The Ventana Big Sur resort is absolutely amazing! This all-inclusive resort is located in the heart of Big Sur. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
My wife and I try to get away every year to celebrate our anniversary. We live in the Phoenix area, so we’ll usually just pick one of the local resorts we haven’t tried before. The past two years we’ve stayed at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain and the Hermosa Inn which were absolutely incredible!
This year we planned well in advance for a trip to Cabo to take advantage of the Avios sweet spot to Mexico. Unfortunately, in light of global events, our trip was cancelled due to travel restrictions. In an effort to salvage our anniversary trip I scrambled to find an alternate location that was closer to home.
Earlier the same week, the Ventana Big Sur resort announced they were reopening their hotel as an all-inclusive resort. I’ve heard amazing things about the resort, and I’ve always wanted see Big Sur, so I knew this is where I wanted to go.
Where Is It – Big Sur is a beautiful stretch of the Central California coastline. The resort is located up on a hill overlooking the ocean in the heart of the town.
How To Get There – The closest airport to Big Sur is in Monterey (MRY), which is located about an hour north. We decided to fly into San Jose (SJC) because we have the Southwest Companion Pass and found flights for only 5,442 points total. The drive from San Jose to Big Sur is about 2 hours if you don’t stop. San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK) and San Louis Obispo (SLO) are all just a little further way if you need other options.
Rental Car – You will also need to rent a car while you’re there. Don’t forget to use Autoslash to track the price of your rental.
Pro Tip – I would recommend flying in the night before and staying at a hotel near the airport. This way you can take your time driving down the coast before you’re scheduled to arrive at the Ventana Big Sur.
With Points – The Ventana Big Sur is a luxury Hyatt Alila resort. With the hotel changing to an all-inclusive resort, one night here can easily cost $2,000 when you include taxes and fees. However, this is a Category 7 hotel so you can book a standard room for only 30k World of Hyatt points per night!
Remember, you don’t pay taxes or resort fees on Hyatt award stays. When you factor in the all-inclusive offerings like food and activities, this is an incredible value! We actually stayed during a promotion and only paid 24k points per night which made the value even more incredible!
Booking Tip – When searching for availability, I found award space for two nights. However, when I went to book it, the site said there was no award availability. I searched for the 2 nights individually and was able to find space, so I made two separate reservations and then emailed the hotel to combine our reservation. I don’t know if this was a glitch with the site but just be aware of it in case you run into a similar situation.
Paying Cash – If you choose to pay with cash be sure to use a card that gives you bonus points travel purchases. The World of Hyatt credit card gives you 4x on Hyatt purchases. Other great cards to use are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the AMEX Platinum card.
Parking, Check-In & Fees
Parking – The Ventana resort offers both valet and self-parking for free.
Check-In – We couldn’t wait to get there, so we requested a noon check-in. It was the first day they were open, so they were easily able to accommodate our request. The regular check-in time is at 4 pm. If you aren’t able to check-in early, you can still grab a bite to eat and explore the hotel while you wait for your room to be ready.
We were met at our car by several members of the hotel staff who helped with our luggage and showed us where to check in. During check-in they explained the all-inclusive offerings and helped us schedule any activities we wanted to try. Everyone was genuinely nice and helpful and the process was seamless.
Service Charge – If you paid for your stay with cash, a $90 per day service charge is added to your rate. This fee is meant to cover most gratuities for the staff. If you pay for your stay with points, this fee is not charged to your room.
Pets – The Ventana Big Sure is a dog-friendly hotel. You are able to bring a maximum of 2 dogs with you, as long as you know details like basset hound temperament. A per stay fee of $150 is charged and they will provide you with a dog bed and water bowl for your room.
The Ventana Big Sur only has 59 total rooms and suites. Reward stays are booked into standard rooms at the resort. However, we were upgraded to a Big Sur suite when we checked in. The hotel was only operating at 50% capacity so I’m assuming the upgrade was a result of availability and not because of the Hyatt Discoverist status that comes with the World of Hyatt credit card.
The rooms are spread out over several buildings throughout the property. Our suite was at the far end of the property next to the Mountain pool.
The resort grounds are immaculately kept and almost all of the rooms are located down a single path from the Social House where you check-in.
Some rooms will face the beautiful mountains and forest. Others, depending on the location, will have a view of the ocean.
The room was spacious and decorated in a beautiful rustic mountain cabin theme. There room had a king bed and it was the most comfortable hotel bed I’ve slept on in an incredibly long time.
