In February 2022, I visited the Alila Ventana Huge Sur for a three-night keep, checking off one other high-end aspirational resort from my bucket listing.
This resort is among the most engaging properties within the Hyatt portfolio, following on from Hyatt’s acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality and its assortment of luxurious resorts, together with the Alila model, again in 2018.
For those who take part within the World of Hyatt loyalty program, Alila Ventana is among the most dear methods to make use of Hyatt factors, particularly after its reopening in July 2021 below a brand-new all-inclusive enterprise mannequin.
The resort sits on 160 acres above the rugged mountains of the Central Coast of California, broadly thought-about the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped shoreline in the USA.
Tucked amongst the redwood forest and overlooking the countless Pacific Ocean are simply 59 rooms and suites, set in a spectacular environment of rustic luxurious.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Reserving
Award availability on the Alila Ventana Huge Sur is uncommon and tough to come back by. The chance to redeem factors tends to be out there both very far out upfront, or on a last-minute foundation.
Certainly, I used to be searching for award area simply previous to the lengthy weekend again in February 2022, and I by some means fortunately managed to discover a three-night keep at the usual fee, which was 30,000 Hyatt factors per evening on the time.
I paid a complete of 90,000 Hyatt factors for the three-night keep; nevertheless, I needed to high up my stability by buying some extra Hyatt factors to earn sufficient factors for this redemption.
On the time, this property was a Class 7 with World of Hyatt till the latest adjustments to the Hyatt classes in March 2022. This property has now been reclassified below Class 8, and now prices 40,000 Hyatt factors per evening at the usual fee.
Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless very tough to seek out award area for this property, so if you happen to handle to seek out out there rooms bookable on factors, you must positively safe your reserving as quickly as attainable.
Previous to the pandemic, money charges had been round US$1,000+ an evening. Since reopening as an all-inclusive resort, money charges have been upwards of US$2,500+ per evening, which definitely isn’t low-cost.
To place issues into perspective, my utilization of 30,000 Hyatt factors per evening at Alila Ventana due to this fact corresponded to a redemption worth of 8.3 cents/level (USD), which far exceeds our present Hyatt valuation of 1.5 cents/level (USD).
(Even if you happen to redeem 40,000 factors per evening on the present charges, you’re nonetheless getting an impressive 6.25 cents/level (USD) in worth too.)
Take into account that the lodge could require a three-night minimal keep throughout peak season, whereas there’s solely a two-night minimal at different occasions, relying on the season.
The three-night minimal can doubtlessly influence whether or not you may make a reserving on an everyday weekend or whether or not you might need to attend for an extended weekend, so it’s definitely an element to remember.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Location
The resort is within the Huge Sur area, alongside Freeway 1 (also referred to as the Pacific Coast Freeway), one in all California’s most well-known drives.
The mountain property is a one-hour drive south of town of Monterey, about two hours south of San Jose, and about two and a half hours south of San Francisco.
You could possibly fly into any of those three cities and make your approach into Alila Ventana; nevertheless, it is going to be an extended drive from any route.
Moreover, for these making their approach between Los Angeles and San Francisco or taking a street journey alongside the Pacific Coast Freeway, the Alila Ventana could possibly be an ideal vacation spot for an opulent pit-stop alongside the best way.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Examine-in
We flew into San Francisco, because it was the one metropolis within the area with a Friday night flight from Vancouver that labored for our wants. Touchdown in SFO at 10pm, we rented a automobile and proceeded to drive two and half hours south to Alila Ventana Huge Sur.
(The resort’s three-night minimal standing requirement, in impact on the time, is why we wanted to journey on such a decent schedule. If it had been attainable, I definitely would’ve most popular to e-book two nights at Alila Ventana and keep an evening in San Francisco earlier than making the drive within the morning.)
We’d ultimately be doing the identical drive again up north for 2 and a half hours to San Francisco for our return journey, this time attending to get pleasure from all the spectacular sights alongside the best way.
As you flip off the freeway, there’s a signal resulting in the Alila Ventana, after which a sequence of winding roads main up the mountain to the parking space. The resort has complimentary valet parking and self-parking choices.
