Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Lodgings, Part One: Borg's Motel in Pacific Grove

I kinda fell in love with a motel. Friday and Saturday nights we were in Pacific Grove, California, on the Monterey Peninsula, for a wedding. What I really like about PG is that it is everything wonderful about coastal California, without the slightest whiff of pretention or even fanciness. Maybe all the fanciness has been syphoned off by Carmel, its neighbor. But all I know is that, right smack down on the prettiest part of the waterfront, where you would expect to find something expensive, swanky, or trying-to-be-swanky, you find this precious gem. My friends, I give you Borg's Motel.
Borg's Motel, Pacific Grove, CA



I want to kiss it right on the mouth for wearing its "motel" label so unashamedly, especially in this age, when anyone with a spare room can call themselves a B&B, and any tiny lodging place, no matter how dingy, is a "boutique hotel."
And here is the key: Borg's is so dated, so seemingly untouched for the last 45 years, that it is almost hip. Like, if I read that some high-end designer had bought Borg's as a pet project, I would be, like, "Yup, I get it." Kind of a Prada Marfa thing. But, I mean, just look at it.
Borg's Motel

I mean, the floating side tables, the dark and light veneers, the Master and Commander-ish seascape? That painting alone is like, so perilously close to an ironic quotation of period motel d├ęcor. But this is the thing itself. So lacking in furbelows and "luxury" that it looks totally fresh. I don't know about you, but when I saw that room, I was in the mood for romance.
Borg's Motel, Pacific Grove

When I checked in, the friendly desk guy Frank told me, "Don't forget, from 6 to 9 every morning, here in the office, we have hot beverages." He didn't say "coffee and tea," allowing me to compose a mental list of other delectable hot beverages they could surprise us with. Sake? Hot chocolate? Mulled cider? But it was just coffee and tea after all.

Borg's Motel Breezeway
I liked this tiny breezeway. And here is the view from the Borg.
View from the Borg.


That's Lovers' Point. And the view in the other direction was just as pretty. When we arrived at this place, I said to Matt that it was like the Bates Motel, but I didn't mean in the Psycho, mummified corpse of Mother, way. More in the modern, California-in-the-60's sense. Kind of a Hitchcock-blonde vibe. After all, Hitchcock lived in Scott's Valley for a while, just up into the hills from Santa Cruz, and now when I watch his movies from that era, like Vertigo and The Birds, it's obvious how taken he was with the look and the landscape of Northern California. So stylish.

Pacific Grove, CA

Here's the town as seen from Lovers' Point. A friendly, pretty place, really just about the ideal little coastal town. More even than Santa Cruz, because here you're less likely to walk in on a homeless man washing his ass at the sink in the women's bathroom at the bookstore downtown. Just to give an example from my experience.

Map in Motel Office

So I give both Pacific Grove and Borg's Motel my hearty recommendation. I would love to get back there soon. And good grief, it's cheap! Our room was $82 a night (that's the winter rate), and the oceanfront rooms (which were all taken--practically every wedding guest was at Borg's) were just a bit more. It was clean, too.

Our San Francisco lodgings were about as different as they could be. More about that tomorrow. Thanks for scrolling, and I hope this makes you want to run away to Borg's a tiny bit. And if you go don't forget about the hot beverages.

17 comments:

Keely said...

Okay, I'm in love with the view. Also the font on 'Borg's" on the sign in that picture.

The image of the homeless guy washing his ass? Not as much.

A Day That Is Dessert said...

I was just admiring these on Flickr...now I get all the details! I can't believe how affordable it is...and how perfect!

Veronica said...

Ah, PG. I'm glad you liked Borg's, as I wasn't quite sure what our guests would think of the PG scene! You should come back for the butterfly parade, when there are monarchs in the trees and all the little kids in town dress up like butterflies and walk down all three blocks of downtown. You could drink your hot beverage while they walk by.

The Dental Maven said...

Girl, you are totally gettin' your Fodor's on!!

Michele Renee said...

How.....AWESOME is that!!!!!!! Oh, I can just feel the breeze. I too like the Borgs Motel sign. It must have very very bittersweet to even leave. I was in that area for honeymoon. I can see by your face in photos what a fantastic time you had. Great smile!!

The Stiletto Mom said...

Please tell me you didn't really walk in on homeless guy washing his ass...ugh!!

The views are just gorgeous. Makes me want to live in California....glad you had a good time!

Maggie said...

I don't know if you remember but we lived in PG 20ish years ago. I LOVED IT!! Monterey and the area has been my only exposure to California and it is such a beautiful area. Wish we could go back. BIW, Lindsay marched in the Butterfly Parade and we lived down the road from the Butterfly park. Ah, good times.

Cassie said...

This butterfly parade sounds delightful!

What a gorgeous place... I may have to scrounge up some friends to take a mini-cation this summer.

crazylovescompany said...

So so jealous. I need to look up furbelows.

Bex said...

yes! you have sold me. it is now on my list of travel destinations. i love the room decor! i think they sell that head board at ikea. but not the painting. i can't wait for part 2!

Michele said...

I love Love LOVE the Monterey area. Did you get a chance to drive down the coast some? The motel is classic.

Jenni said...

that hotel is too cute. and i bet i know jusy what book store you're talking about...

David said...

Stiletto, I can attest to the truth of the ass-washing homeless man. I also once walked in on him (or maybe another, different homeless man? It's Santa Cruz, so the odds are high.) And I was with Becky when she came out of that bathroom, all wide-eyed and trembling a little bit.

Jenni, you know which one, for sure. It's the only place down on Pacific Ave. that has public bathrooms. Said ass-washing explains why all the other stores *don'* have public bathrooms.

Sara said...

...a magical place, where all the bums have clean bums...

We love places like that, too. And so much more interesting than a chain hotel.

It all sounds very delightful and relaxing. Hot beverages-Mmmmmmm.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

If it's on the water, I'm there.

Casey said...

That place IS cheap, wow. Even the "by the hour" places around here are way more than that. Uhm, not that I know or anything.

The view is beautiful and the floating side tables make the place.

myronetta said...

How excellent to see someone singing the praises of the Borg. I've been an absolute groupie for this place since last summer, after staying there by chance. Since then it's become a delicious obsession, a secret -- a lodging experience from another time -- shining ephemerally, too good to last, so precious while we have it.

People slam this place mercilessly on TripAdvisor. Those people are Philistines, and don't know what they're talking about.