Beach + Island

The Checklist: Hotels to Stay in Before You Die

by Ondine Cohane

POST RANCH INN, Big Sur, California

Malibu and San Diego are lovely to look at, but Big Sur's Post Ranch Inn long ago won our vote for the most spectacular position in all of California. This prime place is on the cliffs of Big Sur (and we mean on the cliffs), looking down at the crashing waters of the Pacific—birds would be lucky to have such views from their nests. For most visitors to Big Sur, the only choice is to stop at the lookout points along Highway 1 and dream about sticking around. Guests at the Post Ranch get to linger, especially with the exquisite new rooms that were unveiled in spring 2008, with private cantilevered terraces, customized sound systems, and outdoor hot tubs. In addition to the cliffside perch, amenities include three perfectly landscaped pools, wood-burning fireplaces, yoga classes, and guided nature walks. And there's no need to feel guilty about your footprint in these truly great outdoors: The resort is green, with a drought-resistant landscaping plan, living-sod roofs covered with wildflowers and grass, and biodegradable cleaning products. For the best view in the place, book one of the five "Ocean Houses," wrapped with floor-to-ceiling windows, that sit about a hundred feet from the dramatically beautiful rock coast. If you were going to stay in only one hotel in all of California to, you know, "find yourself," we'd recommend you find yourself here.

Post Ranch Inn
Tel: 800 527 2200 (toll-free)
Tel: 831 667 2200
Doubles from $550

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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