North America Travel

Big Sur and Post Ranch Inn

A few weekends ago, my husband and I decided to take a few days to explore the absolutely breathtaking Big Sur. Big Sur is relatively close to us, but I hadn’t visited for many years and my husband had never been. After this trip however, we’ve made a commitment to visit much more often, because it is seriously one of the most beautiful places on earth. Some snapshots from our trip:

Since we were coming in from the Bay Area, we passed through Monterey on our drive and stopped for lunch – if you are making the same road trip I’d highly recommend the Monterey Fish House which serves amazing fresh pasta and seafood.

As you get closer, the landscape gets more and more incredible – we were on a call in the car with a good friend but had to callously hang up on him because we just couldn’t concentrate, we were too busy “oohing” and “ahhing” over the scenery. Another note that you are driving kind of perilously close to cliffs, so do pay attention to the road! We had to pull over and take some photos; we saw a lot of other people doing the same.

After some driving, we got some gas (note – fill up before you get into town because gas was literally $5.50 a gallon, ouch – we only did a few gallons) and headed to our hotel – Post Ranch Inn.

It was our first time staying at the Inn, and I was little nervous because I had heard mixed reviews from friends. However, both of us had a fabulous time and can’t wait to be back. It’s very private – we arrived and a woman at the very front checked off our names as we drove in. I think you either have to be a guest or dining there to enter the resort grounds, but I may be wrong. Anyway once we reached reception, we were greeted immediately by a staff member with wine and champagne. He then took our car, transferred our luggage into their SUV (Post Ranch a fleet of hybrid Lexus’ that you can take for complimentary a drive around the area anytime). and took us to our room.

Our bathtub was on the other side but otherwise was identical – a beautiful stone tub, and you could open the windows and stare directly out to the sea.

images via Post Ranch Inn

A view of how the decks are laid out – beautiful right? I actually think this is a picture of the “Cliff House” which from what I’ve seen, sounds amazing but is also quite expensive – however all the ocean facing rooms have a similar layout I believe. Our room was called “Pfeiffer” which was an Upper Coast House room – I would highly recommend these with the wee caveat that there is a railing (which you see in the picture above) which can interfere with the view. If that’s a huge deal to you, then I’d recommend you book a Lower Coast House (ask for one with no railings) – they’re a little cheaper too!

The view from our deck. Joy. We basically got to our room, took our drinks, went outside, sat down on the seats and stared at the ocean. Such a beautiful view. One of the reasons why we booked a stay in March was to see some whales which migrate north in Big Sur during the month. The hotel provides binoculars in the room, and we saw a bunch of whales our very first day! I love whales so I was thrilled. Whales whales whales.

Our bed – it was super high and really comfortable – apparently the hotel gets a lot of requests to purchase the bed so they started offering the mattresses at their shop!  I’m used to beds facing TVs in hotel rooms…but Post Ranch Inn…dun dun dun…doesn’t have TVs.

Now in full disclosure I adore TV and will unashamedly say that TV is one of my major past times. I love it. It actually drives me batty when people say things like, “Pshwahh, I don’t even own a TV!!” while telling you about their more fulfilling hobbies. Seriously. My husband knows to quickly change the subject if somebody says something similar in conversation as it will otherwise trigger uncontrollable eye rolling on my part.

Anyway, all of that rambling was meant to lend strength to my point that at Post Ranch, you don’t really miss the TV. At all. There are so many great outdoors activities, a spa, hot tubs, and when you are in the room, staring at the sea and hanging by the fire are fabulous entertainment (and there is a TV in the library if you do feel the need).

Each room also comes with a bottle of white and red wine each, fresh chocolate chip cookies, and a fully stocked fridge with organic drinks, cheese, crackers, snacks and hot cocoa mix. All complimentary! I had to try really hard to suppress my shameless instincts to clean out the whole fridge when we left; I only took the things we really liked. Sigh.

Whether you’re staying at Post Ranch or just passing through the area, I would highly recommend dinner at their restaurant Sierra Mar. Sierra Mar is Michelin rated (but with a relatively relaxed dress code, hoorah) and serves beautiful food overlooking the ocean cliffs.

image via New York Times

image via Post Ranch Inn

The photo above is a view of the restaurant from the outside, the second is the view from the inside. Breath taking right? When we went for dinner, it  was only a few minute walk from our room so we were happy to indulge in wine and cocktails. Also, Post Ranch was kind enough to look up the sunset times for the days we were there to make sure that we’d be able to see it during our dinner.

