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The Essence of Big Sur, The Ventana Inn and Spa

Last month over dinner with my childhood BFF Christine, we decided  it was time to take a long overdue road trip.

When the opportunity to spend two nights at Big Sur’s Ventana Inn & Spa landed in our lap, we hit the road running.

we are hit the road running...

This road trip would involve miles of gorgeous coastline, the ability to make pit-stops in charming towns and shops along the way and the chance to have hours of uninterrupted conversation. Need I say more?

Let ‘s fast forward to our stay at the Ventana Inn & Spa (details of our shop stops coming up in the future, I promise).

We arrived at dusk, and were greeted by Guillermo who loaded our bags into his golf cart and whisked us off to the reception area to check in and enjoy a lovely glass of wine (with an invitation to stop back by if we wanted another glass!). At first I was hesitant to accept the wine since usually a complementary glass of wine means a bad headache later. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and the fact that they were pouring wines from California’s Central Coast.

It was the perfect way to start our evening.

Guillermo not only showed us to our room, but after hearing that we were starving, rustled up a beautiful cheese plate for us with all our favorites. Needless to say between the cheese plate, the wine and the fireplace, we were in for the night.

the fire wood was wrapped in a decorative burlap bags making it easy to light and clean to use.

The next morning as we made our way to our breakfast, I was stuck by the peacefulness of the property and calm way the staff moved about. In fact, we witnessed one of the young workers stop to embrace one the housekeepers (we found out later, that it was his aunt).

a peek at the pool.


This is common as many of the staff live on property, some having been with the company for over 35 years and have raised their children on site. The staff housing is just down the hill from the hotel which spans a total of 243 acres of rolling meadows and wooded hill sides. Family and community at a hotel/spa? I was beginning to like this whole picture.

Breakfast was absolutely lovely, called a continental breakfast but far from it. My favorite was the large bowls of beautiful berries and delicious homemade granola. We took our time savoring our breakfast and watching all the very relaxed couples (many of whom arrived in their cushy bathrobes) and vowed to have breakfast the next day in our bathrobes too.

The Ventana property walk is a great way to start the day. The property does have a guide but we preferred to explore on our own.

At the end of our walk we stopped into the spa to take a peek and chat with the spa manager Laura (another fine example of the warm staff on property). She showed us the couples massage suite, a cozy room with a fireplace and a soaking tub for two that included chocolates and tea to enhance the bathing experience.  It was simple and inviting.

welcome to the spa.

The  property has two pool areas (at one of the pools clothing was optional). I preferred the upper pool only because it had a warmer feel to it. As an added bonus, the Japanese hot baths were perfect for soaking away our sore muscles.

a warm soak


At a place like Ventana, it’s easy for the day to slip by and roll into dinner.

The dining room is a short walk through the forest. The paths are gravel and surrounded by local flora and fauna. You never know who you are going to run into.

On our walk, we were literally standing next to two deer (just about gave me a heart attack).My girlfriend Christine found this amusing !

Dinner was presented in a beautifully lit, lodge-like dining room, with delicious food served by a courteous staff  ! I was beginning to see a pattern here.

Here’s the truth, the Ventana Inn and Spa is a romantic haven for couples. PERIOD !

That being said, I had a wonderful time here with my girlfriend, relaxing, sharing ideas and laughing our asses off. The next time you need to get away and can’t justify a trip to Paris, this place is a must. It’s simple yet sophisticated. Yes it is expensive, but worth every penny (I heard that sweet deals can be found off season November-April).

No flashy gift shops, noisy teenagers or crying babies can be found here. This is a 100% adult experience. I was sad to leave my new found haven, but excited to enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way home.

 I will be back ! 

The hotel will provide a shuttle four miles north or south of the property for those who wish to venture out.



The Essence of Big Sur, The Ventana Inn and Spa 



Tell them Nili sent you !

  • andrea zuckermanMay 19, 2011 - 4:32 pm

    What a great weekend! My favorite is a cocktail at Post Ranch Inn at sunset
    followed by dinner at The Big Sur Bakery. What a beautiful blog, love it.ReplyCancel

    • adminMay 19, 2011 - 4:35 pm

      Andrea, thank you so much for the blog love and sharing your favorite place. Big Sur is such a magical place….ReplyCancel

  • Jo Ann G.May 19, 2011 - 5:31 pm


    What a beautiful trip. I still am in contact with my 9th grade girlfriend who lives in Texas. She has been out a couple of times and I am going to call her and tell her to start saving
    her pennies. We would both be soooooooooo in love with this place.

    Photo of the green hills and misty sky and clouds is now my desktop background for a while. Ahhhhh, day dreaming!! Jo AnnReplyCancel

    • adminMay 19, 2011 - 6:22 pm

      Jo Ann, this is what I love to hear when I write a post. Thank you. I hope you will share this post with your girlfriend in Texas and tell her dreams do come true ! Thanks for the blog love. NiliReplyCancel

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