We pulled off Highway One and into Ventana! We drove up the beautiful forested road to the mountain top resort, where the valet greeted us and loaded our luggage into a resort shuttles. As we entered the lobby we realized we had timed our drive perfectly, as it was now happy hour! There were multiple different wines to choose from and small plates of artisan cheese.
The lobby was lovely, covered in wood and stone. We sat in front of the beautiful fireplace sipping our wine and eating our cheese as we waited to check in. From here we were escorted to our room and off to explore!
We stayed in room 47 at the Sycamore House. This was a ground level unit with a balcony by the Fitness Center and Mountain Pool, which was convenient, as the Fitness Center has an ice machine.
The room was spacious with a fireplace, king bed, large bathroom; with a bathtub, shower and separate commode. The unit also had a balcony, which included two chairs, a coffee table and small hammock. Unfortunately this room did not have much of a view, but we weren’t planning to spend much time inside.
This is the main pool, located near the lobby and spa area - it is beautiful! Meadow Pool perfectly describes it as it is literally in a large meadow. As you walk through the entrance there are white Adirondack chairs set in a row looking through the meadow and over the tree tops until your eyes meet the ocean (perfect for drinking wine & eating cheese). Behind these chairs to the right is the entrance to the pool area.
The pool, shaped like the letter “J” has sun loungers and umbrellas lining one side and a second level a few steps up offering an even better view. There was a barrel steam room, further projecting the rustic luxury theme and an infinity hot tub.
Mountain Pool & Japanese Hot Baths
Located on the opposite side of the resort from Meadow Pool, this pool is surrounded by trees offering a more private experience.
The Japanese Hot Baths are adjacent from Mountain Pool, surrounded by wooden panels, the baths are heated to 104 degrees year-round, which would normally be perfect, however Big Sur was in the middle of a heat wave so it way too hot to enjoy.
At Spa Alila there is something for everyone; from body treatments to astrology readings. The spa treatment cabanas are a really nice way to not only relax but enjoy the outdoors.
The cabanas we used had two massage tables an enormous copper tub and a glass railing so you could look out into the woods while enjoying your treatment (you also have the option to have your treatment indoors).
The Sur House
Sits high above the Pacific Ocean where the forest and sea converge. It is a modern American restaurant that features the styles and flavors of California's Central Coast, which are reflected in the seasonal menu. There is indoor and outdoor seating, we sat outside, catching the end of a beautiful sunset. The view here is incredible!
We ate our dinner at leisure, starting the night with Seasoned Old Fashioned (featuring Knob Creek bourbon, five spice and walnut) along with KAMPACHI CRUDO (lemon cucumber aguachile, apple, pickled green tomato).
For our main course we switched over to wine, ordering the Tempranillo, Hearst Ranch, Paso Robles & Cabernet Sauvignon and the Joullian, Carmel Valley, which paired nicely with the BUCATINI (sweet corn, sungolds, creme fraiche, cotija, espelette, marjoram) & the DOMESTIC WAGYU RIBEYE (rapini, abalone mushroom, black garlic butter, truffle pecorino)!
*The restaurant was roughly a 0.5 mile walk from our room, for most I would recommend calling for a ride. We walked there and got a ride back.
Big Sur Smokehouse
We stoped here for lunch the day we were leaving, this little red barn was just gorgeous inside, we thought it was just going to be an old little BBQ joint but it really surprised us! We ordered the PULLED PORK COMPOSED SALAD (Strawberries, candied pecans, crumbled blue cheese, honey- sherry vinaigrette - I added a little bit of BBQ sauce - highly recommend trying this) and the SMOKED CHICKEN SANDWICH & BAKED MAC + CHEESE - YUM! Both items were fantastic, wish we would have thought to go here sooner. They had multiple bottled and canned drinks, some beer and a few types of wine by the bottle you could buy as well - definitely stop in here!
The Bixby Creek Bridge
This magnificent bridge opens on November 27, 1932 (86 years ago). It is located on State Route 1 and is 714’ (L) x 24’ (W) x 280’ (H). It took just over one year to complete it’s construction making it one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world!
We were really excited to see this bridge, we drove across it multiple times and then stopped to admire it, and that is exactly what we did, 3.5 house of admiration while we completed the most beautiful time-lapse capturing yet another beautiful sunset.
Visit Ventana Big Sur online at www.ventanabigsur.com.