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“Wow! A fabulous destination to unwind”
Review of Ventana Inn & Spa

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Ventana Inn & Spa
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
Dublin, Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Wow! A fabulous destination to unwind”
Reviewed 7 March 2009

We stayed here as part of our honeymoon. We hadn't booked anywhere in the Big Sur as we wanted to check the area out and see what took our fancy. This hotel took our breath away - my only regret is that we could only stay one night.

We arrived at around 5pm and Jessica at reception offered to let us see a variety of rooms and explained the different rates. As I work in the travel industry it was great to have a nose around and see the rooms - I would have loved to stay in the suite with it's own outdoor hot tub but alas our budget wouldn't stretch to it.
We opted for room 20 which was lovely - it was so nice that we only had a quick (but very nice) dinner in the restuarant so that we could go back to the room and light the fire!

I loved everything about the hotel - the glass of wine we were given when checking in, Jessica on reception was a star, the late check out, the complimentary morning walk....

I had spent a lot of time planning our honeymoon - researching hotels before booking them and making sure they were what we wanted. There were only two destinations which we did not plan at all - Monterey and Big Sur. On both occasions we were lucky - our hotel (the Intercontinental) in Monterey was nice but the Ventana was the handsdown winner of the trip for a luxury hotel. One of the only hotels that I didn't plan turned out to be a lucky find.

I rarely want to return to a location - but do hope to someday to go back and stay longer. It's a great place to unwind or have a romantic get away.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank travelmadgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (263)
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English first
Santa Maria, Ca
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 February 2009

We stopped for lunch at the Bistro at Ventana Inn and Spa on a trip up Hwy 1. The turkey sandwich was delicious, lentil 'salad' fine, but the eggs benedict was the most amazing I've ever had...perfectly cooked eggs, pleasant addition of avocados, and the finest Hollandaise sauce ever!
We'll definitely go again!

Stayed February 2009
Helpful?
1 Thank Caro W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sonoma County
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2009

My new husband and I were married January 24, 2009. His mother became ill just prior, so we cancelled our planned honeymoon to Bali. My mother-in-law passed away on January 30. After attending to the immediate needs of this tragedy, we looked at each other and said, "Get us out of the stress for a couple of days!" I found a 2 night stay promotion on Ventana's website and indicated in the "comments" section of their site our situation.

We arrived to a HUGE upgraded suite and a handwritten condolence poem from Jessica, the front desk clerk. It felt that the entire staff knew of our difficult situation, and we were treated so sweetly by all. The General Manager, Tina Harlow, even made a point of letting us know she was thinking of us!

The grounds are peaceful, immaculate and oh-so-nurturing. We enjoyed the Japanese hot baths together, and my husband liked his massage in the spa. Included in the room price was a great continental breakfast and wine+cheese hour each day.

To top it off, the Weather Gods seemed to be smiling on us as the weather was absolutely balmy...not bad for February!

  • Liked — staff
  • Disliked — 5 hour drive from home
  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Moishe B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sonoma
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 January 2009

From the moment we booked our reservations at Ventana to when we left (sadly), the level of service we experienced was incredible. The front desk staff were friendly and accommodating - we were offered a glass of wine on arrival and they went over our itinerary with us, confirming massages, dinner reservations, and presented us with the activities of the hotel for the next two days.

When we arrived in our room, there, waiting for us, was a bottle of champagne and a special birthday gift from the hotel. Our room (a Big Sur spa suite) was immaculate, with vistas from the bed overlooking a meadow out to the Pacific. The room was recently renovated and they did a fantastic job. Big fireplace with two overstuffed leather chairs facing it. And the bathroom? A deep soaking tub, set in granite with a louvered panel that could be opened to the main room. There was a separate, glassed-in shower with its own window out to the meadow. From both the bedroom as well as the bathroom, doors opened out to the large, private deck with a hammock and a private hot tub.

All of the meals we had at the restaurant were delicious and the staff went out of their way to make us happy and satisfied.

Everything from the staff, the room and the hotel itself far exceeded our expectations. Would we go again? Absolutely.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Sonoma_Wino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2009

We stayed here to unwind before the holidays and just can't say enough about the trip. Don't come here if you're looking for nightlife or lots of activities. This is truly a romantic world to wind down, enjoy the scenery, read a book, take a hike, get a massage, enjoy good wine and just take a break from the pressures of life. We've been here several times and most recently had a chance to see some of the beautiful renovations they've made to the property. Some of it is renovation, but mostly restoration. Glad that is the case because I would hate to see too many changes.