We discovered the self-parking to be extra handy, because the car parking zone was pretty shut by to the villas, and we may go to and from our automobile at our leisure quite than ready for somebody to seize it for us.
Since we arrived pretty late at evening, we rapidly grabbed our keys from the affiliate on the Social Home reception constructing.
There wasn’t a lot of a particular check-in expertise, because the affiliate working the evening shift didn’t appear overly acquainted in her function and invited us to return within the morning for a full introduction to the property.
We then took a buggy on to the King Deluxe Room with Fire, which was a modest improve I had obtained from the bottom room as a Hyatt Globalist member. I had inquired a couple of additional improve to a full suite on the check-in desk, which we’ll revisit later within the evaluate.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – King Deluxe Room with Fire
We stayed within the King Deluxe Room with Fire for the primary two nights of our keep at Alila Ventana Huge Sur.
Most of the property’s rooms are housed in particular person blocks with higher and decrease flooring. Our room, Room 30, was on the far finish of the decrease flooring in one of many blocks closest to Social Home.
As you enter the room, you’ll discover a totally stocked minibar and refreshment counter alongside the eating space. A Nespresso espresso machine, tea, and refillable water bottles are discovered on the counter.
The eating desk had two leather-based chairs, and on high was a small charcuterie plate with glowing wine as a welcome reward.
The room had a rustic-chic environment, led to by the cedar partitions and wooden furnishings. As you progress additional into the area, you’ll end up within the bed room, the place the king-sized mattress is ready in opposition to the cedar-planked again wall.
The paintings within the room assorted from a home made macramé above the mattress to black-and-white images of the encircling landscapes.
A darkish oak desk and a chair had been on the proper facet of the mattress, whereas on the left facet was a darkish oak bedside desk with some drawers for storage.
Alongside the window is a nook with an extended cushioned bench, adorned with a couple of pillows for having fun with the view or catching up on some studying.
To its proper, you’ll discover a door resulting in the balcony, with views dealing with the serenity of the redwood forest. I actually loved sitting out right here within the morning with panoramic views of nature with my first cup of espresso in hand.
Heading again inside, the king mattress confronted a stone-wall wood-burning fire, and the room got here with straw baggage of firewood that we may use to maintain a hearth going. Mounted on the wall above was a big flat-screen TV.
To the left of the mattress, the wall options a big window that opens as much as the toilet.
The lavatory finishes continued alongside the country luxurious themes, consisting of cedar wooden included into the trim of the mirror and self-importance shelving, marble for the counter tops, and pure stone tiling for the ground and partitions of the bathe partitions.
On the foot of the bathtub was a walk-in bathe with a very good water strain, together with a bench to take a seat and chill out because the water splashed round you.
Total, the King Deluxe Room served as a cushty dwelling for the primary two nights of our keep, whether or not it was having fun with charcuterie by the fireplace or a cup of espresso on on the balcony dealing with the redwood forest.
Though the finishes of the room weren’t probably the most luxurious, it had a comfortable “cabin within the woods” feeling to it that was excellent for a romantic and enjoyable lengthy weekend getaway.
I genuinely would’ve been very joyful if the King Deluxe Room had been the total extent of the upgrades we had obtained right here at Alila Ventana, however hey, I nonetheless determined to roll the cube one final time on our third evening…
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Vista Scorching Tub Suite
Earlier than our final evening, I approached the entrance desk to see if we may probability an improve to a greater suite as a Globalist member.
Whereas the resort did seem like totally booked the earlier two nights, I had seen on the Hyatt app that the Vista Scorching Tub Suite was out there for the third evening, so I made a decision to take my probability and see if we may change rooms to expertise among the finest suites of the resort.
To my delight, the entrance desk agent checked in her system and confirmed that the Vista Scorching Tub Suite was out there, after which granted my request for an improve on account of my Globalist standing.
I actually obtained the sense that the Alila Ventana Huge Sur tries very laborious to ship the perfect expertise attainable for Hyatt elite members. If an improve upon check-in isn’t out there if you’re right here, don’t low cost the opportunity of a mid-stay improve if you happen to ask properly.
