Big Sur is the Golden State’s awe-inspiring rocky shoreline where the frothy waves of the Pacific Ocean magnificently collide into the base of the Santa Lucia Mountains. One of the best ways to marvel at the grandeur is by driving along the coast on California Highway 1. Of course, Big Sur’s magic becomes more intimate when you’re camping within its forests—with luxury amenities, naturally.
Glamping in Big Sur at Ventana
Ventana Big Sur is a place to experience this magic. This secluded Alila resort just off the highway and tucked within the redwood forest. You’ll be greeted at The Social House, the resort’s main lodge and crossroads of activities. Checking in during the late afternoon or early evening, you’ll encounter the daily wine and cheese hour, where you can meet and mingle with the resort team and other guests—whether they are staying in one of the resort’s rooms, suites, or villas, or at one of the fifteen luxurious tents of their Redwood Canyon Glampsites.
RESTING UNDER THE REDWOODS
A s’mores kit and a complimentary bottle of wine welcome you to your basecamp—or “baseglamp.” The intimate glamping tent for two has rugs, a queen-size bed, a sink with running water, a wine-chilling ice chest, and a private deck. Settle in to the Adirondack chairs to enjoy your wine and s’mores—or simply relax and gaze up at the sky or surrounding redwoods. When the sun goes down, there are options to warm up: light up the propane fire pit on the porch or burn firewood the old-fashioned way at the traditional fire pit. Out of firewood? Don’t worry, you can use the messaging app Zingle to have someone bring a bundle to you.
When “nature calls,” rest assured that you won’t be roughing it in the woods. The nearby bath house is like setting foot into a luxury hotel, with teak-fitted showers, marble vanities and heated floors. When it’s time for bed, you’ll appreciate additional warmth from heated blankets or hot water bottles.
Days at Ventana Big Sur are meant to disconnect from your hectic regular life, though wifi is available resort-wide—even at the glampsites in the woods (where there is also electricity). Yoga, tai chi, and meditation classes are offered. Conversely, you can always zone out in a hammock with a book—or a nap.
Hiking is popular in and around this Big Sur resort. There’s a hiking trail loop on the property, but you can also venture out to Coast Ridge Road and trek up the ridge to gaze upon the Pacific. The hiking trails of nearby Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, one of which leads to the 60-ft. Pfeiffer Falls, are a short drive away. However, you don’t need to trek far for sights of water, for the resort’s Ocean Meadow Lawn and Sur House are great vantage points—with the added bonus of food service.
Blissing out at the Spa
For those who appreciate relaxing in the “great indoors,” the Spa Alila boasts facial and body massage treatments. Just outside, there are pools to take a dip: an infinity hot tub, and a heated, clothing-optional pool.
If you want to turn up the heat in your birthday suit, there is also a traditional Japanese onsen (thermal bath), which has separated men’s and women’s areas as they have in Japan. There’s also a communal co-ed space to meet your companion—all of which is open 24 hours for those wee hour soak sessions.
Dining Inside and Out
For lazy mornings, order “tent service” and have breakfast served right at your glampsite. Some rise for 8:30 yoga and then head to breakfast at The Sur House, the resort’s main restaurant. You can also have lunch or an extravagant, multi-course dinner in the evening at this spot.
Under the helm of Executive Chef Paul Corsentino, The Sur House menu focuses on locally sourced ingredients. Some guests rave about the freshness of the ahi tuna, while others can’t get enough of the baby carrots dish, prepared with wheat berry, a chestnut puree, frisee and a carrot & chestnut vinaigrette.
Of course, if you’re all in on a glamping experience, you should eat in the great outdoors. Check out SurStream, an Airstream trailer converted into a food truck with a full bar set in the midst of the redwood forest. From Friday to Sunday from 4 to 8 pm, they offer wrap sandwiches and light bites, but be sure to be there on a weekend afternoon from 2 to 6 pm, when there’s a pop-up barbecue. A giant smoker near the SurStream slow-cooks hearty flavor into pork ribs, tri tip, chicken, turkey and occasionally trout.
DISCONNECTION / RECONNECTION
Ventana is Spanish for “window,” as the resort is the perfect window to view the majesty of Big Sur. However, with a philosophy of disconnecting to reconnect, it’s also an inward-facing window. Ventana Big Sur’s tranquility makes it the perfect place to focus and reconnect with things often neglected in the hustle and bustle of life.