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Ventana Big Sur
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.comVentana Big Sur

The best Big Sur hotels

Settle into this woodsy coastal dreamscape, be it in a luxurious lodge or five-star glamping, at the best Big Sur hotels

Ella Doyle
Written by
Garrick Ramirez
Ella Doyle

In a state completely full of incredible hiking destinations, Big Sur cowers above the rest, and for good reason. California natives and beyond make long journeys to discover the fantastic area, with never-ending views of redwood groves and the Pacific. 

Luckily, whether you’re headed there for a one-time stay, or you’re popping over to Big Sur as part of a mega road trip, it’s got a whole host of fantastic hotels to stay at. Whether you’re looking for rustic peaceful bliss in a little cabin, or you’re looking to splash out on a luxurious hotel with a pool, there is something for every kind of trip. We’ve picked the best of the best right here. So whether you’re at Big Sur for a week away from the hustle and bustle of the city, or you’re just there for a hardcore walking weekend, look no further than these hotels. 

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Best Big Sur hotels

Cozy cabin rooms with a hotel swimming pool

Looking for something cute, cozy and right on the river? This hotel with roaring fires and bare-brick walls will do the trick. Choose from one of the many rooms on offer, each with white linens, wood accents and a ton of artwork, as well as an en suite, of course. Pfieffer Beach is just a 10 minute drive from the hotel, but once you’re back, you can opt to relax at the outdoor swimming pool on site - or explore one of the many local hiking trails.

Time out tip: You’re just a four-minute walk from Andrew Molera State Park, which is perfect for hiking and panoramic views. It’s a really undeveloped park, with a fantastic beach down below, and is well worth a visit. 

Rustic accommodation with a sun terrace and mountain views

If you’re not feeling flashy, the rooms at this resort will give you all that rustic homely goodness you’re after. The cozy cabin rooms are incredibly varied, with some complete with wood burning fireplaces and others opening to jaw-dropping forest views that stretch for miles. Wooden walls and a communal area lit up by string lights and complete with a bar and grill will keep you entertained for your whole stay. There’s even live music there if you stay on a weekend. 

Time Out tip: Head out to Pfieffer State Park and further down to the Gulch, where you can climb high up into the mountains and take the kind of snaps your pals will all be jealous of. 

Big Sur Lodge

3. Big Sur Lodge

Spiffy cottage-like rooms inside a killer state park

Though there are no actual lodge rooms, a series of pleasantly surprising cottage-like guest rooms are a welcome opportunity to stay in beautiful Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Renovated in 2017, room interiors are simple but tasteful with many featuring huge, wood-burning stone fireplaces (with wood delivered directly to your room). You’re easy walking distance from both the pebble-lined Big Sur River and trailheads of the park’s many hikes. So, where’s the actual lodge? It’s a central building with a decent lobby lounge and a handy general store. There’s also a restaurant and cafe that works if you’re in a pinch, but you’ll find better dining options outside of the park.

Time Out tip: The property features a seasonal pool, but when temps heat up, head to the Big Sur River Gorge located at the far southwest corner of the park’s campground. The hidden spot features deep, crystal-clear pools for wading, and massive boulders to stretch out and dry off under sunny blue skies.

Ventana Big Sur

4. Ventana Big Sur

70’s modernism gets a luxurious 21st century update

Built in 1975 by the producer of the counterculture flick Easy Rider, this expansive property has seen its share of renovations and rebranding over the years, the most recent being in late 2017. Yet, the soulful vibes remain the same thanks in part to the weathered cedar architecture resting among mature oak and redwood trees. Modern rooms feature clean lines and earth tones, but you’ll want to luxuriate with some of the many amenities scattered throughout the 160-acre property. Nibble frozen fruit on day beds surrounding the Meadow Pool or go 1970s-era Big Sur at the clothing-optional Mountain Pool. Soak in the spa’s outdoor tubs or kick back in the 60s lodge-like Social House which features billiards, complimentary wine and vinyl records to spin. Ventana’s signature restaurant, Sur House, features a menu of locally-sourced dishes with many ingredients plucked from the resort’s organic garden, yet it’s the endless ocean vistas from the landscaped dining terrace that will leave you dazzled. 

Time Out tip: Don’t lock yourself in your room at night. Hit up the resort’s co-ed Japanese hot-baths which are open 24 hours and feature mind-blowing stargazing.