The Vista Scorching Tub Suite was a lot larger at 72 sq. metres giant. The suite had an open idea, with the bed room, pantry, and two seating areas all inside one area.
Whereas the primary room merely included cedar-planked wall accents, this suite was virtually completely picket partitions and flooring. The picket beams alongside the highest of the ceiling created an genuine cabin-like environment.
The pantry with a espresso machine is to the proper as you enter, and a small shelf and mirror are in opposition to the wall.
The suite has a desk with two darkish leather-based chairs and extra seating close to the wood-burning fire. These seats had been a lighter wealthy leather-based, centred round a cow-hide ottoman and small facet desk.
This suite’s fire was designed with an uncovered pure stone in comparison with our first room’s easy, stone-wall fireplace. The flat-screen TV was mounted on the wall above the hearth.
The king-sized mattress featured a picket cover with curtains that could possibly be drawn for added privateness. On all sides of the mattress was a bedside desk with lamps and a classic phone on the left-hand facet.
On the proper wall of the bed room was a big rustic bureau for added storage.
The lavatory was positioned across the nook, simply previous the pantry as you first entered the room.
The lavatory was well-appointed with an open-concept rainfall bathe, double sinks, and an outsized soaker tub.
Each the bathe and tub provided direct views of the encircling forest and meadows, and the door on the left-hand facet of the bathtub would grant entry to the spotlight of this suite: the balcony and scorching tub.
The balcony spanned your entire width of the suite, that includes at least three completely different seating choices together with the non-public scorching tub on the far finish.
The new tub had a jacuzzi characteristic and a slipcover over the bathtub, permitting for steady and nice warmth. There have been two lounge chairs on the balcony as effectively.
The balcony was a superb place to spend time with views dealing with the sundown. Though some shrubs obscured the direct view, it was nonetheless beautiful to look at the sky change colors from the consolation of the new tub.
For sure, we had been completely thrilled with this improve, and spent a lot of the ultimate day at Alila Ventana merely enjoyable within the scorching tub, on the balcony, and by the hearth.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Resort Format
Earlier than delving into all the resort’s eating, services, and actions, it’s value getting a lay of the land.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur is ready throughout a sprawling 160 acres, so it might take you fairly a little bit of strolling to get from place to put. Alternatively, there’s buggy service all through the resort, so you may ask any affiliate to name a buggy to come back decide you up and get you to your vacation spot.
Beneath is a map of the resort grounds:
On the western facet of the resort, you’ll discover the Social Home, the Alila Spa, Ocean Meadow, and Meadow Pool.
To the east of the property is the health centre, and even additional is the Mountain Pool and Japanese baths. Then, after strolling down “The Path”, you will discover Sur Home, Sky Terrace, Glass Home, and the Loft.
There are various strolling trails connecting the varied components of the resort, with the principle path often known as “The Path,” which is a 0.3-mile path by the inside valley of the resort.
This was a good way to get a couple of steps within the morning as you make your option to the Sur Home for breakfast, positioned on the reverse finish of the trail.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Eating
An enormous a part of what makes staying at Alila Ventana Huge Sur so particular is the all-inclusive eating expertise.
With Alila Ventana’s new all-inclusive mannequin, meals and non-alcoholic drinks are coated throughout your keep. Meals can be found at eating services, by way of in-room eating, or ordered to-go.
Breakfast and dinner are provided on the Sur Home restaurant, located on the far jap finish of the resort grounds.
The restaurant has each indoor and out of doors seating with warmth lamps out there.
Outside you will discover a tented seating space, snug couches surrounding a hearth pit, and a terrace with awe-inspiring views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Lunch is often served poolside on the resort’s fundamental pool; nevertheless, it can be ordered by way of in-room eating or as a takeout possibility.
Alila Ventana has a really versatile and beneficiant all-inclusive meal service. You may order something off the menu and in limitless portions. Naturally, we totally indulged within the gastronomic choices all through our keep and tried to pattern as many meals as attainable.
The one factor that isn’t included within the all-inclusive charges are alcoholic drinks, that are topic to an extra cost. Nonetheless, the resort does provide a cheerful hour within the afternoon, which we’ll contact on later within the evaluate.
