Greg’s photo of the Ventana Big Sur grounds

It’s no secret that my wife and I absolutely loved our stay at Hyatt’s Ventana Big Sur.  But… we stayed before the pandemic changed everything, and before Ventana Big Sur became all-inclusive.  What is it like to stay there now?  A reader named Emily recently stayed at Ventana Big Sur for two nights and she shared her experience with us.  Except for the section headings, all of the following text is in her words [except where I chime in within brackets, like this].  Emily’s photos are shown except where noted otherwise.

Overall

[I asked Emily what she thought about the resort overall. Would she return?]

Absolutely would return – on points but not with cash – at the $2000 per room with tax and resort fees – that’s not worth it in my opinion.

[Hyatt doesn’t charge resort fees on award stays — so, as Emily indicates, that adds to the value of booking with points]

Already have 3 nights booked in February!  On points of course.

Award booking

Photo of Big Sur Suite courtesy of Hyatt’s website.

[Emily initially was only able to book one night, but then another became available…]

First I was able to book another night a couple of days before check in – perhaps there was a cancellation. My first night was a standard room (30k) and my second night was at Big Sur suite (48k). I reached out and asked them to link my two reservations and said I am not keen to change rooms – they were gracious and upgraded me to Big Sur suite for first night as well (such a big win as I only paid 30k before the 25% points refund).

We checked out Friday and my 25% points back showed up Monday.

[Emily is referring to Hyatt’s current promo offering up to 25% back on points-awards through October 8th]

Check-In

Check in was at 4 PM but I arranged to get there early enough for lunch.

Social Hour

We did enjoy drinks at 4 pm at social house – just white wine and no food – nothing fancy but you can get food by the pool.

[Social hour] is set up at upper deck of social house. it is really just a grab and go – no chairs are set up there. They are not encouraging you to linger given Covid. It was quite a non event, so we skipped the second day. We just ordered drinks at the pool.  [This is a bit disappointing as I really enjoyed the social aspect of their happy hour during my pre-pandemic stay]

Dining

Greg’s photo of breakfast seating at the Sur House.

Sur house is open for both breakfast and dinner OUTSIDE only per California regulations. There are heat lamps but a couple of tables don’t have them, and we opted for those to be a bit further away from other tables. It was chilly! They did offer us blankets which help. [This is a good reminder to bring a jacket! One morning for breakfast it was very windy and cold — the heat lamps didn’t help much].

Breakfast

We had breakfast at Sur house. I feel that the menu at Sur house is superior to in room dining [in-room dining is part of the all-inclusive offerings]. Also: you can order more than one item – staff is very flexible.

Lunch

Greg’s photo of the main pool.  Lunch by the pool is now included as part of the room rate.

Very good pool menu for lunch.

Emily’s photo of the Redwood Cathedral (this is a gathering area surrounded by Redwood trees)

[On the day of check-in] We had a picnic at 2pm at the Redwood cathedral. It was lovely but portions are small. please note they only take a few couples so I suggest you plan ahead if interested. Not sure if you have followed them on Instagram – the pictures of their picnic with real plates, wine glasses, real utensils was not our experience. It was all disposable …. not sure if that was an option… but had to say I was a bit disappointed as the pictures set the bar high.

Dinner

Walking path to the Sur House for breakfast and dinner

Dinner at Sur house was lovely. It did get quite chilly. Need to make reservations in advance. They don’t change their menu so if you are there for a few nights – having the same menu is not ideal. We loved what we ordered for dinner the first night – and opted to have the same dish.

Drinks

Alcohol is additional but prices are not outrageous- $15 for Chardonnay , $17 for Old fashioned.

S’mores

There was s’mores at Redwood cathedral.

Activities

The morning movement class is at 7 am – a bit early and also very foggy at that hour, so we didn’t join.

There is a guided hike at 10 am around the property – we didn’t join the group hike. It is the same route in the red dotted line around property, so you can do it on your own. [My wife and I did the free guided hike and we highly recommend it]

Greg’s photo of Ventana’s Glamping

You can order picnic item to go for hiking / adventure outside resort. We took a long walk and ventured to glamping area to check out. Guests at glamping do not have resort privileges. [It’s a very pretty walk to the glamping area — I recommend doing that…

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