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Considered one of the most iconic properties in the World of Hyatt program, award travelers have become enchanted (some might say obsessed) with Alila Ventana Big Sur

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Considered one of the most iconic properties in the World of Hyatt program, award travelers have become enchanted (some might say obsessed) with Alila Ventana Big Sur

Travel on Point(s) is an independent, advertising-supported website. This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites like and This compensation does not impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel on Point(s) has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site. Reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any partner entities.

Alila Ventana Big Sur Review

If you are in the miles and points world then you have no doubt heard about Alila Ventana Big Sur. It is much like Hyatt's Calala Island property, consistently hyped to the moon. In this Alila Ventana Big Sur review I look to answer the question of whether or not it is worth that hype and share our experience at the property. I have been lucky enough to spend the last two New Years at this resort, which let's me give you a unique perspective after being there multiple times. Let's dive into this aspirational property and see what she has to offer.

Update 1/11/23: This review was completely updated after 2nd stay a few weeks back.


Alila Ventana Big Sur Location

Alila Ventana Big Sur is located approximately 1,000 feet above sea level on the iconic Highway 1, known as the Pacific Coast Highway. It is a 45-minute drive to the nearest regional airport, Monterey Regional Airport (MRY), and between 1.5 and 3 hours to the Bay area airports, SJC, SFO or OAK.

alila ventana big sur Review

Once Highway 101 gives way to the more scenic Highway 1, you are in for a real treat. In fact, the drive to Ventana is as glorious as the hotel itself. If you have time, consider spending a day or more in Monterey, Pebble Beach, or Carmel-By-The-Sea. You can drive the iconic 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach and see some of the most famous shoreline in the world.

alila ventana big sur Review

For our 2023, we flew in and out of LAX, which is approx. 6 hours to the south. We did not enjoy this drive nearly as much as our drive in 2022, when e took our time driving down, stopping for the night north of Monterey. We then explored Monterey, drove all of 17 Mile Drive, and casually drove to Ventana that afternoon. In 2023, Hwy. 1 was closed to the south of Ventana Big Sur, due to mud- and rockslides, so we switched our flights to SFO and dropped our rental car off there. Knowing what we know now, we will likely never again travel to Ventana Big Sur from LAX.

Typical Booking Cost

Alila Ventana Big Sur is a Category 8 Property within the World of Hyatt program. That means the standard night for the rooms is 40,000 points per night. The price can drop down to 35,000 points per night for off-peak, and go as high as 45,000 points per night for peak nights. Standard suites cost 56,000 / 61,000 / 66,000 points per night, and premium suites cost 70,000 / 80,000 / 90,000 points per night. Those are prices for off-peak, standard and peak pricing. The property is all-inclusive, sans alcohol or certain activities, and is adults-only.

Included in the all-inclusive rates are yoga classes, a daily guided hike around the property, all meals at the Social House, the Sur House, the Smokehouse, in-room or poolside dining, and daily snacks. Note that gratuities are included in the rate, but a 22% service charge is added for pool and in-room service of alcohol. For a fee, you can enjoy the full-service spa or do fun activities such as the falconry experience or mixology classes.

Our Cost To Book Ventana Big Sur

We ventured to Ventana Big Sur for New Years Weekend 2023 after staying there the prior New Years weekend. Rates for our stay were $14,758.35 for a standard room. Instead of paying that insane rate we used 135,000 Hyatt points to book 4 nights (1 night at 30,000 points and 3 at 35,000 per night). This was before Ventana moved to a Category 8 hotel with nights at the rates listed above.

Halfway through last year, a standard suite became available with points and we applied a Suite Upgrade Award (SUA). The suite upgrade got us booked into the Big Sur Suite for the standard room rate. For those unfamiliar with the World of Hyatt, members receive one or more Suite Upgrade Awards as a part of their Milestone Rewards for staying 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 nights in a calendar year. Each Award can be used to confirm a suite for up to 7 nights per award and the suite is confirmed as soon as the Award is applied.

Alila Ventana Big Sur Review: Big Sur Suite

We were assigned Room #58 this year. As the hotel was completely sold out for New Years Eve, we are thankful that we applied a suite upgrade award in advance, as no upgrades were available. At check-in, the front desk notified us of a $200 on-property credit for being Globalist, and that no further upgrades were available outside of our SUA. I should note that this credit was not offered for our stay last year. The Big Sur Suite rooms include a very large porch, complete with a hammock, and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It is almost 700 sq. feet and more than enough space for 2 adults.

Overall, we really enjoyed the room. The bathroom was very spacious, the leather chairs by the fireplace were comfortable, and the fireplace and back porch were very relaxing. We spent much of our 4 days at Ventana hiding away in our room and we were perfectly fine doing so.

