Hyatt’s Alila Ventana Big Sur Review: Awesome


Hyatt’s Alila Ventana Big Sur is an adults-only resort in Big Sur California.  Daily rates usually top $2,000 per night, but a standard room can be booked instead for only 35,000 to 45,000 Hyatt points per night.  Meals and some activities are included in that daily rate.

a group of people sitting in lawn chairs on a grassy hill

Alila Ventana Big Sur Bottom Line Review

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

My wife and I have stayed here multiple times and loved almost everything about Ventana.  The property itself is beautiful.  The surrounding area (Big Sur) is fantastic.  The staff are great.  You can read in-depth about our second stay at Ventana here: Re-Wowed — Return to Alila Ventana Big Sur.

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 8 (expect to pay peak prices most of the time)
    • 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: Great.  Base rooms often cost over $2,000 per night, so even at peak award pricing you’ll get over 4 cents per point value.
  • Location: Excellent.  Big Sur is a gorgeous area.  The drive itself, along highway 1 is breathtaking.
  • Resort Dining: Excellent.  Breakfast and dinner are served outside at The Sur House restaurant, overlooking the ocean.  For lunch, there are multiple options.  And for all meals you can choose to have the food delivered to your room.
  • Room: On our first stay 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.  On our second stay we were upgraded to the two-story Big Sur Villa.  That was great too, but not quite as awesome as the Vista Hot Tub Suite.
  • Tipping: Gratuities are automatically covered for all of the included aspects of the resort.  Here’s the resort’s official statement about tipping: “Gratuity on all included food items is covered, porterage and daily housekeeping gratuity is also covered. Gratuity on any item outside of the inclusive model is not covered and left to guest discretion.”  In other words, when paying for alcoholic drinks, spa services, or non-included activities, you should consider tipping.  For everything else, tipping isn’t expected.
  • Daily Complimentary Activities (Updated 2/15/23):
    • Morning Movement: 8am Daily
    • Coast Ridge Hike: 9am Daily
    • Bees & Big Sur: 1pm Sunday, Wednesday, Friday
    • Foragers Hike: 1pm Monday & Thursday
    • Wildcrafting: 1pm Tuesday & Saturday
    • Redwood Hike: 3pm Daily
    • Sur House Social: 4pm Daily
    • S’mores: 8pm Daily
  • Pet friendly: We didn’t bring a pet, but dogs are welcomed and encouraged.
  • Service: Excellent
  • Turn-down service? Yes, daily turn-down service includes a small souvenir gift.
  • Resort fee: $105 per night “service charge”.  Keep in mind that Hyatt doesn’t charge these fees on award stays.  Those with top-tier Globalist status don’t pay resort fees on paid stays either.
  • Welcome gift: Make sure to let Ventana know what occasion you are celebrating for your stay and you’re likely to receive a welcome gift in your room.  On our first stay they delivered a bottle of Prosecco and chocolate covered strawberries. On our second stay they brought us a charcuterie tray instead of strawberries.
  • Hyatt Elite Benefits: Since all food is included for everyone, there aren’t many elite benefits that matter here, but we did receive free suite upgrades on both of our previous stays, and at least on one of the visits we were proactively offered 4pm late checkout.
  • Would I stay again?  Duh.

Alila Ventana Big Sur FAQ

Is Alila Ventana All-Inclusive?

All meals and some activities are included.  Alcoholic drinks, some activities, and spa services are not included.

Is room service included?


Are tips included?

Yes, tips are included for everything that is included in the room rate.  You are only expected to tip when paying extra for alcoholic drinks, paid activities, or spa services.

What activities are included?

  • Morning Movement: 8am Daily
  • Coast Ridge Hike: 9am Daily
  • Bees & Big Sur: 1pm Sunday, Wednesday, Friday
  • Foragers Hike: 1pm Monday & Thursday
  • Wildcrafting: 1pm Tuesday & Saturday
  • Redwood Hike: 3pm Daily
  • Sur House Social: 4pm Daily
  • S’mores: 8pm Daily

How much does it cost to stay at Alila Ventana Big Sur?

Regular room rates usually go for more than $2,000 per night.  Alternatively, you can book with Hyatt points.  Alila Ventana is a Category 8 Hyatt.  Rooms can be booked for 35,000 points per night (off-peak), 40,000 points per night (standard), or 45,000 points per night (peak).  Suites can also be booked with points as follows:

  • Standard 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.

Alila Ventana Big Sur Photos…

a room with a bed and a fireplace
Vista Hot Tub Suite. As you can see, our room was enormous. In the far corner you’ll spot a wood burning fireplace.
a pair of feet in slippers by a 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.
a patio with chairs and a fence
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).
a deer standing on a rock
Deer peeking at us from ridge
a patio with a chair and table on a brick patio
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.
a bathtub in a bathroom
Vista Hot Tub Suite soaking tub and shower. The shower was stocked with home-made (I think?) exfoliating bar soap. We loved this.
a forest with trees and mountains in the background
View from path near our suite.
a path with a sign on it
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!
a table with food and a cup of coffee
Breakfast at the Ventana’s Sur House Restaurant.
a restaurant with tables and chairs on a deck overlooking the ocean
Another view of breakfast dining at the Sur House.
a container house on a hill
Glass House Gallery next to the Sur House restaurant.
looking up a group of tall trees
Redwood Trees!
a tent in the woods
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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I regrettably just cancelled a points reservation at Vendana Big Sur for 12/1-6 – and I see it’s now available for 45K for night. Go get it before someone else does.


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.


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


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..


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


Hyatt globalist phone line were able to help 🙂


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?


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 […]


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%

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! 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 […]


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


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 […]


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.


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