Best Romantic Hotels in Big Sur

The murmur of the tides next to your hotel room. The smell of blooming wisteria. The cry of a red-tailed hawk. The beach picnics, the endless redwood hikes, the quiet drives along the edge of the continent.

A weekend away in Big Sur can be many things — replenishing, reverential and, yes, romantic.

Here are our picks for Big Sur’s best hotels for romance. 

Featured photo: Courtesy of Post Ranch Inn

Big Sur Hotel Deetjen Facade, great for getaways on the Monterey Peninsula, California
Photo courtesy of Deetjen's Big Sur Inn.

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

Inseparable from Big Sur and the redwoods that surround it, Deetjen’s represents a reborn legend.

Its must-deserved fame comes from a lot of sources, primary among them the unique, historic and creaky cabins that were around decades before Instagram broadcast their character, and steps from trails that peel off into ferny wilderness and along marine terraces. 

The rooms come equipped with in-room journals stuffed with personal adventures and a magic that gains grand scale by the small details guests include.

Then there are the gorgeous gardens, the no-technology house rules and, yes, the eggs Benedict, a star among a constellation of great food at the restaurant (cozy in its own time capsule of a space). 

HIGHLIGHTS: Beautiful on-grounds gardens starring postcard-perfect wisteria and the Castro Canyon waterfall spilling into the creek Deetjen’s nestles into. 

Yurt overlooking Pacific Ocean at Treebones Resort -- great for wellness getaway -- in Big Sur, California
Photo: Courtesy of Treebones Resort

Treebones Resort

Treebones provides myriad variables a love story deserves, even before considering a night in the Human (Love) Nest, an iconic and handwoven roost soaring above the Pacific.

The remote location — the furthest south of our spots — helps hearts thump, and Treebones also earns love for the thoughtful charm of its deluxe yurts, the sweeping views, the organic gardens and the outstanding food program.

HIGHLIGHTS: Two words here would be “couples massage.”

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

Post Ranch Inn

Perched on a cliff 1,200 feet above the sea, Post Ranch Inn can make a strong case for Big Sur’s best views as well as its most eye-catching architecture.

Most romantic too.

That emanates from long walks around the lush property and its bluffs, paths, gardens, art and meadows, but also the surreally attentive service, sublime epicurean possibilities in room and at award-winning Sierra Mar, and — yes — time spent in the outdoor soaking tubs on private decks around the property.

This hotel also makes our list for the best luxury hotels in Big Sur. 

HIGHLIGHT:  The all-inclusive rate includes a well-stocked mini-bar and an over-the-top breakfast spread — whether you prefer eggs and bacon or tropical fruit and house-made granola, its on the table. Dinner at the inns Sierra Mar restaurant is also a lovers’ oceanside reverie, with a wine list to match the incredible, ever-changing and fastidiously sourced menu.

California-roadtrips-seaside spas-ventana-1200
Photo: Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur

Ventana offers a window into luxury that naturally summons deeper feelings.

Maybe it’s the luxurious setting on a wooded hillside just east of Highway 1, the privacy afforded by an 160-acre oasis, adjacent redwood hikes and infinity-edge hot tub. 

It’s definitely the spectacular sunset settings at dinner, and the traditional Japanese bath at the 24-hour hilltop pool It’s deservedly on our list of top luxury and wellness hotels in the region, too. 

HIGHLIGHT: The all-expense-inclusive approach here — plus dining dedicated exclusively to guests and “signature experiences” like meditation, Tai Chi and daily hikes — allow couples to find South Coast serenity and focus on romantic priorities.

Bonus new resource: The Excursion Outpost gears up couples for picnics, hikes, adventures and more.

Glen Oaks Big Sur

One of Big Sur’s most discreetly positioned resorts might be its best-kept secret.

Glen Oaks enjoys its own hidden sanctuary of redwoods, river access and refined-rustic lodging, where each nook of the property unlocks new dimensions of relaxation, from the Adirondack chairs in strategic places to the fairy ring of redwoods not far from your suite.

This is the type of place that feels like a fantasy until it settles in that you and your mate can verify for one another it’s real, and really soak it up.

HIGHLIGHT: The Big Sur Roadhouse proves a revelation in its own right thanks to Central Coast cuisine thriving on fresh, seasonal, organic and local ingredients. The dining space also serves as a portal for San Francisco designer Steve Justrich’s “homegrown modernism,” which gives an added depth to a casual coffee, glass of wine, snack or a full meal as memorable as the place itself.

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