One complaint was the fireplace: there is no wood to burn. Instead, you are provided small “firebags” to ignite and burn. While they worked well, they burn up completely in 30-45 minutes and we were only provided 2-3 per day. We had to text the hotel concierge every single day to have 4-8 more bags delivered. This may not be a concern for most folks, but we were there to hike in the mornings and then relax in the afternoons. With temperatures between the upper 30s and low 50s, we wanted a fire from early afternoon until we went to bed. 1 to 1.5 hours of fuel doesn't seem adequate, but I digress.


This year, all food options were available. There is the Social House, which is the lobby/check-in area, the Smokehouse, which is a a BBQ joint right on Highway 1, and the Sur House, which also has ocean view dining for breakfast and dinner and in-room dining. Overall, there are plenty of food options and no one should ever be hungry.

alila ventana big sur Review

Regarding food, we really, really enjoyed this aspect of the stay. Dinners at the Sur House were enjoyable and the food was very good. Dinner required reservations and included an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The Sur House has a massive wine cellar with over 10,000 bottles (allegedly). I did not see a cellar that was larger than 1,000 bottles and the wine selection was adequate, but certainly not what one would expect from a venue touting a 10,000+ bottle inventory.

Overall, the food quality was certainly not Michelin-star worthy, but was as good, or better, than your favorite restaurant in your hometown. We have no complaints with the food quality, the portion size, or the service. We felt the food and service were better this year than our last trip, but the restaurants are noticeably more crowded. Many off-site guests, including children, are utilizing the restaurant and it was much busier than before.

alila ventana big sur Review

Alila Ventana Big Sur Amentities

For activities and the property, there's not much to say outside of the fact that the entire property is world-class. The views of the Pacific Ocean take your breath away, as do walking through the forests of Redwood trees. We thoroughly enjoyed our morning hikes, exploring this property, and taking a step back from day-to-day life and relaxing. The pools, Japanese baths, hot tub and hiking trails seemed virtually empty the entire stay, despite the hotel being at full capacity. Even when booked solid, the property has an overwhelming sense of privacy and serenity. It's as if you're at a private estate.

Pool 2


The property has 2 outdoor pools (both heated), a hot tub, and Japanese baths. Note that the Japanese baths and the outdoor pool nearby are both clothing-optional. But we did not see anyone exercising this option. The pools are spacious, but not warm enough to spend time in them in 50F weather. If one wanted to swim laps or do an aerobics class, the water temperature was sufficient. As it was raining most of our trip, it certainly was NOT pool weather.

alila ventana big sur Review

Exercise Room

The property has an well appointed exercise room. There is good news here for anyone that became a Peloton addict when the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve offered Peloton credits, there are 2 Peloton bikes available in good condition.


One Downside To The Amentities

One note about the amenities and the property: there is little to do here if you have mobility restrictions. There is golf cart-style transportation around the property and that is a big help. Otherwise, the Sur House, where all meals were served during our stay, is between a 0.3 and 0.5 mile walk each way. We loved this time to walk through the woods, but it is certainly not for everyone.

Hyatt Elite Member Perks & Recognition

As a Hyatt Globalist, valet parking was free. Otherwise, there was no clear status recognition to speak of. All meals were included already, as were daily snacks and water. The hotel was sold out and we were not upgraded from our confirmed suite. But, as mentioned previously, we were given a $200 on-property credit for applying a SUA and no further upgrades being available, although it was unclear if this was a Globalist-only perk.

All of this can be expected, and we certainly aren't complaining. More of a FYI if you are a Globalist and heading to the property. Do not expect much of anything, especially when the hotel is at, or close, to capacity.

alila ventana big sur Review

Redemption / Value Breakdown

As mentioned previously, our standard room was $14,758.35 for our 4 nights. Once we confirmed the Big Sur Suite, that price ballooned to almost $19,000.00 for the holiday weekend. Instead, we used 30,000-35,000 Hyatt points per night, for a total of 135,000 Hyatt points and applied a Suite Upgrade Award.

We earned our Hyatt points from using the following cards:

Remember, one of the major perks of the World of Hyatt program is that Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer 1 to 1 to the World of Hyatt.

If you're new to World of Hyatt, signing up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, could get you almost 2 nights at Alila Ventana Big Sur. Even better, a Chase Ink Business Preferred could get you 3 nights, once the minimum spend is reached.

Alila Ventana Big Sur Review: ToP Thoughts

Hopefully you enjoyed my Alila Ventana Big Sur review. Suffice it to say that we loved our time at Ventana Big Sur. In fact, we've already booked our 3rd trip to this magnificent property. For us, 3-4 nights is the perfect amount of time to explore the property and spend time unwinding and relaxing. While the adults-only aspect of the property make it difficult for some parents to venture here, it is well worth the effort, if you can find childcare. To answer the question, does it live up to the hype? It does 100%!

The food, the service, and the location are all close to perfect. If you go, you'll long to return. We're already counting down the days until we can get back.

Have you been to Alila Ventana Big Sur? What do you think? Come over to Travel on Point(s) and let us know!


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