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“Quaint, charming, romantic!” 5 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
Pleasant Hill, California
Top Contributor
162 reviews 162 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
“Quaint, charming, romantic!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

My wife and I had not been to Big Sur for a couple of decades (at least) and didn't know whether the place had changed. It hasn't -except that the food is even better than we remembered.

To get a flavor of the Big Sur we recalled, we decided to stay at Deetjen's. What a great idea! It is still the quaint, charming, romantic place it has been for many, many years. It doesn't matter if the fog rolls in or the sun beats down (though it's rare when it does), it's rustic at its best. We loved our fireplace and watched the fire each night with the lights off. The service is pleasant -professional, courteous and non-intrusive- and the restaurant is superb. (More on that in a separate review.)

We walked up the trail (road) that begins in the property and climbs to spots that offer great views of the ocean. Half way up we were greeted by a mama fox and two cubs

Best of all, there was no wi-fi and we couldn't connect to AT&T!

Room Tip: They are all unique; Get one with a fireplace.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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308 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (75)
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English first
Oxford, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

My husband and I chose to stay here in March 2012 when we were visiting the area for a family wedding. We prefer unique hotels and B&Bs over the big chain hotels and Deetjen's does not disappoint if that's what you're looking for! It's a fun, very unique little hotel in Big Sur. We were in a smaller room with a shared bath, which we were fine with just to get the experience. It's a very quiet, relaxing area with plenty of hikes down to various beaches (the staff had directions on-hand to get us to a nearby beach with purple sand, very cool). Also, just note, the walls are thin but all guests are warned of this and seem to follow the "quiet hours" at night so everyone can get a good night sleep.

Book ahead as there aren't many rooms and make sure you have breakfast there as well, everything is delicious!

  • 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
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Blackburn, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

We stayed one night in the 'Faraway' room, which as the name suggests is furthest from reception/restaurant, but that was an advantage, as we had the longest lovely walk back through the forest paths and none of the issues regarding neighbours which some reviewers have mentioned.

If you are used to modern hotels I'd advise to stay one or maybe two nights here to soak up a very different experience, but don't expect any modern amenities like phones, TV etc - there are none - but what a pleasure that is for a short break!

Our room had its own private deck from which we overlooked the small steep river valley and huge trees. We bought some wine and goodies from the store up the road and had a wonderful time getting disconnected from the modern world and watching the birds which came to visit.

Each room has a visitors' book going back years and years - the stories in ours made us laugh and cry - so many tales. A collection of some of the most interesting would make a wonderful book....a project for someone?!

Those tales set the tone, and the room itself with wood stove, very comfy old fashioned bed and rocking chair gave us a sense of the history of the place. Yes, it is rustic, but very comfortable and the bathroom was small but everything worked just fine.

The food - we had dinner and breakfast - was absolutely first rate - look no further, but do take some supplies for snacks and a drink in your room at other times as there is nowhere within walking distance or at the hotel.

Too often places are called 'special' or 'unique' - this place definitely is both. I'm guessing not everyone will 'get' the ambience - and I wouldn't take most teenagers there (no offence meant) but combined with the approach via highway 1 and the forest location it is a little slice of something very different that will clearly and fondly stay in my mind long after many other places I've stayed fade.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Cambridgeshire, UK
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

It's all been said already. But, if you've done the big, luxury hotels and want something different and quaint, stay here on your way down the coast road. We took 3 rooms for the family and, yes, the rooms are made of wood, with a real wood burner stove. As I woke in the night I can tell you that it is very quiet even on the main highway, with just 1 or 2 cars an hour. The beds are very comfortable, the decor and atmosphere quite unique, and I wish more places like this existed. It's also so cheap (as the hotel is a not for profit establishment), and the staff are so nice! Dinner was fantastic, with great wines, brilliant food (quality over quantity) and a really interesting wine list to dig into. All accompanied with some lovely classical music and wonderful hosts.

