Best Spa & Wellness Hotels in Big Sur

Best Spa & Wellness Hotels in Big Sur

Big Sur contains multitudes. More specifically, it offers multiple ways to relax, by way of cliffside views, local food and drink, soothing redwood walks and…world-class spas. The best hotels for wellness in Big Sur offer unique opportunities for restorative getaways, from internationally known massage on top of the Pacific to yoga in picturesque places to hot tub time after a day of mindfulness and meditation. 

Here are our picks for the best spa and wellness hotels in Big Sur, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.

Featured photo courtesy of Ventana Big Sur. 

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

Treebones Resort

The furthest south of these recommendations deserves love for its family-run collection of yurts, sweeping views, organic gardens and impressive food program. 

Wild Coast Restaurant & The Sushi Bar have gotten popular enough that a call ahead for reservations is a must.

Their team also does expert massage, personalized and for couples, plus private massage tutorials.

Treebones also makes our list for the best romantic hotelswaterfront hotels and the best hotels for group getaways.

HIGHLIGHTS: A number of group activities and staff recommendations for local hikes offer inspiration for a good massage. Another relaxation hack: Exploring the booming on-campus kitchen garden as slowly as possible.

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. It also occupies an unusual niche between rustic retreat and Amangiri-level indulgence, its elegance both understated and up to the standards of A-list celebs like George Clooney and Anne Hathaway, who hide away in its stand-alone cabins.

Post Ranch Inn offers a full menu of nature-themed and wellness activities, including yoga, meditation, nature walks and stargazing. The spa even offers “spiritual exploration” guided by a bonafide shaman.

And, Post Ranch is deservedly on our lists for the best romantic, luxury and waterfront hotels in Big Sur. 

HIGHLIGHT:  The all-inclusive rate includes a well-stocked mini-bar and an over-the-top breakfast spread. Dinner at the inns Sierra Mar restaurant, meanwhile, ranks above the best dining experiences in the state, full stop.

Swimming pool and garden at the spa and wellness hotel Ventana in Big Sur, California
Photo: Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur

An ultra-luxurious compound on a wooded hillside just east of Highway 1, Ventana Big Sur is a 160-acre oasis offering numerous activities to tempt guests outdoors — and numerous amenities to lure them back inside.

Hike through a redwood forest, then enjoy a couples’ massage in a private cabana or a soak in an infinity-edge hot tub, savor one of Big Sur’s most spectacular sunset settings at dinner, and end a memorable day with a traditional Japanese bath at the 24-hour hilltop pool.

The discreetly located rooms, suites and villas offer rustic-chic decor, high ceilings and, in some cases, fireplaces and private hot tubs. Adventurous couples can even opt for a comfy “glamping” tent cabin in the redwood canyon below.

It’s deservedly on our list of the region’s top hotels for luxury, group getways and romance, too. 

HIGHLIGHT: Ventana’s superb and regionally sourced restaurant, Sur House, is open only for guests at breakfast and dinner, when sunsets add a breathtaking glow to the ocean view. Rates include all meals, which you can also enjoy via room service, plus snacks and reusable water bottles to take on your excursions. You might never want to leave the two heated pools with stunning views, though.

Esalen wellness spa in Big Sur, California
Photo: Courtesy of Esalen

Esalen

Founded in 1962 and named for the Esselen tribe that first populated this remote stretch of Big Sur, Esalen Institute (widely known as just Esalen) is as famous for its clothing-optional, oceanside hot spring baths as it is for its workshops addressing body, mind, soul and society.

Its unique collection of woodsy accommodations —  from humble rooms for your sleeping bag to high-end oceanfront houses — come with three healthful, delicious meals a day in the handsome lodge and access to other amenities.

The massages on the cusp of the Pacific, next to the storied hot pools, are up to the legend — which is prodigious — and do in fact come synchronized with the rhythm of the waves.

With or without workshops, lodging packages are available for five-day/four-night or three-day/two-night stays. Esalen also makes our list for the best hotels for group getaways in Big Sur. 

HIGHLIGHT: The grounds present a wonderland that only complement the hearty and wholesome food and famed hot baths, from the meditation sanctuary to the trailheads into the woods to the verdant farm. Then there are the bluff-top lawns, fire-pitted patio and cozy wine bar too.

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