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Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa, Monterey History

Monterey’s True Historic Hotel

The iconic Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa in downtown Monterey sits upon a piece of property with a fabled history: the site of the expansive hacienda-style adobe developed in 1824 by Don Estéban Munras, a Spanish diplomat, artist, and businessman. The property was originally named La Granja, Spanish for the farm. The gracious home quickly became the heart of the Munras family's sprawling Rancho San Vicente and a gathering spot for residents of the surrounding area. Estéban and his wife Catalina built their life around family, farming, trading, and generosity. And so, the tradition of hospitality began. 

Keeping the tradition of hospitatlity alive since 1824

Always a front-runner, Don Estéban built the first house outside the original Presidio walls and installed California's first fireplace at Casa Munras. Locals admired the prolific flower and vegetable gardens so much that they regularly took evening strolls by Casa Munras to peek at the abundant plantings and petals. The architectural and garden landscaping design of Casa Munras profoundly influenced the design of today's hacienda-style Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa.

Dedication Plaque Celebration of Don Esteban Munras - 1949

The Munras family's descendants lived in Casa Munras for nearly 120 years. The last of the Munras family to live in Monterey was Maria Antonia Field, Estéban Munras' great-granddaughter, known as "California's Princess." She was born at Casa Munras in 1885 and lived here until 1941, when she sold the property to local businessman, civic leader, and hotelier PJ Dougherty and his family. 


Scuba Diving Convention - 1953

The Dougherty family developed the original Spanish-style adobe into the Casa Munras Hotel and Cottages. They transformed the property into what was fast becoming the iconic institution of that time, the "Main Street Hotel," a popular meeting spot for locals and visitors worldwide who enjoyed the distinctive character and warm hospitality. The "Sweetheart Pool" was one of the few hotel pools in the area, making it a major draw for guests.  Its popularity even prompted a SCUBA Diving Convention in 1956, where divers took their certification tests in the pool. 

The Bar At The Casa Munras - 1955

The Casa Munras Bar was the place to be in the 1950s. It was the go-to spot for locals and visitors in Monterey to socialize, chat, and maybe even bump into famous athletes, actors, and local celebrities. Just as it is today, the dining area was always bustling and full of energy, perfect for people-watching. Estéban Restaurant is still a top choice for both locals and visitors to gather to enjoy fabulous food, drinks and soak in the lively ambiance.

Estéban Restaurant 1953 - 2023

After workouts, explorations, and pampering, it's time for a bite and a drink! Celebrated for its Spanish-inspired Californian cuisine, Estéban Restaurant, named for Estéban Munras, is where guests and locals gather for a festive weekend brunch, lively tapas hour, and delicious dinners. Executive Chef Ben Hillan's cooking style--the belief that simplicity leads to complexity--allows the best seasonal ingredients to speak for themselves. Chef Ben sources the finest and freshest local ingredients, working with local farmers, winemakers, ranchers, fishermen, and artisan producers to cook with the best California seafood, meats, and produce. The restaurant features shared plates and classic selections complemented by its extensive wine list and hand-craft cocktails. 

Meetings in the Heart of Monterey - 1958

In addition to romantic getaways and family vacations, Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa continues to be a popular meeting place for business and special occasions. With award-winning food and beverage and a convenient downtown location, the meeting rooms offer 5,500 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space. Adding to the hotel's intrigue, some of the original Munras adobe house walls still stand in the Marbella meeting room.

Pool and Gardens at Casa Munras -1960

While located in the heart of downtown, Casa Munras has a distinctly resort-like feel. The crystal-clear outdoor year-round heated pool begs guests to take a dip and lounge on the deck. At the same time, lush gardens are a beautiful place to wander, contemplate, and soak in the natural beauty of heritage roses, specimen plants, California Century Plants, and rambling Mediterranean beds.

Marquee Board, Casa Munras Restaurant - 1965

Every day, the fun-loving staff at Casa Munras would update the marquee at the hotel with a message. The sign, affectionately known as the "Weather Today" board, didn't display the weather; instead, it announced the evening events at Casa Munras. Locals made it a part of their daily routine to drive by the hotel to see what was on the "Weather Today" board so they could make their evening plans. 

Newly Remodeled Patio of Estéban Restaurant - 1970 - 2023

Celebrated for its Spanish-inspired Californian cuisine, Estéban Restaurant, named for Estéban Munras, is where guests and locals gather for a festive weekend brunch, lively tapas hour, and delicious dinners. Adored by locals and visitors alike for its al fresco dining, the terrace was recently renovated into a beautifully updated hacienda garden dining experience. The patio boasts several seating areas to share one another's company, while the striking new pergola creates a private haven for several tables and seating for up to 24 people. 

DESUAR Spa at Casa Munras - 2008 - 2022

For much-deserved pampering, DESUAR, a private day spa adjacent to the hotel, offers a break from everyday life to restore balance and rejuvenate the mind and body with a full menu of luxurious treatments. Services include massage, scrubs and wraps, CBD treatments, facials, waxing, make-up application, and eyebrow shaping. A couples treatment suit is available for shared serenity. Cosmetics and spa retail are available, as well as natural, organic, and Biodynamic solutions for every need and skin type.

Voted Best Hotel in Monterey County - 2023

From Native American roots and Spanish Missionary heritage, Monterey's rich history dates back centuries before the Europeans arrived in America. To honor the area's vibrant history, five flags proudly fly at the entrance to Casa Munras. These national emblems symbolize the significant historical eras of Monterey's unique and diverse heritage, including Spain, Alta California, Argentina, Mexico, America, and California.