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“Ventana...sadly disappointed” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ventana Inn & Spa

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Ventana Inn & Spa
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
Los Gatos
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Ventana...sadly disappointed”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2007

I live in the Bay Area and have known of the Ventana for as long as I can remember. I had been envious of my friends who had stayed in the past and always planned a stay for a special occasion. That occasion finally arrived this year, for my birthday. My husband surprised me with Romantic Spa Package.
During check-in, the receptionist confirmed our spa treatments for the next day, actually calling the spa, right there, in front of us, leaving us thinking all was taken care of.
Our room was fine..but, the special birthday "wine and cheese" that my husband had sent to our room beforehand was...old. The bread was moldy and stale..the cheese was...bad. The stereo did not work...none of this made for a bad review...everything else about it was fine. We went for a lovely hike the next day, anxious to return for our much needed (and confirmed) massages! When we got to the spa, we were then told we had no reservation. We showed them the confirmation both on our hotel reservations and the slip of paper handed to us the night before. "Sorry", the spa girl said. "There's nothing I can do about it". Perhaps call someone else? Maybe get on the phone and find out how this "bump" happened. No, she did nothing. Stared aimlessly at us until we left. We went directly to the receptionist and asked how our reservations were lost? She apologized, made lots of excuses and then...offered us some type of compensation. She didn't know what...but would come up with something while we went to dinner.
Next morning, the same girl told us that she and the spa staff decided to NOT charge us for the massages. (that was an obvious) AND that they would also give us the value of the massage in spa products. The massage was $240.00...therefore, we were to take $240.00 in spa products as their apology for bumping our appointment. I thought this was quite generous but accepted because they practically insisted. Even at the spa, I brought about 100.00 worth of things to the desk and the clerk kept insisting I bring more to the counter until it valued $240.00. In the meantime, my husband asked the clerk AND the receptionist to make sure we were NOT going to be billed for the massage and that this $240.00 in product was in ADDITION to the credit. Yes, yes, yes.
We left. Content. Happy that they came through with a generous apology. Until....we got our bill a couple weeks later. $240.00 for spa treatments. HAD to be an error. We called and recounted the whole experience. At that time, I was told to either send all the spa products back or send them $240.00. This person told me that the spa staff made a mistake. So...I asked...then, where is the "apology" for dumping our reservation? She mentioned MANY times that THEY made a mistake but that they would NEVER give a customer that much money back and thought we should have known that. (this brings up lots of questions about the Inns financial standings if $240.00 of retail causes this much angst) I simply said that we would contest the entire bill (over 2,000.00) and that I would have NEVER taken that much spa product if I wasn't practially forced to do so. They could have picked up the dessert tab if they wanted to make an apology. I would have been fine with that.
Anyway, I feel like I've vented enough. Ventana....still shaking my head over this one. Next time...I'll go across the street!

Stayed March 2007
Helpful?
18 Thank DeeanaLynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,165 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 (263)
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English first
Malibu
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2007

We have loved staying at Ventana, almost exclusively, whenever we have visited Big Sur over the past 20 years. So it is with some regret we report that the facility, and especially the front desk service, have gone way downhill. The dates on our reservation had to be corrected twice before we finally got it straightened out. We requested a room that we've had before, and were assured that it wouldn't be a problem. However, after we arrived we found that the room was under reconstruction and were given an "upgrade" to a rather worn room with an outdated heater/AC fan that was so noisy we had to shut the system off just to get some sleep. Finally, at checkout we were hit with a "weekend surcharge" that we were never informed of in any of the confirmation letters or emails - which we will challenge. On the other hand, the food was quite good, the weather was perfect and we enjoyed our spa massages.

  • Liked — setting/scenery
  • Disliked — wear and tear
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank HibiscusCloud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco
Level Contributor
43 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2007

WOW!!!! What a fantastic romantic weekend!!! I can not wait to go back to the Ventanna Inn!! My husband and I spent a fabulous 3 day weekend in one of the Big Sur Spa Suites--what a perfect getaway. The room was perfect-it has its own private deck with a hot tub and hammock, the room had a large wood burning fireplace, super comfy king size bed, the largest soaking bathtub that I have ever seen, a flat screen tv above the fireplace--absolutely perfect!!! The service was great-we were greeted at our car where out luggage was handled for us. We were whisked up to the registration area where we were met with a glass of wine for a concierge type of check-in-nice touch. Our room was equipped with binoculars, cozy robes-which we practically lived in all weekend, a wet bar etc. The restaurant was a short pretty walk through the woods-dinner was terrific-with a great wine list-we opted for dessert to go so we could enjoy it in front of our fireplace. The next day we had breakfast delivered to our room-complimentary which included coffee, juice, yogurt, granola, fresh fuit, pastry basket, followed by a private yoga session in our room with Monte-invigorating before a lazy afternoon spent at the clothing optional pool. My one complaint is that the only option for lunch is at the hotel restaurant-there isn't any delivery or room service during the afternoon. Dinner the next night was spent across the street at Post Ranch-another fantastic meal-top notch!!! We did have lunch at the Ventanna Restaurant-which is not to be missed-outside with a spectacular view high above the ocean-what a great place for a few hour lunch with a bottle of wine!!! I can not say enough great things about this resort-if you are looking for a romantic, relaxed, beautiful place to stay this is the place!!! I am so glad we only live 3 hours away-we will be back!!!

