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Ventana Inn & Spa, Big Sur 
$$$$

48123 Highway 1
Big Sur , California
Tel: 800 628 6500
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Concierge.com's insider take:

Given that Ventana sits right across Highway 1 from Post Ranch Inn, it's hard not to compare the two—and though they're equally wonderful, they're also quite different. Here the architecture is chunkier—decidedly high-end '70s—and rather than being tucked away among the trees and cliffs, the buildings sit on wide-open, rolling grounds (which means more expansive vistas, and also that you'll see more strolling guests than you will at the ultraprivate Post Ranch). Ventana sits higher up, so the fog clears sooner, making it better for sunbathing; the spa here is also larger, although it's also open to nonguests. There are hiking trails that crisscross the property, yoga, and "photo safaris" with the resident photographer—but there are also hammocks where you can lollygag all day. The 60 guest rooms are bigger, and the furnishings made with leather, redwood, and rough-hewn cedar give them a woodsier aesthetic. Other unique Ventana amenities are the cedar-walled Japanese-style baths open to the sky, and the clothing-optional pool (there's another for those who are more modest). Kids are not allowed.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Sitting 1,200 feet above the Pacific on a grassy hillside, this hotel with "stunning views" was built by the screenwriter of the movie Easy Rider. The Restaurant at Ventana features a terroir menu that includes ingredients from its organic garden. Staff are "professional, helpful, and appropriately personal at the same time," though, one reader gripes, they were "clueless at checkout." Rooms in sage, russet, cream, and gold come with slate showers.

(60 rooms)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 89.7
  • Design: 89.2
  • Food: 85.6
  • Location: 92.5
  • Rooms: 91.9
  • Service: 89.3

Also appeared in the Gold List in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005

Amenities: Pool, Spa

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User Reviews

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A great place

Ventana is a favorite. Beautiful, natural, quiet and inviting. Go the last week of October and join the fun at the all-Big-Sur Halloween party to benefit the... more