Virtuoso Traveler - June/July 2018 - 46
Big Sur is as much about the drive as the
arrival. It's a winding 150 miles from San
Francisco and 350 from Los Angeles on a
two-lane strip that opened in 1937 after
18 years of construction. Cell service
gets spotty just as the road coils and the
enchantment really starts to surge - the
splendid isolation here outwits even
those Silicon Valley gods to the north.
On the approach from Monterey, the
scenery is so stunning that it's worth
paying the toll ($10.25 per vehicle) to
tour the famous 17-Mile Drive, an epic
twist through Pebble Beach and Pacific
Grove past Spanish Bay with teetering
viewpoints exactly where you want them
to be. The lone cypress tree on rocks
jutting over the Pacific is not only the logo
of Pebble Beach Golf Links: The company
also trademarked the actual tree.
How remarkable it is that the day's
destination nearly makes you forget the
journey. Pulling into Post Ranch Inn,
with its cantilevered cliff dwellings
appearing to float between water and
sky, you understand why the place is a
favorite of tech moguls and honeymooning celebs. With very private modern
guest rooms and suites on a ridgeline
over the sea, the inn is as dramatic a setting for adventure and romance as any
in the U.S. ("It's one of the last adultsonly refuges in the true luxury category,"
Neibaur says.) The property, set on 100
mostly untouched acres, emerged from
the road closures with refurbished Tree
House rooms (for more of our favorite tree-house stays, turn to page 38)
and new landscaping, plus a beautiful
photography gallery selling collectorworthy prints. Sierra Mar, the hotel's
restaurant, provides guests with picnic
lunches to take to hidden beaches, and
there's a fleet of Lexus vehicles available
at no charge.
For dinner nearby, Nepenthe (48510
Highway 1) sits 800 feet over the ocean
in a homey cabinlike building that first
opened in 1949. Lolly's Roast Chicken
Dinner is the signature order, with sage
stuffing, cranberries, and just enough
crisp skin and juicy meat to distract
momentarily from the panoramic terrace vistas.
In such striking surroundings, Post
Ranch guests typically arrive and are
not seen again until checkout (looking
Clockwise from left: Post Ranch Inn's Sierra Mar deck, Cliff House living, and Post Gallery.
46 V I R T U O S O T R A V E L E R
(SIERRA MAR AND CLIFF HOUSE) KODIAK GREENWOOD
What hasn't changed is the area's allure,
which has always drawn travelers, artists, architects,
and pleasure seekers of every sort.