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“good .. but could be great”

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Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 26, 2012

Nothing to say about the location or the rooms, both are great; I admit I still prefer the Post Ranch Inn over the Ventana but the latter still has plenty to offer if you're looking to relax and have a nice meal.
All the conditions are there to turn this peaceful haven into a truly luxurious resort except for those details - that are never just "details" - and which make the difference between a good hotel and a true luxury hotel such as the ones from the Relais & Châteaux or Small Luxury Hotels of the World chains. Management definitely needs to travel a little and learn.
In conclusion: great location, great rooms, good restaurant, luxury prices but ... no luxury perfomance

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank business_nomadNice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 22, 2012

Try the Ventana inn and Spa in Big Sur on your next visit. It is beautiful, quiet, has excellent service, room is generous and comfortable. The meals at the restaurant is delicious. Wine tasting with cheese samples in the afternoons. SPA was very very good. The staff friendly and capable. We had a lovely stay.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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Thank hpmarge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2012

From the moment we arrived we felt so taken care of. The bellman picked us up at our parking spot, put the bags in the golf cart and drove us up to check in. Check in was easy and everyone was so nice (it was our 25th anniversary). The bellman took us to our room and brought our luggage in and showed us what we needed to know about the room. The manager had chocolate dipped strawberries, a chilled bottle of champagne and a very sweet note waiting for us in our room. We were in Bay House 55. Our deck overlooked the meadow and out to the ocean. We had a fabulous hot tub, hammock and seating area on the deck. Inside the room was spacious and beautiful, glass enclosed shower, beautiful soaking tub, double sinks and separate room for the commode. Fireplace in the room was equipped with easy to light wood in a burlap bag. The bed was really comfortable.
We each had a fabulous massage in the spa.
The continental breakfast is pretty complete, wonderful homemade oatmeal, house made granola, pastries, hard boiled eggs, breakfast breads and an assortment of coffee and tea and juices.
Dinner at the Ventana Inn restaurant was really special. I have some food allergies and I'm used to having to just deal with it at most restaurants. Our waiter, Francisco, was fabulous. He saw the note on the reservation, checked with the chef before he ever came to our table and was ready to assist me to order a selection of dishes that could be made without garlic and onion. The food was delicious, the service impeccable and we had a fabulous 25th anniversary, thanks in part, to all the wonderful staff at Ventana Inn and Spa.

Room Tip: We liked the BayHouse. Room 57 does not have anyone above it.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Travelerandfriend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2012

I got married on 7/7 in Pleasanton, CA and then drove the 1.5 hours down to Mission Ranch in Carmel to spend the first day of my honeymoon there. We then drove the 30 minutes from Carmel to Big Sur to stay at Ventana.

COULD NOT HAVE SPENT A MORE ROMANTIC 2 DAYS IF I HAD TRIED!

Breakfast here is insane - sticky buns are one of the best things I've ever eaten. Our room was very rustic, but in a high end way (think luxury tree house), which contrasted with Mission Ranch, where our room was just rustic (not very luxurious. The have a shampoo and conditioner dispenser rather than small bottles of soap!). The wine and cheese reception was over the top, the wine was poured by the Sommelier who was also knowledgeable about the cheese selection.

Service was impeccable, with a shoutout to Memo for ferrying us around in the golf carts whenever we needed it.

We visited the restaurant, which was great. Food, service, and most importantly the view were all top notch (we also ate at the Big Sur Bakery, and had drinks at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch. Big Sur Bakery was severely overpriced and the service was lackign, Sierra Mar has a great view, but Post Ranch oozes pretension).

Overall, this place is the ideal spot for a relaxing honeymoon or an epic date. We also did wine tastings in Carmel Valley, and they have vouchers at the front desk for free tastings, which certainly came in handy as tastings are generally $7-$10/person.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank dhc905
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2012

We stayed in the Big Sur suite during a babymoon with our second child. The room was large and modern. I loved having a wood burning fireplace in the room as the evenings could get quite chilly. The grounds were beautiful and well maintained. We hiked on the path to the restaurant on the property, which was a nice 10 minute walk. Although not advertised, the hotel also has a shuttle that will take you to restaurants in the area. It was great to park your car upon arrival and not have to think about driving during our stay.

The hotel was extremely laid back; people walk around the property in just their bath robes. There are two pools and Japanese baths on the property, one of which is clothing optional.
The hotel also offers a complimentary continental breakfast. They even had a barista so that you can order espresso, cappuccinos, etc.

I had a prenatal massage and prenatal scrub at the spa during our stay. However, the treatments were very average, and the spa did not have any special facilities.

Because the hotel does not allow children, I do not know if we will be back. However, I would recommend the hotel to others who are looking for a peaceful getaway.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank aliciaandnick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2012

Ventana Inn is just across Hwy 1 from Post Ranch which I reviewed recently. I have been asked over the years which resort is better? Both resorts have their own distinctive character and both are fantastic getaways. Ventana is built on a forested hill side with distant ocean views. Post ranch is built on an ocean ridge. Both inn's are newly redecorated. Ventana has flat screen TV’s. Both resorts are best described as romantic getaways, with nothing much for children to do. Ventana has a clothing optional pool and a regular pool. We have been taking an annual trip to Big Sur for 20 years and it our honeymoon location. As for Ventana inn itself. The rooms are cozy and exude rustic luxury. The restaurant is fantastic and there is a daily wine reception. Most rooms have a hot tub and fireplace. Ventana though not inexpensive usually costs us less than Post Ranch. Most of the staff has been there for years and many remember us from previous stays. The drive along the California coast from Cambria to Monterey is one of the most beautiful coast drives in the world. Ventana Inn is a wonderful place stop for a few days or stay a week, relax take a spa treatment and reconnect with that special person in your life. If you are looking for a place to getaway for a few days and wind down Big Sur is a great place to reset you life clock. We avoid Big Sur in the summer because of the mobile homes and slow traffic pulling trailers on Hwy 1. Also the coast of California has more fog along the coast in summer than winter (Ventana is usually above the clouds even in summer). We always travel to Big Sur during the week and in the off season, to avoid traffic.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank 2far
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2012

We stayed here on our honeymoon and loved the peace and beauty of Ventana. It's a place that members of our family have stayed at many times over the years, but it was our first time and it certainly won't be the last. The drive through Big sur is spectacular and you wonder where the hotel could be, and when you round the corner and pull into the check-in area it's stunning. Wild lavendar and daisies everywhere you look. The rooms are great, service is top notch -we got there hours before required check-in and our room was ready, food, ambiance just everything is fabulous. We didn't want to leave!

Room Tip: We heard some fellow travelers talk about The Pacific House. We stayed in a different part of the h...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kelli M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort

Address: 48123 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920-9538 (Formerly Ventana Inn & Spa)
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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Big Sur
#3 Family Hotel in Big Sur
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Big Sur
Price Range: $746 - $1,347 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 59
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Even when you're inside, you'll always be connected to the outdoors at Ventana Big Sur – our luxurious, rustic and inviting guestrooms are tucked among the meadows and redwoods. Ventana's 59 rooms and suites are arranged around our 160-acre property in secluded groupings, offering the utmost in privacy and serenity. Constructed of sun-bleached cedar, the buildings blend harmoniously into the natural surroundings, with interiors featuring rich leathers and woods that provide a soothing, sophisticated retreat. ... 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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