We are proud to have been named in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2022 as one of the Top 12 Resorts in Northern California. While the natural beauty of the central coast may draw our guests to Alila Ventana Big Sur, it is the dedication, enthusiasm, and genuine care of our incredible team members that leave our guests with unforgettable memories and the desire to return.
In honor of our recent Readers’ Choice Award, we wanted to highlight a few guest experience reviews* from Trip Advisor that remind us why we we do what we do:
This was one of the most magical places we've visited in Big Sur and the Bay Area, not to mention around the world. The setting and amenities and hotel itself were gloriously luxurious and serene, but what made the stay were the staff. Truly some of the most kind, energetic and engaged people I've ever encountered at a fine hotel and resort. They were so proud of the place, the experience and their role there. It was a joy to interact with every single person we met, from valet to room service to wait staff at the restaurant, guides in the forest, check-in, the pool, EVERYONE!
– Tracy E.
The Ultimate Lifetime Experience & Global Travel Destination
Alila Ventana Big Sur is the epitome of a magical and unrivaled getaway in the beautiful area of Big Sur, California. Alila Ventana offers stunning resort facilities, a beyond-gorgeous nature oriented setting, world-class service, and delicious yet sophisticated cuisine offered in the all-inclusive package continuously sourced from local ingredients.
My wife and I have been fortunate to have had 2 trips to Alila Ventana over the past few years. It is hands down our favorite resort in the world and a resort we plan to frequent as often as we can…Whether it be exploring the beautiful hiking trails across the resort, lounging by one of the two pools/spas, enjoying ocean and sunset views, dining at the Sur House, or just relaxing in the exceptional "modern cabin" rooms, Alila Ventana checks every box for the perfect getaway and is an absolute gem for those who enjoy traveling. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
The hotel is phenomenally managed in all facets and truly offers a world-class experience. Not only is Alila Ventana by far the best resort in the beautiful Big Sur region but is a "must visit" for the most passionate and discerning global travelers.
– Andrew D.
Beyond My Wildest Dreams: MAGNIFICENT!
Words nor photos can adequately express the enormity of the beautiful experience that being at this spectacular property is and was… The resort has embraced the pristine beauty of the surroundings, which are incomparable. There is nothing contrived, it all flows and allows the guest to feel the depth of this most exquisite place.
The arrival through the Coastal Redwood forest to check in takes your breath away…Every single employee, from housekeeping to serving at the restaurants to check-in and experiences seemed full of joy and so happy to be in that beautiful place and help us to have the most stellar experience.
THE FOOD!!! OMG…The service!!! Unmatched… We loved everything we tried and could not get enough of their blueberry rosemary ice-cream!!!
We were beyond amazed by the incredible Falconry experience with Antonio. Again, words cannot describe this. Antonio is so learned and shared so many interesting and compelling facts with us: I think we may become birders! The beekeeping experience with James was equally wonderful. What a bright and delightful guy! He made it interesting, fun and we learned so much and feel, again, compelled to learn more about our surroundings and nature. James Nimmons also taught an astronomy class that was WONDERFUL!! Do not miss this opportunity while staying at Ventana!!
The mountain pool was a wonderful place to lunch and relax, and that spa that overlooks the forest was MAGICAL! The Japanese Bath was also a delightful spot: especially to see the stars at night!
The smells, the sounds (wind in the trees, birds, raindrops), the magnificent service, the fantastic food and drink, the location--as close to heaven as I believe I have ever been--and I say that as a person of faith!
Thank you to everyone who makes this resort so very special and full of kindness and appreciation for the magnificent place it is so exquisitely positioned within!
– Amanda B.
Not Enough Superlatives to Describe Ventana
So many aspects of Ventana deserve my highest praise. Big Sur is a magical place--the iconic rugged coastline, the redwood forests of massive trees that have stoically watched over Big Sur's inhabitants for hundreds of years, the spiritual vibe felt on the area's numerous hiking trails, and so much else. Ventana, even though a "resort" with all the expected comforts, incorporates all of these, as it rises hundreds of feet above the ocean. It is a VERY romantic place.
Our room had an ocean view. Our balcony had a hammock which I used to drift away for a few minutes every day. The rooms, the food, and most of all, the obviously knowledgeable, well trained and genuinely gracious employees (on every level) made our 5 night stay one of my most memorable vacations, and I have traveled extensively for over 50 years. The entire staff's service was memorable.
We languished at times at one of the 2 pools and especially enjoyed the Japanese baths. We also spent much of our days hiking at Andrew Molera State Park and at Pfeiffer State Park. The hiking trails range from easy to very strenuous and everything in between. There are some excellent walks on the Ventana resort property as well. As the title above suggests, there just aren't enough words.......
We cannot thank our guests and the readers of Condé Nast Traveler enough for the praise and recognition of our efforts to create a truly memorable experience. We look forward to being part of your stories created at Alila Ventana Big Sur, and we hope you share them with us!
*Reviews may be edited for clarity
Mindful travel is more than the thought process behind planning your stay, booking your flight, and checking off a packing list. It’s when you use your time away to become closer to yourself and the world around you. At Alila Ventana Big Sur, we encourage you to move, gaze, listen, and be still with intention.
