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Reviewed November 11, 2006

just returned from three magnificent, restful, days at the Post Ranch Inn...had heard about the place for years and had stayed across the road at Ventana several times. The entire experience was worth the wait....stayed in one of the Butterfly rooms with views of the mountains..just perfect...took hikes around the entire 90+ acre property..saw plenty of wildlife and the views of the ocean to one side and the mountains to the other were so spectacular...we just stopped every few minutes to check out the views. Dinner in Sierra Mar was one of the best meals of our lives...this must be one of the best places in the world to stay if you are ready for a romantic, relaxing, renewing experience...be sure to bring walking shoes....worth the hefty rates....pjg

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank pjaygee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2006

One arrives at Post Ranch generally from the Monterey Peninsula. Their website indicates that it takes about 30 minutes to get to the property from Carmel, but in actuality it'll take you closer to an hour. The road is windy, the traffic is slow and the views cause you to want tostop and spend some extra time.

Upon arrival, you'll be admitted through the gate house which offers a sense of privacy for the property. However, you should know that the restaurant does allow for outsiders to dine and there is no real protection against them milling around the property before or after their dinner. So complete privacy is not exactly certain.

The bungalows are all unique, but we aware that the ocean side units are actually duplexes and the treehouse units are actually on the inland side off the property. We assume their views are good, but they would have to look through trees and over roof tops in some instances. Our unit was closer to the restaurant than we would have liked. We could hear the purring of the kitchen ventilation system. It wasn't loud and annoying, but it could be heard. As a result, we didn't hear the sound of silence that we had hoped. Also, our unit was on the lower level so we heard the footsteps of the folks above us and we heard their jaccuzzi tub rumbling each morning. So be aware as to what you are reserving when you make your reservation.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our secluded wall of windows towards the ocean, offering us the ability to enjoy the room and its deck "au natural" with no hesitation. The bed is very comfortable, the fireplace is cozy, the stocked refrigerator is refreshing and the views were stunning.

There is one full pool on the property, but it is strangely located across a canyon and on the top of the next little ridge. It requires you to hike to and from it or walk through the main lobby area to retrieve your car and then drive over to it. We think it was nice looking and inviting, but way too much work to actually use.

There are two hot tubs closer to the units, however. One is right next to the restaurant so your privacy is severly disturbed. However, while you're wading the waiter is nearby. And, we found that this location on the property actually offers the best view for watching the sunset. Why? Because the property is actually on a south facing cliff so to see the sunset to the west best, this part of the property is situated best to see in that direction. And, because it is closest to the bar, you can get a cocktail or glass of bubbly just in time to see the sun go over the horizon.

The other hot tub is at the complete opposite end of the property and it is a wonderfully secluded location. It is kind of nestled in a little grove of trees and surrounded by a very pleasant bed of flowers and shrubs. The tub is a sleak stainless steel tank purched on the edge of the bluff and affording a really cool infinity affect out over the ocean. There are lounges and tables and umbrellas at this location too. Also a teak box which hides an ice chest of chilled waters. Bring your own wine. Amble towels abound. Soaking in the hot tub at night was extremely romantic as was gazing up into the stars late into the evening. The fluffy robes and slippers kept us warm to and from our room to the tub.

We hardly left the property when we visited. There is little reason to do so. Oh, sure the sights of Big Sur are calling, but we'd seen them before. So this was a wonderful opportunity to just stay put and enjoy the plush surroundings of the property.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank twoguyswhotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2006

My wife and I spent three wonderful nights at the Post Ranch Inn during the second week of October, 2006. It was my fourth visit, her third. We found it as wonderful as we had during each of our prior visits, and can’t wait to return.

Others have more than adequately described the Inn, so I’ll limit my comments to observations on what has changed at the Inn, and to our experiences with the different types of rooms.

This visit was in a lower coast house. Previously, we’ve stayed in an upper coast house, and an ocean house. My visit alone was in a tree house.

I agree with those who’ve noticed footsteps from the upper lodging in the coast houses – it never bothered us, but it was noticeable. Otherwise, I found the lower lodging equal to the upper lodging in every way. The ocean house and tree house were certainly more private, but I can’t say that I strongly prefer any one of the lodging types over another – they’re just different, and enjoyable each in its own way.

Our last visit was in 2001 – and based on that visit I would have agreed with the criticisms of breakfast. On this visit, however, breakfast had changed dramatically for the better. It’s still not brunch at a Four Seasons, but it held its own. We had three or four hot entrees each morning – a couple of frittatas and at least one other item. One morning we had eggs benedict (one done classically, one done with avocado instead of ham). Another morning bread pudding was offered. The juice, pastry, bread and fruit offerings were terrific. So, although breakfast had been a weak point for the Inn in the past, it no longer is, in my view.