You could find all the present menus listed on the Alila Ventana Big Sur website. Be aware that the resort rotates the menu gadgets every now and then.
The breakfast menu runs from 7–11am each day and has a various curation of choices.
Among the lighter choices we tried included a chia seed breakfast bowl, mashed avocado toast, Greek yogurt parfait, bagel with lox, and steel-cut oatmeal.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Chia seed breakfast bowl
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Mashed avocado toast
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Greek yogurt parfait
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Metal-cut oatmeal
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For the principle parts, we additionally tried a chorizo scramble, roasted hen hash, French toast, and the Ventana Breakfast, a rendition of the traditional American type breakfast.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Chorizo scramble
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Roasted hen hash
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – French toast
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Ventana Breakfast
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We tried to pattern as many dishes as attainable between the 2 of us, and every was scrumptious. The resort incorporates recent elements from the natural backyard positioned on the property, and we discovered the standard of the meals to be wonderful.
We ordered juice and occasional alongside every meal, making for a fulsome and nice begin to every day.
One minor gripe was that the service at Sur Home was a bit sluggish on some mornings, so we determined to order in-room eating at our upgraded Visa Scorching Tub Suite for the third morning.
Lunch is often served poolside from 11am–5pm, encompassing all hours that breakfast and dinner aren’t being served. As at all times, you may order no matter you want in any amount from the menu.
For our first lunch, we loved our meal poolside, whereas the next day we sat out on the garden chairs within the meadows and ate whereas overlooking the ocean.
Lastly, on the third day, we needed to make our approach again to San Francisco, so we opted to order lunch to-go and loved our meal at a few of the nationwide parks in Huge Sur alongside the best way.
The lunch menu gives extra informal dishes and smaller plates. We first sampled the Ventana pool burger and grilled fish tacos, which my accomplice Jessy discovered to be simply barely above common.
We additionally tried the fries with lime juice and cajun spice, which had a singular style and had been very tasty. The guacamole and tortilla chips had been additionally a favorite, and the Ventana tortilla soup was a dish I loved on a number of days.
The burned peppers definitely stood out; these had been executed with agave, cotija cheese, tajin and lime. We actually beloved this dish.
With the beneficiant all-inclusive meal service, when you’ve got each breakfast and dinner scheduled, then lunch could be a typically lower-key affair. That’s exactly what it was for us over the course of our three days, although we loved the small bites provided nonetheless.
It’s value noting that on the time of our go to in February 2022, lunch was served in paper containers no matter whether or not we had been having fun with them on the property or taking it away.
Dinner is accessible from 5–9pm, and that is the place Alila Ventana Huge Sur really shines. The restaurant lately appointed govt chef Keith Potter to curate the menu, and has a staff of award-winning cooks making ready the meals.
There are some constant dishes on the dinner menu, whereas others are regularly rotated all through the seasons. You may order appetizers, fundamental programs, and desserts as part of the all-inclusive meal service.
Earlier than dinner, the Sur Home gives a cheerful hour with complimentary cocktails from 4–5pm each day. That is the one time that alcoholic drinks are complimentary at Alila Ventana.
There are round 6–8 choices on every of the appetizer, fundamental course, and dessert menus, so if you happen to’re staying as a gaggle of two for 3 nights, you may seemingly pattern many of the gadgets between your group. For those who’re staying longer, the menus don’t have the broadest vary of choices, so you might find yourself re-ordering a few of the identical issues.
For appetizers, there have been two that jumped out at us throughout the course of our keep. The Santa Barbara prawns had been completely seasoned, and I very a lot loved slurping the flavour out of the prawn head.
I used to be additionally impressed with the Spanish octopus, and I beloved that a complete tentacle of the octopus was served. Too usually, high-end eating places skimp on the parts in the case of octopus, which was definitely not the case on the Alila Ventana.
I additionally beloved the tomato-based sauce that accompanied the octopus, and located the mixture of white beans and pepper labored very effectively.
The restaurant additionally options each day specials that can’t be discovered on the menu. The chef will cease by the desk and allow you to know if there are any specials for that night.
We ordered two appetizers from the specials menu on our third evening: the quail and the hamachi crudo.
