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“Charm Galore” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

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Deetjen's Big Sur Inn
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48865 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
san diego
Level Contributor
18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“Charm Galore”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2007

Deetjen's is a little redwood inn tucked into a small canyon by the side of the road. The place is adorable, but so close to the road that you can hear the traffic. The one cool thing about it is that it makes the hwy look like a Disneyland ride - the way it crosses the canyon on a little trestle bridge. Our room, "Faraway," was ironically the closest to the road. It was very private though compared to some of the other rooms, where people walk by and are above and next to you. We shared only one wall with another unit in the same cabin. We had no neighbor problems - and a private bath, so that settled that.

On the next trip we will probably spring for the Creek House, near the back of the property, just to be away from the road with more space, and to be closer to the gorgeous little creek that runs nearby. It boasts a full brick fireplace and small antique kitchen and sleeps at least four, assuming you rent the whole thing (upstairs and down are also available separately.) The whole house goes for about $385 - our single room was $200, and had a woodstove and bath.

Deetjen's is booking six months in advance, due to recent press, including an article in the New York Times last January (which may be responsible for some of these disillusioned reviews?) Perhaps coincidentally, we noticed lots of New Yorkers in the guestbooks in the rooms - which are known for their "revealing" portraits of the room's previous occupants. Ahem.

We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room. The food is solid and hearty and the dining room is cozy with atmosphere galore. It's not the Four Seasons, but nor is it Denny's, it's unique and has it's own local character. If you can appreciate that you'll love it.

The pancakes at breakfast, served with real maple syrup, and the pork chops at dinner were especially good. The heirloom tomato salad was wonderful, with some perfect fresh mozzarella - and the crabcake appetizer was very good as well (though a bit small).

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the place after reading some of these reviews - it's in a gorgeous setting and has it's own lovely atmosphere. I don't get all the fretting about the locks on the doors, it's not that difficult to keep your valuables, such as they are, in your purse or car. Nobody's going to steal your underwear.

  • Liked — the charm and history
  • Disliked — small rooms, lack of cell phone and wi fi service, no phone in room.
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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369 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Texas!
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2007

I had hopes for this place because I am a fan of quaint and rustic inns. Little did I know what was about to transpire. The best thing I can say is that the bed was comfortable, but cross your fingers that you don't have someone snoring in the room next to you b/c the walls are paper thin and you can hear just about everything. Also, don't bring anything too valuable in your room b/c there are no locks!! You can lock your room from the inside, but if you plan on dining at their overpriced restaurant take your valuables with you. Forget about air circulation in the bathroom. We had the unfortunate luck of sharing the bathroom who had some issues and our room and the bathroom were saturated with the horrible smell.

So, about the restaurant..........don't expect friendly service. I guess their attitude towards the visitors is that they may never see us again, so what do they care? We walked downstairs for our dinner reservations 10 min early and we were given the worst table in the restaurant, about 1 foot from the bar where the locals were talking loudly and cursing over the course of our "romantic" dinner. The waitress acted as though she would rather be anywhere else than there doing her job. Don't waste your money there, go to Ventana Inn and eat at their restaurant and enjoy the spectacular views. That is what we ended up doing for the remainder of our meals.

Big Sur was beautiful, but if you want to go camping grab a tent, the smell around will probably be much more enjoyable.

  • Liked — The bed was pretty comfortable
  • Disliked — Apathetic Staff, Rude Staff
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2007

My wife and I stayed at Deetjen's for 2 nights while we were exploring the Big Sur area. To say that it's "rustic" is an understatement. The property has changed very little over the years, with very basic accomodations. That being said, our room was clean and we had no problems with insects, etc.

Unfortunately, this was one of the only affordable options in Big Sur during the summer, compared to the very nice (but overpriced) Post Ranch and Ventanna Inn. We had drinks at Post Ranch one night (best sunset view) and dinner at Ventanna, highly recommend doing that if you can't stay there.

  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Forest Grove
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2007

Deetjens is a great little Inn on the Big Sur highway. I can promise you will be way too mesmerized by Big Sur to see it the first time as it is tucked in a small bend of the road. Once you turn around and head back, you won't be dissapointed. First of all, there are no locks on the doors. You have a chickencoop style latch on the inside so can only technically lock the doors when in your room. My suggestion is to pack your stuff with you for the day no matter what they say. They area is full of peaceful hippy attitude, but there are too many travelers on that road for me to trust everyone.

