One of the first residences built outside the walls of the old Presidio, Casa Munras Garden Hotel and Spa, located in Old Monterey, 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.
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.