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“Secluded getaway among the trees” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ventana Inn & Spa

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Ventana Inn & Spa
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   48123 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920   |  
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Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Secluded getaway among the trees”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

We have been retracing our honeymoon road trip up the California coast on Highway 1 along the Pacific for the last week and spent an evening the Ventana Inn (which was our splurge spot on our initial trip many years ago). It is still quite an exclusive laid back, quiet and peaceful resort and we enjoyed our short stay this go around.

The rooms are clustered throughout the property and we opted for one with a fireplace. Reception was friendly and service was very good. There is one clothing optional hot tub and sauna area that we chose to avoid. The exercise room is very dated and not equipped the way we are now accustomed to expect. Dinner at the Ventana Inn Restaurant was accented by delicious food, sometimes spotty service, and an excellent wine list with numerous half bottles so a couple could experience a multitude of the area wines that are excellent values. Kudos to the Wine Director!

In summary, the resort does show its age and could use some sprucing up but our memories, both of the original trip and this repeat are pleasant.

Room Tip: Views may be fogged in or just of the surrounding woods. Opt for a fireplace and enjoy the coziness...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ventana M, Front Office Manager at Ventana Inn & Spa, responded to this review, October 6, 2012
Thank you for taking your valuable time to write your thoughtful comments on your recent stay. We’re sorry to hear we fell short of meeting or even exceeding your expectations.

As you know, we are located on the coast in a micro climate. While there are many wonderful things you can do on a sunny clear day, there are equally nice things to experience when the weather is in climate.

Thank you for noting the rustic luxury of Ventana. Or property is meant to have a certain weathered look to it from the outside, while being completely luxurious on the inside.

I am sorry that our fitness room did not meet your expectations however it was designed to give you everything you need to get a great workout while on getaway, along with understanding that the majority of our guests utilize the amazing outdoor options of the area.

Thank you for mentioning the impeccable customer service you received. Ultimately this is our goal and I’m glad you were not disappointed. Sincerely, Shane Prince, Front Office Manager
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613 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (132)
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English first
London
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

We were enjoying the Post Ranch so much we decided to stay another night in Big Sur. As the PR was full we booked the Ventana (on the directly opposite hill and about which we had heard good things).

It was a little cheaper but the two do not compare.

Had we not stayed at the PR first the Ventana might have appeared better. The room was spacious and well kitted out. There was also a large deck to the rear. However the room was dark and needed electric lighting even in the morning. All the towels seemed a little tired (unintended greying and signs of snagging) and the breakfast offering was disappointing. While I have no language skills myself I found some of the staff difficult to understand. We were probably spoiled by our PR experience but but the Ventana did not feel nearly as accomplished or special.

We has a very dissappointing dinner (separately reviewed possibly a little too harshly) and overall were left feeling shortchanged by the experience. At over $950 for a room and dinner it seemed poor value.

While friends have previously been very positive about the Ventana they hadn't been to the PR to compare against. If we had only stayed at the Ventana our reaction would probably been a little more positive.

Over the course of our trip we stayed in 10 hotels ranging from the very expensive to some more sensibly priced options. The Ventana was about 8th on our list when cost and experience were looked at together.

Both the Ventana and Post Ranch are very expensive but I would only return to the latter.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

The bad bits first:

Mosquitoes, a lot of them! We were eaten alive the first two nights. My companion subsequently developed a rash, sore throat and bowel troubles which are all symptoms of the West Nile Virus... On the first night we heard the mosquitoes buzzing and called reception, all they offered was a "natural" mosquito repellent that turned out to be completely ineffective. The second we had bought our own repellent also to no effect. The next morning we complained to reception who sounded rather uninterested. After coaxing they agreed to spray the room, and offer some scented candles. The spray did the trick, but the candles only appeared at check out time...

The Japanese hot baths & the sauna were a bit of let down. The first no comfortable (nowhere to sit but the steps), the second warm rather than hot. Not a disaster, but not great either.

The good bits:

The location is amazing. It is beautiful, easy access to a lot of great places, and yet feels refreshingly remote.

The room we had was incredibly private (felt like a lone cabin in the woods), had an amazing view, it was large and well appointed, the bathroom was impressive (great shower & tub), the fire a nice touch, the hot tub a real treat.

The food at the restaurant was excellent, we had two fantastic meals.

The pools, breakfast room, gym, surrounding path, and DVD collection are all great bonuses.

The massage at the spa was exceptional! A must do!!!

Conclusion:

Without the mosquitoes (and illness), this would have been a fabulous experience. We were disappointed that given the mosquitoes are clearly a feature of the area the hotel is not better prepared to handle them (e.g. mosquito coils or scented candles, more aggressive repellent or even insecticide) and did not seem terribly bothered about it when we asked for help.

