This is the 2nd time we have stayed at the Monterey Bay Inn and we absolutely love it!
I recommend that you call direct to make reservations or call them direct after you make online reservation for any requests or changes. The 1st time we stayed there in February it was for our anniversary. We requested a nice quiet room away from elevator n a higher floor and they accommodated us. They even had left a nice little welcome gift for us when we arrived for our anniversary. I requested the same or similar room for our 2nd stay and they were very accommodating for that also.
Parking and Check-in-
There's a sign for you to park 1st before you check in, and it's a nice covered self-parking area ($24 and you are allowed to park for a few hours after checkout)- they even have a few charging stations for those of you that have electric cars.
Front desk staff were very efficient, quick and knowledgeable about check-in process and parking. And they offer in-lobby cookies, too :) As others have stated, they do not have a big lobby area, but if you have an Ocean or Harbor view room, that's where you're going to want to hang out, or if there for the aquarium or Cannery Row, you'll be out.
We would recommend the Harbor view rooms on the 4th floor with a balcony (never been in the Ocean View, so can't say if better) as you can get a view of the wharf, fishing boats, beach with waves against rocks and people watching.
In-room binoculars are provided to watch the comings and goings of boats, divers and sea life. Last time we were there we were able to watch a pod of dolphins. You can also hear sea lions at night when it's quiet.
Some have reviewed that you can hear the Cannery Row traffic, but we had found that it really wasn't that bad and did not detract from the peace, Particularly if you request a room nearer the Harbor. I also really appreciated that this lodging is at the end of Cannery Row and so in general it is quieter with less foot traffic than it would be from a hotel in the middle of Cannery Row.
We also really enjoyed the 4th floor hot tub on the corner with the harbor and ocean views. It is open quite late, which is unusual for some hotels, so we had plenty of time after dinner to take a dip. There is also a second hot tub on the 2nd floor (that does not have an ocean view), and there is a nice open air patio area next to it with chairs and a fire pit (we did not utilize that area while there)
Again, some people have mentioned that there is no restaurant on site or room service, but their breakfast was very fresh and if you are good with a light breakfast like we are, then it's perfect. This included yogurt, hard boiled egg, fresh fruit, juice, warm muffins and coffee.
Simplified checkout- you dial the front desk and let them know you're checking out and they email you your receipt.
This is a very nice, affordable, clean, safe, relaxing place to stay on the Bay. We have stayed at some of the other "fancy" hotels with ocean views and although they have valet parking and on site restaurants and luxurious lobbies, we actually felt more relaxed and comfortable here. (But admittedly, we are country folks who don't quite fit the pretentiousness of some of the other establishments).