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“Perfection! If you like Auberge de Soleil in Napa, you'll like Ventana Inn!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ventana Inn & Spa

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Ventana Inn & Spa
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
71 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Perfection! If you like Auberge de Soleil in Napa, you'll like Ventana Inn!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 2012

I am stunned to read some of the less than stellar reviews of the Ventana. My husband and I just stayed there and it could not have been better! We have stayed at the Post Ranch Inn and while it is fabulous, we loved Ventana Inn even more. The landscaping and outdoor areas are heaven. Walks from the room to the restaurant or reception area are full of fragrance from the natural plants and flowers - and the walks are much easier than at Post Ranch! At Ventana you feel secluded and pampered but it's an easy walk or golf cart ride if you prefer to anywhere on the property.
Our room, a 'Pacific House' was open and bright with sunlight. We enjoyed evenings on our patio with a glass of wine by our private hot tub on the patio or by the fireplace in our bedroom What's not to like?
Service, from check in (where they gave us a glass of wine and a plate of cheese) to check out was perfect. Caitlyn felt like an old friend and Heather was a doll showing me how to connect my iPad.
There are two options for breakfast - continental buffet in the reception area (included) or a full breakfast option at the restaurant, with a great variety and reasonably priced. Food was exceptional. Don't miss this gem! It's worth the price tag!
We spent one day at the Hearst Castle. It was amazing. It's only 65 miles from Big Sur but it's about 1.5 - 2 hours due to roadwork and hairpin turns. Lunch nearby at Nepenthe has a good view but pretty basic food like burgers and sandwiches. Post Ranch is directly across the street from Ventana and is a great choice for lunch or dinner! Also a beautiful view.

Room Tip: Get a Pacific Room
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SuzyQinHou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,165 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (263)
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English first
NorCal
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 May 2012

My wife and I just returned from the Ventana and it was simply one of the most relaxing and experiences we have had in years. And this is from two people who typically do not like high end resorts as we would prefer to be camped out in a high mountain pass rather than paying absurd sums of money for what usually amounts to just a room with a view. But every once and a while we choose to spend the absurd sums and usually end up asking why we did so afterwards. Not this time. The Ventana was peaceful and relaxing in the extreme, and worth every penny.

Our experience was certainly much different than some of negative reviews below. The "mixed feelings" review complained that check in was routine and no one wished them a happy anniversary. Yet, when we checked in we were welcomed, offered wine, the staff answered all of our questions about local hiking and when they learned it was my wife's birthday, we had a complimentary bottle of champagne with a birthday card arrive at our room before we could unpack a single item. Another reviewer complains about having been given room 7 above the breakfast area and that it was too noisy. We had the same room 7 and experienced none of that. It is indeed right above the reception and continental breakfast area and when we saw that we considered asking for a different room. However since it was one of the few rooms with an unobstructed ocean view, we decided to keep it. I did not hear a single banging pot or other noise that caused me concern. If anything it was too quiet as my my kept sleeping in past the time for the morning yoga she wanted to attend. Once awake, there is no reason to spend any time in your room at all. We read and slept by the pool, in the hot tub and on rocking chairs looking out to the ocean.

As far as the food goes, the continental breakfast was all that we needed. They had an excellent fruit mixture with some of the best granola I have ever had. For dinner, the Ventana's restaurant was quite good, not the best I have ever been to but still good. Admittedly, if you are a true foodie, then you might be a tad disappointed by the restaurant. But then you can just go across the highway to Post Ranch Inn's Sierra Mar restaurant . We had a dinner there that was simply otherworldly. Since the Ventana's shuttle service will take you there and back, there is no reason not to enjoy the best of both world's; the Ventana's supremely idyllic environment and grounds, coupled with the stunning views and even more stunning food of the Sierra Mar. If you do go to the Sierra Mar, I would recommend going at sunset so you can enjoy the incredible cliff-side views with your wine and initial course and then be able to focus on your meal after the sun drops below the horizon.

Speaking of great meals and views, however, the best was the lunch we had was atop a bluff overlooking a deserted beach on the Pfeiffer Ridge Loop trail. With a stiff breeze in our faces, sea lions sunning themselves, and the surf pounding at our feet, who cares that our table was just an outcropping of rock and that our food was a couple of roadside chicken wraps we picked up in some general store. Of course, you have to walk about 5 miles to get there, but if your up for a fairly easy hike, I highly recommend this one. This is not a hike that will challenge you much, the first half of the loop is mostly flat, but it is one of those hikes where every bend and every little rise gives way to a new stunning panorama that makes you want to pinch yourself. Best of all, when you get back to the Ventana you can sit by the pool all afternoon, relax in the hot tubs, take advantage of a second to none spa, all of which will make you forget you exerted any energy at all that morning.

Room Tip: If you want more seclusion, do not ask for an ocean view. There are not that many rooms with an oce...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Voorhesian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
memphis, tn
Level Contributor
65 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 May 2012

I was really looking forward to staying at the Ventana Inn and Spa! This was to be the highlight stop of a seven day trip along the california coast. It was ok, but it was not the highlight. I think that my main issue was with check in. The reception was average. No warm and friendly welcome. Basic. Your rate is such and such. You are in room such and such. Here's a map of the property. Your room is up there. And then we were sent on our way. No one said, "Welcome to the Ventana!" No one said, "I hope you enjoy your stay." No one said, "Happy 20th Anniversary." At this point, I was beginning to wonder if we made the right decision in spending over six hundred bucks per night at this place. For this amount of money, I should have walked away from the receptionist knowing that they were glad that we chose to stay with them. I did not.