  • Liked — suite, service
  • Disliked — no lunch service outside of the restaurant
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank kimbren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SF Bay Area
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2007

My husband I are are just back from a two night stay at the Ventana Inn. It was our first visit to the Big Sur area after living in CA for close to 30 years. Why we never got down to Big Sur is a mystery to us. We had heard about the Ventana Inn, and after reading the reviews on this website we decided to go. It was the best mini-getaway decision we've made in years.
Our arrival was without incident, being met in the parking lot almost immediately by the bell staff and the golf cart to whisk us up the hill to the lobby. We were greeted by a very warm and smiling receptionist who made sure we were going to be happy with the arrangements we had requested prior to arrival thru the concierge.
We stayed in the Madrone house, Vista Suite #50. It was very large and most comfortable. We really enjoyed the sunny ocean view deck, and the perfectly placed hammock. The bathroom had separate shower and bathtub, and the tub was large enough for two and very deep, perfect for a long relaxing soak.
The rooms have Bose DVD/CD players and large flat screen TV's in them and there are some CD's and current travel magazines on the ottoman/coffee table. In the lobby there is a complimentary DVD library, first come first served.

Part of our first morning was spent sitting on the quiet terrace of the restaurant over looking the ocean. I had hoped to see some migrating whales and had brought my binoculars. Had I known I would have left mine at home, as the Ventana provideded binoculars in our room for just that purpose or perhaps for bird watching. We had made reservations for Swedish massage in the afternoon, and I was not disappointed. It was the best massage I have ever had in any spa that I have visited. I was told by someone that is because they are all trained at the Esalen Institute. I thoroughly enjoyed the warm neck wrap and the Tea Forte refreshment before the massage. Go a little early before the time of your spa treatment so that you can relax and take advantage of the sunny and peaceful spa waiting room.

Late afternoon was spent exploring art galleries and Nepenthe. Dinner that night at the Cielo was lovely. I had venison and my husband had duck. Both were done to perfection and were quite tasty. The restaurant manager is quite knowledgable about wines and was very friendly. I would say that all of the food we had while staying at the Ventana Inn was delicious, but I especially enjoyed breakfasts in the Library. I looked forward to the fresh berries, yogurt and granola, along with lovely whole grain bread. My husband enjoyed the coffee, while I drank the Harney & Sons organic green tea which was delicious.

We haven't stopped talking about our first visit to Big Sur, and the hospitality at the Ventana Inn. We will go back for more.

  • Liked — Great bathtub! and little extras like magazines, and wine set up wi/corkscrew.
  • Disliked — The Japanese Bath House spa could use upgrade.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank SunDapple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2007

This is the second time we stayed at Ventana and while we love the property, this time was not as memorable as the first. The staff is extremely nice and helpful, the grounds are charming and the whole ambiance of the place is special. A true Northern California paradise. But the place is starting to show signs of ware and tear -- the room furnishings are outdated, the floor boards creak and at times you can hear your neighbors, and the pool and hot tub areas need updating. Don't get me wrong, I would still highly recommend Ventana for anyone visiting the Big Sur area. The property is amazing (cute little paths with birds and flowers everywhere, dramatic views of the ocean and the California coast line, large beautiful wood burning fireplaces in the lobby, library and in the rooms, a quiet tranquility as you walk around the grounds and take in the natural beauty). The guest rooms are also big, comfortable and give you more a cabin type feel than a hotel room feel. My only concern is that for the price, I think they need to make a few adjustments and updates to the decor and facilities. Last time we were here, several years ago, I would have given this place 100 points out of 100 points. This time I would give it 85.

  • Liked — the grounds
  • Disliked — I could hear the folks in the room upstairs from us
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Holland007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Morgan Hill, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2007

The rooms and overall beauty of the property at Ventana Inn are spectacular. We stayed in a Big Sur Spa Suite overlooking the forst and it was breathtaking, especially sitting in the outdoor hot tub sipping on Champagne in the rain. The hotel website is difficult and reservations can be tough to deal with, but the greeting from the staff and overall organization were excellent...also, please take the nature walk in the morning!

  • Liked — The room, space and spa
  • Disliked — Booking process
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank jgpichler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brentwood
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2007

We have been going to the Ventana almost every year since it opened. We have also stayed everywhere in Big Sur, and this is our most valued and beautiful retreat. Our heart and soul warms as we drive up the entrance road with the stunning view of the ocean on the right, and then down through a quiet, shaded and pristine redwood grove on the way to the Inn. We are greeted with smiling faces, wine, the marvelous smells of the fire place and the warm refined simplicity of the Inn. We see our favorite place outside to have breakfast, wine and cheese or just read, with a view of the ocean and up towards our room at the top of the hill. We are in heaven.

We have seen the changes and occasional downs. Seen the upgrades from the '70's to date. The rooms used to be wonderful, warm, natural. Now they are spectacular, rich, and still warm and natural.
Walking from the Inn to our room, or to the hot baths, or to the restaurant, or just walking around, we pass through a multitude of beautifully kept trees and plants, we pass through more redwoods, California Laurels (Bay trees - take a leave and smell), we still are in heaven.

The staff has even improved. They smile, they are always helpful and ready to do so, even if it is just to bring more wood for the fireplace or towels for our massage in our room.

The Ventana Inn is better than ever, the ultimate beautiful escape for peace, romance, sensuality...Paul, keep up the great work!

  • Tips/Secrets — Do it.
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank trimtab
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
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 (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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