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ALILA EXPERIENCES

An Invitation to Inspiration

For centuries, the stunning beauty and powerful geography of Big Sur have beckoned artists, authors, musicians, thinkers and spiritual leaders seeking creative inspiration, personal transformation and inner well-being. Now, the Alila Experience Program extends a similar invitation to you, with workshops and activities designed to help you develop a deeper connection to yourself, your partner and the natural world. 

We invite you to explore the following menu of workshops and discover which experiences most resonate with you. All workshops are focused on couples, but can be adapted to group and/or single participants. 


Please note that Alila Experiences are private experiences that must be purchased separately and are not inclusive of your stay. The following is a sample list—for the most current available experiences, and to book in advance, please contact guest relations at 800.628.6500 or email [email protected]. For a listing of Signature Activities included in your stay, please click here.

Sip Like a Sommelier

Learn about wine – and the special stories of this rich and fertile region – with Ventana Big Sur’s resident wine expert. We’ll focus on the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH), a neighbor to us and one of the state’s premier winemaking districts, featuring exceptional (and highly rated) pinot noirs and chardonnays. Paired with delicacies from California’s central coast. This truly is a food and wine experience to remember. By reservation only. Six guest maximum.

Duration: 1.5 hours
Price: $175 per person

Mixology on the Sky Terrace

Drinks, anyone? Learn to become a mixology master and the secrets to craft cocktails. Then savor your creations looking out over the Pacific from the majestic Sky Terrace.

Duration: 2 hours
Price: $500 location fee, $200 per person, Maximum 8 people

The Big Sur Galleries Tour

Join Big Sur Guides and Hiking on a tour of area galleries—a rare opportunity to see the art of Big Sur and meet some of the artists as well. Discover treasures at the Hawthorne Gallery, the Coast Gallery, The Big Sur Arts Initiative Gallery, The Phoenix Shop at Nepenthe and The Heartbeat Gallery, before finishing with a Champagne toast at Ventana’s Glass House Gallery. There will be surprises along the way, including a picnic lunch on the Big Sur River.

Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours
Price: $205 per person

Organic Garden Farm to Table Private Dinner

Enjoy our bounty straight from the garden with a customized chef’s menu, inspired by the season and utilizing the freshest ingredients. 

Duration: 1 hour
Price: $200 per person

Star Bathing

There is nothing like the night sky in Big Sur, where you feel as though you can touch the stars. Join us for a night hike in the beautiful Big Sur wilderness, the stars and moon shining brightly above. We will end the hike with mycelium extract cocktails and special snacks, including Artisanal Charcuterie and local cheese, trail mix and seasonal fruit.

Duration: 1 - 1.5 hours
Price: $150 per person, 10 person maximum

Falconry Experience

Join Master Falconer Antonio Balestreri for an exciting introduction to hawks and falcons, where you'll learn about the role of raptors in the Big Sur environment, see a flight demonstration, have a meet-and-greet with the birds, enjoy photo opportunities and more. Private and group experiences include a "hawk walk," a short hike where you'll be accompanied by a special flying guest.

Duration: 2 hours
Price: $200 per person

Movement - Yoga, Tai Chi

Create a new beginning, or enhance your current body program, with a private yoga, tai chi, qi gong or meditation class. Available in a group or an individual format.

Duration: 50/80 minutes
Price: $155/$235 per person

Astrology Readings

Since ancient times, astrology readings have explored one’s birth chart to define the essential stages of life’s journey. Readings bring clarity to areas of conflict, emphasizing one’s strengths and providing tools for managing life in new and creative ways.

Duration: 90 minutes
Price: $295 per person or $350 per couple

Circle of Life Meditation Experience

Join one of our Meditation Facilitators and Big Sur residents on this inspiring journey for the spirit, body and mind. You'll experience nature's wisdom and the deep power of inner and outer peace as you gather for a centering practice and guided walking meditation. The Circle of Life is a natural ring of 100-year-old redwoods, a place that awakens awareness and revitalizes your connection with yourself and your surroundings. (The trail is a mild to moderate 10-minute walk. Please bring water and wear supportive hiking shoes.)

Duration: 1 hour

Robinson Jeffers Walk

If the contrast between forest and sea excites you, this walk is for you. We will first make our way up through a twisting canyon with cascading waterfalls around every corner, surrounded by centuries-old redwoods. Eventually, we’ll arrive at a secret waterfall that few people have seen—and that you’ll never forget. Finally, our journey leads to the ocean, where we will have a picnic lunch on a jetty away from shore. Here, you might see the daily otter or harbor seal, not to mention the gray or humpback whales that often drop by for a visit. 

Duration: 3 hours
Price: $175 per person

Wild Foraging Hike

This seasonal hiking excursion in the wet months of autumn/winter takes us to the forest in search of some of the most sought-after wild foods – mushrooms. You'll learn how to look for wild mushrooms with a specialist guide who will teach you how to identify edible and nonedible varieties, along with medicinal plants such as Redwood Sorrel, California Sagebrush and Bay Laurel. A picnic lunch is included. If seeing mushrooms is not a concern, this experience can be enjoyed year-round learning about which flora is edible and medicinal.

Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours
Price: $225 per person

Spiritual Hiking Excursion and Hermitage Tour

This excursion provides a special focus on the intense spirituality one can experience here in Big Sur. Your senses will awaken among the cathedral-like redwoods, cascading waterfalls, wildlife, flora and fauna. You will learn about forest bathing and the powerful connections that nature can provide. Your spirit will soar as you take in the breathtaking beauty of the untamed Pacific Ocean, rugged coastline and rock formations. The experience culminates in a picnic lunch and tour of the New Camaldoli Hermitage property, which features unsurpassed ocean views and a serene chapel where you can pause to pray, reflect or simply admire the peaceful setting.

Duration: 4 hours
Price: $220 per person

The Jack Kerouac Experience

This driving tour by Big Sur Guides and Hiking is a photographer's dream come true! Traverse the Old Coast Road – the original coastal highway stretching from Andrew Molera State Park to Bixby Bridge along a well-maintained dirt road offering vistas of the Ventana Wilderness. We'll picnic along the way saying hello along the way to old-growth redwoods and a variety of wildlife.

Duration: 2 hours
Price: $225 per person. Includes picnic lunch.

Big Sur Discovery Tour

This tour, designed for people or families who want a behind-the-scenes look at the Big Sur community, features a montage of our favorite places. Ride with us to the most beautiful beaches, unforgettable waterfalls and secret vistas of the amazing coastline—as well as spectacular redwood forests, where we will forage for edibles. All the while, we’ll engage in conversation about history, folklore, flora and fauna.

This adventure offers an option to enjoy lunch on the terrace at Ventana Big Sur’s signature restaurant, The Sur House. Cost of the restaurant lunch is included.

Duration: 2.5-3 hours/4 hours
Price: $125/$175 per person

Photography Hike Workshop

The topography of Big Sur has fueled the dreams of seekers and nature lovers for hundreds of years. Learn how to capture it with your camera in this photography workshop and guided hike around Ventana's wilderness. You'll hike some of the most beautiful trails in California with Big Sur Hikes and Guides, and learn powerful image-making techniques to improve composition, light exposure and visual language – regardless of your skill level, camera or previous experience.

Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours
Price: $225 per person. Includes picnic lunch.

Daily Group Hike

Big Sur Guides and Hiking offers an off-property group hike to all Ventana Big Sur guests, beginning at 11:20 a.m. daily at Social House. Explore coastal redwood trails, cascading rivers and streams, and the rugged Pacific coastline. Guides point out local flora and fauna, and Native American history. Inquire at Social House for details.

Duration: 3 hours
Price: $75 per person (includes lunch)

Glass House Art Classes

Each Art of Now experience is designed to give you a new way to interact with this beautiful natural world and your own personal environment. You’ll work hand in hand with a local professional artist and learn techniques and practices you can take home from your visit to Ventana Big Sur. Sessions are available every Saturday morning or afternoon, or by appointment at your convenience.

Duration: 1.5 hours
Price: $300 per person (for 1 to 4 participants, plus materials fees as noted).

Sketching with Line and Wash

Stop, look, respond. Experience the moment and your environment by sitting, observing and recording using simple sketch techniques. You will discover the satisfaction of bringing an image to life—and begin to appreciate your own abilities, no matter your skill level.

We’ll provide pen, pencil, ink-wash brush and a sketchbook. Through demonstration and instruction you’ll develop the skills you need to populate your pages with imagery that is personal and satisfying.

This session can be the basis of a lifelong practice that is truly life-enhancing.

Materials Fee: $20
Session Fee: $300

Colorplay with Watercolor Paints and Torn Paper

The saturated hues of a brilliant sunset. The verdant green on green on green of a wooded hillside. The juxtaposition of light and shadow. This is your inspiration.

Working with color is a perfect nonverbal way to respond to your environment and enter a creative flow. Media will include watercolor and torn paper collage. You’ll create a series of observed and abstracted motifs that respond to Big Sur’s natural environment, while learning time-honored techniques in the expression of color and design.

Materials Fee: $50
Session Fee: $300

Writing as a Contemplative Practice

Pen point to paper, set a timer. “I remember …”—now, begin. Is it really that simple? Can you begin to write with this little effort? You’ll find the answer is “yes.” In fact, only you can write your story.

There is no mystery to writing—we learned how in second grade. There is, however, real magic in the process of using inspirational prompts, examples from poetry and literature along with timed writing sessions to encourage your words to flow and to connect to your authentic self.

During this session, you’ll work with an award-winning Big Sur writer as you reflect on your natural environment, record your personal experiences and explore the joys of writing as a contemplative practice.

Session Fee: $300

Touch Earth's Essence Workshop Playing Clay

Remind your senses of our connection to the earth through touch with clay, coils, pinch pots, and slab work: Using your hands and tools found in nature, we will make basic pottery. Join a local resident and wander through the redwood forest to find tools and inspiration, reconnecting with the child who loved mud long ago. Come explore this timeless craft in an atmosphere of ease and fun, clear your head space, and absorb the essence of the ancients who made simple, useful pots. 

Session Fee: $300

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