The area between the Wharf and Monterrey’s historic downtown is actually taken up, to a large extent by the hotel complex that is the Portola (it spreads to both sides of the street with guestrooms on each side; conference rooms and bar are to the left when you’re facing Fisherman’s Wharf, the cushy spa, large gym and outdoor heated pool to the right). So you’re in the heart of the action when you stay here, but happily the Portola has far more character—and conscious—than a hotel this well-positioned needs to have. Its lobby atrium is an airy beaut, with 12 full-grown, light-adorned trees in its center, giving it the feeling of a well-tended park. This “arbor” point to how “green” this LEED-certified hotel hopes to be: there’s no A/C in the rooms (with the breezes and the ceiling fan all but the most heat-sensitive should be just fine); the handsome wall-paper in the rooms looks like bamboo, but is actually recycled paper; and water-saving showers replaced bathtubs in 2014. Rooms are modern but have touches that recall the area’s storied past: the maroon‑and-white striped bed skirts look like something that would have been in a sea captain’s home during Robert Louis Stevenson’s era, as do the “expose all the joints” bathroom fixtures and the old-timey prints on the walls. But don’t worry, the beds are very modern: cloud-like pillow-topped mattresses with hypoallergenic bedding. 

-Pauline Frommer