While my Delta Flight to SFO got in on time, my hour long wait at the Hertz Counter followed by my 2 hour drive to Monterey caused me to get to the hotel at about 3:30 in the morning. By the time I got to my room I was so exhausted that I forgot to message Stephanie and let her know that I arrived to the hotel on time. (Though I remembered to post pictures on Instagram, I promise I am not the world’s worst husband).
Monterey was a difficult location for me to find affordable hotels which met all three of my major factors. Ideally, I would want a hotel that is within walking distance from the places I am going to visit in town. In Monterey this is tough; as a beach town in California, hotels in the Monterey bay area were extremely expensive if you wanted to be in a good location. To keep my wallet happy I decided to take my search a little bit further out and found more value in Carmel by the Sea. Carmel by the Sea is a cute beach down that looks more like a english village than a small town in the United States. Comfort Inn Carmel by the Sea, was a pretty good price and was right in the middle of the town walking distance from restaurants, shops, and only a 15 minute walk to the beach.
Upon arriving at the comfort inn I was shocked. I am a huge fan of comfort inn’s, as they are usually pretty good hotels, but I know they have a reputation of being lower quality. This particular one was beautiful, it did not look like your typical low end hotel/motel, but rather a charming boutique hotel.
The room itself was extremely nice. It consisted of a King Size Bed, a decent sized TV and ample lighting. At 3:30am my only concern upon arriving was getting was the bed. The bed itself was relatively comfortable, however, I had to take issues with the the size of pillows. As you can tell from the pictures of the bed the pillows were small. They were about half the size of a standard pillow, which was extremely annoying as I toss and turn a lot while sleeping and i keep tossing myself off of the pillow and waking myself up. While they provide plenty of pillows, putting two pillows side by side still ended up with me being slightly bothered because I would fall between the two pillows. This made for a rather uncomfortable night sleep, but it was only going to be about 3 1/2 hours anyways so it wasn’t the end of the world.
The bathroom was a completely different story. The Shower at the Comfort Inn Carmel was absolute heaven. The water pressure was insane and the temperature controls were easy to use.
The price was the determinative factor for staying at the Comfort Inn Carmel by the Sea. In the bay area it was extremely hard to find a hotel for that day that was sub $150 let alone my normal price target of less than $80 a night. When i limited my searches to places that were less than $100 a night, the choices were extremely bleak. There weren’t many properties available and the ones that were available were either extremely far from the towns or were pretty dumpy and poorly reviewed.
Typically in these situations you need to be diligent in looking, even the most in demand places there is usually a sweet spot you can find to get a deal. This time it was utilizing Choice Privileges points in order to book a room. Choice’s rewards program is not the most well known and also not the most highly regarded but it has come in handy for me several times in finding cheap rewards bookings in places where I would otherwise be spending upwards of $100. In this situation while most hotels in the area were extremely expensive reward redemptions, this particular hotel was set at Choice’s minimum level. I was able to book this hotel which was about $150/per night for their lowest reward rate of 8,000 points; we had about 8,000 points left from our 32,000 point sign up bonus you get for signing up for their credit card (the card has no annual fee so the sign up bonus is amazing for a free card). Free is always the best price, and unlike a lot of the major hotel chains they also include free breakfast on rewards night stays. Their breakfast was your typical hotel continental breakfast of Waffles, eggs, pastries, bagels, and some cereals. While rather basic, I can’t complain about a free breakfast.
Overall, this stay was a great hotel for an amazing points redemption value. While I complained about the pillows, it is really more nit picking than anything because the value really trumps the minor complaints I had.