It has taken me a long time to write this review because it is hard to know where to begin. We have been coming to Post Ranch for 10 years now and fell in love with it the first time. Over the years we have been here in all kinds of weather from searing heat waves to pea-soup thick fog to driving winter storms. Every season has its draw and we enjoy it in different ways no matter the weather. In March we were there for the whale migration, which is really a special treat. It's also been great to watch the population of California Condors grow over the years and heartening to see the community and land bounce back from the wildfires and mud slides. It was a sad day when Billy Post died, but he had to be proud of what they created here.
The magic of Post Ranch is in the combination of awe inspiring location, rooms, service and people. The one sad thing is that I don't think you ever recapture the breath-taking site when you come up to the crest of the cliff for the first time. It is still spectacular, but I will always remember that first time I saw the land drop away and heard the ocean crashing below.
At this point we have stayed in a number of room types including tree houses, ocean houses, upper coast houses, and upper pacific suites. I like all of them and do think the ocean view is worth spending the money on, particularly if this is something you will not being doing a lot. That being said, I still love the tree houses. This is the room type we book most often because there is just something about the feeling of the space and floating in the trees. Despite not having a direct ocean view many of them do actually give you nice views out that direction. All of the original rooms on the north end of the property are the same size and just differ in layout and location. The ocean houses are very private, particularly further north, and their two-sided fireplace is a great added feature. The new rooms on the south end of the property are twice as big as the old rooms and really remarkable. Our upper pacific suite was fantastic. The upgrades, especially the private outdoor soaking tub and radiant heat flooring, are major improvements over the old rooms. However, there is a big price difference you pay for this and that is not insignificant. I also feel like the new rooms will improve as the foliage grows in over the next 5 years. Right now it all feels a little too new on that end of the property, and we missed being up in the grove of trees.
The feel of the property is one of relaxed luxury, nothing over the top and nothing ostentatious. It has a hushed quiet energy and people are respectful of each others privacy but social at the same time. We have met people here and made ongoing friendships with fellow guests. People looking for an Orange County type of luxury best look elsewhere. The real luxury of the place is in the people. We have gotten to know some of the long-time staff over the years and it is amazing the details they will remember from visit to visit. Dan, the GM, has been there many years and really understands the importance of customer service. The front desk staff are always warm, helpful and kind. The housekeeping is top notch. We have never had an issue with poor housekeeping. Sometimes when we get back from dinner the fire has been started just before we get to the room and this kind of attention to detail never ceases to impress me.
The two main sommeliers in the restaurant are encyclopedic and extremely helpful. The food has improved over the years and the chef has great variety. If you stay more than 5 days sometimes things will repeat themselves on the menu, but I am not going to hold that against anyone. The breakfast buffet and made to order waffle/egg station have something for everyone. You can eat super healthy, like I did at Christmas, or you can clog you arteries with deliciousness, like I did in March.
The spa is small, but the treatments are consistently good. In good weather it is worth having the treatments in your room out on the balcony. Prices are pretty much in line with what you would pay at other hotel spas. Other amenities include a yoga yurt with complimentary morning yoga. I have not done this ever, so cannot comment on it. The one real negative I can think of has to do with the fitness facility. I can only think that management is trying to get people to be active outside. That is fine except when it is pouring rain in the winter or scorching hot in the summer. Additionally, Big Sur is beautiful but not actually great for a lot of outdoor exercise beyond hiking. Running on Highway 1, which I do when we are there, is dangerous and not always fun. Cycling is similar. So, it would be nice to have larger and newer fitness center. It has always felt like an after thought in development of the inn as the room is a small cave-like structure tucked in a redwood grove with older versions of cardio equipment (two recumbent bikes, a strange version of an elliptical trainer, and two ancient treadmills), a small variety of free weights and a cable machine. There are some stability balls, weighted balls, and weighted bars. All of this is tucked in about 400 square feet so you have to hope nobody else will be there when you go to work out.
I love the pools on the other hand. The main pool is removed from the rooms but that is okay. It is a lovely spot on a knoll behind the main coastal ridge and a nice spot to get sun. The two infinity basking pools on the cliff are my favorites. Particularly on cool mornings it is great to sit in the hot pool and watch the sun rise. The addition of the second one was great. It is rare that both will be busy and much more common that you are the only one at a given time.
In closing, I am sure it is clear how much we love this place. Nowhere is perfect, but this is about a close as it gets. We've been twice this year and are planning a third trip out this summer. Whether it is a frequent destination or a one in a life time experience, I fully encourage people to spend some time here.
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- Also Known As:
- Post Ranch Hotel Big Sur
- Post Hotel Big Sur
- Post Big Sur