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“Mother Nature is the magnificent backdrop”

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Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 7, 2013

We stayed at the Ventana Inn for three nights over Thanksgiving weekend.

Rooms
We stayed in room 45 and liked the proximity to the pool, Japanese baths, "library" (yoga class) and path to restaurant. Elegant "rustic" coziness. We really enjoyed the layout of the room, especially the little "den" section with an actual wood fireplace. Good size bathroom, although shower pressure was poor.

Spa
One closet-size changing room. Good variety of services. Some treatments had standard descriptors but weren't standard treatments. Meaning, something called deep tissue was a combo Thai/Sweedish. We liked the creativity in execution. Excellent spa staff. Great customer service and good problem solvers.

Gym
Small, really, really small. That being said, "free" yoga, pilates or thai chi or class is offered in the morning.

Restaurant
a) breakfast
Continental breakfast buffet is included. Offerings off the buffet were acceptable. You can order off the menu and those items were outstanding. Given the nightly rates, management should consider including breakfast period and not "nickle and dime" you if you order custom eggs. Eat outside. The view is absolutely breathtaking.
b) dinner at the restaurant
We thought the wine pours were a nit anemic and the food was simply okay.
c) room service
Limited choices, which is understandable given the distance between the restaurant and the rooms. We had a much-delayed delivery that staff made up for the next time we ordered room service.
Note: Be sure to walk to the restaurant. While only a 10-minute trip, you feel like you are on a brief adventure with scenic surroundings. It's an extra-special treat at night.

Pool/Baths
Two locations - one near the spa and one near the "library." We enjoyed both. The view from both pools is excellent and the Japanese baths were relaxing as well. The pool near the spa had menus out where you could order food. The other pool didn't. We had hoped someone would stop by and bring a menu and provide us with an option to order lunch. No staff visited the pool the afternoon we were there.

Grounds
Outstanding view. Well-maintened property. (We did some some long-standing trash on the restaurant trail.)

The folks at the spa were the best staff members we encountered. The gentleman at the front desk on Thanksgiving night was either new and/or needed additional training. If you called for the restaurant it took a while to get anyone to answer. (Holiday weekend could have been the cause.)

Overall, a very enjoyable experience. One of the best stays in Big Sur, although quite pricey for overall value. Management could consider a small daily resort "credit" for the spa or restaurant and/or eliminating tips to make it even more worthwhile a stay,

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
4  Thank AnnFran20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 4, 2013

My wife and I stayed for one night at Ventana on a west coast trip starting in Carmel and ending in Santa Barbara. Tucked away in the hills with great views of the ocean from the restaurant, Ventana is an oasis of calm and relaxation. The only negative I would point out is the check in process. While we were given a glass of wine, we weren't welcomed as much as processed and extremely quickly at that, Given what I just said about how relaxing and calm the environment is, this "welcome" is rather jarring. Once we were past that however, i can't say enough good things about the hotel (despite it's high price) - we had a wonderful room very close to the main pool, fitness center and only a 10-15 walk a long a well lit trail to the restaurant - i highly recommend requesting a room in that area - it's close to everything but far enough away. The room itself was spectacular with a nice deck with a hammock, fire place and spectacular bathroom ... light floods in from everywhere. The included breakfast buffet is wonderful, especially if you eat it outside on the huge patio. There's a welcome wine and cheese in the evening and the spa, although a little small, was well appointed and the service was excellent. We're coming back and staying for at least 3 days to fully absorb all the hotel and surrounding area has to offer.

Room Tip: We stayed in a room in a building close to the main pool, fitness center and path to restaurant. It...
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank JohnNYC980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2013

Big Sur is beautiful, no doubt, and the Ventana Inn is perched right above all of that beauty, so it has a lot going for it. That being said, there were lots of details which they simply missed. At $700 per night they need to do better:

-Sounds. Apparently management likes to make things look good, but they don't care what they sound like. For example, you sit by the pool and hear the buzz of hvac systems.

-Attention to detail. Cigarette butts sat on the path to the restaurant, right in the middle, for more than a day.

--Service. I think it's fine to hire people who don't speak limited English in positions which don't require a lot of conversation with guests, but for room service? Not good. Also, the women waiting at breakfast were clearly the "second tier"...perhaps because the tips for the included buffet aren't enough for the top tier...anyhow, they should try to train them better, at the least. This was certainly no Four Seasons, that's for sure.

--Amenities: Small, unattractive workout room. Lots of bugs floating in pool, as someone else has mentioned. The spa is absolutely tiny! We were practically sitting on top of other guests in robes waiting for massages. Given the size of the property, and the fact that it's called a "spa" made this fact rather startling. Really not much of a spa. The changing room...it's literally the size of a closet and there is only one...for both men and women!! Seriously, wow.