5. Post Ranch Inn

High-end nature retreat with edge-of-the-world vistas

With paradise-like grounds perched 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, this might be as close to heaven as hotels get. Post Ranch is famous for striking, modern architecture melded seamlessly with its forested, natural environs. No TVs or alarm clocks here; instead, 39 unique rooms, suites and treehouses feature wood-burning fireplaces, spa tubs and private decks with knock-out vistas. A complimentary mini bar is stocked with healthful, wine-friendly snacks to pair with your half bottles of red and white. Everything here is geared toward the gobsmacking ocean views. If you can pull yourself from your room, Sierra Mar restaurant features a wall of glass windows and an outdoor patio with vistas that rival those of small aircraft. Better yet, submerge yourself in one of two cliff-top infinity pools and gaze out over the Pacific.

Time Out tip: Big Sur has much to explore, but we wouldn’t fault you if you never stepped foot outside the resort. If you need to stretch your legs, seek out the hidden hammocks scattered throughout the property and appreciate the once-in-a-lifetime setting—and expense.

6. Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

Charming, rustic cabins capture Big Sur’s essence

With much of its humble 1930s character intact, Deetjen’s quickly recalibrates your body to Big Sur’s gentle pace. A serene atmosphere pervades, so you can forget about WiFi or cell service. The rustic rooms and cabins wouldn’t be mistaken for the Ritz—and the thin walls in the older building may not be for everyone—but this place has romance for days. Tucked into a redwood forest, guest rooms feature comfy furnishings including linen duvet covers and wood-burning stoves. The inn is also the site of the most charming restaurant along the California coast with a trio of cozy, wood-paneled dining rooms adorned with vintage bric-a-brac and warmed by a crackling stone hearth. Get the soul-satisfying blueberry pancakes, huevos rancheros or anything with house-cured salmon.

Time Out tip: Seek out the quiet grotto-like area at the rear of the property, where you can sit with a book and enjoy the ripple of a small cascading waterfall.


7. Treebones Resort

Go off-the-grid with tricked out yurts perched along coastal cliffs

At the southern end of the Big Sur coast, roughly 30 miles south of Big Sur village, Treebones features 16 yurts scattered among secluded coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific. The large, round fabric tents feature plush queen beds, heating, electricity, hot water sinks and polished pine wood floors. You’ll still have to walk to a nearby restroom, but you’ll hardly mind when you’re enjoying the spectacular coastal views from the Adirondack chairs on your spacious redwood deck. Don’t want to stumble outside to the bathroom at 9pm? Book the Insta-worthy Autonomous Tent, a secluded cocoon-like structure that features all the perks of a luxury hotel room including a private bathroom and shower powered by its own solar array. Given the property’s blissfully remote locale, you’ll likely eat the upscale “campfire cuisine”—bison burgers, kale pesto spaghetti—at the property’s Wild Coast restaurant, or be treated to a proper omakase dinner at the surprisingly good sushi bar (reservations required).

Time Out tip: For a unique—and weather dependent—experience, you and a pal can spend the night in the Human Nest or hobbit-like Twig House, two sculptural, wood-woven structures that are exposed to the elements, crafted by local artist Jayson Fann.

8. Ventana Campground

5-star glamping in the redwoods

Situated in a redwood-filled canyon immediately adjacent to Ventana Big Sur resort, this modern campsite features 15 safari-style canvas tents outfitted as outdoor, camp-themed hotel rooms. You’ll want for nothing with luxury linens, plush mattresses and power bricks with electrical outlets and USB plugs. A fully-stocked bath basket with towels and shower amenities makes the short walk to the nearby, modern Bath House worth it. And when the sun dips, you can grab a lantern, uncork a bottle of wine and cozy up around your wood-burning fire pit. In the morning, happy campers wake to fresh pastries and coffee dished up at a central welcome tent.



9. Glen Oaks Big Sur

Stylish, mid-century basecamp along the Big Sur River 

Glen Oaks is said to be one of the world's most romantic hotels. So if you're currently planning a couples trip read on. It has so much to offer. Designed by San Francisco designer Steve Justrich’s, the rooms are incredibly varied - you can choose between cottages, fire side lodges, cabins and houses. And, how could we forget Big Sur Roundhouse? That's the name of the restaurant, where you'll find lovely regional flavours and California cuisine with fresh, local ingredients.

Time Out tip: Make sure to follow the onsite nature trail that winds through the property’s 20 acres, dipping into a redwood grove and meandering along the Big Sur River before leading to a pair of small, sandy beaches.

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