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“Mixed thoughts” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Big Sur River Inn

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Big Sur River Inn
46840 Highway One, Highway 1 at Pheneger Creek, Big Sur, CA 93920   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 Big Sur B&B and Inns
Wellington, New Zealand
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Mixed thoughts”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

Have very mixed thoughts about this place. We stayed here for a friend's wedding. Definitely get a riverside suite if you can - the view from our balcony was gorgeous and it is much more convenient to things, although also fairly pricey! Plus you feel that you're taking your life in your hands crossing Highway 1 to the other rooms (particularly with anyone elderly or small children in your group). Room was very comfortable and nicely done and relaxing. Beds very comfortable and not too much highway/parking lot noise. No internet access except in the restaurant which was annoying with no tv and small children going to bed early. Pool area is nice, although the beautiful river wins. Staff were not overly friendly. For example we asked to check in early and were blankly told "come back at 3pm" - no suggestions of things to do, no offer of changing rooms and use of the pool. Also, the grassy area next to the river, chairs etc is open to the public and restaurant guests which is really nice in lots of ways and to be encouraged. But it also means we felt that we could have enjoyed the beautiful spot without paying the high price to stay (similarly with the pool and restaurant - hotel guests are not treated as special at all - at times we had to "prove" we belonged to the hotel rather than getting to enjoy relaxing amenities). In fact Sunday afternoons hop here, which is fun but also made us feel like the entire town was camped outside our hotel room.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
QuickSilver12, General Manager at Big Sur River Inn, responded to this review, October 20, 2012
We are extra appreciative of your review and want you to know that we have made some policy changes since your visit. We were pained to think that you left without a 100% good feeling about your stay at Big Sur River Inn. We are making sure that the wireless internet is up and running at all times and have redoubled our efforts in the area of guest relations. Our check in policy and treatment of guests upon arrival has been carefully reviewed and amended so that each guest will feel cared for and about. Thank you again for bringing these details to our attention.
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243 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
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English first
Redmond, Washington
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Big Sur River Inn solely based on price. The restaurant on site was nice - great atmosphere, great service, and perfectly cooked food. The food was a little on the expensive side, but very convenient to just walk from our room to the restaurant. The hotel also offers a great area by the river with chairs right in the water!

Our actual room left little to be desired however. The room was clean, but there was occasional weird sewage smells. The windows were single pane, so all the noise from the nearby road came right into the room. We were also able to hear conversations from the couple in the room next to us. The bed was ok, but with two people, we both rolled to the middle. The pillows were pretty flat, which resulted in horrible neck pain the following morning. Our room was also very warm when we checked in, but no a/c or ceiling fan is provided. Even with the window open, it took several hours to cool down. Good basic hotel, but no special amenities. If I returned to the area, I would choose a different place to stay.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle,
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

What a gift to stay in the heart of Big Sur without spending $700 a night OR sleeping in a tent. We selected this Inn for the atmosphere and proximately to beaches, view points, and funky shops and stops along the windy highway. It delivered. An afternoon sitting in the river chair with the sun sparkling on the water while drinking a bloody mary and listening to live music from the patio. Perfect way to end the summer. Noise at night??? Did not bother us at all. Maybe light sleepers could be disturbed by an occasional car passing. It is very quiet at night...not like the busy days. Beautiful flowers, good food, cute shops. A treat in a very special place.

Room Tip: Might be worth it to spend the extra money for the lodge rooms overlooking the river.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
QuickSilver12, Manager at Big Sur River Inn, responded to this review, September 8, 2012
Thanks so very much for taking the time to write a review, Maureen! And for sharing your experience at Big Sur River Inn. Seeing guests like you sitting in a chair ... in the river - being truly relaxed is one of our great joys! We're glad that you enjoyed your stay and hope you will return to Big Sur in the not too distant future. Thank you again!
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Bonn, Germany
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

The rooms are nice and clean and good smelling. However, there is no service at all. The standard room rates of more than twohundred dollars per night are absolutely not reasonable.

