When visiting the Big Sur area, there are two distinct luxury resorts that stand out, The Ventana Inn and The Post Ranch Inn. While the Ventana Inn has a prime location high on the hillside above Highway 1 and can offer panoramic views, The Post Ranch Inn sits at the water’s edge and, undeniably, has the most desirable location for ocean lovers.
The Check-in Process
The check-in process was intimate and friendly. With my visit being in December, I walked in to the small front office with a roaring fire ablaze and a champagne greeting.
The staff was very gracious in working with me to find the best location available at the time. I wasn’t sure if I was going to end up with the room I wanted but with their diligent effort, I was placed in a Coast House unit boasting a phenomenal ocean view. I was extremely happy.
The resort is a small property with only 48 rooms…but at no other time, has the term “it’s quality not quantity that counts” been more appropriate. I loved the intimacy of this property and yet, the grounds are quite extensive so you feel as though you are the only one there at times.
The gorgeous natural landscape and rustic wooden units with a modern flair somehow have a very holistic feel. With the way the resort was designed and built, at times you can’t tell where the earth ends and a structure begins. Some units built on the bluff have a dry grass roof blending the unit into the landscape. Other units, called Treehouses, are built on metal stilts and reside in the midst of the natural Redwoods.
The Guest Rooms
As mentioned before, there are several very different types of accommodations ranging from the Butterfly rooms all the way to a Private Residence. The Butterfly, Mountain and Treehouses sit internally on the property within the serenity of the Redwood trees. A few of the Treehouses do have glimpses of the ocean.
The Coast Houses are two-story structures with ocean views. Under most circumstances, I would suggest taking the upper level unit for a better view and for more privacy and quiet. And although I did hear some walking above me, I would still choose the lower unit again due to the fact that the deck on the lower unit does not have a handrail obstructing your stunning view, whereas, the above unit does. Sitting on that deck, looking out to sea was a meditative experience and made me feel like I was at the edge of the earth.
The Pacific Suites are basically the same as the Coast Houses but larger with a spa. The Ocean Houses are individual units facing the coastline and if you want to splurge for the best, look into the Cliff House.
All the rooms, no matter what category, have been designed with the same fabrics, fixtures and furnishes. In being very honest in my personal assessment of the interior design, the rooms have a bit of a dated feel to me. However, having said that, there is something about the simplicity and subtlety of the design that somehow works for this property ~ and let’s face it, the stunning view has your attention at all times anyway.
WiFi is offered throughout the property and available in all the rooms along with a Bose music system. There are no television sets in the rooms which I personally love as a place like this should be about enjoying the beautiful scenery and decompressing from the daily grind.
Each room offers a complimentary mini-bar, and this is no regular mini-bar. The items are unique, many local to the area and so delicious ~ cheeses, crackers, nuts, dips, fruits ~ I was actually able to make a dinner out of it and they are restocked daily along with freshly baked cookies. A small bottle of red and white wine are also provided along with other libations (sorry, the wine is not restocked daily).
The resort also offers a complimentary gourmet breakfast each morning at the Sierra Mar Restaurant with its stunning views. This is no ordinary continental breakfast, we’re talking smoked sturgeon, an array of fruits, custom made egg dishes, french toast, artisan cheeses and so forth. It was a wonderful way to start the day.
Another fun perk is the resort’s Lexus car rental program. As with many luxury resorts these days, the Post Ranch has a small group of Lexus cars available for 4 hour rentals on a first come, first serve basis. If you’re not in the mood to drive at all, the resort offers a shuttle service around the Big Sur area. There are several more complimentary amenities such as yoga, meditation – see here for a listing.
The restaurant on property is Sierra Mar. I think I actually gasped the first time I walked into the restaurant and feasted my eyes on the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean through the floor to ceiling glass walls. The view is surreal. The restaurant is perched on the cliffside and it almost feels as though you are on a cruise ship because all you see is water.
The food is amazing, and even if you are not staying at the property, this is a definite must for a meal. When glancing at the menu for the first time, it appears to be a pre-fixe menu, however, all items are offered a la carte. There is a full bar within the restaurant and an outdoor patio with a fire pit perfect for catching a sunset.
The resort does have a spa on-site and along with offering massages, facials, yoga and meditation sessions, they also offer some very unique intuitive healing classes such as shaman sessions, fire ceremonies and much more – see here.
One of the resorts most beautiful and relaxing features are their infinity soaking pools overlooking the ocean. It is the most tranquil feel to sit in one of these pools and stare off into what seems like eternity ~ a guaranteed way to melt all your stress away. Along with the soaking pools there is a regular resort pool and gym available to guests.
The property also has a unique store which they call the Mercantile, offering sundries, clothing and unique items to the resort.
In summary, I believe I know the reason why this property is consistently ranked among the finest in the world ~ staying here restores your soul and spirit and that’s a priceless gift.
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