Editors' Picks

Post Ranch Inn

California nature, secluded, romantic

47900 Highway 1., Big Sur 93920


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Indagare Impact

At a Glance

A magical hotel suspended over the Pacific, Post Ranch Inn is bathed in light and mist and rocked to the sound of waves, bees and whales.

Indagare Loves

  • Orange umbrellas punctuate the view off the restaurant, Sierra Mar, and bring a rosy glow to the faces of diners
  • Infinity pools and meditation areas take advantage of the dramatic but serene cliffside location
  • Nearby hiking options include leisurely strolls to strenuous treks, all the while amidst wildflowers


You can’t see Post Ranch Inn from the road. For about an hour you’ve been curving, twisting and holding your breath at the breathtaking beauty of Highway 1 south of Monterey. Some 45 minutes north of Lucia (or 30 miles south of Carmel), though, you’ll see a very discreet building with a wooden porch across the road from the Ventana Inn. That will be your sole indicator. Turn onto the lane, drive about a mile past meadows, lakes and eucalyptus groves, up the hill and there you are: the Post Ranch Inn.

But you still won’t see the heart of it. That’s by design; all of the inn’s buildings follow architect (and Big Sur resident) Mickey Muennig’s rigorous and elegant plan for maximal comfort with minimal impact on the environment. Mountain-facing rooms are perched on canopies, an adult version of a tree house. Moss-and-wildflower-covered rooftops seem to extend the rustic lawns over the ocean-facing suites. It’s a different way of being “one with nature”: enormous windows give a feeling of floating over the Pacific, fireplaces glow both toward the plush bedrooms and the sumptuous bathrooms, which are complete with sunken spa baths and lavender-scented toiletries. The newer accommodations sit on the south end of the property: the mountain-facing Peak House and closer-to-the-ocean-than-ever-before Cliff and California Suite houses.

Just being at the Post Ranch Inn is the real treat. You can revel in the gorgeous forest-covered cliffs rolling down to the water, trek miles of trails that weave around orchards, groves and the occasional meditation spot and soak in the warm infinity pool. But more can always be arranged: the inn features a full spa menu of facials and massages, complimentary yoga and meditation classes every morning, nature walks every Friday and shamanic journeys every Saturday. What you won’t find are TVs or cable. It’s about reconnecting with nature and your companion.

And then there’s the food. The chefs take advantage of California’s bounty and serve superb, ultra-fresh Pacific-fusion cuisine at the Sierra Mar. Try the oysters and a bottle of sparkling California wine at sunset, and take in the honeyed gold light on the terrace.

Don’t miss the inn’s Mercantile shop, located in a little valley. The walk there is a pleasure in itself, and the merchandise goes way beyond the usual gift-store banalities, featuring works by local sculptors, potters and other artists.

Indagare Tip

The inn—whose 98 acres were once part of the storied Post Ranch, one of the earliest settlements in Big Sur—has attracted a loyal following of those who check-in for three or so days to reconnect with their significant other.

Who Should Stay

Couples will find the Post Ranch Inn an unforgettable romantic experience as long as no one needs a TV in the room. Those seeking extreme peace and quiet will leave with refreshed souls and reinvigorated bodies. Children under the age of 18 are not allowed, and to protect its fragile and complex ecosystem, Post Ranch does not allow pets.


Indagare Impact hotels have been carefully vetted according to our Impact Hotel Criteria.

Situated on 100 protected acres in Big Sur, Post Ranch Inn’s luxury and fame sometimes overshadow the depths of its impact efforts. However, the property is proud of the efforts it devotes to conservation, from the mighty redwood tree and iconic California condor down to the endangered Smith’s blue butterfly and California red-legged frog. And while 90% of Post Ranch Inn’s land is protected open space, the partnerships the property manages span the breadth of cultural heritage and community development in the area, ensuring an impact far beyond the footprint of the hotel itself.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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