The staff is wonderful and courteous without being overly fussy. Anytime you call the front desk for anything, someone arrives in just moments, whether it is for more firewood, or bell service - whatever. This was the second visit where we got upgraded (yeah!). We had a gorgeous, immaculately clean suite with an ocean view (distant, but very nice), a fireplace, and a large private patio with our own hot tub. There were wild turkey and deer roaming the property right in front of our room. Viewing the sunrises and sunsets from the huge windows in our suite was amazing.

Big Sur was very quiet while we were there. Seems like the fires and economy discouraged many from travel, but the area is still beautiful. You can see many of the hillsides that burned, but there is still so much beauty that remains untouched that the recent fires shouldn't keep you away. It looks like Ventana also did extensive landscaping upgrades after the fires, and the charred hillsides are greening up already.

Since the restaurant is still closed due to a fire (not the wildfires but another fire that occurred after) they have the smaller bistro open in a portion of what was the lobby, which was surprisingly quite nice. The complementary breakfast was lovely with quiches, bagels and smoked salmon, house made granola and so much more, and they also serve complementary wine, cheese and chair massage in the library in the evenings - not the most expensive wine, but still good.

They've done extensive renovation of the lower clothing optional pool and both of the Japanese baths (wonderful to soak outside at night under the stars!). Had great massages at the spa, and made use of their fitness room - it's not huge, but the equipment is state-of-the-art and very clean.

As one of the posters said, yes it is a trek to get around the property, but that's also the beauty. The guest rooms are scattered in small buildings around the property in a beautifully forested area. This is definitely not a high-rise hotel sort of feeling. Our suite felt quite isolated and very quiet. They do have employees who will cart you around if you're not inclined to walk, but walking wasn't an issue for us.

The overall feel of the resort is rustic chic and very casual. Fantastic if you want 5 star luxury without all the fuss, formality and snobbery. Granted, the views are better at Post Ranch, but you'll pay dearly for them. Ventana actually sits higher and back from the coast, so you sit above some of the ocean fog.

I can't wait to go back . . .

  • Liked — Style and feel of the resort, relaxation
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank C_R_TCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Mateo
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2009

I stayed two nights at the Ventana Inn in January 2009. I had a
Big Sur Suite with king bed. The room was spacious with the bath incorporated into the main room. There was a large deck with a large hammock and two wicker chairs. There was a distant view of the ocean from the room and deck, but the closer-in view was of areas of the hotel. Rooms are in small buildings (mine had 3 units) spread over the rolling, wooded site. My room had a fireplace, separate shower, two comfortable chairs and large ottoman, twin bath sinks and a large bathtub. The setting was quiet and my room was quiet except for the muffled sound of the TV in the unit below mine. The air conditioning unit is in the wall and was quite loud. Overall construction quality is quite ordinary, but my room was clean and comfortable.

The hotel restaurant was destroyed in a fire in August 2008 and won't reopen until mid-summer 2009. The temporary restaurant is adjacent to the lobby and was adequate for breakfast and lunch.

I selected the Ventana Inn over the Post Ranch Inn because the price was one-half to one-third of PRI prices with the primary difference being outstanding ocean views at the PRI vs. being in the woods at Ventana. To compare dinners I ate one night at the Ventana and the next night at the PRI. While the Ventana dinner was good, the Post Ranch Inn dinner was substantially better for about the same price. Based only on my restaurant visit, I judged the PRI as being more upscale overall in addition to having better views. The Ventana was offering a reduction in its rack rates during my visit, the PRI was not.

The continental breakfast at the Ventana, which is included in the room rate, was good. You also can order a good selection of hot items from the menu, but I found the offered buffet to be very satisfactory.

Parking is free at the Ventana with golf cart transport to your room when arriving and leaving.

Overall I was pleased with my stay and felt I received good value at the discounted rate. However, I came away with the impression that a more upscale stay is obtainable at the Post Ranch Inn at a much higher price.

A characteristic of the Ventana is that quite a few guests wear their bathrobes to breakfast and when wandering the site and no one dresses up for dinner. Big Sur is an isolated area with a limited number of convenient attractions. The winding road, especially to the south, takes lots of attention to drive and tends to discourage outings. This is a destination area with your hotel being the main focus.

  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Tipster2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
charlotte
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2008

BEWARE when we arrived they hit us with a $24 per night resort fee which wasn't disclosed at time of reservation. The property was dirty and the pool was a small day hike from our room. Do not waste your money on this property.

Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank ad28203
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 93920-9538
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Big Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Family Hotel in Big Sur
#3 Top resorts 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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