Post Ranch Inn Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Big Sur, California, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • One of the most beautiful hotels in the United States, if not the world
  • Gorgeous views of Big Sur abound
  • 3 pools on-site: two cliff-top "hot basking pools" kept at 104 degrees and one lap pool
  • The on-site restaurant is possibly the best in Big Sur, with tremendous views
  • Acclaimed spa offers unique treatments, including shaman sessions
  • Free morning yoga, meditation sessions, nature hikes, and star gazing
  • Stunning organic architecture
  • Eco-friendly practices (guests can even borrow a Lexus Hybrid)
  • Lots of free snacks, including those in the well-stocked minibars
  • Dedicated service
  • Adults-only property (a con for some)

Cons

  • Spa has just 4 treatment rooms (though guests can request services in their rooms)
  • Small fitness center
  • No TVs or alarm clocks in the rooms (a pro for some)
  • Pervasive fog can block ocean views
  • Adults-only property (a pro for some)

Bottom Line

The 39-room Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful hotels in the United States -- if not the entire world -- and offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organic architecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel's surrounding redwoods. The spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views (that are sometimes obstructed by the pervasive fog that the area is known for) and many feature floor-to-ceiling windows to better show them off. Rooms also have wood-burning fireplaces, radiant floor heating, outdoor showers or hot tubs, private decks, and organic bath products and linens -- but no televisions or alarm clocks as the hotel strives for a peaceful environment. The award-winning spa focuses on rejuvenating services and even has a shaman on-site; the restaurant, Sierra Mar, is one of the best in Big Sur; the hotel's cliff-top pools are stunning; and free amenities (such as yoga and stargazing) are abundant.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

An uber-luxurious rustic-chic retreat

The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds

Built into the Big Sur landscape, this gorgeous boutique property is both luxurious and eco-sensitive. The organic architecture pays tribute to this unique part of the California coastline, seeming to work with the land rather than obstruct it, and the hotel's many green initiatives include solar panels to offset energy use; a water filtration plant; and sustainable building materials. Linens, mattresses, and toiletries are all organic. Even getting around town is eco-friendly: Guests can borrow the hotel's Lexus Hybrid if they wish to explore other areas of Big Sur.

Service, as one may expect at a hotel of this caliber, is excellent and personalized across the board, including at the lovely spa and renowned restaurant. Visitors are also treated to various freebies: morning yoga, meditation, hiking, stargazing, and a bevy of free snacks. Guests are greeted with a glass of wine, and will find well-stocked minibars and coffee and tea service in the rooms.

The Post Ranch Inn is well-suited for couples, especially since this is an adults-only property. The hotel focuses on relaxation and rejuvenation, with many amenities geared towards reconnecting with yourself, your partner, or the earth. This is particularly true at the spa, which even has shaman services available to benefit the guests' mental and emotional well-being.

Only the neighboring Ventana Inn & Spa can compare to the Post Ranch Inn's luxe rusticity, so it's worth checking out both properties.

 Location

In picturesque Big Sur, guests of the Post Ranch Inn never lack for beautiful scenery or outdoor activities.

One of the most stunning places in the world, Big Sur is defined by redwood forests and craggy cliffs plummeting into the Pacific Ocean. There are also natural thermal springs and beautiful Northern California beaches. It's the type of setting that facilitates soul searching, and there are numerous hippie camps, spas, and spiritual retreats in the area to let visitors do just that. It's also an active person's dream: Most of the area is composed of parks and there are more than 237 miles of hiking trails along the coast.

Big Sur's economy is based on tourism, and therefore there are numerous shops, galleries, and restaurants in the area catering to visitors. Getting around is mostly done along Highway 1, the most scenic route in California, but occasional mudslides can close it down.

  • 2-hour drive to San Jose International Airport
  • 2-hour and 30-minute drive to San Francisco International Airport
  • 8-minute drive to Big Sur Village
  • 15-minute drive to Point Sur Lighthouse (plus a steep half-mile hike)
  • 15-minute drive to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, home to a waterfall and coastal hikes
  • 8-minute drive to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park's redwood trails
  • 10-minute drive to Pfeiffer Beach
  • 23-minute drive to Bixby Bridge, one of the highest single span bridges in the world with spectacular views
  • 40-minute drive to Point Lobos State Reserve, popular among sea lions and seals
  • 40-minute drive to Kirk Creek Campground, with beach access
  • 45-minute drive to Carmel
  • 45-minute drive to Jade Cove
  • 50-minute drive to Monterey
  • 4-minute drive to the Henry Miller Library, home to the artist/writer's archives, a sculpture garden, and musical performances

 Rooms

No two rooms are exactly alike at this luxurious property.

The Tree House - Boronda
The Tree House - Boronda

The hotel's 39 rooms are all individual, standalone cottages or Tree Houses. They're large -- as big as 960 square feet -- and the modernist, eco-friendly design looks as if it grew naturally out of the redwood forest. This is especially true of the Tree Houses, which are, as the name implies, elevated into the trees. Whether ocean- or mountain-facing, all rooms are offer spectacular vistas. Unfortunately, these views can be obstructed by the area's pervasive fog which, though beautiful in its own way, can mean guests who choose to splurge for a night never get to see the Pacific.