The quail was crisp and juicy, with a candy sauce made out of apples and pomegranates. I actually loved this dish and the way effectively the meat paired with the candy sauce.
In the meantime, the hamachi crudo was jam-packed with a scrumptious mixture of flavours, and was a pleasant Jap-inspired addition to the menu.
For the principle programs, Jessy ordered the seasonal risotto on our first evening and located the risotto to be simply okay and never very flavourful.
Nonetheless, we additionally tried the seared day boat scallops with squid ink risotto on the third evening. So long as you want scallops, the risotto with squid ink was a lot tastier and would positively be a more sensible choice than the common risotto.
I ordered the grilled Black Angus beef tenderloin for my fundamental course. The steak was a juicy reduce, completely cooked medium-rare. Beneath the greens was a frothy white sauce, which was additionally delectable.
In the meantime, the smoked Fogline Farms duck breast got here alongside a butternut squash and balsamic cherry jus, which was yet one more fundamental course that I used to be fairly impressed by.
After our fundamental programs, we’d tuck into the dessert menu, and we definitely tried to maximise the variety of gadgets we ordered.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Lemon tart
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Dulcey brûlée
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Cambozola sundae
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Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Seasonal galette
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Dinner was undoubtedly the spotlight of all three meals. We loved virtually each dish that was served, and it was only a matter of some dishes being extra wow-inducing than others.
For those who’re staying a few nights, it’s definitely value ordering a couple of of the extra complicated and distinctive dishes (together with something on the specials menu if it’s out there), as these are those that permit the chef’s talent set to shine by.
Total, the Alila Ventana Huge Sur has an impressive meal providing, and it’s really some of the beneficiant experiences you may e-book on factors by way of the all-inclusive nature of each meal being included in your keep.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Swimming pools & Spa
The Alila Ventana Huge Sur has two out of doors heated swimming pools which are a significant attraction of the resort. The swimming pools open at 7am and shut within the late night at 10pm.
The Meadow Pool is located subsequent to the Social Home, overlooking the ocean. The pool additionally options an infinity-edge whirlpool, in addition to lounge chairs dotted throughout.
We loved spending time by the Meadow Pool probably the most, because it was bigger and nice for swimming a few laps. We additionally loved enjoyable within the lounge chairs across the swimming pools and down on the meadows.
Moreover, the Meadow Pool was higher for service in comparison with the opposite swimming pools, with poolside lunch and snacks out there all through the day.
A serious spotlight for me had been the varied scorching tubs dotted across the resort, particularly the infinity-edge whirlpool that faces north close to the Meadow Pool.
This was an superior place to soak within the views of nature, chill out within the morning earlier than a drive, and even late at evening within the illuminated glass enclosure after a couple of glasses of wine.
The Mountain Pool is clothing-optional and is positioned adjoining to the Japanese scorching baths. It is a smaller, quieter pool in comparison with down by the meadows, and I didn’t see too many company utilizing it throughout our keep.
The Japanese baths have two entrances on reverse sides, and the tub itself is cut up into three partitioned-off sections. These wooden partitions create a piece for each female and male bathers to benefit from the clothing-optional services, in addition to a shared center part.
The Japanese scorching baths are definitely value testing if you happen to’re on the property, and are a inventive addition to the resort’s wellness services.
The Alila Spa is subsequent to the Social Home. Though we didn’t go to the spa, it gives conventional therapeutic massage therapies, couple therapies, reflexology and different physique therapies with a holistic method.
The spa has new out of doors cabanas for spa therapies among the many redwoods and recent air, and likewise contains a sauna positioned subsequent to the spa.
The resort has a small health centre open from 7am–7pm, which is well-appointed given its dimension.
The gymnasium contains a treadmill, elliptical, Peloton bikes, and weights, in addition to an out of doors space with some resistance bands.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Social Home
The Social Home is the foyer of the resort and the first indoor space for company. The outside has a country look, together with an much more rustic and comfortable inside.
There’s a small seating space by the hearth close to the check-in desk and a separate video games room with board video games, a chessboard, and a pool desk. The area has one other part with complimentary espresso and tea.
