Best Luxury Hotels in Big Sur

Big Sur was associated with untamed and unmapped wilderness long before it gained the name El Sur Grande. That makes the world-class luxury its most pamper-prone hotels provide all the more remarkable by contrast, in part because they welcome in that rugged nature, albeit gently.

At these outposts, thoughtful amenities and attentive service accompany a sense of serenity, relaxation and retreat.

Featured photo courtesy of Ventana Big Sur. 

Post Ranch Inn-Big Sur fireplace-Monterey Peninsula-Luxury-credit Post Ranch Inn-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of Post Ranch Inn

Post Ranch Inn

Floating 1,200 feet above the sea, Post Ranch Inn accesses a rare altitude that’s part rustic retreat and Amangiri-level indulgence, its elegance both understated and up to the standards of A-list celebs.

The menu of nature-themed and wellness activities proves robust, ranging from yoga, and meditation to nature walks and stargazing. The spa even offers “spiritual exploration” guided by a bona-fide shaman. 

Among the 40 rooms are treehouses on stilts tucked into the forest and bird watching-themed lodging outfitted with binoculars. Two full-size houses, Post House and South Coast House, are perfect for those bringing an entourage or ducking the paparazzi. 

Service is personalized—these hosts do their homework—and the restaurant rivals any on the California coast, whether you’re talking impeccable sourcing, elite execution or atmospheric setting. 

Post Ranch also ranks among our best Big Sur hotels for romancespa and wellness and waterfront properties. 

HIGHLIGHT:  No televisions or alarm clocks in the rooms—or kids, for that matter, as it’s an adult-only refuge—just in case the resident restfulness doesn’t swallow you whole upon check-in at the “lobby,” an architectural wonder in the woods, like all of Post Ranch’s structures.

Aerial view of the Ventana Big Sur lodge, a luxurious hotel in Big Sur, California
Photo: Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur

At 160-acre Ventana Big Sur, where the 59 ultra-private rooms, suites and villas are tucked into an forested ridge and your high-ceilinged driftwood-inspired room could include a Jacuzzi bath, days can feature a swim in a mountaintop pool over the Pacific, dinner illuminated by one of Big Surs most spectacular sunset settings, and and stargazing from a 24-hour traditional Japanese bath. 

A menu of daily activities includes yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and guided nature walks that take you deep into the redwood canyon below for true forest bathing. Spa Alila does massage, but also astrology readings, reflexology, and cranial-sacral massage, and couples can partake in private cabanas near the pool.

Ventana also makes it onto our lists for the best Big Sur hotels for group getaways, romance and wellness

HIGHLIGHT: The resorts renowned The Sur House and its surrounding terraces are so inviting internationally celebrated Big Sur Food & Wine centers more of its opening night gatherings here than anywhere else on the South Coast.

Aerial view of the Ventana Big Sur lodge, a luxurious hotel in Big Sur, California
Photo: Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Elegant accommodations, check. Elite dining, starring award-winning Pacific’s Edge, absolutely. In-room spa service, affirmative. Stunning location, a hawk’s swoop from Point Lobos, yes again. 

 

The magnetic qualities at HCH extend from there to hiking trails, nearby golfing, kayaking, and whale watching, and on-premise local winetastings and gourmet cooking classes, with all services evolved with eco-friendliness front of mind.

 

The experience at Pacific’s Edge, meanwhile, has long earned it locals’ perennial vote for Best Place for a Romantic Meal.

HIGHLIGHT:  The lobby-adjacent Sunset Lounge can make a strong case as Monterey Bay Area’s most visually stunning place to catch a cocktail and a snack. Views from the bar, or welcoming lounge seating, zoom through iconic Monterey pines to the craggy coast and shimmering Pacific beyond.

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