There is no Wifi in the rooms, only in the restaurant. The street is very loud and you hear it very clear in your bedroom. No coffeemachine in the room and no free coffee for hotelguests in the restaurant. You have to buy the breakfast and each cup of coffee separately.
In front of the rooms is a lot of dirt and dust and the direct environment does not look very pretty.

No, not again!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

We were travelling up from Los Angeles to San Francisco, this was a great stop over. The location was amazing and it was beautiful being by the river. The restaurant had some lovely local wines to share and the food was great. It was perfect for what we wanted and we all had a fabulous time.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salinas, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

My Husband I just got back yesterday from the Big Sur River Inn, celebrating both my Husbands's B-Day and our Wedding Anniversary. We are the couple that can find the positive in darn near everything. We are also that same couple who finds it irritatitng when a review has nothing but negative things to say. So here I hope you find both....all that is wonderfull and all that his not! This was a childhood haunt of mine...it came with very high expectations as many summer weekends were spent on the lawn listening to music.

What rocks!!
Get the 1 bedroom suite...the view and the sound of the river...sighh..unbelievable. Could wake up to that every day.
The beds are UBER comfy with nice duvet's and tons of pilows.
The rooms are spotless...hats off to housekeeping for an imaculate job.
Everything is in close proximity...forget something at home...no problem, the General Store will have it for ya.
Sunday's its music on the lawn from 1-5...pick from an adirondack chair on your own deck, on the lawn or even one in the river....can't beat these spots.
Did I mention the view?

Now for what didn't work so well.
They are "famous" for their BBQ. Infamous perhaps, as we had what was likely the first slab of the day....but probably a few days prior...it was hard, dry, no flavor and inedible. All that can be yours for $19.00 USD.
We thought dinner would be better, it was our anniversary and bday celebration after all. I ordered filet (medium) and my Hubbs got the lemon rosemary chicken. The steak was WELL done and there was no hint of lemon OR rosemary on the chicken...at least it was moist.
Not a single wait staff, lunch or dinner, asked us how our food was, if we needed anything else...nothing. Dropped off the food, the dessert menu and the check. No service there...which saddened me as that is not how I remember the place in the past..
The walls are paper thin, so maybe some ear plugs...unless you enjoy hearing blow by blow how the neighbors in the room next door are making their last ditch marrital effort to resolve their promlems. Ummm no.
On property public restrooms were really dirty and looked like they hadn't been updated since the 70s.

All in all, we determined we will definately go back for day trips...time on the lawn with music and beer...but bring our OWN food! Stay again? Maybe....those views at night are incredible.

Give it a shot....for the low low price of $285 a night

Room Tip: The suites facing the river have THE best view, but the bedroom window backs up to the parking lot a...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

Fortunately we had only booked a one night stay at Big Sur River Inn. We stayed in some lovely hotels and motels during our two week trip to California in August but this was a huge (and overpriced) let down.
I am quite happy to accept the lack of a tv and relax with my book but, what is not clear from the photographs of the motel rooms, is that the main highway is a few feet from the veranda, with cars passing constantly. A tv (or earplugs) would be useful to drown out the noise.
On the whole the standard of cleanliness in the room and bathroom was good. However, when we went to bed, we discovered two cigarette burns, one in the duvet cover and the other on the sheet. As a lifetime non-smoker I found this revolting, not to say puzzling in a non-smoking establishment. At the same time I discovered that my bedside lamp would not work. When we pulled out some furniture to look, it was obvious that previous guests had unplugged lamps to use sockets for charging. I would expect lamps to be checked and in working order, not to be crawling around the floor in the middle of the night to sort them out.
The final irritation came after my shower in the morning. 200 dollars for the night and NO HAIR DRIER!
On the plus side, we ate at the restaurant. The food was delicious and the service excellent.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Big Sur River Inn

Address: 46840 Highway One, Highway 1 at Pheneger Creek, Big Sur, CA 93920
Location: United States > California > Big Sur
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Big Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A quaint stream-side inn. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Big Sur River Hotel Big Sur

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