Rooms embody rustic-chic, with dark earth tones, redwood walls, and stonework. They can also feature wood-burning fireplaces, radiant floor heating, outdoor showers or hot tubs, private decks, and organic bath products and linens -- but no TVs or alarm clocks as the hotel strives for a peaceful environment. The rooms do come with a Sonos digital music system programmed with 45 channels. Freebies are also numerous: the well-stocked minibar, coffee and tea service, and two stainless steel water bottles are all free.

  • Stunning organic architecture built into the Big Sur landscape
  • Gorgeous mountain or ocean views
  • Wood-burning fireplaces, indoor (and sometimes outdoor) hot tubs, and private balconies in each room
  • Organic mattresses, linens, and bath products, as well as terrycloth robes and slippers
  • Sonos digital music players with 45 channels
  • Walking sticks for guests to use on hikes
  • Free snacks and beverages in the well-stocked minibar
  • Free stainless steel water bottles; the hotel also owns a water filtration plant
  • No TVs or alarm clocks

 Spa

An acclaimed spa focusing on rejuvenation

Spa
Spa

The Post Ranch Inn's features treatment rooms that look out over the mountains and forests surrounding the Post Ranch Inn, as well as fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, and wonderful design elements such as beamed ceilings. Guests can also opt to have treatments done in their own rooms or on their decks overlooking Big Sur.

The spa menu is exhaustive, offering guests ample opportunities -- and methods -- to relax. Massages, body treatments, and facials are a given, but the hotel also specializes in reflexology treatments, craniosacral therapy, reiki, and vibrational resonance. A shaman is available to aid guests' mental and emotional well-being through illumination, soul retrieval, divination, and fire and drum ceremonies.

 Food

Home to possibly the best restaurant in Big Sur.

Outdoor seating at Sierra Mar
Outdoor seating at Sierra Mar

Sierra Mar serves an eclectic array of California cuisine, and has garnered wide praise for its culinary innovations. Dinner consists of a four-course prix fixe menu that changes daily and uses organic, seasonal fare. An a la carte option is also available. Dishes in the past have included Morro Bay oysters on the half shell, Harissa grilled octopus, and Lone Mountain Wagyu Steak with a crispy potato cake, cambazola and spinach. Diners also have access to the hotel's impressive wine cellar, which has over 13,000 bottles.

  • Free gourmet buffet breakfast daily
  • Lunch and snacks are available throughout the day at Sierra Mar, such as caviar and oysters and a selection of artisan cheeses.
  • Dinner served daily at Sierra Mar, featuring a four-course prix fixe menu and a la carte option
  • Impressive wine cellar featuring over 13,000 bottles

 Physical Activities

From morning yoga to nature hikes, there are ample opportunities to explore the great outdoors.

The hotel's many outdoor activities include free morning yoga, meditation sessions, nature hikes, and evening stargazing with the hotel's own telescope. There are also three pools on-site: two cliff-top "hot basking pools" and one lap pool. A small fitness center with aerobic and weight-training equipment is adequate, but the hotel's focus is definitely on the outdoors.

  • Free yoga, meditation, nature hikes, and stargazing
  • Three pools: two "hot basking" pools and one lap pool
  • Small fitness center with aerobic equipment and weights
  • The Post Ranch Inn is within driving distance to various beaches, state parks, and whale-watching spots.

 Eco-Friendly

The Post Ranch Inn is committed to green hotel initiatives and uses solar energy to help power the hotel.

The Post Ranch Inn is committed to promoting green initiatives. The hotel makes use of solar panels to offset energy use and operates a water filtration plant. Rooms are provided with two stainless steel water bottles for guests to use and take home with them when they leave.

Buildings are made from sustainable materials and were designed to organically work with Big Sur's impressive landscape. The grounds are covered in drought resistant plants native to the region, and all cleaning products are biodegradable. Guests also have the option to take out a Lexus Hybrid loaner car, pending availability.

The grounds of the Post Ranch Inn are home to a variety of endangered species, including the Smith's Blue Butterfly, the California Red-Legged Frog, the Western Pond Turtle, and the California Condor.

  • Solar panels provide part of the hotel's energy.
  • Buildings are made from sustainable materials.
  • All cleaning products are biodegradable.
  • Guests can take a Lexus Hyrbid out on loan.
  • The grounds are home to several endangered species, including the Blue Smith Butterfly.

 Bottom Line

The 39-room Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful hotels in the United States -- if not the entire world -- and offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organic architecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel's surrounding redwoods. The spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views (that are sometimes obstructed by the pervasive fog that the area is known for) and many feature floor-to-ceiling windows to better show them off. Rooms also have wood-burning fireplaces, radiant floor heating, outdoor showers or hot tubs, private decks, and organic bath products and linens -- but no televisions or alarm clocks as the hotel strives for a peaceful environment. The award-winning spa focuses on rejuvenating services and even has a shaman on-site; the restaurant, Sierra Mar, is one of the best in Big Sur; the hotel's cliff-top pools are stunning; and free amenities (such as yoga and stargazing) are abundant.

Things You Should Know About Post Ranch Inn

Address

  • 47900 California 1, Big Sur, California, 93920

Room Types

  • Mountain View Room
  • Ocean View Room
  • Private House

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 41
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club:
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Hotel Information

Location: Big Sur, California
Address: 47900 California 1, Big Sur, California, 93920
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