Joie de Ventana: Spectacularly Upgraded Inn and Spa
By Jenni Olson (with Ed Salvato); photo of main entrance above, courtesy Jenni Olson; other photos courtesy Ventana Inn & Spa
An oasis of spectacular natural beauty at any time of year, Big Sur is located just a few hours South of San Francisco. Recently renovated to the tune of $26 million dollars, the Ventana Inn & Spa is one of the area’s premium destinations -- notable for its expansive grounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean and backed by the stunning Santa Lucia Mountains.
Characteristic of other Joie de Vivre boutique hotel properties, the Ventana is simultaneously luxurious and low-key. Visitors are greeted by the unmistakably relaxing scents of lavender and jasmine at the peacefully appointed main check-in. Ambling along the walking path to your weathered-Cedar room brings thoughtfully landscaped greenery (live oak, lemon and magnolia trees and more) and relaxation with every step.
Tucked away off Highway 1,
this unassuming and quintessentially California escape features two outdoor
swimming pools (one is clothing optional), outdoor Japanese baths, plus an
on-site spa and restaurant. The Ventana’s sixty guest-rooms and suites offer up
romance and relaxation with their swank bedding, private decks with views, and
terry-cloth robes (plus, most have in-room fireplaces and you can even spring
for a suite with a hot tub).
All the technology you need is on-hand as well -- with high-speed Internet, flat screen TV & DVD player, and Bose radio/iPod dock. Old-fashioned naturist amenities in each room include: binoculars, walking sticks, flashlights and umbrellas. Additional amenities include: Daily yoga class, guest fitness facility, guided property walks, book and DVD libraries; plus complimentary afternoon wine & cheese reception and complimentary continental breakfast (and both of these repasts are eminently edible)!
Recently named one of the Top 10 “Most Romantic Hotels” in the U.S. by Fodor’s Travel, the Ventana is a great choice for any special occasion or anniversary.
A five-minute woodsy walk from the Inn, the Restaurant at Ventana(pictured at left) is a must-see (and must-eat) for its panoramic indoor-outdoor dining experience. The ultimate California architecture is elegant yet earthy with floor to ceiling windows opening out to that stunning Pacific view. Go for the prix-fixe tasting menu for two and you’ll get a steady stream of truly flavorful California cuisine to your table (much of it straight from their on-site garden).
Accommodations range from guestrooms, suites, villas and cottages. Rooms start at $600 for Ventana Guestrooms (all rooms feature king-size beds) on up to $1,340 (starting rate) for the spacious free-standing Cottage. For reservations call 800-628-6500 or 831-667-2331; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.ventanainn.com
48123 Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920; 831-667-4242; https://www.ventanainn.com/dining.aspx