Where? Big Sur, California
Exactly? We stayed at the luxurious, boutique hotel Ventana Inn and Spa.
When? May 2016
Flanked by the Santa Lucia mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, on the 5th leg of The Style Traveller classic, American road trip, we discovered the magical, national conservation area of Big Sur. Comprised of 300 square miles of lush forest, state park and breathtaking coastline, Big Sur’s natural beauty and remoteness have always been a draw for bohemian artists and writers.
Ventana Inn & Spa
We stay in the modern luxury of rustic retreat, the Ventana Inn & Spa. Set high in the hills surrounded by rolling countryside and resplendent coastal views, the Ventana is an idyllic spot, which promotes total calm, relaxation and wellness from the minute you arrive. Watch local deer and wildlife frolic in the grounds, whilst sipping excellent Californian wine, relaxing in your suites hot tub.The rooms are immaculately appointed, luxury timber framed suites, dotted around the properties lush green grounds. We stayed in the decadent Pacific Suites complete with wood burning fires, four poster beds, an array of fine wines, in room jacuzzis and hot tubs on the out door terrace.
Me hanging out and enjoying the view from my terrace at Ventana wearing skirt and top by Jacques Vert, plimsolls by Converse.On arrival at the hotel we visited by the locals (two lovely deer) who popped by the terrace to say hi!
Going for a wander in the hotel grounds wearing skirt and top by Jacques Vert, plimsolls by Converse.After a little session in the woodland cabin gym we hit the Japanese Hot Baths to help relieve aching muscles.
Time for a little swim. Above me wearing Kimono and matching trousers by Jacques Vert and plimsolls by Converse.Restaurant at Ventana Inn
Dinner at The Ventana Inn Restaurant is an exquisite affair. The four course tasting menu created by executive chef Paul Corsentino is a scrumptious experience. Mixing up Spanish, Japanese, Californian and European flavours to create a highly acclaimed and eclectic range of dishes, all ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced.
Try signature specialities crispy artichokes, potato gnocchi and the delicious alaskan halibut, which I’m devouring below. Yum!
What to do in Big Sur
The rugged coast is filled with staggeringly beautiful and inspirational vistas, much of which is documented in the works of Beatnik authors, Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller. Take the car for a spin around the meandering coastal roads, but make sure you stop off at the vantage points for photos. Nepenthe Restaurant about a mile from Ventana Inn is a great place to stop for lunch with cliff top views.
The Style Traveller tip? There are hundreds of great walks and treks you can try out, my favourite is the route through Julia Pfeiffer State Park. Go off the beaten track and venture out towards the coast to view the breathtaking McWay Falls (opening post image). It requires a short uphill hike through the pines which brings you out to a story book ‘treasure island’ cove, complete with plunging waterfall. It’s well worth the journey.
For a spot of culture visit the Henry Miller Memorial Library (below). Browse and buy books, have a coffee whilst listening to spanish guitar recitals in the day. In the evening catch a live music gig in the fairy light and cult literature filled wooden shack, before getting back ‘on the road’.
Eating and Drinking in Big Sur
Having had a wonderful dinner at Ventana Inn on the first night, a relaxed lunch with a view at Nepenthe, the second evening we headed over to the legendary luxury hotel Post Ranch Inn for dinner overlooking the sea.Above, the dramatic, modern facade of the Sierra Mar Restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn Restaurant and below a sample of the beautiful dishes we feasted upon whilst trying out the Taste of Big Sur Tasting Menu with eloquently chosen wine pairings.Below a close up of my favourite vegetarian garden dish, with wild rice and flowers from the kitchen garden. Each plate is presented like a work of art.
I highly recommend dining at The Post Ranch Inn, it’s a truly divine experience, that should not be missed.Good bye from Big Sur, I’ll be sure to head back very soon!
For more destinations from the road trip click these links – Coachella – San Francisco – Sonoma – Yosemite
If you’re a planning an American road trip of your own check out the Visit California website.
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