Now All-Inclusive! Ventana Big Sur Hyatt. Bottom Line Review: Awesome

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Hyatt’s Alila Ventana Big Sur is an adults-only resort in Big Sur California.  We first stayed here for four nights in early March 2020 and paid 30,000 points per night.  On that trip, a friend with Globalist status booked our stay for us as a Guest of Honor reservation.  This gave us all of the perks of top-tier Globalist status during the stay (free breakfast, suite upgrade, etc.).  Cash rates at Ventana at the time were often over $1,000 per night, but rates tend to be even higher today now that they’re all-inclusive.  Even then, 30,000 points per night resulted in very good value for our points especially when considering that we didn’t have to pay resort fees (Hyatt doesn’t charge resort fees on award bookings).

UPDATE: Ventana rates now include 3 meals per day and they still charge the same 30,000 points per night standard (35K peak or 25K off-peak).  This makes Ventana an even better deal than before!

Ventana Big Sur Bottom Line Review

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  Did I say “wow”?  Wow.

My wife and I loved everything about Ventana.  The property itself is beautiful.  The surrounding area (Big Sur) is fantastic.  Our suite was awesome.  We plan to return often.

This is not the place to go if you want to play golf or tennis.  You won’t find those options here.  This is not a place to bring kids — it’s adults only.  This is a place to relax, to enjoy nature at its most beautiful, and to bring your dog — dogs are welcome here.

  • Points Price: Category 7 (expect to pay peak prices most of the time)
    • Room: 30K points per night standard, 25K off-peak, or 35K peak.
    • Suite: 48K points per night standard, 43K off-peak, or 53K peak.
    • Premium Suite: 60K points per night standard, 50K off-peak, or 70K peak.
  • Update: Ventana is increasing to category 8, effective as of Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. CDT.  New pricing:
    • Room: 40K points per night standard, 35K off-peak, or 45K peak.
    • Suite: 61K points per night standard, 56K off-peak, or 66K peak.
    • Premium Suite: 80K points per night standard, 70K off-peak, or 90K peak.
  • Point value: Fantastic.  Base rooms often cost over $2,000 per night, so even at peak award pricing you’ll often get 5 cents per point value or more.
  • Location: Excellent.  Big Sur is a gorgeous area.  The drive itself, along highway 1 is breathtaking.
  • Resort Dining: Excellent.  Breakfast was very good and the ocean view when seated outside was incredible.  We ate dinner at the resort restaurant (The Sur House) once, and it was fantastic.
  • Room: We were upgraded to the Vista Hot Tub Suite.  It was a huge one-room suite with a very large and private rear patio featuring nature views and, of course, a hot tub. We loved everything about the suite.
  • Daily Complimentary Activities (Updated 2/10/22):
    • 8am: Morning Yoga, Tai chi, or Meditation
    • 10am: Guided Redwood property hike daily
    • 3pm: Coastal View Hike
    • 4pm: Sur House Social (Free specialty cocktail at the Sur House patio)
    • 8pm to 10pm: S’mores
  • Additional Complimentary Activities (not available every day):
    • Falconry at 1:30pm Sunday and Friday
    • Foragers Hike: 1:30pm Tuesday and Wednesday
    • Beekeeping at 1:30pm Monday, Thursday, and Saturday (staring 2/22/22)
    • Astronomy at 8pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday
  • Pet friendly: We didn’t bring a pet, but there were many dogs on property and they seemed very happy.
  • Service: Excellent
  • Turn-down service? Yes, daily turn-down service included delicious chocolates now includes a small souvenir gift.
  • Resort fee: $90 per night “service charge”.  Keep in mind that Hyatt doesn’t charge these fees on award stays, so we didn’t have to pay this.  Those with top-tier Globalist status don’t pay resort fees on paid stays either (I can’t promise though that a Globalist would be exempt given that that they call this a service charge rather than a resort or destination fee).
  • Misc:
    • Welcome gift: We had notified the resort ahead of time that we would be celebrating a major anniversary and so they delivered a bottle of Prosecco and chocolate covered strawberries.  Update 2/10/22: The new standard welcome seems to be a charcuterie tray rather than chocolate covered strawberries.
    • No phone service for me: I can’t remember the last time I went four straight days with no phone signals.  I use Google Fi which is on T-Mobile’s network.  T-mobile seems to have given Big Sur a hard pass.  My wife had service most of the time via AT&T.  Update 2/10/22: On a return visit and now using AT&T, phone service was fine.
  • Hyatt Elite Benefits: Excellent…
    • We were upgraded to a suite the day before check-in (we could see the room assignment through the Hyatt app)
    • Breakfast was free, up to $82 per day, either at the Sur House restaurant or for in-room dining.  If the weather is good, I highly recommend going to the Sur House.  Update: This benefit is no longer relevant since all meals are now included.
    • The desk agent proactively told us that we were eligible for 4pm late checkout (but we didn’t need it since we had a plane to catch).
  • Would I stay again?  Duh.

