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Getaways: Ventana Big Sur

An iconic Big Sur resort designed for downtime receives a refresh with a focus on its natural beauty

Written by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer

The name says it all. Ventana (Spanish for “window”) Big Sur offers visitors a glimpse of one of the West Coast’s (if not the country’s) most spectacular views. Surrounded by 160 acres of rolling meadows and towering redwoods on its perch above the rugged Pacific coastline, the newly renovated resort fully embraces the idea of harmony with one’s surroundings.

The iconic resort’s 2017 renovation—under the watchful eye of interior designer Rachel Fischbach of BraytonHughes Design Studios—was keenly sensitive not only to the hotel’s breathtaking venue, but also to its history.

“It was important to design a space that would cater to today’s traveler yet maintain the original character of the property,” Fischbach says. “Ventana opened in 1975 and became a haven for celebrities who preferred to relax rather than be seen. Its original character stayed intact, enhanced by rustic-modern design elements.”

Natural palettes and materials prevail here, including cedar planking in guest rooms and a reclaimed redwood table and chairs on the Sky Terrace.

Chef Paul Corsentino highlights local ingredients in The Sur House cuisine.

The updated elements include a medley of design building blocks—such as cedar-plank walls decorated with macramé hangings and black-and-white photographs, rich leathers, and decadent soaking tubs.

The new Social House, originally the hotel lobby, encourages guests to relax (or mingle) in three reimagined spaces—library and music room, bar, and game room. A woodsy, neutral palette and chic yet cabin-inspired mix of furnishings play against a large stone fireplace original to the resort. Translucent walls and a wealth of windows lighten the mood.

“We wanted to create areas where guests could relax and unwind, be one with nature, socialize with friends, or meet new people,” Fischbach says. “Each of the spaces was designed with that in mind.”

Guest accommodations run the aesthetic gamut. Luxury villas, cottages, and guest suites offer wood-burning fireplaces and balconies built to soak in that heavenly view. Safari-style glamping tents nestle under redwoods and beckon to those guests craving more one-on-one time with nature.

All accommodations, from guest suites to glamping sites, epitomize rustic-chic design. “Ventana’s rustic-refined design was inspired by the region’s natural beauty and history,” designer Rachel Fischbach says.

While each space offers a different experience, a sense of design cohesiveness permeates the resort.

“Creating elegant, rustic, refined spaces is all about balance,” Fischbach says. “It was our intention to keep the palette calm and quiet to showcase the ever-changing natural beauty.”


Ventana Big Sur is located at 48123 Hwy. 1 in Big Sur, California. For additional details and rates, visit or e-mail

All photographs courtesy of Ventana Big Sur