I took a few photos of the food – however since we did see the sunset, the restaurant soon got pretty dark! You’ll see here:

A delicious amuse bouche, my favorite dish of the night which was salmon wrapped scallops with quail egg, and then by the time my asparagus and proscuitto salad came out, you can see the sun was already setting. I’m sure I butchered all the food descriptions by the way.

After dinner we headed back to our room and made the fire. Actually I think this photo was from the next morning – as an apartment dweller, I love fireplaces and take advantage of them when I can! Post Ranch gives you plenty of wood and kindling and plus leaves bags of it by your door in case you need more.

The next morning, we had breakfast (which is included for all guests!) which was a delicious buffet with eggs and pancakes made to order, again at Sierra Mar. I wish I had taken photos, but next time I will, promise. On the way there, we passed by one of the property’s infinity pools:

image via Post Ranch Inn

This is the main pool I believe, which is situated between the rooms and Sierra Mar. Both pools are always heated to ~105 degrees all day and night. I forgot my swimsuit so didn’t get to go this time, drat! Next time, next time. I was very disappointed, though the employee who took us to our room said that you didn’t have to wear a suit. “Any of our pools can be a naked pool, they are swimsuits optional,” he said. This option was not employed by us during our visit.

On the way back from breakfast, we passed by some of Post Ranch’s Tree Houses – I’d love to try out one of these next time, they seem so cool! The only thing is that they don’t have a full ocean view like the Coast and Cliff Houses – but you can get that with from just walking around the property.

When we finally left Post Ranch Inn, we were sad to go but super relaxed, and vowed to come back to Big Sur soon. However we couldn’t leave without a stop at the famous Big Sur Bakery (it’s just down the road from Post Ranch):

I would recommend the meatloaf sandwich and the cookies – we got them all to go for dinner later that night.  Also make sure to check out the area behind the restaurant – we would have missed had it not been for the slightly shell shocked Southern family who said, “You have got to see the back. Crazy Californians!”

A little charming and random but I actually really liked it. Reminded me of Berkeley!

Me saying goodbye to the restaurant and Big Sur, you can really tell that I am a munchkin here:

And finally, one more photo when we pulled over to say hello to some of the cows that graze by the road. This one was very large and nonchalant, clearly he or she was not threatened by me and assumed it could easily take me in a fight if need be. There was a calf behind it, hiding:

Whales and cows. Is it weird that they’re part of my description of a perfect getaway?

Thank you for reading along about our little Big Sur adventure – we cannot wait to be back! Have you ever visited? What’re some of your favorite stops and things to do?

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  • Annabelle
    March 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Wow, that is insanely gorgeous! I haven't been to Big Sur in many years but I might have to bump that up the list of places to revisit.

  • Tabitha
    March 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I love Big Sur, it's such a magical place, the only thing I don't like about the Post Ranch is the darkness and woodiness of the rooms, I found them really claustrophobic
    I loved the whole, leave your car here here, we'll take you the rest of the way malarky – so mysterious!

  • homestilo
    March 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Spectacular views. This looks like the perfect weekend getaway. But I must be hungry because at first I read, "Pasta Ranch Inn"

  • Tabitha
    March 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Oh and the pool, my hubs went along one night and was mortified, – everyone, men and women were naked! He scarpered out in a very uptight British fashion!

  • pjlatte
    March 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    The view is spectacular! We are planning on visiting San Francisco area sometimes this year. Reading you blog gave me so many ideas of what to do on our upcoming trip. Thank you! If you have more suggestions, do let me know. 😀

  • just me
    March 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    beautiful photos. i enjoyed this post a lot 🙂

    http://excurlythoughts.blogspot.com/

  • Molly
    March 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Looks like a good time. I always fantasize about moving there after the dirt and grime of NYC starts getting to me.

  • Nicole
    March 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I have never heard of Big Sur before! Wow, it is absolutely breath taking. Might just have to look into this a bit…thanks for sharing!

  • Maya
    March 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Great post! I haven't been to Big Sur in a long time, but now I'm dying to go back.

  • Adele
    March 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! Ranch living really appeals to me!
    Happy Monday hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • dietingfashions
    March 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    You take the best trips! It is beautiful! And I go cuckoo over cows too. I see them quite often in Texas which still baffles me.

    Helen

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    March 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    What beautiful scenery! You have much more willpower than me Kat – I would have cleaned out the fridge kettle chips and all!