1. Morning Movement
There’s nothing like a guided flow of movement to start your day with an energizing buzz of endorphins. We invite you to join us for Tai Chi, Yoga and Meditation, or a stroll through the property to awaken the body, mind, and heart with mindful actions.
Dig Deeper: Tune in to your body’s rhythm by focusing on your breathing during every movement.
2. Take a Hike
Nature is a luxury and you deserve to immerse yourself in its wonder. Go on our guided Redwood Hike and be an observer of all things big and small in the world around you. Fill your lungs with the air of mountain and sea as you climb a gentle grade of 1000 ft. on our daily Coast Ridge Hike. And if you’re really looking to get lost in nature (while staying on the right path) sign up for our Into The Wilderness Adventure program, curated by our experts to guide you through Big Sur’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.
Dig Deeper: Tap into your sense of awe as you explore the world with fresh eyes.
3. Listen With Your Soul
Dive into your deepest self with our Unity Alchemy Sound Journey experience. This ancient healing technique aims to stimulate the body’s natural mechanisms to heal itself through the vibrations of alchemy crystal singing bowls, rattles, tuning forks and chimes. A guided meditation will take you to a deep state of peace and relaxation, ending with a traditional sage clearing to leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Dig Deeper: Journal about your experience to explore the emotions felt before and after.
4. Do Nothing
Seriously. Go to a place that speaks to you– The rocky shores of Molera Beach, a shady spot under the towering Redwoods, or an unparalleled view of the Pacific Ocean perched on the cliffs of Big Sur’s coast. And then once you’re there, do nothing. Be still in the moment and let intuition guide you. Maybe you’ll find a spark of inspiration, or a wave of calm. No matter what you discover within, welcome it with gratitude.
Dig Deeper: Challenge yourself to be screen-free during your time of stillness.
Mindful travel. It’s more than making memories– It’s about creating a connection with nature, while learning more about yourself along the way. Now is the time to venture to Alila Ventana Big Sur and elevate your experiences with intention.
We’d like to introduce you to our favorite feeling: Awe. Awe is the emotion you feel when you’re in the presence of something vast or not immediately understood. In Big Sur, we are humbled each day by the majestic and otherworldly beauty around us. It’s a place where awe is found at every turn.
Why do we love the idea of awe? In the podcast, How to Be a Better Human, host Chris Duffy explores the ‘science of happiness’ and learns of a study done by Dr. Virginia Sturm, professor of neurology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California at San Francisco. The study had participants go on an ‘awe walk’ in nature for 15 minutes each day. And what made this different from your average stroll through the trees? They were instructed to walk with the intention of tapping into awe, looking at the world around them with a childlike sense of wonder.
The results: Those who tapped into the feeling of awe for just 15 minutes a day had increased levels in compassion, gratitude, and joy that stayed with them long after their walk ended.
This is why we fully embrace awe at Alila Ventana Big Sur. We encourage every guest to arrive with an open heart and the intention of looking at the world around them in a new way. We want you to experience wonder, create deeper connections, and leave with the elevated sense of compassion, gratitude and joy.
As you prepare for your Alila Ventana retreat, here is our list of favorite awe-provoking moments on your journey to the immaculate central coast of Big Sur:
Embracing the curves of Big Sur’s staggering coastline
Andrew Molera State Park: Headlands Trail
Allowing yourself to feel small under the towering redwood trees
Marvel at the perfect intersection of architecture and nature
Peer into the secret lives of the local sea otters & harbor seals. What are they talking about on those rocks?
Take a moment to truly tap into the gratitude you feel during your stay
When autumn rolls through the central coast of California, there’s a shift in energy– Unseen, but felt deep in the soul. The beauty of our landscape is one which doesn’t embark on a deep transformation into the fiery hues of fall. While the waves keep crashing and the redwoods remain tall, it’s the air around us that lets us know a new season has arrived.
It’s crisp. Autumn air is a kind that fills your lungs and leaves you energized with every exhale. It’s the coolness around you that makes your coffee taste better, your blankets feel cozier, and your heart feel warmer with nostalgia and comfort. It’s a sign to embrace the tranquility of the changing season with every invigorating breath.
It’s the ambience of fall that channels our inner creative to come out from the shadows. Match the moodiness of the landscape around you and feel deeply in everything you do. Wander down new paths, indulge in a seasonal menu item you might not always choose, or search for inspiration between the cliffs and the horizon.
When your retreat to Alila Ventana happens to land in the midst of this autumnal equinox, we encourage you to embrace the fresh air and tap into the changes you may experience yourself. Perhaps you find a hidden talent for spotting owls between the branches. Or maybe you allow a creative intuition to lead you towards a new experience of art and nature. As the days grow shorter, you may find yourself preferring to move your body under a star-filled sky with night hikes, yoga or a dip in the pool.
Autumn in Big Sur is felt deeply. We welcome brisk mornings and cloudy afternoons. We create sanctuary in the changing season and invite you to experience autumn at Alila Ventana Big Sur by embracing change in yourself.