--Classes: We took only one...a yoga class at 10 AM...The teacher was really annoying. She rattled on for the entire hour, constantly changing the topic mid-sentence. She knows yoga, but really doesn't seem to understand how to be calming and relaxing, as you need to be in yoga. I've taken many yoga classes over the years and this was probably the most stressful.

--Price: Yeah, it's Big Sur, but these prices will have me hit pause before returning. There are simply so many other places to get better services, amenities, and attention to detail at the same price in California.

We did really like the restaurant for dinner, actually much more than the restaurant at the Post Ranch inn, in fact. The wines were super delicious! Hats off to whoever selected those. And the food was great too. No complaints, for sure.

The view from the patio at the restaurant was stunning, and the pool, bugs excepted, was great. The guys running shuttle were cool too.

All in all, ok, but not great,and poor when considering the price. At $300 per night, i would give it three or four stars. At $700, it gets two.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank peneloperose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2013

I might be biased since I got engaged at the Ventana, but it was one of the most beautiful places (Big Sur), that I have ever been in my life. We stayed in a suite and the room was one of the nicest I had ever been in. We had a wood burning fire place, beautiful deck to view the ocean, and one of the most comfortable beds I have ever been in! There is a "Wedding" overlook where they hold ceremonies, I encourage any guest to make the trek down the hill a bit to see it. That is where I go engaged and it is just breath taking views of the mountains and pacific. The spa there was excellent too. Overall, the hotel was very accommodating. Also, I swear the food there was better than Post Ranch Inn (what a waste..)! I am already trying to plan my trip back!!! I will never forget the memories I made at The Ventana Inn.

Room Tip: The Ventana will shuttle you to nearby restaurants for free! Breakfast closes at 10:30am (which they...
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Danielle E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

During a three day trip to Big Sur for trail hiking we had the absolute pleasure of making Ventana our home. We arrived late in the afternoon in time for an incredible wine and cheese reception and then walked the small trail around the property - what a fantastic natural setting with numerous deer along the path and gorgeous views. We dined that night at Ventana. The service and food were fantastic as was the breakfast the next morning with the most amazing homemade granola. After a long day of hiking we returned to our room with our own private balcony and a private outdoor hot tub - it was divine! It was the perfect getaway - I would highly recommend Ventana. We can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: The rooms with the private outdoor hot tubs are amazing.
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank 2012brendar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

For our anniversary, Big Sur was our choice. Post Ranch was full (thankfully as $1800 a night would have always tainted my experience) so fortunately Ventana had availability. We booked a room with a deck and hot tub and it was a perfect trip. When we arrived, we were all but hand carried to check in and to our room. The room was very nice, private, and worth the price. The property is spread out with 2 pools (one clothing optional, did not use so not to ruin the beauty that the property frames) and trails that could easily occupy a half day hike. The restaurant was a nice groomed trail walk through the woods where we encountered deer and wild turkey. If weather permits, the outside view is amazing. The continental breakfast was great with fresh fruit, bread selection, and juices. I would personally pass on the menu items unless you really need substance. We made the mistake of booking a dinner at the restaurant at Post Ranch called Sierra Mar (see that review if you need to) and wished we had stayed at Ventana. Afterward we returned to Ventana and decided to have a drink at the bar. The bartender was very kind and engaging and well represented the level of service we had during our stay.

The spa was very nice and massage and facial (per my wife) were fantastic. Bottom line, this is not a bargain, but here you do get what you pay for so high marks. Hard not to appreciate the beauty Big Sur has to offer, plan on getting up and out to hike the area, you will never forget it. We'll be back.

Room Tip: I saw no bad rooms on the property, but having the private hot tub was worth the extra money.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank SoCalChill_Axer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2013

The memories of staying at the Ventana Inn will last forever. What a great splurge for our 30th anniversary. Friendly parking lot greeting, check-in efficient, friendly, and included a glass of wine. Our room (24) was just perfect. Wine and cheese hour a great experience meeting new people and watching the sun set. Upper pool and hot bath relaxing. Dinner yummy (ordered a la carte, for two about 120.00). Guided walk fun and interesting. Didn't make it to yoga or the spa. Loved our 10 min walk to breakfast. Sat outside for hour and a half enjoying the view and breakfast. Free breakfast is good, if you want eggs, you can order from menu. After 3 days would have liked a different hot Tim besides the quiches.... but still loved it all!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Keleigh D
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 Top resorts Hotel in Big Sur
#3 Family 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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