Dinner at Sierra Mar was terrific on each of the two nights we dined at the Inn. My sole complaint would be the chairs – they don’t stand up to two hour dinners. I’ll hope for different chairs next time (they could steal some from Cielo at the Ventana, where the chairs were much more comfortable).

Other than that minor quibble, our visit was flawless. We’ll be back. And the Post Ranch Inn remains my favorite hotel anywhere in the world.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank OrrvilleRedRider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2006

We stayed for a weekend in September 2006. The property itself is absolutely stunning. It is cliffside over the sea, and it is extremely private. The walks are gorgeous, and it has so few rooms that it's like having the property all to yourself most of the time. The food was also fantastic, as was the chef, who gave a very enjoyable demonstration one day. I love that the menu changes daily so you can enjoy eating here every night. We also found the breakfast just fine, and the fires in the room, the bottles of wine, etc. were all great. The pool was gorgeous, as are the hot tubs, and it was an incredibly peaceful, relaxing place.

So why am I only giving it 3 stars? The biggest disappointment we had was that the rooms - as beautifully designed as the architecture is - were not designed very practically. We stayed in one of the butterfly rooms, which is part of a structure that has three rooms - upper, middle and lower. We were in the middle, and all evening and morning long, we could hear any sound at all from the upstairs unit. It was so poorly insulated that you would think that we had elephants stomping around in the upstairs unit. We didn't - I saw the very nice couple come out in the morning, and they were perfectly quiet and not boisterous at all. It was simply the incredibly poor insulation, which is actually the worst of any hotel at which we've ever stayed (I'm including Holiday Inns, etc.). We could simply hear every footstep. My husband could tell you when the couple came in, when anyone went to the bathroom, etc. - way more information than we wanted!

Am I just someone who's incredibly sensitive? No, I've stayed at numerous hotels all over the world, and this is the first one where I have ever had this problem. Also, one of the other guests who attended a cooking demonstration with me heard that we were in the middle butterfly room and made the same comment, telling me she would never stay in a room again unless it was either on top or standing alone. So I don't think it was just us.

I didn't complain, because there seemed little that the management could do about it. The place is designed the way it's designed, and it was no fault of the people above us. And we really did enjoy everything else. Even the beds have wonderful mattresses. But for $500+ a night, you really do expect to be able to sleep in and not hear every footstep!

The only other comments I would make is that the windows aren't terribly private in the rooms (you look straight into other rooms right across the way), and the spa massages were so-so. Of course, living in San Francisco and visiting Napa often, we may be very spoiled when it comes to massage. It did not compare to the spa services of a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, for example. We did not try Ventena Inn, which is right across the road, but will on a future visit just to compare. We did visit Ventena's grounds and believe that the grounds and restaurant of the PRI seem much nicer and more private. I note, however, that Ventena was having a wedding that weekend, so that may have had things more confused than they normally are.

I feel somewhat guilty giving this review to PRI, because the management really was nice, but I do think people ought to know about it and maybe there is some renovation they could to make it a little quieter. Would we go back? Yes, definitely, but never to a lower or middle room. I would urge visitors to hold out for an upper or standalone room. If you have one of those, I think it would be paradise.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank jjonak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2006

The Post Ranch Inn is on the top of every travel list and it was easy to see why after our one night stay there.
Although it's not cheap, we felt like it was worth every penny. The service was excellent and incredibly efficient. Our room -- one of the cheapest sadly and facing the mountain and away from the ocean -- was still fantastic: relatively modern, large with a panaromic view of the forest/mountains, with a fireplace and jacuzzi/tub.
The two outdoor infinity hot tubs were fantastic and offered unimpeded views of the Pacific. Although pretty played out and widely duplicated, it was still a cool visual spectacle to sit in a hot tub which appeared to cascade over the cliff into the ocean!
In contrast, the swimming pool -- reachable either by going through the reception and past the parking lot or by a much more pleasant 15 minute walk through the woods -- seemed sterile, secluded and a little lonely. The yoga yurt located just behind also seemed a little out of place.
Sierra Mar, the hotel restaurant, sits on the edge of a cliff and also has spectacular views of the Pacific. Unless it's summer or you have night vision goggles, though, it's better at breakfast. This also extended to the food, where breakfast was a deluxe continental deal plus excellent egg dishes, e.g. frittatas. Dinner, on the other hand, smacked of the Asian-French confusion that can be the darkside of Californian cooking (c'mon, outside of a cooking school restaurant, how often do you see deepfried shredded wonton skin and a hoisin glaze on a steak anymore??)
We also felt pampered by some of the unexpected touches, e.g. a complimentary and very full mini-bar, random benches dotted along the property for introspective sitting and bottled water located at strategic locations along the trails. This reminded us of the level of service and attention to detail you would see in an Aman or Four Seasons resort in Asia.
Overall, this was a fantastic hotel and worth every penny. This is the first time I've been moved to write a review. As a point of comparison, we also spent two nights at the Ventanna Inn, which definitely paled in comparison.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Yogaboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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