My husband and I did a road trip of California and I thoroughly researched all the accommodation options. Ventana was both the most expensive and the one I was most excited about staying in for 2 nights - the cost was approaching USD 1500 for the room plus breakfast. We were disappointed to the extent we checked out early. Now for the good bits Room itself was nice, it was a suite, and wasn’t huge but the basics were fine. It was nicely furnished and had all the amenities you’d expect from a deluxe hotel. We had paid up for the suite in the hope that we would get a view of the sea (this wasn’t guaranteed in their defence but a request was submitted at time of booking which given we had booked a reasonably long time in advance I would have hope was fulfilled). It wasn’t, we had a “canyon view” which is a misnomer as there is no canyon actually visible from the room at all, and a room who’s view was totally impeded by a tree at the front. No major issues with the room, but niggles such as the fact the floor was clearly dirty as having bathed and walked around the room my feet were filthy, and the towels in the room were greying and thread bear.
I swam twice in the time we were there – once in the morning and once in the evening. Both times the pool was dirty and I felt like I was swimming through a soup of dead insects, I know this is unavoidable but it does make me question how often it was cleaned. The furniture around the pool was dated, however I did note that they were in the process of replacing this while we were staying. The gym was basic and wasn’t air-conditioned which when the temperature is in the mid 90s doesn’t make for a pleasant experience.
The turning point for us was at breakfast. I think it was probably one of the most abysmal experiences ever. I really have never experienced a breakfast like it – at either a high end or a budget hotel. It was a (small) buffet style arrangement. There was no one to greet you and show you to a table and the tables weren’t laid up so you had to get your own cutlery and carry the various items to your table. Just as well I didn’t especially want to carry anything back there as it was the most unpalatable selection of food I have ever seen. It looked like it had been attacked by a plague of locusts- there was barely anything left when we went at 10am (nb it closed at 10:30), the toaster was broken and the table was littered with bits of bread. There were no other choices available other than those available in the rubbish buffet. The one girl working there (bear in mind there were probably 30 people having breakfast when we were there so no wonder the dining room was ill maintained) was ineffectual and disinterested, it seemed like a hassle when we even asked her to make a coffee. It would have been a joke at a hotel which cost a third of the amount and was the bare minimum you could provide in order to state that “breakfast be included”. It was at this stage we just decided to check out.
After checking out – my husband realised he left his e-reader in the gym on one of the machines – however on calling and speaking with room service it was never handed in or found. We weren’t called as a courtesy to tell us this but had to call back twice to follow up and see whether it had been located. It hadn’t. I’ll let you be the judge of whether someone paying the best part of a thousand dollars a night would take a 2 year old Kindle.
I think on the whole the place cuts corners. There’s probably a certain amount of complacency associated with being one of the 2 luxury hotels in big sur. Ventana seems to be approaching the kind of prices charged by Post Ranch Inn but isn’t delivering – a case of the emperors new clothes . One good thing to be said for the place was that on checking out the service was impeccable (indeed The staff were generally nice though some had language difficulties and didn’t speak good English. ) – the guy working on the front desk was apologetic and there was never any question that we’d get charged for the second night- it was this that made me hesitant about leaving a negative review, however when somewhere costs a not inconsiderable amount , I would want to know about the shortcomings so I could make an informed choice. For rates this high you expect something close to perfection which plenty of other hotels manage to deliver without difficulty. For the record we spent the second night at the inn of the Spanish Garden in Santa Barbara instead. Which cost USD 229/night and delivered infinitely more.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ventana Inn & Spa is a luxurious resort nestled in the mountains above California’s central coast. Situated on 243 acres of wooded hillside, 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean on the Big Sur coast, Ventana Inn & Spa is quiet, secluded and beautiful. The Inn provides a peaceful and soothing atmosphere enhanced by its proximity to the area’s natural wonders. ... 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