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“great hotel” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ventana Inn & Spa

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Ventana Inn & Spa
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
Miami, Florida
2 reviews
“great hotel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2012

I really liked this hotel, the spa (I did a sweewed wrap) and the japanese baths we my favorite part of the hotel. the room was very nice. the food in my opinion, was average, which is what prevented me from grating this hotel as excellent.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sophia r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,111 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (260)
Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
130 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2012

We visited Big Sur for a weekend. Our timing was perfect as the weather was sunny and warm. Our greeting at the hotel (right from the security guard) was perfect as was everything that followed. Our room was wonderful and spacious with a terrific view of the ocean in the distance. We had had a long journey complete with jet lag so after checking in we headed off to the spa for massages - nothing unusual for 5 star properties but very, very good just the same. After a nap, it was off to drinks and dinner. We walked along the forest path to the restaurant which was lovely. The bar in the restaurant had 2 terrific bar tenders who were very experienced and understood cocktails (not just the sugary ones they serve in some places). The dining room offered the luxury of space between the tables - very nice for our romantic weekend. We were delightfully surprised by the restaurant. The hostess wanted to make sure we got a table we would be happy with. Our waiter knew the menu and the winelist and was appropriately attentive. The kitchen was very, very competent. We were so happy we had decided to chill and eat at the hotel for our 2 nights there. Really wonderful food with great presentation!
The breakfast buffet was outstanding. More than enough healthy options and pastries for those wanting to indulge. The cappichino was great and it was so nice to sip it as we sat around the firepit (there is very nice indoor dining - we just wanted to enjoy the outdoors).
We would happily return to Ventana and do it all again!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Edward068
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Welwyn, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
131 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2012

We stayed at the Ventana for three nights as part of our Califonian tour. It wasn't to busy and we were given a slightly bigger room on check in.

Room was good and had everything you would want although my wife didn't like the high bed and also felt the room was 'creepy' at night!

There were two pools and we also tried the Japanese bath which was good. Plenty of towels which they were happy for us to take down to the beach.

In the morning there was breakfast which we both enjoyed, not much in the way of bacon and egg but plenty of bread, boiled eggs, cakes and cereals, plus tea, coffee, juice, there is also a wine and cheese reception from 4 to 5 which was good.

We had a great time but did feel it missed a bar or something like that. There are great seating areas outside with fire pits but after dinner you just wanted somewhere to get a drink and take it easy. You could do this at the resturant but it's someway from the hotel. Food in thre resturant is excellent.

Room Tip: Go a bit out of season.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Colin_Welwyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falkirk, Scotland
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2012

Spent 2 nights at Ventana as 2nd last stop on our Califiornian Road Trip in October. I was very very excited about staying here given both the reviews the hotel receives and it's location and was left pretty underwhelmed. I could not pick fault with any specific aspect of it, I just could not tie up our experience with the $1800 bill for 2 nights........I would have marked it 3.5 if I could give it a half - feel 3 is a bit low but 4 is too good. Check in service was excellent, taken to our room in the gold buggy, presented with a nice glass of wine. The room was beautiful, we had a mountain view fireplace room, with large bathtub that had folding doors allowing you to make it part of the suite or keep it seperate - I had a soak both nights with the firplace roaring away and nice glass of wine. Room service dinner on first night - was okay,nothing spectacular, I thought the breakfast buffet was lovely, yes it is simply cereals, granola and pastries, but all very good quality and tasty. I even bought some of the granola to take home with me. I spend a long time sitting outside beside the firepit each morning enjoying breakfast, Weather was fairly damp and grey so next day enjoyed the hot tub and had a massge which was all nice, again nothing wow. Dinner in the restaurant the 2nd night was very nice and very good value, they took us to the restaurant which is a bit of a walk away by golf buggy then collected us by van afterwards. Felt rushed out the restaurant though as the van was taking another couple back and clearly didn't want to do 2 trips so had no time to enjoy a leisurely drink after dinner. Borrowed a DVD from the reception DVD library and enjoyed a drink and DVD in the room afterwards. Enjoyed the cheese and wine reception the 2nd day - was a nice touch. On the whole, the stay was not in any way unpleasant, nor did we have any issues/problems - had it been half the cost I probably would have marked it 5 stars, I just did not come away thinking "wow" as I have done with other hotels at a lower cost.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bean30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
270 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 286 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2012

We had checked this place out and all that we read was pretty good. We called in advance and there was room at the inn, so we simply arrived and checked in, taking a 'fireplace' room, which was very nice and more than adequate for a 2 night stay.

Great locaation and the place had a very calming and relaxed feel about it.

Self serve breakfast was good enough and set you up for the day. The 'wine and cheese' hour was very nice and a good way to get to know your fellow guests. Great to sit outside and enjoy by the fire.

We enjoy a massage and this was easily in our top three world-wide. An amazing 80 minutes of 'Bliss'. If you enjoy a massage do take advantage, well worth the price.

Very nice and helpful staff throughout.

Loved it.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank WFN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, LA
Level Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2012

My wife and I stayed here one night on our way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I had investigated the Post Ranch Inn but it was booked - and this place was across the street so I expected it to be similar.

I think the idea that any of their rooms have Pacific views is a misnomer - I walked all over the grounds and as this hotel is located on the side of CA highway 1 away from the ocean (highlands if you will) and there is much tree growth between the buildings and the ocean as well as the hotel's restaurant building (which does have views from its deck and parking lot) it was my conclusion that ocean views are next to impossible to get here. It seemed perhaps the room (s?) above the main lobby could indeed have ocean views but then you are above the main entrance to the hotel.

The staff were all nice - we had booked through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts so had benefits of a $100 voucher for drinks / food, room upgrade if available and a late check out of 4pm which we used. The restaurant where we had dinner was good, but pricey - and not that memorable - again the focus of this hotel should be its premium location, however when eating dinner at the restaurant in the dark I could have been at any particular ski lodge far far from the ocean and not have known the difference (Personally I fault the architects or the the developer who lacked the vision to direct the architects as the Pacific vistas are only to be had from the restaurant parking lot!!!)

The room was great, the fireplace was great, the balcony was great - we were on the top floor of our building and I have read complaints in other reviews from people who had to listen to creaking / walking above them if on floors other than the top floor. The bathroom had both tub and shower with separate sink area and enclosed wc. The design is nice for the setting and was very comfortable.

The breakfast was ok, not that memorable - there was a wine and cheese hour at I believe 4pm which was a nice feature - but seemed rushed. This place could benefit based on its pricing level from having a less formal continual complimentary food / drink service such as one would find a club level of a Ritz Carlton.

The grounds and the walking path around the hotel were rustic and nice - there are two pools and a hot tub area (open until 2am!) which we did not use, nor did we use the fitness area.

Based on price my expectations were high - they were not met - it was hard to fault a particular item or feature of the hotel, but I expected much more contact with the Pacific Vista for this price at this location perched over the Pacific Ocean and we didn't get it (think looking out window from bed or bathtub at ocean!). I would stay here again at a lower price, or look elsewhere in the future.

Room Tip: Ocean views are really non existent from what I could tell. A room on the top floor is advised so y...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank nolatravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2012

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.

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
11 Thank HotelMavenLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ventana Inn & Spa

Property: Ventana Inn & Spa
Address: 48123 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920-9538
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 Top resorts Hotel in Big Sur
#2 Romantic Hotel in Big Sur
#3 Family Hotel in Big Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ventana Inn & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 62
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

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