Wi-Fi
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Cons

  • Rooms lack TVs, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges (pro for some)
  • Main restaurant serves meals only at set times
  • Woodsy camp-like property not for everyone
  • Food isn't allowed in rooms
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Bottom Line

Asilomar Conference Grounds is an interesting mid-range property with a summer camp atmosphere and historic Julia Morgan-designed architecture. Part of the California State Parks System, the secluded coastal dune setting is just a few minutes from Pacific Grove and offers direct trail access to Asilomar State Beach. Arts and Crafts-style buildings hold corporate meeting spaces and 313 guest rooms with rustic furnishings, original wood floors, and exposed-beam ceilings. Rooms lack TVs and phones, but have free Wi-Fi. A dining hall-style restaurant serves meals at set times, and a casual cafe serves light dishes and drinks on the patio. Many activities are offered on-site, like bird watching and hiking, and there's a heated outdoor pool. Travelers looking for more amenities could try the nearby Lighthouse Lodge & Cottages, offering rooms with kitchenettes and free breakfast. 

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Amenities

  • Internet
  • Pool

Oyster Hotel Review

Asilomar Conference Grounds

Scene

Summer camp with historic architecture, for travelers and corporate events

Asilomar Conference Grounds is a place to slow down, unplug, and soak up the scenery. The 100-acre property is part of the California State Parks System, and sits amid a stretch of coastal dunes home to wildlife like deer and birds. Originally built as a YWCA Leadership Camp in 1913, the property features a series of wooden houses connected by pathways and cypress trees. Some of the buildings are more hotel-like than others, and there are 13 historic Arts and Crafts-style buildings designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan. Many buildings feature local stone and wood and have high ceilings with exposed beams, natural light, simple furniture, and fireplaces. One meeting space is a glass box framed with wood. About 40-percent of guests are independent travelers, while the rest tend to be groups and corporate entities like Google or California park rangers. Most guests spend their days at Asilomar State Beach, accessible via boardwalk from the property, or at the Social House, which is the lobby.  

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Location

Quiet and secluded, but minutes from town of Pacific Grove

Asilomar Conference Grounds are set back from the surrounding area of small residential roads, quiet neighborhoods, and trees. Asilomar State Beach is easily reached in a five-minute walk via a beach trail. The location is more summer camp-like than convenient to downtown, although the town of Pacific Grove is a five-minute drive away. To the south is a series of golf courses, including Spanish Bay (six-minute drive), leading to Pebble Beach (13-minute drive). Point Pinos Lighthouse is a five-minute drive. Monterey and Monterey Bay Aquarium are within a 10- to 15-minute drive, and Carmel-by-the-Sea is within 20 minutes. Big Sur is about one hour away. San Jose airport is about 80 to 90 minutes' drive. San Francisco International Airport is closer to two hours away. 

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Rooms

Some original Arts and Crafts features and no TVs

Rooms at the Asilomar Conference Grounds are pared down and cozy, and lack TVs and phones -- but they do have free Wi-Fi. Historic Rooms in buildings designed by Julia Morgan retain their original features including hardwood floors and rustic wood and wicker furnishings. Some rooms also have wood-paneled walls and exposed-wood pitched ceilings. Floral curtains and bed runners are the only decorative touches, other than framed paintings or antique-style bedside lamps in some rooms. Asilomar Rooms are more contemporary in design and can have patios, balconies, and fireplaces. Note that rooms do not have mini-fridges or coffeemakers. 

Bathrooms have beige walls and floor tiles, shower/tub combos with clean white tile, and come with toiletries and towels. Many of the buildings have common living rooms with cushioned chairs and fireplaces where guests can relax. Walls are thin in some rooms, so interior noise can be an issue. Food is not allowed in rooms. 

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Features

Dining hall-style restaurant, casual cafe, outdoor pool, and activities 

The Crocker Dining Hall, with views of the forest and dunes, is the main restaurant and serves three fixed meals per day, at appointed times. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, along with local produce and fresh fish. Breakfast is not included with rates. Phoebe's Cafe has an outdoor patio and serves coffee and tea, fresh baked goods, lunch and light appetizers, and alcohol. 

An outdoor heated swimming pool is open from dawn to dusk daily, year-round, with no lifeguard on duty. It's a good-size pool and there are wooden sunbeds on the deck that is surrounded by pine trees. A boardwalk walking trail leads directly to Asilomar State Beach and there are numerous activities on-site, from bird watching to hiking trails to beach volleyball. Four self-guided walking tours of the park include one tour devoted to Julia Morgan architecture. 

An on-site store sells souvenirs like T-shirts, hats, and books on the area, as well as cold beverages. Free Wi-Fi is available in the Social House and in guest rooms. There is a business center and the property has about 30,000 square feet of meeting space for corporate and group gatherings. 

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Beach

  • Business Center

  • Cable

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Gameroom / Arcade

  • Internet

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.