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Ventana Big Sur- Alila - REVIEW MASTER THREAD

Old Jun 30, 2023, 9:42 pm
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Dinner reservations and activities: email [email protected]

Big Sur Smokehouse is closed at least thru end of July 2023.

Your stay includes all meals, whether in-room 24 hours a day, lunch on the Sur House Terrace from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or dinner at The Sur Houseour award-winning restaurant that is open for dinner from 5-9 p.m. Please see our dining menus here.

Signature experiences:
Morning Movement (Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation, Big SurCus Poi Dance)
Coast Ridge Hike
Bees and Big Sur
Falconry

Foragers Hike
Redwood Hike
Sur House Social
S'mores
Astronomy

July 2023 activity schedule:

https://www.ventanabigsur.com/pdf/JU..._AtAGlance.pdf


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Ventana Big Sur- Alila - REVIEW MASTER THREAD

Old Nov 5, 2021, 2:52 pm
  #1621  
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Programs: AA EXP, BA Gold, VS Gold, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 3,956
Originally Posted by nsx
I gave this a Like even though I don't actually like the news. I figured the Ventana deal would degrade before 2023 but this would be much sooner and much steeper a devaluation than I imagined.

Peak pricing is looking like the least of our problems.
In some ways it would be an odd move. Its the flagship Alila in the US and the Alila brand is generally stronger than Miraval. But on the other hand the vibe there (incl. being full board) does seem quite Miraval-y. Id imagine theyd need to do a significant expansion of their spa, fitness center and activities spaces if they were to become a Miraval.
coleslaw is offline  
Old Nov 5, 2021, 2:54 pm
  #1622  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Programs: Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 424
If they just do Miraval pricing and leave it Alila, then definitely not great news. If they make it Miraval and move to being more inclusive with nightly credit per person for spa, and including most activities, as well as expanding what activities are available, I think it could actually be a boon for Ventana and I'd be more likely to spend points there.

It's a great property, but it gets a bit boring unless you're interested in and willing to drop a good amount of cash on the few activities they offer.
Lomic is offline  
Old Nov 5, 2021, 5:05 pm
  #1623  
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Manhattan, Palm Beach Island, San Francisco, Boston, & Hong Kong
Programs: Lifetime United Global Services, Delta Plat, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Ambassador, & Hilton Diamond
Posts: 3,165
Originally Posted by drnilescrane
It absolutely was worth keeping when it was the most prominent member of the Alila brand at the time. Hard to convince new owners to join a fledgling brand when existing owners are trying to dump it.

Note the first thing Hyatt did when taking it over was change the branding from Ventana, an Alila Resort to Alila Ventana Big Sur.

They also sold it to Host, a REIT whom they've trusted with owning some of their most prominent divestitures - Grand Hyatt San Francisco, Andaz Maui, Coconut Point - and a company that owns 1/3 of all the US Grand Hyatt properties. They aren't going to pull the flag.

At the time I thought maybe Hyatt were upset with the clear gaming of WoH reimbursements by the owners. It now seems more likely the developers of the hotel always intended to flip it when it stabilized (and rumors are the economics were a bit shaky before the all inclusive model/WoH came along). Hyatt was just being defensive.
No disagreement about whether it was the right move for Hyatt. There was a big discussion on TG about the ADR changing for this property when they went AI and how that impacted Hyatt from a redemption standpoint.

Originally Posted by Kacee
Unless you've actually seen the agreement, you have no clue how easy or costly it would be for the owner to term the management agreement prior to expiration.
This is a very naive view of how this industry works. No one made claims about how costly it is for the contract to be terminated. Just that, for a price, it can be done so trivially (as contracts like this have in the past and will continue to in the future).
WasKnown is offline  
Old Nov 5, 2021, 7:28 pm
  #1624  
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Elk Grove, CA
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What's most important is that I'm here right now and this place is the best hotel points deal in America.
BobSafari, JackE, lotrbfme and 2 others like this.
AWood is offline  
Old Nov 5, 2021, 9:32 pm
  #1625  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: ABQ & RNO
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Originally Posted by Lomic
If they just do Miraval pricing and leave it Alila, then definitely not great news. If they make it Miraval and move to being more inclusive with nightly credit per person for spa, and including most activities, as well as expanding what activities are available, I think it could actually be a boon for Ventana and I'd be more likely to spend points there.

It's a great property, but it gets a bit boring unless you're interested in and willing to drop a good amount of cash on the few activities they offer.
agree
236Dakota is offline  
Old Nov 6, 2021, 11:57 am
  #1626  
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Originally Posted by Lomic
If they just do Miraval pricing and leave it Alila, then definitely not great news. If they make it Miraval and move to being more inclusive with nightly credit per person for spa, and including most activities, as well as expanding what activities are available, I think it could actually be a boon for Ventana and I'd be more likely to spend points there.

It's a great property, but it gets a bit boring unless you're interested in and willing to drop a good amount of cash on the few activities they offer.
I suppose the property would have to buy the spa to make that work, right? They claim they don't own the spa, at least when it comes to getting base points for spend there.

Also, I don't think they'd have nearly enough capacity there to include treatments like Miraval.
josephstern is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 6:53 am
  #1627  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 102
Originally Posted by AWood
What's most important is that I'm here right now and this place is the best hotel points deal in America.
I'll second this. If there is a place that is even close in North America (points), I'd love to know. I'll give in a shot.

