In 2020 at the end of October I stayed two nights at the Big Sur, California Ventana Big Sur an Alila Resort. I had stopped by the hotel previously on the way home from visiting Big Sur last year (past article “Drive Big Sur“). For more than a year I have wanted to stay here someday because I was fascinated by the view from the Glass House Gallery and the atmosphere on the premises, while being overwhelmed by the exclusive feeling of being adult-only and being very careful to limit it to guests only. Finally, this day has arrived.

Alila Hotels and Resorts join Hyatt in 2019, thus opening up the hotel to stays using Hyatt points. When I made the reservation in February 2020, the cost was 30,000 points x 2 nights for a total of 60,000 points, and I used a suite upgrade certificate from my Globalist benefit to secure a Big Sur suite. After that, in June 2020, the resort converted to all inclusive (except alcohol). This is covered in a Japanese-only blog post by Alex, who lives in Los Angeles and provides information on travel and hotel stays that can be made with a US credit card. In his blog he also focuses on accruing and using points. The guests who made previous reservations using points before it went all inclusive had their stay honored with the original points reservation and could take advantage of the all inclusive benefits, which was an exceptional stroke of luck for me. Alex visited the hotel prior to my visit and enjoyed his stay, so my expectations were high.

We arrived at the hotel around 4:30 pm – normal check-in is at 4 pm. Instead using the intercom, a staff member was assigned to the entry gate and checked the booker’s name with their name list and opened the closed gate. Finally, to the world of Ventana.

Ventana Big Sur An Alila Resort gate

An interesting historical note is the Ventana seems to have opened as Ventana Inn in 1975 with the funds obtained by producer and entrepreneur Lawrence A. Specter from money made from the production of the movie “Easy Rider” in 1969. Hollywood celebrities sometimes visit Ventana for a private getaway.

Once I left my car and luggage, the staff told me to go up the stairs and check in in the building in front of me.

The reception is in a building called the Social House.

SOCIAL HOUSE reception

Both in valet parking and in this social house, hand sanitizers and masks are installed, and I like that corona measures are firmly taken. Especially in these times, these impressions are important.

SOCIAL HOUSE reception desk

Once I arrived at check in and gave my name, the host explained the activities at the hotel and the on-site facilities, and then said the room was “upgraded to The Cottage House” from the Big Sur suite that I had originally booked. Thank you! Number 53 at the top right of the map is The Cottage House, which seems to be a building independent of other rooms.

Ventana Big Sur property map

Actually, when I checked the availability of the hotel 10 days before check-in, I could only reserve a room with a high price as the hotel had become full. Only a limited number of people can afford to book a room that costs thousands of dollars just before their stay, so I think our suite was upgraded even more to sell more affordable rooms or release them for point stays. Who knows what really is behind this kind of upgrade. For your amusement, here is the price 10 days before check-in.

Kita ♪ ───O (≧ ∇ ≦) O──── ♪ Approximately $ 8,000 for 2 nights! It’s the first time I’ve stayed in a room with such an amazing price, and I’ve never had an upgrade experience like this. Moreover, it is a free stay using points. What kind of room is it?

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