Post Ranch Inn Rating: 5.0 Pearls

Monterey County encompasses some of the West Coast's most beautiful coastline with charming seaside spots such as Monterey, Big Sur, and Carmel. It's a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts, with romantic lookout points over the Cyprus-dotted hills and the vast Pacific Ocean, kayaks available to rent along the Bay, and many trails available to hike through ancient redwood forests. Tucked into all of this gorgeous nature are some of our favorite boutique hotels. These petite stays play to the area's strengths, focusing on their natural surrounding and offering quirky extras. Check them out in this slideshow: 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 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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Best Boutiques in Monterey County (1 of 8)

 Monterey County encompasses some of the West Coast's most beautiful coastline with charming seaside spots such as Monterey, Big Sur, and Carmel. It's a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts, with romantic lookout points over the Cyprus-dotted hills and the vast Pacific Ocean, kayaks available to rent along the Bay, and many trails available to hike through ancient redwood forests. Tucked into all of this gorgeous nature are some of our favorite boutique hotels. These petite stays play to the area's strengths, focusing on their natural surrounding and offering quirky extras. Check them out in this slideshow:
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 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.
Monterey County encompasses some of the West Coast's most beautiful coastline with charming seaside spots such as Monterey, Big Sur, and Carmel. It's a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts, with romantic lookout points over the Cyprus-dotted hills and the vast Pacific Ocean, kayaks available to rent along the Bay, and many trails available to hike through ancient redwood forests. Tucked into all of this gorgeous nature are some of our favorite boutique hotels. These petite stays play to the area's strengths, focusing on their natural surrounding and offering quirky extras. Check them out in this slideshow:
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 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. Coming to a charming place like Carmel usually calls for a quaint inn experience, and the luxurious L'Auberge Carmel -- housed in a white stucco building dating to 1929 -- does not disappoint. Its 20 rooms have warm colors, high-quality bedding, and beautiful modern bathrooms with heated floors (some have deep soaking tubs). The inn is built around an adorable brick courtyard, which helps create a homey European vibe, as do the green French shuttered windows with window planters. There aren't as many amenities as at a large chain, but there is free Wi-Fi, and the prime location makes walking to shops or restaurants in downtown Carmel easy. Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque land, The Ventana Inn & Spa looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods -- yet it features 62 luxurious, streamlined rooms with wooden accents, refreshing pops of color, and modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. Many rooms have fireplaces, creating a cozy retreat vibe to fit with its surroundings -- though glass doors and large windows keep the rooms feeling bright and airy. Not a place for families, the overall goal of the hotel is to create a zen, holistic retreat with such offerings as yoga classes, discovery walks; afternoon wine and cheese, Japanese baths, and two pools (one of which is clothing optional). This 57-room rustic-luxe retreat in Carmel Valley sits in a lovely setting among rolling hills and vineyards. Details such as vaulted beamed ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, and country-inspired decor help create an atmosphere that is homey and cozy. Rooms are large and comfortable with stone fireplaces, feather beds, and plush white bedding, and big bathrooms feature walk-in showers and two-person soaking tubs. Some rooms feature double French doors that lead to cute private patios with whirlpools, while rooms on higher floors have decks instead. The 22-room Wayside Inn is a motel-style building with a parking lot in the front that slightly cheapens its facade. But despite the first impression, the inn is quaint and charming -- ivy climbs the brick walls, many rooms have balconies, and pretty flowers line the walkways. The rooms don French- or English-cottage decor, which can feel either cozy or tired, depending on your taste. All rooms have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and iPod docks, and many have fireplaces. But the real highlight of the hotel is its downtown location -- just don't expect much in the way of extra amenities. The 28-room Tradewinds Carmel has a Zen vibe throughout the hotel -- from the courtyard, complete with Buddha statues, a small waterfall, and a tranquil fire pit, to the rooms, decorated with Asian prints, stalks of bamboo, and orchids. The rooms are large and feature well-decorated bathrooms with nice soaking or Jacuzzi tubs, but like many small hotels in Carmel, the Tradewinds lacks a fitness center and a spa (though in-room spa treatments are available). Those looking to be closer to town and the beach may consider the Wayside Inn (though its decor is not as nice as the Tradewinds'). The tiny Svendsgaard’s Inn is located on the northern edge of Downtown Carmel, within easy walking distance to restaurants and shops. It has 35 spacious and bright rooms with iPod docks -- but decor is a bit outdated (think flower bedspreads and worn carpets), and some feature tube TVs. However, most have fireplaces and big jetted tubs, and there a number of great freebies, including Wi-Fi, a hearty breakfast delivered to your room, off-street parking, and homemade cookies in the lobby every day. The 20-room Candle Light Inn is one of the many older places to stay in Carmel, offering a quaint atmosphere with California-style entrances to rooms, which are only accessible by walking outside. Although the inn lacks modern luxuries, like flat-screen TVs or a spa, it has much to brag about. Charming, small touches help this inn face off with its similar competitors -- like its cozy outdoor fire pit and small lobby with freshly baked cookies and a fireplace. Its convenient location along the fairytale-esque streets of Carmel places guests in prime location to spend time strolling the area boutiques and restaurants, as well as close proximity to the ocean. The free basic breakfast delivered to your room each morning is an added perk -- especially while staying in one of the most expensive towns in northern California.
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