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  • Lilli
    March 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    wow! great place and photos!:) xoxo

  • Sandra Leiva
    March 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Looks like a great place! <3

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    March 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    WHOA! This just looks amazing! The fact that the room comes without a TV is a major winning point with me. Hahaha….I dare you to roll your eyes now. Hubby loves his TV and he turns it on 24/7 if I don't rein it in. You can't imagine how happy I was when the cable TV box died. No cable, no satellite, no TV. YAY! Okay, back to the Big Sur, I'd so love to have a luxurious holiday like this. Just hubby and I.

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    March 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    WHOA! This just looks amazing! The fact that the room comes without a TV is a major winning point with me. Hahaha….I dare you to roll your eyes now. Hubby loves his TV and he turns it on 24/7 if I don't rein it in. You can't imagine how happy I was when the cable TV box died. No cable, no satellite, no TV. YAY! Okay, back to the Big Sur, I'd so love to have a luxurious holiday like this. Just hubby and I.

  • Eloquent English
    March 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    WOW, that looks stunning! I'm so jealous I need a vacay like that! xoxo A-

  • Heaven
    March 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Amazing photos 🙂

    I invite you to
    http://fashion-whoknow.blogspot.com/

  • caise
    March 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    beautiful pictures

  • The Jones
    March 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I cannot believe how luxurious and gorgeous this is…take me with you next time! And I too would have had trouble resisting the urge to clean out that fridge…made me hungry just looking at those yummy treats!

    <3 Cambria
    jupefashion.blogspot.com

  • Ella Pretty Blog
    March 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Loved this post – felt like you took us there with you 🙂 The home-made cookies look so tempting in the tea station – the set up reminds me of the DIY that Bubblegarm recently posted on her blog (if you ever need an interview subject – her blog is AMAZING).

    I was laughing so much at the uncontrollable eye-rolling when people say they don't own a TV. I went to a birthday party a couple of days ago – one father was saying proudly that he doesn't own a tv – and in the next breath he was telling me I was a "mean mom" because I didn't let my kids use my iPhone in the car (I want them to look at the scenery and not always be plugged in)…keep patting yourself on the back Mr. Hypocrite Dad LOL!!!

  • Anonymous
    March 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I really do love this blog. Wonderful content. Thank you for the time you put into it.

  • katattack2000
    March 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Big Sur looks amazing 🙂 I love all the mountains in the US super pretty!

    katattack2000.wordpress.com

  • Sarah
    March 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Gorgeous photos, makes me want to visit Big Sur! I've been to the Monterey Fish House, and yes, it's quite delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    keepcalmandcarrylipstick.blogspot.com

  • Sarah
    March 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Gorgeous photos, makes me want to visit Big Sur! I've been to the Monterey Fish House, and yes, it's quite delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    keepcalmandcarrylipstick.blogspot.com

  • Anna G
    March 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I really want to go visit this city. I love any place with a view of the beach. Sounds so fabulous. Also those cows are just so cute.

  • Anna G
    March 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I really want to go visit this city. I love any place with a view of the beach. Sounds so fabulous. Also those cows are just so cute.

  • Katherine
    March 27, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Aww thank you! You made my day 🙂

  • Katherine
    March 27, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Aww thank you! You made my day 🙂

  • Katherine
    March 27, 2012 at 2:30 am

    omg yes this happens all the time – so hypocritical! Thank you for the funny story though 🙂

  • Katherine
    March 27, 2012 at 2:30 am

    omg yes this happens all the time – so hypocritical! Thank you for the funny story though 🙂

  • Kat
    March 27, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Beautiful pictures! I have been locked indoors due to the rainy weekends here in LA, so thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. It feels like I took a mini vacation and got to de-stress a little. A few summers ago when I went back up home to the bay area, my friends and I were trying to find some waterfall that we visited years and years ago but totally forgot where/what it is called. Determined to find it again, we drove down for a day. We stopped by Monterey to grab some chowder, stopped by the Big Sur Bakery for a coffee and a pastry. Just like your pictures, the route we took was identical to yours. We ate lunch at this restaurant past the bakery that had amazing views, it felt like I was up in the clouds. I forgot what the restaurant was called but I believe it's right around where you stayed. The waterfall was another 30 or 40 mins more south on that twisting and winding hwy 1. Thanks to your pictures, I want to stay a night or two there in the future!