The rooms all have different names and themes, but by far the best is the honeymoon suite. It has it's own backdoor with private courtyard and classic iron wood stove. The rooms are small for tall people but comfortable and quaint.

Deetjens also has a restaurant on site that is worth a look. I suggest breakfast since it is by far their best talent. Dinner is also wonderful but way too overpriced, and better dinners can be found at several locations up the Big Sur Highways, some offering views.

  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york, ny
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2007

My husband and I just returned from a trip to California that included four wonderful nights at Deetjen's. We stayed in "Chalet", which is upstairs, in a building with just 2 units (one upstairs and one downstairs). It felt like a cozy little treehouse! The redwoods were right outside our window, which we loved. Reading the journals in the room was very interesting. Also it is a great location on the Big Sur coastline - right between the 2 of the three state parks that have great hiking.

Tips:
1. We were there in the beginning of June, and Big Sur is chilly! Pack a jacket, and consider a room with a wood burning stove (our room was somewhat cold).

2. Go to breakfast at Deetjen's restruant - its just awesome.

3. Maybe dinner one night at Deetjen's, but I found it expensive for what it was.

If I was to go back, I might request either Castro Canyon Cabin or the Creek House, because they are furthest back from Highway 1. But Chalet was nice with its cozy tree-house feel. And yes, Deetjen's is not for everyone. If you want luxury, stay elsewhere, and stop by for breakfast instead.

  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Beaconsfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2007

I'm not surprised by the wide disparity in previous reviews - Deetjen's is the sort of place you'll either love or hate. There's no hiding the fact that it's not 5-star luxury, it gets cold at night and, yes, you can hear everything going on in the next room - from mundane conversation to more intimate activties. Having said that the website and the staff are very honest about this and there's no attempt to deceive. And, if you like individual, quirky places with plenty of character in a beautiful setting then this fits the bill.

There's also a nice story behind the hotel - Deetjen's was built by a Norwegian immigrant, starting in the 1930s and, in his will, the founder apparently requested that the property be kept in its orginal state. In keeping with this the hotel is run as a non-profit organisation.

We found the staff to be friendly and the food whilst, admittedly not cheap, was excellent.

The Ritz Carlton it is not but we loved it.

  • Liked — Individuality
  • Disliked — Breakfast was a bit pricey
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
38 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2007

Well, this hotel is really very cute and quaint, but the vast majority of its charm lies only in the setting. While the rooms are very authentic and do give the feel of being in an old log cabin from a hundred years back, the square footage is priced in accordance with the gold standard, it would seem! The hotel has some nice touches like a pretty wood-burning stove, for which a bag of easy-to-burn wood is provided, but each log is costing you about $20, so you better enjoy them! On the other hand, the room itself and especially the bathroom are in severe need of at least a slight update. The shower feels like a motorhome shower or worse, and the fire is necessary to stave off the freezing cold temperatures which enter through the paper thin walls.

The bottom line is that this hotel is only able to charge what it charges because of its location and the very small number of rooms available in Big Sur. Were it anywhere else, it would cost a quarter the price. So, while a charming option for the area, be prepared to pay through the nose for this rustic experience. And if you want breakfast or dinner, it is even worse. The prices are truly astronomical, for food that is good but would be worth a fraction of the amount elsewhere, even downtown Paris or London.

The staff is friendly, but it is a phoney, snooty sort of friendliness, which almost makes you feel like they are looking down their noses at you. I have plenty o' cash (or I wouldn't have stayed there) but showed up without a reservation (it was the low-low season) in extremely informal attire, and was appropriately treated with a bit of stuck-up disdain at several moments. If you dress informally here, make sure it is the type of informal that could make the pages of the fox hunting section of a Burberry's catalogue. I think the hotel's stardom has gotten to its head, which doesn't really match up with the woodsy surroundings. Kind of a weird experience.

  • Liked — the wood-burning stove
  • Disliked — the stuck-up staff
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

Address: 48865 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Location: United States > California > Big Sur
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Big Sur
#4 Romantic Hotel in Big Sur
#5 Family Hotel in Big Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 19
Also Known As:
Deetjen`s Big Sur Hotel Big Sur
Deetjens Big Sur Hotel
Deetjens Big Sur Inn

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