Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Post Ranch Inn


High atop the cliffs of Big Sur, 1200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, sits Post Ranch Inn, a sanctuary for the soul.

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Post Ranch Inn
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Post Ranch Inn


Big Sur, 1200 ft above the Pacific Ocean, 150 miles south of San Francisco

Travel Information

You just have to drive south on Pacific Highway 1 from San Francisco for the best views, but you can also drive 330 miles north from Los Angeles

Top Tips

The journey is part of the experience, so hire a drop-top Corvette or a Mustang and pack a copy of Jack Kerouac's Big Sur. Enjoy stargazing after dinner in Sierra Mar

5-Star X-Factors

The place, the views, the suites, the stars at night!

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

Post Ranch Inn is simply the best hotel in Big Sur. You'll find it at the edge of the Continent on California's Pacific Coast, just off Highway 1, 330 miles north of Los Angeles and 150 miles south of San Francisco. The journey here is reason enough to visit. Pacific Highway 1 is one of the world’s greatest scenic drives. The road hugs the Pacific coastline offering heart stopping views at each turn, for mile, after mile, after mile. Big Sur is the high point in every sense of the journey, where the cliffs soar over 1200 ft above the sea and the Santa Lucia mountain range rises inland. 

It was with some trepidation that we pulled up at the hotel. It was 14 years since our last visit. Would it have changed? Had we changed?

An eco-friendly hotel Lexus delivers us to our Ocean Suite and on crossing the threshold any anxiety vanishes immediately. Perched in a lofty eerie high above the deep blue of the north Pacific Ocean nothing lies between us and Asia. Infinite blue, punctuated only by a thin white line where the sea meets the sky. Our suite nestles into the cliffside with 180-degree uninterrupted views of the ocean. The peace is initially almost deafening, the air is fresh, the light clear and the local wildlife abundant.

5-star comforts

The hotel’s 40 rooms, suites and private house are scattered along the cliffside. Accommodation ranges from tree houses, which enjoy mountain views, to cavernous rooms set into the cliff. Our room has no straight walls, just beautiful curvaceous lines which echo the sea and the coastline beyond. Clad in the local Redwood we are at once part of this pristine and rugged environment but cosseted by the upmost luxury. Each room has an open fireplace, perfect for cool nights or when a sea mist rolls in, so well described in Jack Kerouac's novel, Big Sur. Ours has a sea view hot tub. The room is thoughtfully equipped with the by now important things in life; binoculars, a bird guide, a guide to local hikes and of course a well-stocked mini bar.

Dining under the stars

We sit on our terrace, mesmerised by the view, watching the sun slip lower in the sky. The scent of warm pine envelopes us and occasionally a hummingbird hovers into view. It is with somewhat of a wrench that we drag ourselves away to dinner in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Sierra Mar. The restaurant, which offers a sumptuous daily tasting menu showcasing local produce, is housed in a glass box cantilevered high above the sea. The design is such that every table can enjoy the view and the spectacle that is about to unfold, both on the table and outside. As our starter arrives the sky starts turning shades of pink. By the time the main course comes the sun has slipped below the horizon and we are now enjoying a light show of deep fiery oranges and purples. Thankfully the staff are used to dinner being interrupted to capture these moments. By the time our dessert arrives night has fallen and a new moon has risen along with galaxies of twinkling stars. Our astrologically knowledgeable Maitre d’ points out Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars to us. Four planets and four delicious courses later we retire with every sense sated. There is no need to close the curtains and we let the first light slowly awake us and enjoy the view once again from our bed.

This 5-star hotel has two infinity pools with breathtaking panoramic views, as well as a lap pool and gym for the more energetically inclined. If gazing out at the incredible view isn’t enough to keep you occupied, the hotel offers a plethora of complimentary daily activities, with a focus on health and wellness. Yoga takes place each morning with all levels of experience welcome. Guided nature walks help guests discover the hidden beauty of the property during the day and star gazing sessions at night. A luxury spa offers a wealth of rejuvenating treatments inspired by local ingredients and techniques.

The Post Ranch Inn is a modern classic that has stood the test of time. It’s location is undiminished and in the years since our last visit it has evolved to stay fresh and relevant. We recommend driving Highway 1 from north to south to best enjoy the views.

Sarah  Surtees
Sarah Surtees

Luxury Explorer