Photos and captions follow…

Vista Hot Tub Suite. As you can see, our room was enormous. In the far corner you’ll spot a wood burning fireplace.
Vista Hot Tub Suite. My wife and I enjoyed the wood burning fireplace every evening.  Ventana stocks each room with firewood held in flammable bags.  Simply stick the bag into the fireplace and light it.  Done.
Vista Hot Tub Suite rear patio. Even though there were units on each side of us, the patio was designed to be completely private (if you don’t count the deer that occasionally peeked at us).

 

Deer peeking at us from ridge
Another view of the Vista Hot Tub Suite rear patio. You can see the bathroom soaking tub through the window on the right.  The furthest right window is the bathroom shower.
Vista Hot Tub Suite soaking tub and shower. The shower was stocked with home-made (I think?) exfoliating bar soap. We loved this.
View from path near our suite.
The Ventana’s restaurant is a short walk through Redwood trees. They’ll alternatively drive you there on a golf cart, but come on… this was a fantastic little walk each morning!
Breakfast at the Ventana’s Sur House Restaurant.
Another view of breakfast dining at the Sur House.
Glass House Gallery next to the Sur House restaurant.
Redwood Trees!
Ventana also offers Glamping tents like this one. I don’t think there’s an option to use points for these at this time though.
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Kevin

Staying at the Vendana now. The place is excellent. I was apprehensive about using 30k a night, but with the all inclusive it is worth it…occasionally as a treat.

My T-Mobile works fine. Not great, but still get super slow (2mps) LTE connection.

John

Great review. Got 3 nights there in early Dec. and then on to Hawaii for a week. Really looking forward to this.

Josh

If you already have a suite booked (no standard rooms available at our time), would Globalist even provide any benefit? Trying to decide if I need to earn Globalist before my stay here or after..

Josh

Hey @Greg, any tips on getting them to apply a SNA on an award where you already have a suite night award booked?

I also have a standard night award booked for the same timeframe, but I’m getting the runaround on Twitter since there isn’t any inventory currently and they can’t guarantee when I cancel my standard suite reservation that it’ll return to active inventory.

I’m like 8 nights short of getting a concierge assigned to me

Josh

Hyatt globalist phone line were able to help 🙂

Thomas

Hi Greg, Thanks for the review,
I also booked vista hot tub suite as well.
I asked the property and they said vista hot tub is most expensive suite because they have ocean views and only 4 rooms available at the property but it seems like your youtube and this review doesn’t really show any ocean view. can you tell me which room # you had and if it had any ocean view?
Thanks.

Thomas

I must have missed that room description. Thank you!

[…] Hyatt rate is now available at many more hotels including some very popular Hyatt’s such as Ventana Big Sur, Carmel Valley Ranch, and Grand Hyatt Kauai. H/T Point Me to the Plane.  I looked at what was […]

[…] in 2021 will be from enjoyable stays.  And hopefully I’ll have another chance to return to Ventana Big Sur long after the California fires have been put […]

Jessica

Just booked 3 all-inclusive nights in November on points as an Explorist. The confirmation says:
Additional Tax, Fees and Service Charges:
SALES TAX: 10.500%
CA TOUR ASSEMENT: 0.195%
COUNTY TOUR ASSE: 2.000
SERVICE CHARGE: 90.000

What is this service charge and tourism assessment? Also, if I paid nothing, what “tax” am I going to pay? Will they charge me 11% of the going rate? This is weird because I’ve booked many rooms on points over the years – never seen this. I’d rather go somewhere else without surprise fees.

Thanks!

Jessica

Thanks! That makes sense. I thought maybe it was a service charge for tips for the all inclusive service, but resort fee makes more sense. Since I’ve never been charged a resort fee before, you must be right. I just don’t normally pay attention to the fine print.

[…] no secret that my wife and I absolutely loved our stay at Hyatt’s Ventana Big Sur.  But… we stayed before the pandemic changed everything, and before Ventana Big Sur became […]

RD DD

Will be going there this weekend. Did anyone use their Hyatt card here? Does this property get bonus points on the Hyatt Card?

