Venue Information

Asilomar Conference Grounds

The Asilomar Conference Grounds is a conference center set in a California State Park. It is located in the western tip of the Monterey Peninsula. The name Asilomar is derived from the Spanish phrase asilo al mar, which means refuge by the sea. Asilomar is particularly known for hosting the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA in 1975, organized by Paul Berg – a Nobel-prize winning scientist in the field of recombinant DNA technology.  The conference participants discussed the hazards of biotechnology, and established guidelines to ensure the safety of recombinant DNA technology.

Asilomar is composed of dozens of meetings rooms set in the midst of the state park. Many of the meeting rooms as well as guest rooms have ocean views and plenty of natural light.  The Crocker Dining Hall (photo below) will be where meals are provided during ISWC.


The main meeting room is Merrill Hall (photos above), seating over 500 people. It will host the ISWC 2018 keynote talks. Merrill Hall has windows all around to let in natural light, giving great views of the dunes and ocean.

There are various boardwalks in and around the Asilomar Conference Grounds; some going along the coast, others leading out to the Asilomar State Beach (photos above).

The Asilomar State Beach is 1-mile long, and has an equally long walking trail that runs through the dunes. There is also a cycling trail that goes along the coast in the main road. The ocean just off shore is a protected area known as the Asilomar State Marine Reserve, which is a part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The rocky coves form an ecosystem that is home to thousands of species, some of them unique to the Monterey Bay.


Venue Map



Located in the Phoebe A. Hearst Social Hall across from the Front Desk, the Park Store is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Store hours are subject to change).

Here are just a few of the items that can be purchased at the Park Store:



Asilomar has created an additional venue within the Hearst Social Hall which has quickly become a favorite place to gather and relax for guests and local residents alike. Phoebe’s Café has enhanced the Asilomar experience in a style that remains true to the historic nature of the entire grounds.

Sit back in the comfortable, antique setting of the Café and the Social Hall to enjoy coffee and tea creations, fresh baked goods including Chef Danny’s Asilomar Cookie, light bites, lunch specialties and for the first time in 100 years, beer and wine. Whether it’s a snack on the adjoining outdoor deck or a glass of wine and cheese platter by the roaring fire in the main hall, great moments begin in Phoebe’s Café.
The Café’s Hours are: 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM – Daily



The Business Center is located next to the Asilomar Front Desk in the Hearst Social Hall, and is open from 6:30 am – 12 midnight daily.

Wi-Fi service is offered complimentary in the Business Center and in the Phoebe Hearst Social Hall. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi service available in all guest rooms at Asilomar.

Safe deposit boxes are available at the Front Desk.


Asilomar’s jitney (an on-grounds only shuttle service) is available to transport guests anywhere on the grounds. Priority is always given to the elderly and disabled. There is no charge for the service.


There is parking available in the designated areas. Please be aware of one-way roads, the speed limit of 10 mph, and loading zones. Roads must be kept clear at all times for emergency and service vehicles. There is a strict 10-minute parking zone next to the Hearst Social Hall.










Please note: There is no life guard on duty at the pool.