Imagine that you have decided to spend a weekend down in Monterey, California, and that you’ve treated yourself to a ghost tour to cap off a great day by the ocean. Then imagine that one of the first stops on the ghost tour is the hotel you’ve chosen for the night. That’s what happened to me during a recent stay at Casa Munras in Monterey.
I chose Casa Munras because they offered reasonable prices, a good location within walking distance of many restaurants, and a website that made it look very stylish. Had I known about the supposed hauntings, I wouldn’t have needed any of that to make up my mind.
As the ghost tour trolley pulled up to the hotel that night, a hush fell over my group, followed by immediate laughter. Perhaps the ghosts had called to us as we were making our reservations. Either way, we were entranced as the tour guide told us the story of Doña Esteban Munras Catalina Manzanelli Ponce de León, granddaughter of the great explorer who had searched for the Fountain of Youth. She was formerly the owner of the hotel, and now she’s considered a permanent resident.
If you take the Old Monterrey Ghost Tour, you’ll be treated to a brief dark room session inside the most haunted parts of the Casa Munras Hotel. We spent several minutes snapping photos in the dark in an old ballroom. Although no one on our tour caught anything unusual, it’s hard to deny the claims of hauntings from so many guests and staff members over the years.
Even if you don’t see ghosts, Casa Munras is a good place to stay in Monterey on a budget. Although it does have a motel feel once you leave the main building, the rooms are clean and comfortable, and you won’t suffer from lack of conveniences. There’s a Trader Joe’s nearby for snacks, along with more than a few restaurants in walking distance. For a fantastic breakfast or dessert, Rosine’s Restaurant isn’t far off. For a late night out, Lallapalooza is also in range.
If you don’t feel like going that far, Casa Munras also has its own in-house restaurant, Esteban. Although I wasn’t impressed by the breakfast, the atmosphere on their open air patio is sure to help you wake up the right way. There’s nothing like fresh ocean air in the morning. Esteban is even better for a nightcap, as they crank up the fireplace and turn the restaurant from open and airy to warm and cozy.
If you enjoy staying in haunted hotels, or even if you just need a budget-friendly location, consider the Casa Munras. It’s not the Ritz, but it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.