In front of the bed was a sitting area with two leather chairs in front of a wood burning fire place. The hotel provides each room with multiple fire kits. Simply place the bag of wood in the fire place and then light it with a match. It’s a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day.
The opposite side of the room has a large bath tub to relax in. Next to it is a spacious shower with a rain shower head. I loved the
Next to the bathtub is a large two sink vanity with plenty of room to get ready.
Out the back door is a large balcony overlooking the ocean. The balcony had a sitting area with a hammock and I definitely spent my fair share of time relaxing out there.
The Sur House – The main restaurant at the Ventana Big Sur is the Sur House. It’s a gorgeous location with outdoor seating that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
To get there, you can either walk along a beautiful trail that’s about 1/4 mile long or they’ll drive you there in one of the hotel’s enclosed golf carts.
You can enjoy both breakfast and dinner here and the food was absolutely spectacular! We enjoyed a 6 course meal the first night and then a juicy steak the next night. The kitchen was slow the first night but that was to be expected because it was their first night open as an all-inclusive property. Our server was fantastic and beyond friendly. The entire team really made dining there an unforgettable experience.
Casual Dining – Throughout the day you can enjoy outdoor dining located next to the Meadow Pool. There are several delicious options to choose from so you should try as many as you can while you’re there.
You can also enjoy a bite to eat from the lounge chairs by the pools or on the lawn overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
In-Room Dining – The hotel also offers in-room dining that you can order from a tablet in your room. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast each morning from the comfort of our bed.
Being an all-inclusive resort, the Ventana Big Sur also offers several wonderful amenities you can enjoy. While not a complete list, here are some of the highlights. Unfortunately, due to world events at the time, several of the amenities were closed while we were there so I wasn’t able to take a picture of those.
Pools – The hotel has two large pools that are both kept at a comfortable temperature year round. Each pool has plenty of seating and umbrellas to keep you comfortable throughout the day.
Hot Tub – There’s a gorgeous infinity-edge hot tub by the Meadow Pool that I could sit in all day.
Japanese Baths – There’s a bath house by the Mountain Pool that’s open 24 hours. I think the infinity hot tub is a much better location but the Japanese Baths are open 24 hours. There’s no roof on the facility so it can be a fun place for some late night stargazing. The baths were closed while we were there, so I’m taking the staff at their word.
Picnic Lunch – You can enjoy a delicious picnic lunch overlooking the ocean or in the Redwood forest. You can schedule this with the hotel a few days before you arrive.
S’mores – Each night you have the opportunity to roast s’mores in the Redwoods. It’s a fun way to end each night of your stay.
Fitness Center – Next to the bath house is a small fitness center if you like to exercise while you’re on vacation. I can barely exercise at home so I wasn’t planning on trying it out. Fortunately, it was closed while we were there so I didn’t feel too guilty about trying all of the food options and then sitting by the pool.
Spa Alila – The hotel has a full service spa that offers several treatment options. The spa was also closed so we weren’t able to enjoy it while we were there.
Hiking & Yoga – There are hiking trails around the property that make a perfect afternoon walk. Each morning the resort offers complimentary yoga classes. I took the trail around the hotel which was gorgeous. As you can imagine from earlier comment about exercising, I didn’t partake in the yoga classes.
Social Hour – Each afternoon in the Social House there’s a social hour where you can enjoy a drink of the day and mingle with other guests.
Do You Need More Points?
Is the Ventana Big Sur now on your bucket list but you don’t have enough points to stay there? Hyatt is a transfer partner with Chase, so it’s easier than you think to earn enough points. You can leverage your existing Chase cards to quickly earn points or you can add a new card to your wallet that has a great welcome bonus. Here are a couple suggestions.
World of Hyatt – The World of Hyatt credit card is a great card to have for Hyatt stays. New cardmembers can earn up to 50,000 bonus points. You’ll earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account. Plus you’ll earn an additional 25,000 points after spending a total of $6,000 within the first 6 months. This card also comes with a free night at a category 1-4 hotel each anniversary year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the travel card I recommend most often for beginners. New accounts will earn 60,000 points after spending just $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening their account. These points can be transferred easily to your World of Hyatt account.
Sapphire Reserve – The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is an excellent card for frequent travelers. New cardmembers can earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of their account being opened. These points are also transferable to your World of Hyatt account.
The Ventana Big Sur is definitely one of the best hotels I’ve ever visited. The staff, food, accommodations and amenities were top notch and the location was incredible! When you add in that you can pay for your stay using Hyatt points, it’s an absolute steal. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Big Sur, this is where you need to stay. Have you stayed here before? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you thought.