An iconic Big Sur re­sort de­signed for down­time re­ceives a re­fresh with a fo­cus on its nat­u­ral beauty

Traditional Home - - Contents - BY JENNY BRADLEY PF­EF­FER

Es­cape to the beauty of an iconic Big Sur re­sort.

the name says it all. Ven­tana (Span­ish for “win­dow”) Big Sur of­fers vis­i­tors a glimpse of one of the West Coast’s (if not the coun­try’s) most spec­tac­u­lar views. Sur­rounded by 160 acres of rolling mead­ows and tow­er­ing red­woods on its perch above the rugged Pa­cific coast­line, the newly ren­o­vated re­sort fully em­braces the idea of har­mony with one’s sur­round­ings.

The iconic re­sort’s 2017 ren­o­va­tion— un­der the watch­ful eye of in­te­rior de­signer Rachel Fis­chbach of Bray­tonHughes De­sign Stu­dios—was keenly sen­si­tive not only to the ho­tel’s breath­tak­ing venue, but also to its his­tory.

“It was im­por­tant to de­sign a space that would cater to to­day’s trav­eler yet main­tain the orig­i­nal char­ac­ter of the prop­erty,” Fis­chbach says. “Ven­tana opened in 1975 and be­came a haven for celebri­ties who pre­ferred to re­lax rather than be seen. Its orig­i­nal char­ac­ter stayed in­tact, en­hanced by rus­tic-mod­ern de­sign el­e­ments.”

The up­dated el­e­ments in­clude a med­ley of de­sign build­ing blocks—such as cedar­plank walls dec­o­rated with macramé hang­ings and black-and-white pho­to­graphs, rich leathers, and deca­dent soak­ing tubs.

The new So­cial House, orig­i­nally the ho­tel lobby, en­cour­ages guests to re­lax (or min­gle) in three reimag­ined spa­ces—li­brary and mu­sic room, bar, and game room. A woodsy, neu­tral pal­ette and chic yet cab­inin­spired mix of fur­nish­ings play against a large stone fire­place orig­i­nal to the re­sort. Translu­cent walls and a wealth of win­dows lighten the mood.

“We wanted to cre­ate ar­eas where guests could re­lax and un­wind, be one with na­ture, so­cial­ize with friends, or meet new peo­ple,” Fis­chbach says. “Each of the spa­ces was de­signed with that in mind.”

Guest ac­com­mo­da­tions run the aes­thetic gamut. Lux­ury vil­las, cot­tages, and guest suites of­fer wood-burn­ing fire­places and bal­conies built to soak in that heav­enly view. Sa­fari-style glamp­ing tents nes­tle un­der red­woods and beckon to those guests crav­ing more one-on-one time with na­ture.

While each space of­fers a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence, a sense of de­sign co­he­sive­ness per­me­ates the re­sort.

“Creat­ing el­e­gant, rus­tic, re­fined spa­ces is all about bal­ance,” Fis­chbach says. “It was our in­ten­tion to keep the pal­ette calm and quiet to show­case the ever-chang­ing nat­u­ral beauty.”


With 160 acres lead­ing to the Pa­cific Ocean, Ven­tana Big Sur of­fers some of Cal­i­for­nia’s most in­spir­ing views. Chef Paul Cors­entino high­lights lo­cal in­gre­di­ents in The Sur House cui­sine.

All ac­com­mo­da­tions, from guest suites to glamp­ing sites, epit­o­mize rus­tic-chic de­sign. “Ven­tana’s rus­tic-re­fined de­sign was in­spired by the re­gion’s nat­u­ral beauty and his­tory,” de­signer Rachel Fis­chbach says. Nat­u­ral pal­ettes and ma­te­ri­als pre­vail here, in­clud­ing cedar plank­ing in guest rooms and a re­claimed red­wood ta­ble and chairs on the Sky Ter­race.

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