Enjoy a magical staycation at luxurious and eco-friendly Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur
It’s the type of place where magic unfolds, where troubles take a backseat, where relaxation hits an all time high, and where perhaps the greatest view in California exists. Perched high on a cliff 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur has earned the status as No. 1 lodging experience in the United States (at least from this reviewer). I have never seen anything like it, and perhaps I never will again—because the Post Ranch Inn is a thoroughly innovative, vastly original, solar-powered, organic cuisine offering, high-end luxury resort in a location that’s one-of-a-kind, with amenities and staff that are impeccable. You won’t find this experience anywhere else. It’s worth every dollar you spend on booking a room with a jaw-dropping view, eating a divine dinner, and partaking in a superb spa treatment.
On a Sunday afternoon, my husband and I drove from Santa Cruz to Big Sur, a one-and-a-half hour drive, to have a ‘staycation’ experience, meaning, taking a vacation not far from home. These ‘staycation’ types of vacations are becoming more and more common with the burdened economy, people’s lives are harried, and frankly you can forego a lot of vacation headaches by taking a trip to your own backyard.
Big Sur is a small community with a rich history. Known as a haven to writers like the late Henry Miller, it’s located south of Carmel, where the ocean butts up to the mountains, the forest is lush, the hiking trails and camping options are bountiful, the beaches are expansive, and the “to do” options are unlimited—if you’re a nature lover, a sight-seer, or in desperate need of some down time and pampering. Here is a place where your sole entertainment can be to stare at the ocean for hours upon hours. And these experiences are just what the Post Ranch Inn offers—in abundant luxury.
The simple sign at the bottom of the driveway is unimposing, and gives off no airs. While this is a high-end lodging destination, it also has a rustic flair with modern architecture, a green-focus in everything the Inn stands for (only one tree was cut down when they erected the Inn, and that tree was already dead), and a welcoming, über friendly, unpretentious, and highly serviceable staff.
The Post Ranch Inn isn’t set up like a traditional inn or hotel. Stretching along a serene, quiet road, suites and rooms are on either side of the road, some with breathtaking ocean views, and some with stunning views of the mountains. There are suites, single rooms and tree houses; each residence is pristine, with high-end amenities including (in some) a sunken bath tub (some also offer outdoor hot tubs, too), soft towels, panoramic vistas, lush beds and linens, a refrigerator stocked with treats, wine, champagne and more. Other amenities that are more subtle, but ever so appreciated include a pre-arranged fireplace that’s ready to burn at the strike of a match, a stack of firewood and kindling, and even a directional sheet on how to build a fire, along with small scraps of paper, all in an organized bundle; a classy bowl of bath salts, a shower cap, lotion and body wash, all in the bathroom; cheese, crackers, fruit and a cutting board; and even an outside ash tray for smokers.
In addition to the outlook from the Upper Pacific Suite where we stayed, the rest of the suite was fleshed out with a roomy living room, kitchenette, bedroom and spacious bathroom, as well as an outdoor hot tub, and expansive deck. Also featured in each room is a high-end musical system with surround sound, and free wireless Internet.
In addition, the grounds offer their own entertainment. Along the charming street is a spa, where you can receive a facial, massage, or any sort of relaxing treatment (the staff can also come to your room to provide these services as well), there’s a luxurious library with board games, books, and a television, two hot tub infinity pools sitting on the cliffs (open 24 hours a day and packaged towels are on hand for drying off), hidden benches and hammocks, expansive hiking trails, a gym, a gift store, and a lap swimming pool, as well as an endearing pond, an on-site organic garden, wild turkeys, and deer roaming around. And on top of that, the Post Ranch Inn offers morning meditation and yoga classes, as well as star gazing opportunities and a cooking class with Chef Craig von Foerster.
Speaking of which—the dining experience—my dinner there was one of the best meals of my life. A four course fixed price evening meal is in store if you stay here, for $100 per guest at the Sierra Mar restaurant, which sits on a cliff, with vistas at every turn of the head. While there, we tried a mushroom truffle risotto for course one—delicious, with truffles picked from the on-site garden; an Arugula Salad with goat cheese, almonds and vinaigrette dressing—an exquisitely tasting salad for course two, which served as a great transition piece between the perfectly crafted risotto and the third course entrée; a perfect-sized portion of lamb, held on a bed of couscous, with roasted garbanzo beans as a tasty accompaniment; and a slice of flourless chocolate cake as dessert; all followed by petit fours, with a local red wine carried through the meal. The dinner included exquisite cooking, perfect service, an excellent pairing of foods in precise portions so you don’t get too stuffed and can actually make it through the four courses, and of course, a knock-out view of the Pacific Ocean.
Now, a week later, I find myself nostalgic for that weekend in Big Sur at the Post Ranch Inn—for in that short visit there, I had a genuine experience of relaxation. My cell phone was off. There was no television to distract me from the true entertainment—the sights of Big Sur. As Henry Miller said, “We live at the edge of the miraculous.”
For more information about the Post Ranch Inn, visit postranchinn.com, or call (800) 527-2200.