High atop the cliffs of Big Sur, 1200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, sits Post Ranch Inn, a sanctuary for the soul. Located along California’s Highway One, known as one of the world’s most scenic drives, Post Ranch is set near majestic state parks, beaches and waterfalls. Recognized and awarded as one of the top luxury resorts in the country and the only hotel in Big Sur with an ocean view, Post Ranch offers the ultimate destination for romance, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Post Ranch Inn has 40 architecturally innovative guest rooms, suites and private homes placed along the ridge that parallels the blue Pacific. Each guest accommodation offers a unique, luxurious experience with views of ocean or mountain scenery. Room designs use earth tones with an emphasis on natural and sustainable materials, with custom furniture, rugs hand-woven by indigenous weavers and reclaimed wood, including old-growth redwood from wine casks, re-milled to create rich wood wall panels. The organic hues, textures, and extensive collection of original art inside the rooms blend seamlessly with the scenic beauty of the outdoors.
With a deck suspended over the western edge of the ridge, the vast ocean views of the extraordinary Cliff House can be fully appreciated from the outdoor spa tub and large terrace, the indoor bath and the secluded glass-walled bedroom. The spacious curved interiors of the Pacific Suites open to an astonishing ocean view seen from the terrace, living room, bedroom and bath. Each suite is 960 square feet, with two suites in each two-story building. The location of the Peak House displays an expansive view of the Santa Lucia Range. Guests enter through an enclosed courtyard to the secluded bedroom designed with custom-built furniture and a hot tub on the private terrace.
The Ocean House boasts a curved, beamed roof covered with a soft carpet of grass, with private ocean views seen from the terrace, bath and bedroom. Each circular-shaped Coast House has two separate guest rooms with glorious ocean views. The Tree House, a triangular structure, is elevated 9 feet off the ground on stilts, with a stairway entrance. The two guest rooms in the Mountain House, also in a circular design, offer views of dramatic mountain peaks. The Butterfly rooms are housed in a building designed to look like a butterfly with outstretched wings.
Each room has a king-sized bed, wood-burning fireplace, indoor spa tub and deluxe shower, private deck, stereo and digital music system and complimentary wireless Internet access. Guest rooms are generously stocked with a complimentary mini bar offering snacks, spring water from the property on-site in reusable glass bottles, and non-alcoholic drinks as well as a half bottle of both red and white wine. As Post Ranch is a destination in which to relax and reconnect, guestrooms do not include televisions, alarm clocks and are non-smoking. The minimum age for guests is 18 years old and pets are not allowed.
Offering the utmost in privacy and exclusivity, Post Ranch Inn added the South Coast House in 2013. The beautifully redesigned two-bedroom House provides spacious accommodations for two couples and ample space for entertaining. The private terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows overlook vast mountains that plunge into the Pacific. Complete with a fully-equipped kitchen with designer appliances, an eating area and large living room, the house offers two master bedrooms, each with a king-size bed, expansive ocean views and private bathroom. The upstairs master bedroom features its own private deck and lounge chairs. Off the main floor is a generous outdoor patio with lounge chairs, gas BBQ and a hot tub from which to enjoy the spectacular ocean views.
Sierra Mar Restaurant
Guests experience the vast Pacific sunset from the renowned Sierra Mar Restaurant. A complimentary gourmet buffet breakfast is served exclusively for overnight guests, with lunch and dinner available to the public by reservation. Under Executive Head Chef John Cox, Sierra Mar presents guests with an unconventional fine dining experience, showcasing unique and inquisitive food creations. Chef Cox brings with him a diverse culinary background cultivated during his time cooking in regions ranging from New Mexico to Hawaii. Dishes feature bold, primal flavors along with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Sierra Mar offers a nine-course Taste of Big Sur tasting menu, with optional wine pairing, as well as the more traditional four-course prix fixe menu.
Sierra Mar boasts one of the largest wine selections in North America, with over 14,000 bottles. Having earned Wine Spectator’s prestigious Grand Award the past two years, Wine Director Dominque Da Cruz places strong emphasis on both Old and New World wines from Europe to Australia and from California to Washington, as well as classic to small artisan producers.
Two therapeutically heated basking spas, each with an infinity edge overlooking the Pacific, offer spectacular places to soak and take in the magnificent seascape. The swimming pool is located on a sunny knoll in a meadow with mountain views and is perfect for a refreshing plunge, swimming laps or relaxing poolside.
Award-winning spa treatments are designed to relax and rejuvenate using the healing properties of nature. Treatments are done in guest rooms or at the spa, which includes two couple’s spa suites, one with a fireplace the other with a walk-in shower. Among the wide range of nurturing treatments available at the spa, there is the very unique Shaman Journey session. In the sacred and safe space of the medicine wheel, a shaman engages the forces of nature and the ancient wisdom of the ancestors to help create lasting changes for physical, mental and emotional well being.
Complimentary activities include yoga and meditation classes, guided nature hikes and garden tours and star gazing on the deck at Sierra Mar using a computerized 12-inch Meade telescope. Post Ranch has one of the largest hotel telescopes in the U.S., and Big Sur offers some of the clearest atmospheric conditions for viewing the stars, nebulas, and even the rings of Saturn.
Green Design & Architecture
The hotel’s organic architecture embraces the striking beauty of the coastline. Each structure on the 100-acre property reflects dramatic lines and contemporary styling while blending into the landscape naturally. In addition to their distinctive look, the dwellings themselves represent an innovative green building approach, featuring bio-structure architecture and using natural materials of glass, wood, stone and COR-TEN steel, and, when possible, passive solar heat. The architects’ design was intended to make onlookers feel like a part of nature, not just observers of it. Every environmental aspect was carefully considered: for example, the earth-sheltered guesthouses capture passive heating and cooling, and the small footprint of the stilts which support the tree houses protects the fragile roots of the ancient redwood and oak trees.
Other green initiatives include using hybrid Lexus vehicles to transport guests around the property; water is pumped on-site and bottled into renewable glass bottles; landscaping uses native plants and is drought-resistant. In addition, the grounds provide a habitat for the endangered Smith’s Blue Butterfly, California Red-Legged Frog, Western Pond Turtle and California Condor.
In 2009 the hotel switched on a 990-panel solar array, the largest hotel solar project in California and one of the largest in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the system is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 611,000 pounds annually. That is equivalent to removing over 50 vehicles from the road or serving nearly 39 U.S. households’ electricity needs. To see the system’s day-to-day performance, Recurrent Energy, owner and operator of the system, created a Solar Monitor, which is available on www.postranchinn.com.
Post Ranch’s history reaches back generations. The inn opened in 1992 on the site of the Post family’s cattle ranch, which was homesteaded in the 1860s by William Brainard Post and his Native American wife, Anselma. The inn was built with the assistance of Bill Post, great-grandson of the original homesteaders, and his partners.
Post Ranch Inn is located along the Big Sur coast, between San Luis Obispo and Monterey – off of Highway 1, just 30 miles south of Carmel, Calif. Located 330 miles north of Los Angeles and 150 miles south of San Francisco, the nearest airport is in Monterey (about 1 hour driving).
Images courtesy: Kodiak Greenwood