Right next to the Intercontinental The Clement Monterey was an outlet of the Bubba Gump Shrimp chain. They serve – you may have guessed it – shrimp. And some fish. And you can step into Forrest’s shoes.
We first had booked a Best Western Motel in Carmel, but found a really good rate of around $200 through the Family & Friends discount for Intercontinental Hotels. The hotel was fairly new and was built right in the middle of historic Cannery Row. We didn’t want to use valet parking for $25/night, as street parking around the corner is free from 8PM – 9AM, so we only had to pay $4.50 for the remaining 3 hours. The problem was, that there was no registration parking. Fortunately street parking right in front of the hotel opened up as we arrived.
Driving through the mountains with a constant gorgeous view is just great. When we left San Siemeon we refused to pay $4.79/gallon to fill up our nearly empty gas tank. Needing to save gas when the car in front of you is a nervous braker is nerve wrecking. I got a 97% eco driving rating by the on board computer anyway… We bought 1 gallon for $5.79/gallon in the mountains, which was more than enough to get to Carmel safe and filled our tank for $3.45 there…
Our next stop on the Pacific coast was San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle. We stayed in the Best Western Plus Cavalier Oceanfront Resort…uff that’s a long name… I matched my Hilton Diamond Status to Best Western Diamond before the stay and we got a great room on the second floor overlooking the garden and the ocean. It’s a typical motel with parking in front of the room, but with direct beach access.
William Randolph Hearst built Hearst Castle on a 51 ha piece of land directly at the Pacific Ocean. The mansion sits on the hilltop with stunning vistas of the mountains and the ocean. He used to invite Hollywood stars and important people like Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Walt Disney and even Winston Churchill to party weekends. They arrived by private train from Los Angeles in San Luis Obispo and were driven to the mansion, which took another 90 minutes. Later they could arrive by plane on the private airstrip.
From Oxnard we travelled Pacific Coast Highway 1 to San Simeon. Our first stop was Santa Barbara Stearns Wharf. Nice and relaxed little town.
The Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach (Hilton) is one of the few ocean front resorts in California. We arrived at 11 PM and got a HHonors Diamond upgrade to an Ocean Front Suite. The two rooms were just huge and had 2 bathrooms. Facing the ocean there was a balcony. We quickly fell asleep and woke up with the view of an empty beach.
Again being awake way to early, we drove over to Calabasas, home to many stars and the Kardashians… We had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien. Calabasas has a nice old little town center and uncountable gated communities.
Being up early again, we still had 1 hour left to kill before our chosen breakfast diner would open up at 7:30 AM. So we decided to drive along Mulholland Drive, a scenic route with views of the cities and great houses built into the hills. We managed to catch the last parking spot at Runyon Canyon Park, a popular spot for local joggers. Unfortunately we didn’t bring our running gear… But we walked through the park.