THERE WAS A DRAMATIC TIME, earlier in 2017, when it seemed as though "Closed" signs were being hung up and down the coast of Big Sur in a matter of days, if not hours. The reasons behind this were understandable and without quibble: Several parts of Highway 1 had been damaged by the thrummeling winter storms, making access not only challenging, but impossible, at least when it came to a handful of visitor-popular destinations. Those beyond Big Sur understood, too, how the businesses on the "island" were also dealing with this surprising and difficult development, and the locals, of course, who call the area home. Now? The under-construction Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge is humming along, and, as quickly as they went up, or seemingly, the "Open" signs are going up along the fabled bit of Big Sur road. One local gem that spent several months exploring a "Re-Imagination" of its 59-rooms, its public spaces, its swanky amenities, and its beyond-the-typical programs is Ventana Big Sur. The resort, which is now under the ownership of Alila Hotels & Resorts, just announced that an autumn re-debut is ahead, and while fans will have to wait a touch longer for an official "welcome again" date, a few reveals have been made as to what guests can expect.
"REFRESHED SANCTUARIES": The property's villas, suites, and rooms have been part of the "Re-Imagination" process, and guests can decide if they'd like a private balcony or patio when they book (a lantern and walking stick is provided, should you want to roam the picturesque redwoods just beyond your space). The Social House, is the "connect and socialize" heart of the resort, so head there to relax in the Library & Music Room, or for a beverage at the Bar Room, or to play a game. The Sur House Restaurant, calling upon seafood (from the very nearby Pacific) and locally sourced meats, has Executive Chef Paul Corsentino at the top, while Spa Alila and Pools includes a pair of cabanas with redwood forest views. As for the new glamping element? Think 15 "safari-style, canvas tents spanning a 20-acre canyon," tents that boast a "plush glamping mattress" and numerous details that recall more of a luxe cabin experience than a traditional camp-out. The "Open" sign is nearly up at the famous spot, a spot that took the months of closure and made them about burnishing a beloved stay-over in multiple ways.