We are just returning from our second trip. This is a phenomenal couples resort. As far as "boring", I suppose if you don't like to hike and/or nature. There are (near) free state parks with incredible views just minutes away.

As for nightly entertainment - kids free nights with the spouse and relaxing in front of a fireplace is good enough for me.

We are planning our third trip (now if we could just find a regular room to use a suite upgrade with).

Cheers
RioAg is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 7:28 am
  #1628  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Charlotte NC USA
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Posts: 867
Originally Posted by RioAg
I'll second this. If there is a place that is even close in North America (points), I'd love to know. I'll give in a shot.

We are just returning from our second trip. This is a phenomenal couples resort. As far as "boring", I suppose if you don't like to hike and/or nature. There are (near) free state parks with incredible views just minutes away...

We are planning our third trip (now if we could just find a regular room to use a suite upgrade with).
Greetings, neighbor RioAg! We just arrived for our first stay last night, staying through Wednesday. Still getting acclimated to the place. Dinner last night was fantastic, and the woman handling check-in was a delight.

Would so appreciate your and other's suggestions for places to visit and things to do right now, in early-mid November. We've been swamped enough with work that we did very little research or preparation, so we are trying to catch up.

And will PM you now, would be nice to say hello before we leave.
DaveH is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 7:57 am
  #1629  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 707
Originally Posted by DaveH
Would so appreciate your and other's suggestions for places to visit and things to do right now, in early-mid November. We've been swamped enough with work that we did very little research or preparation, so we are trying to catch up.
This is what we did last time we were here:
  • Pfeiffer Beach- like $10 entrance fee but beautiful beachy area with awesome rock features.
  • Buzzards Roost Trail Loop - 2-4mi loop up a bluff, kind of hard to find the trail entrance but if you park near some bridge next to a small river you are close
  • McWay falls - super casual walk over an amazing isolated beach/cove. They charge to park in the parking lot but just park on the side of the road for free, a lot of places are like this.
  • Andrew Molera Beach - this trail started with having to take off your shoes and wade across the water to get to the beach!
  • Grab a cocktail at Nepenthe, assuming they don't close seasonally, quite close to Ventana
and I had this on my list for next time:
Soccerjoshj07 is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 8:06 am
  #1630  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Manhattan NV
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Besides the Hyatt flag, Miraval......Ventana.....one has nothing to do with the other. Two different products. Changing award pricing to match Miraval seems logical. I like 'em both for different reasons. Tthere is only one Ventana and it cannot be duplicated, until they buy Post Valley Ranch.
hedoman is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 9:03 am
  #1631  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 102
Soccerjosh

Soccerjosh Provided a good list. Id add, the Bluffs trail is the best overall Ive done in the area. You are walking alongside the ocean for a lot of it, and it takes you to a cove in the beach as well. On the road, otherwise Id post some pictures.

personally, Id skip the buzzards trail. Its a tough hike and, in my opinion, the view at the top isnt worth the hike. Cant go wrong, but it wouldnt be a the top of my list.

for an easy trail, definitely check out the newly opened Pfeiffer Falls trail- redwoods, waterfall, etc.

cheers
RioAg is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 10:50 am
  #1632  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Charlotte NC USA
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Posts: 867
Thanks Soccerjosh and RioAg, for the very helpful comments. Much appreciated!

We're just getting ready for the 10am property tour, then we're going to go do a bit of exploring per your suggestions.

Just got back from a scrumptuous breakfast outdoors, overlooking the a gorgeous ocean view, where they were seating all the diners under the heatlamps. (Very tasty. Not quite the level of last night, which my foodie partner pronounced "sublime", but still impressive.)

Originally Posted by RioAg
Soccerjosh Provided a good list. Id add, the Bluffs trail is the best overall Ive done in the area. ...personally, Id skip the buzzards trail. Its a tough hike and, in my opinion, the view at the top isnt worth the hike. ...for an easy trail, definitely check out the newly opened Pfeiffer Falls trail- redwoods, waterfall, etc.

cheers
Soccerjoshj07 likes this.
DaveH is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 10:55 am
  #1633  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 102
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/c...dge-trail-loop
RioAg is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 5:05 pm
  #1634  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 707
Originally Posted by DaveH
Thanks Soccerjosh and RioAg, for the very helpful comments. Much appreciated!

We're just getting ready for the 10am property tour, then we're going to go do a bit of exploring per your suggestions.

Just got back from a scrumptuous breakfast outdoors, overlooking the a gorgeous ocean view, where they were seating all the diners under the heatlamps. (Very tasty. Not quite the level of last night, which my foodie partner pronounced "sublime", but still impressive.)
Enjoy! My favorite breakfast item was the avocado toast sans the red onions.
Soccerjoshj07 is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2021, 5:40 pm
  #1635  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 102
Just returned - but had to go all in and get a premium suite with points. Last year we had a standard room and used a suite upgrade.

what are they considering a standard room now? I know this has been discussed at one point, but cant seem to find it. Apparently its not a king bed with fireplace.

No availability next fall.. a year ahead of time for the standard award.

we loved the hot tub suite- but definitely not worth double points over standard room + suite upgrade cert to Big Sur suite.

thanks!
RioAg is offline  

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