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?