Last year, we spent 72 hours driving down the coast of California along US 1. It's an incredible trip full of jaw-dropping sites and some outstanding hotels, too. One of the best nights of the drive was spent at the Sanctuary Beach Resort, just outside of Monterey.
From the road, Sanctuary seems an unassuming place. Nestled in the dunes of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, all that's visible from the distance are the peaks of a few roofs popping out over the hills of sand. A pretty but small lobby just off the parking lot (above) takes guests through the quick check-in process and then it's onto the grounds where the real magic of the place kicks in.
Each guest room comes with its own golf cart, a necessity for getting around the resort's 19-acres. We drove along the fenced path, winding its way through little groupings of guest rooms and eventually came around the corner to see this:
Guest rooms come with a private patio overlooking the Pacific. Settling into the chairs, we felt like we were in our very own little beach house. Walk out your room's door and you are steps from the dune cliff and a path that takes guests down to the water.
There's a small spa and a heated pool on property, but I think the end of the day along the coast is when the resort is at its best. We walked along the beach as the sun started to sink into the ocean directly ahead of us. Sanctuary hosts a nightly bonfire on the dune, and several guests came to cozy up in an Adirondack chair with s'mores or a glass of wine.
Sleep came easy too, thanks to the cozy in-room fireplace, a comfy bed and the distant sound of the waves breaking on the shore.