There’s loads of out of doors seating and an out of doors fire, the place s’mores can be found nightly, starting at 8pm.
For those who’re seeking to keep in, the s’mores can be delivered on to your room.
This was really my first time ever attempting s’mores, and we opted to deliver them to our room and cook dinner the s’mores over our personal fire, which was a really good option to cap off our third night within the Vista Scorching Tub Suite.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur – Actions
The Alila Ventana gives a sequence of complimentary actions, that are extremely intertwined with nature. Within the mornings, company can take part in complimentary morning yoga, a Tai Chi class, or a meditation class.
Most of the actions are additionally academic, such because the falconry expertise. Friends can stand up shut and private with the falcons and study extra in regards to the majestic birds.
There are additionally quite a lot of hikes scheduled all through the day. The Redwood Hike is accessible each day at 10am. The 1.3-mile loop winds by the resort property and begins from the foyer.
The Foraging Hike permits company to get in contact with their setting by the forest and fields of the property, whereas the Bees and Huge Sur expertise permits company to study extra in regards to the property’s flowers and bees by blind honey tastings.
Lastly, the resort has a two-hour intermediate hike, the Coast Ridge Hike. This hike climbs 1,000 ft of elevation, over the redwoods and into the excessive desert whereas studying in regards to the native natural world.
There’s additionally a Sommelier Wine & Cheese Hour, Sip & Steep Natural Backyard Tea Class, Natural Backyard Tour, Glass Home Telescopic Viewing, and Stargazing.
The Glass Home additionally gives non-public eating experiences, which might be booked for US$500 per individual. For those who’re searching for a extra easy non-public eating expertise, Sur Home will curate a picnic basket for simply US$100 to select up and luxuriate in someplace with a view.
You may even select from 40 traditional classic automobiles, and the resort will organize the automobile rental in your behalf so that you can drive round and discover Huge Sur.
These actions all require reservations. The falconry expertise was the one exercise I used to be interested by, however by the point we booked our journey, this exercise was already booked up.
Total, we didn’t essentially really feel that we wanted to embark on organized actions throughout the day to get pleasure from our keep at Alila Ventana. We merely absorbed the pure setting throughout us, relaxed within the pool and spa services, and naturally indulged within the all-inclusive meal choices.
As well as, we took the automobile out of the resort to drive across the Huge Sur space a good bit, which took a couple of hours of every day on the resort.
We checked out the scenic Bixby Creek Bridge and close by factors of curiosity like McWay Falls and Pfeiffer Seashore, in addition to Level Lobos State Pure Reserve on our approach again from Huge Sur.
Alila Ventana Huge Sur was a tremendous all-inclusive expertise. It’s downright unbelievable you can e-book this resort on factors, and it’s yet one more aspirational resort keep that I used to be delighted to examine off my listing.
The property is pretty costly utilizing Hyatt factors nowadays, particularly after the World of Hyatt class adjustments in March 2022. The resort is now priced at 40,000 factors per evening at the usual fee, and usually has a three-night minimal; nevertheless, in comparison with the money charges of US$2,000 or extra per evening, it’s a fairly nice discount.
For those who’re somebody who loves nature, that is positively the proper resort for you. The pure setting and sheer great thing about this a part of the USA is just unparalleled, whether or not it’s taking within the beautiful horizon views or embarking on close by drives or hikes to admire the Huge Sur surroundings from all angles.
The lodging and services provided extra of a rustic-luxury allure than a real over-the-top stage luxurious. That didn’t take away from the expertise, although, and we nonetheless loved each minute of our keep – particularly the emphasis on wellness and the multitude of pool and spa services, together with the new tub in our suite, the infinity scorching tub, and Japanese baths.
And naturally, the all-inclusive eating expertise was additionally wonderful by way of the worth of staying right here on factors. The standard of the meals isn’t faultless, and a few dishes are better-executed than others, however you may’t go fallacious by sampling as many gadgets as you may over the course of your keep.
I’d extremely advocate staying on the Alila Ventana Huge Sur if you happen to’ve been accumulating Hyatt factors for a high-value aspirational keep, particularly one comparatively nearer to dwelling right here in California.