  • Kat
    March 27, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Beautiful pictures! I have been locked indoors due to the rainy weekends here in LA, so thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. It feels like I took a mini vacation and got to de-stress a little. A few summers ago when I went back up home to the bay area, my friends and I were trying to find some waterfall that we visited years and years ago but totally forgot where/what it is called. Determined to find it again, we drove down for a day. We stopped by Monterey to grab some chowder, stopped by the Big Sur Bakery for a coffee and a pastry. Just like your pictures, the route we took was identical to yours. We ate lunch at this restaurant past the bakery that had amazing views, it felt like I was up in the clouds. I forgot what the restaurant was called but I believe it's right around where you stayed. The waterfall was another 30 or 40 mins more south on that twisting and winding hwy 1. Thanks to your pictures, I want to stay a night or two there in the future!

  • newpetite
    March 27, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Even I cant believe how people in this day and age can survive without TV!! Crazy I say! That place looks lovely. Glad you had a good time!

  • newpetite
    March 27, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Even I cant believe how people in this day and age can survive without TV!! Crazy I say! That place looks lovely. Glad you had a good time!

  • Fashion Blawger
    March 27, 2012 at 6:45 am

    I'll be in Monterey with my bf soon so the fish house tip comes at a great time! I've never been to Big Sur but it looks like such a relaxing spot!

    I LOVE the way the chocolate chips are packaged. Were they good? MmMMm

  • Fashion Blawger
    March 27, 2012 at 6:45 am

    I'll be in Monterey with my bf soon so the fish house tip comes at a great time! I've never been to Big Sur but it looks like such a relaxing spot!

    I LOVE the way the chocolate chips are packaged. Were they good? MmMMm

  • mai
    March 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    looks like a relaxing getaway! i've never been to big sur, but i want to!

  • Dovey
    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for taking us along with you! Everything looks so breathtaking—- from the stony basin, to the rocky cliffs. I would love to visit someday 🙂

  • pearls and green tea
    March 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Looks amazing!! I think I visited your blog a long time ago and haven't been back since. I've been missing out. You have fabulous style and I'm totally drrooooling over your Hermes collection and your van cleef alhambra necklace!!

    xoxo
    jiye
    pearlsandgreentea.com

  • Mrs C
    March 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Beautiful!

    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.com/

  • Annette
    March 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    So beautiful! I don't remember it being this beautiful when we used to go up there as a kid. Maybe I need to take a grown-up trip!
    xo annette
    http://www.iheartvintagecouture.com

  • Annette
    March 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    So beautiful! I don't remember it being this beautiful when we used to go up there as a kid. Maybe I need to take a grown-up trip!
    xo annette
    http://www.iheartvintagecouture.com

  • MiniMeStyle
    March 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you for swinging by my blog yesterday and commenting, and I'm so glad to have had a chance to visit yours in return. It seems like this was an absolutely amazing vacation, and I've added that inn to my "places to visit" list! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous.

  • MiniMeStyle
    March 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you for swinging by my blog yesterday and commenting, and I'm so glad to have had a chance to visit yours in return. It seems like this was an absolutely amazing vacation, and I've added that inn to my "places to visit" list! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous.

  • Chloe
    March 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Wow, Big Sur looks incredible!! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing!

  • Chloe
    March 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Wow, Big Sur looks incredible!! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica @ Here(and)Now
    March 28, 2012 at 2:41 am

    oh my goodness, what a fabulous collection of memories! that looks like a wonderful trip of relaxation, and rekindling! I would love to visit someday!
    xx

  • Jessica @ Here(and)Now
    March 28, 2012 at 2:41 am

    oh my goodness, what a fabulous collection of memories! that looks like a wonderful trip of relaxation, and rekindling! I would love to visit someday!
    xx

  • lucydphoto
    March 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    One of our favorite places in the world! Been a regular at Sierra Mar for years, although our last dinner was a bit unpleasant b/c of the server. Glad you had a fabulous time!

  • lucydphoto
    March 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    One of our favorite places in the world! Been a regular at Sierra Mar for years, although our last dinner was a bit unpleasant b/c of the server. Glad you had a fabulous time!

  • Diva In Me
    April 2, 2012 at 6:09 am

    We were just there at Monterey last weekend! I would have to agree that the view was breathtaking! I really enjoyed Monterey. My sister and her friend brought me around town and we spent a night there.
    I see that Big Sur and the hotel tha you guys stayed in is beautiful too!

  • Fashionista Tika
    April 4, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  • just tututiny
    April 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Big Sur is gorgeous! I have always wanted to visit this place but can never find the time, or money to be honest 😉

    Long time I haven't visit, hope all is well K!

  • Karen
    May 5, 2012 at 7:02 am

    This is on my list of places to visit in Northern CA! haha That hotel looks so beautiful! Lovely post!

  • hosting
    May 16, 2013 at 12:25 am

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