When the winter storms caused a landslide in the Big Sur Valley, seriously damaging the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and forcing the closure of Highway One, things came to a grinding halt in Big Sur, one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. And when most travellers were prevented from visiting this treasured 90-mile stretch of redwood and fog-trimmed Californian waterfront – between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Hearst Castle – most campgrounds, hotels and splurge-worthy resorts had to temporarily shutter as a result. These included the 19th century award-winning cliff-hugging homestead, Post Ranch Inn, and the luxurious 160-acre Ventana Big Sur, formerly the Ventana Inn & Spa, which boasts an enchanting backdrop of verdant woodlands and sparkling blue waters, creating the most picturesque ambiance imaginable. But the beloved adults-only Ventana used the enforced break to undergo an extensive renovation and refurbishment program, and will re-open on 20th October as Alila’s debut North American property, to coincide with the opening of a newly constructed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, reconnecting Big Sur to the rest of the world.
Built more than four decades ago, Ventana’s multimillion-dollar reimagination of its 59 guest rooms and suites has enhanced rather than changed the hotel’s already plush and much-loved rustic design aesthetic. All guest rooms include a private balcony or patio, where breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains or Pacific Ocean can be enjoyed and savoured. The liberal addition of rich leathers, high quality timber furnishings, macramé wall hangings and handcrafted accessories has elevated guest accommodations to new luxurious standards.
Other updates include the revamping of Social House lounge as an enclave designed for socialising with other guests, complete with a collection of vinyl, pool table, board games and an intimate bar. Meanwhile, Sur House restaurant, with its famed 10,000-bottle cellar, features an expanded terrace so that more people can dine al fresco.
For those looking for a special break, luxe resort experiences include two, private outdoor Spa Alila cabanas overlooking the redwood forest, for an even more serene experience. And a standalone Cottage House – the property’s largest and most luxurious guest accommodation at 722ft² – boasts an outdoor hot tub, oversized hammock and sprawling stone bathroom complete with an indoor soaking tub for two. Not to mention incredible forest canyon views and complete and utter privacy. Perhaps the collapse of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and the forced closure of Highway One had a silver hospitality lining after all.