RD DD

Awesome! Thanks

[…] per night which would still be very good value if that was for an all-inclusive stay like the Ventana Big Sur is now, but average value if the award nights only get you an à la carte […]

[…] all-inclusive Ventana Big Sur is so popular that it’s nearly impossible to find regular award nights, but suite nights are […]

[…] per night.  That can be a bargain given that some regularly cost over $1,000 per night (like the Ventana Big Sur, which is now all-inclusive).  Some specialty properties top out at 40,000 points per night.  At 1.85 cents per point, these […]

Jody

I couldn’t find any point availability on the website so I called Hyatt and was told the property was closed until mid July. The rep I spoke with couldn’t find any point availability until March 2021:( I didn’t HUCA to double check that information.

John

I am having a hard time finding point redemption dates available. any “tricks of the trade” to find a range?

[…] Now All-Inclusive! Ventana Big Sur Hyatt. Bottom Line Review: Awesome […]

Pam

My previous favorite Hyatt redemptions were Miraval Tucson & Austin (& maybe new Berkshires come fall). But not sure the addtl $630 point value over Ventana is worth it for 2 ppl, since both AI.

Miraval offers a $350 daily credit (for 2) towards spa & activities with any booking, but that’s still still a $280 difference In Ventana’s favor. Looks like plenty of nature, guided activities, & spa/zen experiences like Miraval, along with similar luxe lodging.

I booked for February at 30k/night so looking forward to comparing experiences. What a steal for both properties, regardless. I am really getting more into Hyatt with additions like this. Maybe I’ll join you on your Globalist quest, Greg! Never saw the need with Hyatt Place & occasional Grands, but WOH has definitely upped its game in the last several years.

stef

I was looking for a 3-night stay with very flexible dates in August, September and October. I am not finding point redemptions on the World Of Hyatt site. Is anyone finding any avilability on points?

Tamara

Yeah, just booked in Nov.

Eric

I also booked a night in November

Susan Scott

I just booked the Vista Hot Tub Suite for July on points! (The cash rate would have been $3500….so I feel like it was a great score!)

Tamara

Just made a reservation for Nov. The confirmation says “AGENT NOTES: Eligible for Tier only”. Any idea what that means? I suspect the rate is excluded from all-incluaive.

Tamara

Thanks! That makes sense.

BeachMiles

How many nights is the perfect stay. I have a 4 night stay booked, the end of August. Was thinking of adding a few nights. Wonder if that’s just too much nature?

BeachMiles

Thanks. We might also spend a few nights in Carmel, then drive up to Napa. Flying in from East Coast, so we need to make the trip worth the flight. Arriving on the 24th.

Jon

Any word if this applies to existing bookings (that were made before this announcement)?

Jon

Thanks. DP: I asked and was told “I see that your booking below was secured with Hyatt Points. The all-inclusive package will be automatically added to your stay, at no additional cost.”

[…] wife and I stayed at this resort in early March and we loved everything about it. You can read my review here.  Unfortunately, finding available award nights can be tough.  If you have enough points though, […]

[…] had been invited to was cancelled.  Instead we vacationed in California at Carmel Valley Ranch and Ventana Big Sur.  The former was excellent, and the latter was magical.  As an added bonus, I earned 7 Hyatt […]

Tom

I wonder if you would have had the same opinion if it were super foggy during your stay. Sometimes Big Sur is all socked in and you barely get views at all.

[…] Ventana Big Sur Hyatt. Bottom Line Review: Awesome […]

JustSaying

Oh man they gave you the cheap room. We had a Globalist upgrade to a 2 story suite. And you didn’t talk about the no clothes Japanese hot tub as it appears you were in the non swingers section.

dotti

stayed there many years ago–a great experience,,also went to the Post Ranch Inn nearby for dinner…that was Kool too

John

Was the breakfast benefit $82 per person per day or $82 total per day?

Adam

$50 resort fee on non-point bookings? Nope. Pass. Principle of the thing. They’re charging up to $1000 a night, which makes a $50 resort fee even more obnoxious and unacceptable.

John

I agree. Just charge $1050 a night and get it over with.

Josh

Do you think you would get the same upgrade if you were Explorist?

Edward

When I was there as an explorist on points in November, I unpectedly received an upgrade from the standard room to a forest view suite. Nice bonus. I would not be expecting an upgrade to a vista suite as an explorist. Frankly, I wouldn’t expect to get any upgrade unless you are a Globalist.

Josh

Agreed, it’s hard to even find award availability on weekends itself

Bob

My wife and stayed there for one night last month. Ditto to all the kudos you give them. An iconic stay!

AlexL

Looks like a good place for Truffles to roam around. ^_^

LarryInNYC

This is a place to relax, to enjoy nature at its most beautiful, and to bring your dog — dog’s are welcome here.

I love everything about this blog, but if you’re going to go all apostrophe-abuse on us, I’m out of h’ere!

MalMel

Wow is right. I need a friend with Globalist status! This gives me an incentive to get a Hyatt card for bonus points with upcoming tax payments.