Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa receives 4 stars distinction
The Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa has plenty to boast about. Oceanfront property on Cannery Row, a central location on the Peninsula, outdoor hot tubs.
But it was the hotel’s service that earned it the 2009 Mobil Four-Star award, a coveted distinction in the hospitality industry. Five star is the top rating.
“It’s very exciting,” said John Narigi, the Plaza Hotel’s general manager. “I’m just lucky to be the general manager at the property because it was the staff that earned this.”
The Plaza Hotel, which has long been a four-diamond hotel under the AAA rating system, will be honored for its distinction during a ceremony 4:30p.m. Thursday at the hotel.
The Mobil rating process involves a scrutinizing evaluation in which inspectors spend three days and two nights interacting with staff, ordering room service and sipping drinks at the bar, all the while taking notes incognito.
Judges show up to a hotel unannounced, Narigi said, and they never reveal that they are inspectors from the travel guide — not even when they check out.
“They don’t tell you when they’re coming,” Narigi said. “They don’t even notify you until you get the call” that the hotel has been selected.
According to the Mobil Travel Guide Web site, inspectors “use checklists, stopwatches and recorders to make their findings as accurate as possible.”
The Plaza Hotel joins elite company. Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur and three Pebble Beach hotels —
Casa Palmero, The Lodge and The Inn at Spanish Bay are the county’s other four-star hotels.
This group of six represents a dense concentration of four-star hotels, considering that only 29 California hotels have such a distinction. There are nine five-star hotels in the state.
Like most businesses, the Plaza Hotel, which employs more than 275 people, has been hurt by the economic downturn. But receiving the four-star distinction could give the hotel a boost, Narigi said.
“We are no different than any other business on the Peninsula and certainly no different than other hotels,” he said. The Mobil rating system “is a good housekeeping seal of quality of service that the consumer looks for in these difficult times.”
Steve Willie, president of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, agrees the award is a boost to the hotel. But he added it increases the Peninsula’s appeal to travelers.
“Having a four-star property in our destination just increased our attractiveness and the demand of our destination,” Willie said.