Discover the History of Casa Munras Garden Hotel and Spa
About 5 year(s) ago by The Inns of Monterey
One of the first residences built outside the walls of the old Presidio, Casa Munras Garden Hotel and Spa, was constructed in 1824 by Spanish diplomat Don Esteban Munras. He named it La Granja (the Grange) and it soon became the heart of his sprawling Rancho San Vicente. Established a thriving trading business, he dealt in cattle hides and imported fine household furnishing and necessities to the earliest settlers in Monterey, California.
The original Casa, as it is generally referred to now, was built of individual adobe bricks made by hand from native materials consisting of clay soil mixed with coarse sand, soft chalk and tough grass. A mortar of finer grain solid bound together the "adobe", formatting a thick insulate wall impervious to heat and cold. For unknown reasons, adobes were always 11x11x4 inches thick. Molded by hand in crude wooden boxes they are baked in the sun before laying. To prevent weathering of the wall's surface, a plaster of fine silted mud and clay was applied. This was white washed each year to give the building a clean, warm feeling. Of the original house, that of which remains is a portion of the Marbella Meeting Room. Many of the walls in the remaining portion are 32" thick adobe.
The last of the Munras family to live in Monterey was Maria Antonia Field knows as "California's Princess", who was born in this house in 1885, and lived here until 1941. Maria Antonia's great grandfather was Esteban Munras. She never married. The Munras name has passed in trust to her niece, Maria Antonia Garvey, daughter of Maria Antonia Field's deceased brother Esteban.
Maria Antonia died in 1962 and is buried in the cemetery at the Carmel Mission Basilica. Before her death a plaque was attached to the outer portion of the lobby building which reads; "In Memory of Don Esteban Munras, last Spanish diplomat of California of the Spanish era for whom this was built in 1824. Dedicated by his great granddaughter, Maria Antonia Field, October 28, 1951." Additionally, The Munras Family Heritage Museum was dedicated in 1961, featuring five generations of heirlooms from the Munras-Manzanelli family.