First off...we love Big Sur. We have been visiting this ethereal region three times a year for the past five years. We take our kids and stay in cabins by the river; sometimes we stay in cabins by the river as well...but when it is time to really retreat into nature, romance, and ourselves...we head to Ventana.
After the car turns off Highway 1, at the spot where the highway is just about to head into the valley, at the wooden VENTANA sign, you know you are about to be whisked away into a very special place. The road meanders up the mountain through the forest passing wild turkeys, squirrels, rabbit, and deer. They seem to not even notice the incredible vistas that greet you around each turn.
Finally you reach the parking area and get out of your car. You walk up the hill to the front office, passing beautiful California wild flowers that are so "Big Sur." The path is decorated with beautiful fountains-the soft sound of falling water calms the senses and you begin to feel like you are home.
There is so much to enjoy here from the hammocks that can be found throughout the property; from the Japanese hot baths (one clothing -optional) to the deer that graze in the meadows.
Our first trip we stayed in the Canyon building (pre-remodel)-we loved sitting on the deck in chairs looking out over the Ventana wilderness. But I have to say the last trip we took was by far the best travel experience I have ever had.
We were upgraded to a newly remodeled spa suite. The four poster bed was beautiful and very comfortable. We had a plasma flat screen-dvds available-(but come on, who really needs tv in Big Sur?), a BOSE system...with the Ventana favorites includign Richard DeVinck's classical guitar renditions of Led Zeppelin favorites-which we purchased on one of our last visits...as well as a wonderful deep soaking tub, slate and glass shower-with window overlooking the Pacific...and an amazing deck complete with hammock and a 2-person hot tub. We spent most of our time here...sunsets were fabulous-the deer grazed not more than 8 feet away from us while the fading sun filtered through the trees-painting us golden. And the night sky...a blanket of stars twinkle on the dark canvas. From the vantage point of the hot tub, we were dazzled by its grandeur.
The massage we had at the spa were wonderful. It was just what we needed to really begin to relax...
We also love walking through the wooded path that snakes through a grove of redwoods to Ventana's Cielo restaurant. The path is lit with tiny white lights and has benches to sit and rest or reflect along the way. We even elected to walk back though it had been dark for hours. We felt that the faeriefolk were dancing in the forest through which we walked. It really is a magical place.
We also took the opportunity to go on a hike lead by a Central Coast local, Justice. He took us to a secret spot...let me just tell you-it was beautiful. We have visited Partington Cove before, but this trip showed us even more of its hidden beauty. Not only were we dazzled by the visuals, but Justice told us all about its history and gave us insight on the magic of the redwoods and other local flora and fauna. I would highly recommend this hike-or at least the complimentary nature walks given daily.
We mourned our departure, but we celebrated the experience by having one more meal at Cielo. The second night we were there, we ate in the restaurant...the last night we ordered decadent room service in the comfort of our wonderful room in the Bay building. This was to be lunch al fresco...on the patio that overlooks the rest of the world. It was a beautiful sunny day. Spring had ushered herself in all her wondrous glory! The curve of the world can be seen from Cielo's patio, and with the sun shining, the Pacific calmly ebbing and flowing, and the sky hanging there blue and cloudless, we were at peace with everything. The Ventana experience had brought us to a place, inside ourselves, that yoga, and Zen, and Prozac...and all the other curealls offered across the world fail to find.
I have read other reviews, and I just am totally baffled over how some people come to take things for granted. This world is filled with amazing places...VENTANA INN is one of its most special. There is REAL MAGIC here. I can't help but smile when I think of the place. It is somewhere I will visit again and again and again...
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.