Big Sur, California, USA
Exquisitely positioned and utterly romantic lodge on a ridge overlooking the Pacific: one of California's top hotels
The magical Post Ranch Inn occupies 100 acres of wild heath,
redwoods and hiking trails in the heart of Big Sur, a breathtaking
1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean. You reach it by winding along
iconic Highway One, passing cliffs, beaches and stunning overlooks.
It's a journey to savour, trumped only by your arrival.
You are met by friendly staff, who offer champagne while your car is valet parked, then chauffeured up to the ridge where your beautiful rustic-luxe accommodation awaits. As we reached the top, a gray whale obligingly spouted far below. The 39 rooms and suites each have a private deck where you can sunbathe, and superb views of the Ventana Wilderness or Pacific Ocean. There are wood-burning fireplaces, custom-made furniture, rugs by indigenous weavers, striking sculptures and complimentary minibars.
Eco-aware architecture (think tree houses and grass-roofed ocean houses) showcases attractively rusted Corten steel, Douglas fir posts and big glass picture windows. The centrepiece is the cantilevered restaurant, Sierra Mar, with a 13,000-bottle wine cellar and delicious daily menu, focusing on sustainable fish, humanely reared meat and local produce. Between meals, bask in infinity-edged pools, enjoy complimentary yoga, or restore your wellbeing in the spa. There's even an astronomer to guide you through the clear night sky through an observatory-grade telescope. Fabulous.
Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
- Location: overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the west (great whalewatching and sunsets) and green rippled ridges to the east, with easy access to Big Sur's State Parks and local activities
- Exclusivity: the ranch is on 100 acres of private land, so you won't hear or see anybody from the outside world
- Heaps of activities on site - from the charming spa to the swimming pool; from walking trails to shamanistic drumming workshops
- It couldn't be more romantic (no-one under 18 is allowed); do not hesitate to get married in order to honeymoon at the Post Ranch Inn
- Sister hotel to the wonderful Cavallo Point Lodge in San Francisco
- It's eye-wateringly expensive (though breakfast and some activities are included, and sometimes special packages apply in low season), but additional activities and meals are fairly priced - and this is a once-in-a-lifetime place
- There's no beach, and those nearby are pretty crowded in high season; console yourself in the infinity basking pools with cocktail in hand
- You'll need a car to get here
The hype is true: this place really is spectacular...Conde Nast Traveler (US)