by Richard Graham
The Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur, California has been voted the world’s best hotel by many leading travel writers. A 100 acre ranch at the most iconic and spectacular location 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean has been utilised by architect Mickey Muennig to create a design masterpiece. The 40 rooms in log cabins or tree houses are built on a ridge between forest and ocean, using local redwood and natural materials that blend organically with the environment.
It defies most conventional norms for leading hotels, with low-pressure taps, dim solar-powered lighting and no televisions. However there’s a well-equipped library with board games, and you can explore footpath trails through ancient redwoods to the pool and yurt, where there are morning yoga or tai chi classes and various esoteric activities. Children and animals are not admitted, and for some this seems just a very expensive eco-lodge; but for many its outlook, silence and privacy are close to nirvana. On my recent stay I didn’t see any migrating whales, unlike guests 2 days earlier, but I did marvel at the humming birds beside my large balcony, which soared above the ocean like the huge condors overhead. The sunset views from my room were truly memorable.
Dinner at the acclaimed Sierra Mar restaurant was the gastronomic highlight of our California holiday: The local abalone starter was extraordinary, as was the rock cod caught a few miles away and served with an exquisite array of organic vegetables, fruit and herbs from chef John Cox’s garden. Everything was cooked perfectly and inventively, and the deserts were tasty, not too sweet and light, a great rarity for USA. The buffet breakfast had everything one could possibly want, with juices freshly squeezed and eggs cooked to order.
As luxury hotels around the world become ever more standardised and extravagant, the Post Ranch Inn is a beacon of individuality and good taste.
Richard Graham, father of Wolf & Badger’s founder directors Henry and George Graham, is the author of Knight for a Day, a children’s time-travel adventure in Camelot for 8-11 year old readers, which is being published on 22nd October 2015. See: www.knightforaday.info
Photo credit: Richard Graham and www.postranchinn.com