Room Tip: Bring your own mosquito repellent! Coast House is a great one to stay in, next to car park and rec...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Columbus, Ohio
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2012

The place was very serene and beautiful and well accommodated. And my husband proposed to me there so I suppose that made the trip even more interesting and romantic. The afternoon wine and cheese sessions were lovely as were the breakfasts on the terrace. Really appreciated that you could bring all of the items back to the room on a tray to partake in front of the fireplace or in the private hot tub. The morning yoga was really nice too. There were some amazing views and walks. And it right across from the post ranch inn where the dining is spectacular!

Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Carmel Valley, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

I live locally, and have been to Ventana's restaurant for lunch. My sweetie, though, was really excited about taking me to the resort for my birthday, and boy, do I understand why.

From our welcome at check-in, my first day at the hotel was a hint of things to come. We met some lovely folks at the wine and cheese reception and then retired to our room to dip into the private hot tub on our room's deck. We had an ocean view, of course, and we enjoyed a complimentary bottle of champagne in honor of my birthday celebration. What a life!

The actual day of my festivities was pretty amazing. We enjoyed the continental breakfast and then met in the lobby for the property walk with Stephen Copeland. He had a wealth of knowledge and was personable and engaging.

Then it was a light lunch at the restaurant, a visit to the Japanese bath and pool (with poolside cocktail service - how lovely!), and off to a fabulous birthday meal overlooking the forest and mountains, in front of the fire and with a gorgeous view of the sunset.

The rest of our visit went on in the same vein. The level of service and general serene atmosphere of the property was so soothing to my partner and me. We didn't watch television while we were there - for us, this is a big deal, as we're baseball nuts and the Giants are in first place! We read, hiked, ate, drank, soaked, and basked in the glow of each other's company. The staff help create this atmosphere of calm spiritual relaxation, so that we, as guests, can simply focus on experiencing the joy of being there.

I can't recommend this resort highly enough - as you may be able to tell!

Room Tip: You can choose between rooms looking into the canyon/forest or those overlooking the bluff to the oc...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ventana M, Front Office Manager at Ventana Inn & Spa, responded to this review, October 6, 2012
Thank you for your extensive review. We like to think that we specialize in special occasions such as yours and we were very excited to hear your feedback. Between dining, spa and hiking it sounds like you had a fantastic weekend! Come see us again soon. Sincerely, Shane Prince, Front Office Manager
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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
179 reviews 179 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

Nothing could be more wonderful than staying at Ventana --- unless it's staying longer. We felt pampered from the moment we arrived by a warm welcome and glass of wine. Our room was gorgeous, with a big four poster bed, a comfortable sitting area with working fireplace, a wet bar, a great bathroom area with a large soaking tub, a stall shower with a window view of the mountain, separate toilet and double sinks. Best of all was our private balcony with hammock and chairs, facing the woods and mountain. We hiked to the dining room for dinner our first night, and it really is a hike to get there --- wear sneakers. Breakfast is included with the room, and they put out a lovely breakfast where everyone can sit outside and eat. The hotel offers a morning hike on the property led by a naturalist, and we went on that hour long hike that included an ocean view as well as redwoods and deer. We took advantage of the incredible location on Big Sur, driving along the coastline and eating dinner the second night at Deetjen's, to which the hotel provided van service both ways (they also offered to transport us to their restaurant by golf cart but we chose to walk.) I only regret that we weren't there long enough to check out the pools, the Japanese bath, their room service, etc. The hotel was even nice enough to provide us with a welcoming bottle of champagne, knowing it was my birthday. Beware, this place is very expensive, but if you can afford it, it's worth it!

Room Tip: We were in room 14 which was convenient to the main lodge where check-in and breakfast were served...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2012

We stayed for 2 nights at the Post Ranch and loved Big Sur so much that we decided to stay for a night at Ventana. We were expecting a similar experience as the pricing is comparable. The hotel is pretty and the grounds well maintained. We were up graded to a Big Sur Suite which was a good size and nicely furnished - it reminded us of a ski lodge. The room was however on the ground floor and very dark. Dinner at the restaurant was poor. We went for the vegetable option although we are not vegetarians as we liked the selection of courses. Apart from the salad it was average, over cooked risotto and stodgy gnocchi. It all felt a bit pre cooked. I assume the meat options are better as the restaurant generally gets good reviews. Service was very good. Breakfast rather than lavish as per the website was more of a Holiday Inn standard. Overall it was fine but it was just a hotel in a beautiful place and not really worth the money.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ventana Inn & Spa

Address: 48123 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Big Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Big Sur
#2 Romantic Hotel in Big Sur
#3 Family Hotel in Big Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ventana Inn & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 62
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ventana Inn & Spa is a luxurious resort nestled in the mountains above California’s central coast. Situated on 243 acres of wooded hillside, 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean on the Big Sur coast, Ventana Inn & Spa is quiet, secluded and beautiful. The Inn provides a peaceful and soothing atmosphere enhanced by its proximity to the area’s natural wonders. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ventana Inn And Spa
Ventana Hotel Big Sur
Ventana Resort Big Sur
Ventana Inn Big Sur

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