28 PCMA CONVENE JULY 2017 PCMACONVENE.ORG
CONVENE ON SITE
Once Upon a Time in Monterey
Overlooking a cliff in Point Lobos, California, all we could see were miles of pristine, blue-green
water. Lizards scampered around our
feet as we walked the thin dirt trail
along the rocky coast. A herd of seals
lounged on the narrow strip of sandy
beach. The shore was completely
untouched. At first I was disappointed
we weren’t allowed to walk down to the
shoreline, but then appreciated how all
of this beauty is going to be preserved
for a long time.
Everything in Monterey looks like
it’s straight out of a fairy tale. There are
colorful houses along winding roads
with breathtaking views, and vibrant
murals with crashing waves in the
background. Acres of vineyards snake
through the green, lush mountainsides.
The skies are clear and blue, and the
weather is mostly perfect. And it’s
a small enough city that it feels like
everyone knows everyone.
DOWN BY THE SEA
During a three-day press trip hosted by
Visit Monterey, I stayed in the Portola
Hotel and Spa, where ficus trees grow
in the lobby, towering to the ceiling,
and natural light streams through the
skylights. The property underwent a
massive lobby renovation that had been
completed the day before our arrival.
We began our first day by touring
the 341-room Monterey Marriott.
After a $3-million renovation, the
lobby is brand new, with wood instead
of marble to create a warm, beachy
feel. The property offers 56,000 square
feet of meeting space, including the
8,112-square-foot San Carlos Ballroom, which can be divided into four
different spaces. Most of the meeting
space, like most of Monterey, allows
for natural light, and some of it comes
with sweeping views of the city skyline.
Emmy-winning set designer Aaron
King was consulted for the redesign,
according to Rene Boskoff, the property’s general manager.
Next, we walked back over to the
279-room, LEED -certified Portola.
It’s the second-largest hotel on the
Monterey Peninsula, with 88,000
square feet of meeting space. Con-
veniently connected to the Monterey
Conference Center, Portola offers
a 10,655-square-foot ballroom and
outdoor space for events, such as the
open-air, adobe-influenced Custom
House Plaza, which is used for the city’s
Classic Car Week.
Upon leaving the Portola, we picked
up hard hats on our walk to the Monterey Conference Center, which is
currently undergoing a $60-million
renovation. Construction began in
November 2015 and is expected to be
completed this fall. The rebuild will
make the property more open and collaborative, Director of Sales and Events
Nancy Williams explained on our tour.
Once renovations are complete, the
center will have a new, 10,000-square-
foot junior ballroom and a skybridge
connecting to the Marriott.
After a quick stop into the Museum
of Monterey to check out the permanent Salvador Dalí exhibit, we left
downtown and headed to Carmel, just
From left —
La Playa Carmel;