Behind the Post Ranch Inn Experience with Sustainability Manager Jennifer de Vito

Jennifer de Vito, the sustainability manager at award-winning luxury property Post Ranch Inn, shares insight into the property’s extensive sustainability and community work as well as her tips on making the most of a stay here.

The California Coast, with its rocky cliffsides, rippling grasses and steady soundtrack of crashing waves, has that dramatized “return to nature” feel that can be admired even from a car window. This is also the feeling offered tenfold by Big Sur's Post Ranch Inn, an Indagare Impact property where the environment is both the top priority and the main attraction.

“The innovative organic environmental design was intended for people to feel a part of nature rather than observers,” says Jennifer de Vito, the hotel’s sustainability manager. And it works: A deep love for nature and conservation is a tangible aspect of a stay at the luxury Post Ranch Inn, from the sustainable materials used to construct the building to the flourishing wilderness available for guests to explore.

Here, Jennifer shares more about how the 30-year-old hotel continues to lead the way towards a greener future—plus her tips for making the most of a stay here.

Contact Indagare or your trip designer to start planning your trip to Post Ranch Inn now.

A Natural Immersion

“Guests have 100 acres of open space for hiking and exploring. Upon arrival, we immediately engage our guests by providing them with a small brochure that features a map of the property, along with the basics of what to look out for while visiting, ranging from wild turkeys to poison oak. We also highlight several habitat restoration projects. At night, the stars are amazing, and we are very mindful of reducing light pollution to keep the skies dark and to ensure that the stars can be seen and enjoyed by everyone. In addition, Post Ranch has taken extra steps to provide a healthier and more sustainable indoor experience for all guests, staff and visitors, including hiring an indoor air-quality expert who advises Post Ranch on the many ways to maximize fresh air in the rooms and throughout all indoor public spaces.”

Fine Dining, Sustainably

“Sierra Mar Restaurant’s proteins and produce are locally sourced (see a few favorite vendors below) or grown in our Chef’s Garden, ensuring absolute freshness. Guests can stroll through the Chef’s Garden at any time. If our gardener Chris Omer is working, he will always engage the guests and educate them about what is currently growing as well as plans for the next season. We also have a complimentary ‘Edible Garden Tour’ that is led by either Chris or one of our chefs. In addition, we offer a complimentary Sustainability Walk that introduces our guests to all the work we have done from the time we opened in 1992 to today. Our goal is really to inspire them in leading by example.”

Favorite Vendors

  • Bakers Bacon, Marina
  • Big Sur Salts, Big Sur
  • Blue Heron Farms, Watsonville
  • Brokaw Farms, Soledad
  • Fogline Farms, Pescadero
  • Kashiwase Farms, Winton
  • Monterey Abalone Company, Monterey

Endangered Species At Your Doorstop

“Post Ranch Inn has managed a protected area of 100 acres—including planting over 200 Redwood trees—since 1992. We began the conservation plan with the California red-legged frog and Smith’s blue butterfly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006. Post Ranch Inn maintains existing areas that support Sea Cliff Buckwheat and restore California sagebrush scrub [the Smith’s Blue Butterfly’s host plant and habitat, respectively] on seven-tenths of an acre. Since 1990, we have also restored, rehabilitated and maintained a pond that is the habitat of the threatened California red-legged frog…. One other endangered species in the area is the California condor, which enjoy all the 100 acres of Post Ranch and are often found roosting on wood beams located around Sierra Mar Restaurant.”

A Community Effort

“We are only as strong as the community that surrounds us.... Post Ranch and caring guests generously contribute to The Big Sur Community Fund, which was established to support local charitable organizations—100 percent of the funds are used for charitable purposes and beneficiaries. We support many local non-profits that directly impact the lives of residents of Big Sur as well as those in surrounding Monterey County.

For example, in 1997, the hotel recruited all local businesses to donate $2 per employee a month for the creation, management and maintenance of Big Sur Community Health Center, a non-profit health center.... Enabling affordable health care in Big Sur was something we are very proud of to this day. Post Ranch also donated the land the local fire station resides on and covers their rent, utilities and water each year and holds the archives for the Big Sur Historical Society at no cost to them.”

Measured Success in Waste Management

“When we were gathering and inputting our data into Greenview (the world’s leading provider of sustainability programs and data management for the hospitality and tourism sector), we were able to quantify with real data that in 2022, 47 percent of Post Ranch’s waste was diverted from the landfill—22 percent was recycling and 25 percent was composting.”

Must-Try Activities

“We always recommend the complimentary guided nature walk for first-time guests. It’s a great way to explore and discover the property, while learning about Post Ranch's rich history, the variety of flora and fauna scattered throughout the trails, as well as interesting tidbits about Post Ranch that you won't hear or read about anywhere else. The falconry experience is not to be missed! Guests receive a wonderful education about the role that raptors play both at Post Ranch and throughout California, and if they're up for it, they get the chance to have one of these magnificent creatures land on their arm. It’s truly a thrilling experience. If wellness is what guests are looking for, a session with our resident Shaman is unique and extremely rewarding. Those sessions are available for individuals and couples.

The best tip we can provide is to relax and enjoy what we feel is one of Post Ranch’s greatest attributes: its silence... The only sounds one hears while out exploring nature are the chirping of birds, the light winds blowing and the sound of their own footsteps. And with just 39 rooms spread across the ridge, even when the hotel is sold out, you may not see another guest for hours while out exploring the property.”

What’s Next...

“We have created the Post Ranch Inn Climate Action Playbook, which features eight goals, each of which has multiple associated projects that we are targeting to complete by 2025. A few project examples are to double the size of our Chef’s Garden, update our solar panel system so it’s even more efficient and produces more electricity, expand our water reclamation program and many other initiatives that are equally inspiring.”

Contact Indagare or your trip designer to start planning your trip to Post Ranch Inn now.

Published onOctober 26, 2023

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