Post Ranch Inn | perfect romantic weekend

Scultpture at Post Ranch Inn, (c) 2014 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Perhaps this sculpture by Jim Hunolt expresses it best: Post Ranch Inn is one of the most romantic destination resorts you'll ever visit. Located in a secluded setting high above the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California, Post Ranch Inn is something special. A small resort set on 100 acres with just 39 rooms and suites, it's the perfect place for couples to celebrate their love.

Quiet and secluded, we never heard the sound of a plane the entire time we were here. Although we could see the contrails of jets flying high above the California coast, the resort is 150 miles south of San Francisco and 325 miles north of Los Angeles. This means you won't hear the sound of a commercial aircraft.

Post Ranch is all about nature and environmental stewardship. 90% of the resort's electricity comes from its own solar farm. The food is all natural, and the restaurant makes use of local free-range, organic, and sustainable food products. And it's good! My main course yesterday evening was Black Cod, spectacularly prepared, moist on the inside (cooked "just enough" and not a bit more) and seared on the outside. The complimentary breakfast buffet has some of the best smoked salmon I've ever tasted, and a chef prepared omelets and pancakes to order.

The service reminds me of Amanresorts, personalized and attentive. We were asked our dietary preferences at check-in ... and our wait person was aware of them at the restaurant that evening. Post Ranch Inn provides a number of complimentary services, including transportation by Lexus to nearby restaurants, yoga classes, stargazing classes, complimentary Lexus loaner cars, and a complimentary minibar in your room — including some of the best chocolate chip cookies ever. We finished the jar the first day, and they were refilled for our second day.

Room decor is contemporary rustic elegant. Very comfortable beds. Japanese soaking tubs with jacuzzi jets (although the showers are in the tub, even in the newer accommodations). The original rooms north of the restaurant are the size of Deluxe rooms, about 450 square feet, but they feel spacious, perhaps because of the floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the glorious outdoors in. Bathrooms are small with only a single vanity. The newer accommodations south of the restaurant are double the size, about 900 square feet, and have much larger bathrooms with dual vanities and WC's.

An explanation of room nomenclature. Lead-in Butterfly Rooms (so called because their architectural design is intended to resemble the two wings of a butterfly) are triplexes; lower, middle, and upper Butterfly categories indicate whether your unit is on the ground floor, middle floor, or upper floor. Mountain rooms (sharing the same circular design as Coast rooms) have views toward the mountain scenery to the east. Treehouse rooms have triangular room shapes and, as the name indicates, offer your own private love nest in the trees. Coast rooms are circular in shape and have wonderful views of the California coast. The top category rooms on the north side are Ocean rooms, standalone accommodations with bermed roofs that blend into the environment.

sunset at Post Ranch Inn, (c) 2014 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

The rest of the rooms, more recently constructed, are on the south side of the restaurant. Peak Suites face the mountains to the east. Pacific Suites (where we stayed) face the ocean. Cliff Houses are standalone suites, also facing the ocean. Lower suites and rooms are preferred by some as they do not have balcony railings which (very slightly) block the views.

Don't want a four course dinner? Though the restaurant has a prix-fixe dinner menu, you don't need to order all four courses. You can order just the number of courses that you want.

P.S. — a perfect place to pop the question. Looking for an unique idea for a marriage proposal: Book a Pacific Suite, all of which have large outdoor jacuzzi tubs facing the water. Arrange for housekeeping (perhaps while you're at dinner) to set up the outdoor jacuzzi with rose petals and candles. Slip into the tub together when you get back from dinner ... and let the rest of your life begin at Post Ranch Inn.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. As affiliates of Brownell Travel, we can provide our clients with Virtuoso amenities and amenities from other Brownell preferred hotel partners including Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and more. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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