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Reviewed August 10, 2010

We stayed at the River Inn, frankly, from lack of any other choice. I believe there are three hotels in Big Sur, and this one is the cheapest. But that's relative. We paid $183 for what was essentially a motel room, and not even a great one at that. Clean and comfortable, to be sure, but there was not much in the room save for the bed, and the walls were plywood. It's essentially a shack.

I don't mean to knock the place. It was quaint, cute, and rustic. But there's no way it's worth $183. The night after this we stayed at the Intercontinental in Monterey for less. That being said, we found ourselves on the road late at night, tired and cold (we were on a motorcycle), and we couldn't push on to Carmel. So we had to find somewhere to stay, and this was it.

Besides all that, the staff were quite abrupt (i.e. "there's no TV or phone, the room is $183, ok?") Maybe it was a busy night.

The restaurant is better than we thought it would be, and not as overpriced as the hotel. Service there was good as well.

If I had to stay there again though, I'd take my meals at the burrito bar in the general store. Outstanding.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Duster11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2010

Big Sur, the name says it all. Beautiful beyond anything on the coast, Pfieffer Beach is the most spectacular main beach I have ever seen with waves crashing on the shore.

The Big Sur River Inn, expensive to the max, but you must spend a night or two in Big Sur instead of just a day. "Heated Pool" was cold. Motel, no table in the room, bathrooms small with having to sit at an angle on the commode. Next time I will pay more attention to the candid reviews from TripAdvisor. The burrito bar was excellent and the restaurant was fantastic but very expensive.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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Thank FamilyReview30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2010

We drove from south to north on highway 1, we went past all the places to stay at big Sur and the last one was Big Sur River Inn. While the hotel has a cozy atmosphere and set up, it sits on a little creek, to get to the beach and experience the wonderful views Big Sur has to offer you have to drive, and drive for at least 10 minutes. Most of the other lodging either they had ocean views or you just walked to them.... The bedrooms nice, trendy and cozy. Clean bathrooms. You have the choice of splurging in breakfast or go the the grocery store right there at River Inn and get something to go. The restaurant for dinner is expensive for what it has to offer. This place has a pool, but it is in an enclosed area so it's not inviting for people to come and relax there. They ave some wooden chairs, sitting on the water of the creek, so you get your feet wet while you enjoy the setting, that is the coolest thing of River Inn, by far. We had some wine there, visited with some folks doing the same...nice. Aside from that, drive, on any direction, because after sitting on the creek there is not much left. The staff didn't care much about our stay, they were in a simply whatever attitude, teenagers . We can go past that though. Restaurant closes at 9 pm.early for us, but there is a bar there that saves the night. They close at 11. Food OK . Next time? We drive further north to Carmel or stay farther south and enjoy the views from our room.

Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
Thank ChicktravelerTx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2010

Our cabin here was much nicer than we expected - the photos on the website are actually pretty representative. The cabin was absolutely spotless and very cosy and comfortable with a decent kingsize bed, and even provided quite nice toiletries in the small bathroom. Although there are no phones or TVs in the rooms there is free wifi.

The Inn itself is spread out around the main road, with cabins on one side of the road and restaurant, cafe and shops on the other. The food at the restaurant was okay, if a little pricey. But then everything in Big Sur is a little pricey.

The restaurant backs onto the Big Sur river, and I guess you could paddle in it if you wanted, although it was a little too chilly for that when we visited (in July). The only minor issue with the cabin could be the noise - all the cabins are in a single block and are not well sound-proofed, so you can hear everything your neighbour says. You can also hear traffic on the nearby road. Big Sur's the kind of place where everyone's tucked up by 10, though, so noise didn't disturb our sleep at all.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank happy_riad_fan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2010

If you want to hang in Big Sur and hang at the river, just bring a lawn chair to the River Inn and plop it down into the stream. There is a huge expanse of rolling hills (grassy) with a wonderful view of the river; it is also in good proximity to Pfeiffer State Beach -- less than a two mile drive (but get there early; parking is at a premium -- less than 25 spots).

I would definitely *hang* here again, but I would not stay: loud highway noise (expected), and the room rates absurd. We paid $160 a night PLUS tax each night for rooms that barely fit a family of four. Although the master bedroom bed was comfortable, had nice linens and was well-made (to echo another traveler, hats off to the housekeeping staff), there were several unkempt details. Peeling paint, bathrooms in need of makeovers, water damage on ceilings. No sundries (shampoo, etc.). It's like if you're in that area, you're a tourist and will pay sucker prices -- do yourself a favor: If you're headed to Big Sur, think about a campground instead. You'll save plenty of money for a great meal out at Nepenthe.

I *would* recommend the restaurant. The food was good, moderately priced (the wine list could use some attention), and excellent service. Big breakfasts, good for hangovers.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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Thank RoadKitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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