I suppose this is a love it or hate it kind of place and as a man who spends 30-40 days a year in Hyatt/Intercon-like comfort on business, this was a welcome change. I hope that they keep going.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

As a couple of senior citizens we were amused to get the honeymoon suite but we enjoyed it. Private garden, linen sheets, super comfy bed, no TV, no internet meant we could hear birds in the garden. Shared bathroom was no problem. Enjoyed the trail behind the inn that leads to a bench situated so you can breathe deeply, and survey the 270º view, watch the mist float in or out depending on when you make the trek. On site restaurant is a bit pricy however food is good, service is good and the atmosphere is cozy.

Room Tip: Talk to the person who takes your phone reservation. She will suggest the appropriate room to fit yo...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

I have been staying at Deetjens for 45 years and have never been disappointed in any of the rooms. You have to know what you are looking for. For a return to the past with Grandpa his room is tops. I knew Stokes and have chatted with him in his little house. Petite Cuisine is tiny but fun. Now that I am alone I usually ask for the Franklin Room because of the porch and the stove and because it is so close to breakfast. Deetjens is an American treasure which I plan to visit many more times. The noise from room to room is not an issue if you know what you are expecting. The restaurant, in my opinion, is one of the best on the West Coast. The cook who retired in the last few years was a friend who lived up top with a view of all outdoors and was beyond the pale as a chef. The food is still superb. I was there also during the Ed Gardien years when they had a family table. I have had dinner at that table with David Packard, folks from all over the world and traveling major executives and TV stars. How much fun to be normal with those type of folks.

Highly recommended for open minded travelers who want a glimpse of the real past in Big Sur.


San Diego

Room Tip: Be prepared for a place that was built by hand by a Norwegian immigrant without measuring tools or a...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Torreywaag, Manager at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, responded to this review, July 22, 2013
Thank you so much for your gracious review of Deetjens! It is always so gratifying to hear from people who really understand what our historic Inn is all about. We hope to see you back very soon.
Warmly,
Deetjens Inn
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013 via mobile

Arriving at Deetjens after an arduous long haul 14 hour flight to San Francisco was welcomed relief. I'm jet lagged and weary. The 13th room had been offered to me well in advance of my stay as they had explained that it was probably the quietest due to my jet lag problem.
First impressions were charming. It was like playing out as a child in an old shed that you'd made into a house. Gaps in the doors and walls, thin curtains, very basic but great fun. The smell of the wooden walls was intoxicating. The bed was wonderfully cozy.
But that's where it stopped. 8 hours ahead I needed to sleep. I put a do not disturb sign on the door and hoped for the best.
There were people above me, and to each side of me. They were up and down the wooden stairs that lead to their room, opening their doors that sounded just like mine opening... And of course there are no locks, just hooks (in the spirit of the old pioneers). They howled with laughter, had a row with management about a shower, discussed their road trips all right outside my door. The do not disturb sign counted for nothing.
They then proceeded to spend the night snoring, farting, and generally being intimate all night long to the point that it sounded and felt that they were right next to me.
Cars and vans went past on the narrow track outside my window at all hours and the busy A1 thundered along nearby.
Breakfast was fab, however the charming staff were a little over zealous and whipped our plates from under us at an alarming rate. I felt that I had been rushed.
Now you could say that it was my fault that I needed to sleep at an inappropriate time (6pm). That's true. But when I called Deetjens many months before and explained my position, they never mentioned the thin walls and the intense lack of privacy.
Indeed this issue was only revealed to me once in bed... An issue that I feel the other cabin inhabitants must have also realised, coz lets be honest, 4 families of snoring, toileting etc all on top of each other is no walk in the park unless warned and expected.
Would happily go back if I had the place to myself! Loved 'playing house' and enjoyed the pioneering experience, however Definitely not the place to come if jet lagged, or indeed with kids, ill, on honeymoon, needing space, rest, quiet time or soul searching. The only searching you will do is with a torch (supplied) in the middle of the night, for your headache tablets!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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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:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Big Sur
#4 Family Hotel in Big Sur
#5 Romantic 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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