Santa Barbara and the Central Coast Hotels



At a Glance


  • nature trails everywhere
  • great food
  • secluded


  • simple breakfast
  • some rooms have no ocean view

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Ventana Review

Hundreds of celebrities, from Oprah Winfrey to Sir Anthony Hopkins, have escaped to Ventana, a romantic resort on 243 tranquil acres 1,200 feet above the Pacific. The activities here are purposely limited. You can sunbathe (one of the pools is clothing-optional), walk or ride horses in the nearby hills, or pamper yourself with mind-and-body treatments at the Spa at Ventana or in your own private quarters. All rooms have walls of natural wood and cool tile floors; some have private hot tubs on their patios.

2010 Fodor's 100 Hotel Award Winner

Big Sur is a romantic location even if your only amenities are a tent and double-occupancy sleeping bag; Ventana Inn & Spa earns our attention by creating a luxuriously romantic atmosphere that respects the spirit of this special landscape. In-room features might include a wood-burning fireplace, in-deck whirlpool, or outdoor hammock. End the day with a spa treatment for two or a long soak in your two-person tub.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Hwy. 1, almost 1 mile south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur, CA, 93920 | Map It
  • Phone: 831/667–2331; 800/628–6500
  • Website:
  • Location: Central Big Sur

    Hotel Details

  • 25 rooms, 31 suites
  • Rate includes breakfast.
  • Credit cards accepted.
Updated: 05-04-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

    Fantastic Getaway, but eat elsewhere

    My husband and I just came back from a stay at the Ventana. We had a two story fireplace room with a view of the ocean. The room and surroundings felt like we were "roughing it" in style. We saw deer walk up to our lower balcony, bluebirds fly up to us on the upper balcony and woke up to a glorious sunrise from our big picture window. The staff was always ready to help but knew how to make themselves invisible until you needed them. We were able to walk around in our robes and slippers that were provided in the room for us and all over the property and spent part of the afternoon lazing about in one of the many hammocks set out in the woods. We will absolutely stay here again when we want to get away and relax in style. All that said, the one thing we would do differently is that we would eat elsewhere. We expected that Cielo, the Ventana restaurant, would have fantastic views, a wonderful atmosphere, and excellent food. Sadly, none of those things were true. The only real views of the water appeared to be from one side of the hotel, and if you got there past 7pm (we can't eat that early) there was no view at all. The atmosphere did not at all feel like an upscale restaurant, and instead felt like it was a very nice chain restaurant that was trying hard. The service was great, although our waiter seemed rushed and overwhelmed even though he had only three tables. And then there was the food. The fois gras was more of a chunky pate with apple sauce on the side and was so oversalted that it was inedible. Our main courses had a terrible presentation, were passably acceptable, and were in general so underwhelming that we did not even bother with dessert. And we never skip dessert. Next time, we will likely stay in the Ventana without reservation, but make sure that we eat somewhere that the food is more than just passable. One note, the bar area in the restaurant is lovely with a great bartender and a fantastic selection of liquors, which helped to make up for the dining disaster.

    by Sasha_Matt, 10/23/07

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