Author Topic: Big Sur Ventana trip report  (Read 407 times)

Offline thaber

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Big Sur Ventana trip report
« on: November 04, 2021, 12:18:59 AM »
looking for a getaway and a quiet, kid-free trip that had us back before the kids noticed we had left lent itself to some creative thinking. We are LAX based, and our previous similar getaway had been to PHX, we were looking for something new.
Big Sur had always been alluring, and we had made a quick stop there about 15 years ago, but roughing it is not my speed. With the Alila Ventana joining Hyatt, that changed.
Trip plan was to leave Tuesday night after (first round of) bedtime and get back Thursday night before the final round of bedtime.
Planning -
I assumed flying - and UAL has direct flights from LAX- MRY with decent times. I booked with mileage (26,400 RT PP). a couple of days later I mentioned to my wife that the flight was on a CRJ2 and she got a little queasy. So I canceled and decided we'll drive, which was the best decision of the trip.
My plan was to drive to Oxnard Tuesday night for Dinner, stay the night in Santa Barbara, and drive the rest up PCH Wednesday morning.
I didn't want to put the miles on my car, so I reserved from Sixt - with my Platinum discount I reserved a BMW X5 for about $105 a day for three days.
I booked the Hyatt Place in Santa Barbara for Tuesday night with a free night (I'm a fan of Hyatt Places as most value in redeeming free 1-4 nights, they're generally new and have a good, free breakfast).
For Wednesday night I redeemed 60K Hyatt points at the Ventana. it's all inclusive (including food) but I was informed Kosher was an extra $150 PP, which for our one night stay included lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch. I agreed, and was sent a menu to choose from.


I picked up the car Tuesday at noon in Beverly Hills. Staff was great, upgraded me to a Range Rover, and gave me a 5% discount for waiting to clean it.
Headed out to Tierra Sur, and made a reservation as we were leaving LA. In a first for me, the 101 was so backed up that Google routed us over to the PCH in Santa Monica. It was only a few minutes longer, and drove down the coast for an hour watching the Sunset. one of the most glorious drives I've ever done.
Tierra Sur, as always, was a small menu and the hits were home runs, the misses were meh. Everything we ordered was really good, with the exception of the fried chicken, which was ok but nothing special.







« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 12:41:59 AM by thaber »

Offline zow

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Re: Big Sur Ventana trip report
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2021, 12:38:20 AM »
Great start! Keep it coming.

I had read a prior TR (@shiframeir) and recall he paid $100 surcharge for kosher for the whole multi-day stay.  Times are a changin’ I guess. 


Offline thaber

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Re: Big Sur Ventana trip report
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2021, 12:43:40 AM »
added some pics and will add next chapters :) @shiframeir was very helpful. I'm a lowly discoverist, and we only stayed one night, so may have been for the whole stay. Also, they haven't actually billed me for it yet :)

Offline shiframeir

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Re: Big Sur Ventana trip report
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2021, 12:54:41 AM »
I had read a prior TR (@shiframeir) and recall he paid $100 surcharge for kosher for the whole multi-day stay.  Times are a changin’ I guess.
I actually ended up never paying that, they never charged me and when i reminded the front desk when leaving they said it wasnt needed so instead i just gave a nice tip.

Offline thaber

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Re: Big Sur Ventana trip report
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2021, 01:34:45 AM »
Hyatt Place Santa Barbara was pretty decent, if mediocre. everything was clean, and fairly new. The hotel itself is a weird setup, with some rooms in hallways and some not, and you need to walk in and out to get anywhere.
the parking garage is totally unmarked and if you've never been there its not clear if it belongs to the hotel or some adjoining building. they charge $9.99 for parking.
Front desk was polite but hurried and harried.
Two biggest issues were being startled awake at 6 am by the neighboring rooms shower. Sounded like a freight train had crashed into my room and left the motor running.
Secondly, the shower drained really slowly, which was unpleasant. (no tub)
On Monday there had been a rare rain event, with a 'bomb cyclone' in the Monterey / Big Sur area. knowing that Highway 1 is finicky and had been washed out and closed for a long time, so I checked them Tuesday and everything was open. So the plan was to continue up PCH from Santa Barbara.
We woke up Wednesday morning to find that there had been a rock slide in Ragged Point which closed about 12 miles of PCH. this totally rerouted us, going up the 101 and curving back around Monterey. We had enjoyed a beautiful drive the previous night, and the first 45 minutes or so was along the water anyway, but it added an hour to the drive. Nu Nu.
We set out, it was a beautiful day. We made a stop at the Pismo Beach outlets, which were no great shakes. We then headed North on the 101 into the beautiful Central California, which is acres of mountains, lettuce fields, cows and horses as far as you can see. a couple hours in, Google suggested routeing us back to Highway 1. checking the map we were just north and about 35 miles East of Ragged Point, so it kind of made sense.
We turned off the highway, and procceded on an idyllic beautiful ride through farm country along one lane roads. It was beautiful and idyllic, and slightly disconcerting to not see any humanity, as my gas needle dropped slowly but steadily. Following directions, we made some turns and ended up back amongst some rural civilization. We noticed the plates were US governement plates on most of the vehicles around us, and sure enough, breezed past a Welcome to Fort Hunter Ligget, US Army" sign. There was a checkpoint type thing, but unmanned, and Google said it was ok, so we proceeded.
A little further down the road, which was increasingly dotted with barracks and other militaty type things, there was aturnoff into the base proper, which was quite guarded. Google had us drive by and then make a left, and we passed a sign that said "Retricted are" shortly followed by a flooded road. At this point my gas needle was close to red, and the search along route wasn't promising, so we pulled over to ponder next steps.
Didn't take a minute for some local in a big pickup to offer help, and he advised going into the base (with the heavily guarded entrance) and they'd be happy to give me gas. I asked if we needed to be military, and he said to just show them our insurance card :)
so we went back, and indeed we did have to be military (when I told the soldier that we were empty she stuck her head in the window and told me I'll make the 13 miles to the next gas station).
She told us that the road was indeed completely washed out further down, and the gas station that direction ran out of everything but diesel two weeks ago. She directed us back to the 101 much more north of where we had come up, and the gas station was on the way there.
All in all, quite an adventure with only a half hour time add. I later traced the route on Google maps that we would have gone, it was a one lane fire road through the mountains, in terrible shape. Would have been fun, but probably a good thing that I didn't have a full tank of gas.