Refuge by the Sea

Refuge by the Sea

Asilomar (meaning "Asylum or refuge by the sea" and pronounced a-SIL-o-mar) is a combination of two Spanish words: "asilo" and "mar".

Asilomar Pronunciation A-SIL-O-MAR

The Asilomar concept was first born in 1897, when the YWCA held its first western regional conference at Mills College near Oakland, California. Later, between 1900 and 1911, the Pacific Coast Field Committee conferred each year at the old Hotel Capitola near the beach at Santa Cruz. The committee was then composed of some of the most influential and prestigious women in California: Phoebe Apperson Hearst (mother of pioneer publisher, William Randolph Hearst), Ellen Browning Scripps (a successful publisher), Mrs. Warren Olney and Mary Sroufe Merrill (who authored a history of Asilomar and its founding).

Asilomar Tent Inspection in 1917

In 1912, the Hotel Capitola was destroyed by fire, and that summer Hearst opened her estate, Hacienda del Pozo Verona, near Livermore, for the YWCA's leadership conference. The conference was held in a miniature tent city furnished with iron beds, mattresses, blankets, electricity and running water for over 300 attendees. The red and white canvas tents and equipment that Hearst provided were later to become the original furnishings of Asilomar. It was at this conference that Hearst embraced the YWCA's idea to build a western conference grounds.

Crocker Dining Hall circa 1920

Asilomar Conference Grounds, with over 105 years on the Monterey Peninsula, offers a unique setting that combines beautiful architecture, historic charm and a treasure trove of memories for our guests. With plenty of activities for people of different ages and interests - you will never have a dull moment here. With its windswept location on the California coast – Asilomar is exactly where you should be if you seek to disconnect and unplug from your everyday routine.

We do not have phones or TV’s in our guestrooms and we serve all our meals as a family-style setting. These customs help reinforce a peaceful and relaxing experience. We do encourage outdoor activities, sightseeing of wildlife and becoming familiar with our history. We have historical rooms that our guests can enjoy as well as onsite amenities like bike rentals, walking tours, park store, café, pool, and volleyball and let’s not forget the BEACH!! Your stay is precise that refuge by the sea where you are one with nature.

For more information on things to do at Asilomar, please reach out to Vanessa Parra, Marketing Manager or visit our Things to Do page.


Vanessa Parra

Vanessa Parra, Marketing Manager, of Asilomar Conference Grounds holds a B.S. in Graphic Communication from CAL POLY, San Luis Obispo, CA. She comes with experience in Marketing & Sales. She is recognized for growing strategic relationships with clients and businesses. Social Media is her Marketing tool of preference to increase engagement and brand awareness. She also enjoys spending time at Pumpkin Patches with her husband and daughter on her free time. If you would like to reach out to Vanessa, please email her at