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Jabberwock Inn

Jabberwock Inn exterior

Monterey, California, USA
Do judge a book by its cover: named in honour of the surrealist novelist Lewis Carroll, the Jabberwock is rumoured to one of the best – and certainly most curious – guesthouses in California. Matt Short takes a sneak peek through the looking glass – and loves what he sees.

first impressions
Set in the rolling hills of charming Monterey, this quirky getaway puts a fun and memorable slant on the usual, often dull, B&B. As the name suggests, this delightful guesthouse is inspired by Lewis Carroll's poem, The Jabberwocky. It's packed with an eclectic assortment of oddities; the clocks run backwards, the breakfast menu reads like poetry, and the home-style lounge is full of puzzles and games including "Alice's" chessboard. The garden, described by one guest as a "whimsical treat", is no less exciting. Its half-acre is home to an array of interesting sculptures and water features, plus its own Bocce ball court.

But the Jabberwock isn't just an eccentric, off-the-wall hideaway – it boasts some of the best views of Monterey in a friendly and homely environment. Hosts John Hickey and Dawn Perez do everything possible to make you feel as welcome as possible. Relax in the living room by the roaring open fire, or watch the world go by from the conservatory while tucking into some delicious home-cooked food.

Step inside this magical world of wonder and Blue List Hotels can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Alice in Wonderland book

bedrooms
Each of the Jabberwock's seven bedrooms has been furnished to the same high standard. Each boasts its own unique features, including bespoke wooden furniture and queen-sized beds.

And yes, before you ask, they are named in keeping with the Lewis Carroll theme!

The smallest and cosiest is Tulgey Wood. It has wonderful views over the garden and harbour beyond, and a "comfort controlled" mattress – an electronic device that firms-up, or softens the mattress.

The Borogrove is the largest of the rooms and comes complete with its own dining and sitting area, fireplace, king-size comfort controlled mattress. It also boasts a private bath with Jacuzzi for two – the ultimate in romantic indulgence.

All of the rooms come with goose down pillows and comforters, fresh flowers, reading lamps, clock radio, hair dryer, signature bathrobes and wireless internet access.

food and drink
The innkeepers pride themselves on their home-cooked breakfast and hot and cold aperitifs which are served daily. The breakfast is an all American feast; huge portions using fresh, local ingredients are the order of the day. These are lovingly prepared and served with fresh juices and tea or coffee. But don't be fooled by some of the dishes' names: the Snarkleberry, Flumptious and Phantasmagoria taste better than they sound!

The aperitifs are almost a meal in themselves. A mini-banquet of hot and cold dishes are laid out in the conservatory alongside a selection of local wines and sherry.

The Jabberwock is ideally located just five blocks away from Cannery Row, the famous stretch made famous by John Steinbeck's novel of the same name. The Row is brimming with restaurants, most of which specialise in local seafood, something Monterey isn't short of. There are also a handful of eateries within a few minutes walk, including some of the best sushi Blue List Hotels has tried.

service with a smile?
John and Dawn do their very best to make you feel as welcome and comfortable as possible and are always on hand to help you plan your stay and activities. They are also interesting hosts whose company in the early evening – whilst sipping wines and nibbling on homemade buffalo wings – is most welcome. They will gladly talk you through the myriad of dining and wining options on offer. They'll even bring you a glass of milk and cookies in the evening – you don't get a more welcoming American experience than that!

The Jabberwock also offers free parking and local newspapers, an in-room massage service, cold drinks 24/7, and an extensive library for lovers of Carroll and John Steinbeck.

Alice in Wonderland chess set

local attractions
Monterey is a quaint, historic and picturesque town. Highlights include Cannery Row, walks around the downtown area and the local aquarium.

The town also has some of the most spectacular scenery right on the doorstep. Take a drive (or even better, a bike ride), along 17 Mile Drive, a coastal route which takes you through some of the most exclusive golf courses and mansions in the country. The Drive also boasts stunning vistas and photo opportunities, including the remarkable lone Cypress tree. From here you are only a stones' throw away (or a short drive) from the incredible Big Sur and Los Padres National Forests. The Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean, opening up a truly stunning landscape, worthy of a leisurely drive.

will it break the bank?
Think of the Jabberwock as a recession-busting B&B. Rooms start from as little as $169 per night for the Tulgey Wood, while the Borogrove costs $299. The Toves, which has its own private courtyard, is only $269 a night.

details
The Jabberwock Inn
598 Laine Street
Monterey, CA 93940-1312
Web: www.jabberwockinn.com

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