The room did make up for what was lacked at check-in. It was acutally beautiful. The pictures do not do it justice. We stayed in a big sur spa suite. It was kind of dark as many have noted in other reviews. This did not bother us though. The lighting could be adjusted and it just added to the ambience. We enjoyed the deck, hot tub, and hammock every night. Our room faced the trees so our deck was very secluded. This was a nice plus. They offered a daily wine and cheese reception that was very nice as well. I can't remember the name of the manager who attended the wine and cheese reception on Sunday, May 6th, but he was really great. Very friendly and excellent customer service skills. (I do give credit when credit is due!) The property itself is very beautiful! We did enjoy the japanese baths. We went late night and had them to ourselves!

We had lunch at the restaurant. The food was really good but the waitress could stand to improve a bit. She disappeared for an extended amount of time. (From the beginning of the meal until the end) However, the food was so good that I don't think i'll let her deter me from going back. Try the calamari! Super good! There is a path that leads from the inn to the restaurant. This is not a short walk! I repeat, this is not a short walk! It is a beautiful walk though. We walked there but we caught the shuttle back! The inn also provides complimentary shuttle to other restaurants within 4 miles of the resort. We went to Sierra Mar and Big Sur Bakery. Both were really good.

My overall feelings about the Ventana Inn and Spa? Still mixed. I am big on customer service. When choosing a place to stay, customer service and accommadations go hand and hand. I give an A+ for accommodations. Unfortunately, I can't do the same for customer service. First impressions are usually lasting impressions. But please don't let this review deter you. Maybe she was just having a not so good day and you will get a better reception! Go ahead. Give them a try!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank tbtravel68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Knoxville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 May 2012

Although expensive, the people are great, the rooms are great and it is really neat.

Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank knox28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2012

Remembering a pleasant stay 10+ years ago I suggested to 4 of my friends we pitch in to offer our newlywed friends a week end at the Ventana. How hard could that be, they have a gift certificate web application... Little did I know.

All 5 of us are european and have european credit cards. To start off the gift certificate web application is a disgrace and is completely dysfunctional (crashes, sends you email with all your info in clear...) so we contacted them over the phone.

Since the bank was suspicious, were then asked to send in on top of the form we filled in on the web, by fax or email (each and every one of us) a copy of our ID, front and back of credit card and a signed authorization... It was all very complicated as we were in SF for the wedding and did not have the right tools but nevertheless we all got our stuff together and proceed to jump through these unheard of loops (countless calls, emails, ...).

In passing, we were asked to email information that definitely should not be emailed for security reasons (email communication is not encrypted) but complied with the requirements in order to expedite things.

After 2 weeks of not hearing anything I called them to get an update and their paymaster flatly announced the charges "could" be fraudulent (just because we were european) so the bank advised them to refuse the charges. Do you think they would have the curtesy to notify us ?

When you consider a hotel stay as a gift certificate is paid for often months BEFORE the product is actually used, this type of concern seems strangely paranoid.

Being treated like a criminal with absolutely no respect or curtesy is not what I expect from a 500$/night+ hotel.

Avoid this place, it is run by robots.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
21 Thank Philippe T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Waimea, Hawaii
Level Contributor
106 reviews
84 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2012

We traveled to Big Sur for a getaway romance. The Ventana provides a great escape with all of the creature comforts you could want in the middle of Big Sur. The whole property has a rustic feel with beautiful gardens at every turn and hiking paths. The rooms are well appointed and have big bath tubs for two, a free standing shower- a really large double vanity. There is also a TV and we had a huge deck with hammock and oceanview. The staff were very friendly and well trained, the food was very very good. They also have a work out room and pool. The rooms are large but cozy.

The only downsides were - no room service for breakfast and breakfast did not open until 7 am and the AC/heater the room is really really loud and noisy. Also, noise is a factor here, the building we stayed in had three floors and you can really hear people above you and outside, since it's all wooden decking. So if you are a light sleeper, ask for a top floor room. Also, there are no pay movies. Also, the mattress here was super hard for some reason.

Room Tip: Also, noise is a factor here, the building we stayed in had three floors and you can really hear peo...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank pkmiles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2012

We recently stayed at The Ventana for a long weekend. Almost everything was wonderful. If only a few changes could be made, I truly think this place could be perfection.

First, although our room was plenty spacious, it was located on the lower level and therefore very dark. It would have been nice to have more natural light. If this isn't possible, then it would be nice to be able to open some windows because the room did get stuffy and air would've been so much better than the old air conditioning box unit.

Second, the shower was very old. It had a particular mildew smell. If this could be fixed -- I'm not a plumber so I don't know how -- it would have been a great bathroom.

Third, the restaurant needs a bit of tweaking in its policy. The food is outstanding. And the breakfast and lunch menus were diverse, reasonably priced, and the food was truly delicious. But the dinner policy and menu were terrible. So bad, in fact, that this could be the reason I don't return. The problem is that every entree costs the same - $38. So a simple pasta is equal to a filet. And every salad and starter is the same price, too. So a green salad costs as much as scallops. I felt this was either lazy or stupid planning and frankly I resented it as a customer. It's too bad because the food is great. But, again, $38 for pasta with tomato sauce because it's an entree is absurd.

If they could fix these things, I'd give this place my highest recommendation. If not, look for another place. Perhaps Post-Ranch...

  • Stayed April 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rose L
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
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 Top resorts Hotel in Big Sur
#3 Family 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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