Alila Ventana Big Sur Rates Are Now All Inclusive (Amazing News For Points Redemptions)

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

A few days ago I wrote about how one of my favorite points hotels in the US had a major policy change. I was worried about the implications of this when redeeming points, but as it turns out, this is actually phenomenal news.

First a bit of background…

Why I love Alila Ventana Big Sur

Several months ago I stayed at Alila Ventana Big Sur. This property is a fairly new addition to World of Hyatt, and came as the Alila brand joined World of Hyatt in 2019. This is a Category 7 property, so I redeemed 30,000 points per night here.

Hot tub at Ventana Big Sur

I can’t even begin to say how much I enjoyed Big Sur. The hotel as such is nice, but what really blew me away was how gorgeous Big Sur is. It’s one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been, and it’s hard to believe it’s so close to some major cities.

Big Sur, California

I’ll take it a step further — I think Big Sur is a fantastic place to go once you’re comfortable traveling again. It’s all about the outdoors — you do a lot of driving and a lot of hiking, the hotel’s restaurant has outdoor seating, etc. You could easily travel here while being fairly responsible, especially when you consider that it’s driving distance from many places on the West Coast.

Alila Ventana Big Sur stays now include meals

Alila Ventana Big Sur recently had a policy change, as rates at the hotel now include three meals per day, and more. You’ll see this mentioned when you go through the booking process.

Here’s how the hotel has described this policy change:

In an effort to make each Ventana Big Sur visit as seamless as possible, we have introduced a new inclusive experience – an enhanced, highly customizable approach that includes meals, signature activities and more, while still providing guests with the exclusivity, privacy and World-class service they’ve come to expect from the resort. The resort’s Leisure Concierge will help plan every aspect of the guest stay to create a highly personalized itinerary, which includes all of the following for two guests as part of the nightly rate:

  • All meals, whether in-room, poolside on a reserved chaise lounge for lunch, or at The Sur House—the resort’s award-winning restaurant which now features a spacious new seating plan and is reserved exclusively for resort guests during breakfast and dinner. (Note: Alcoholic beverages and additional upgraded experiences are available for separate purchase.)
  • The Ventana Big Sur picnic program, including a menu of options for casual al fresco meals.
  • Ventana’s Signature Experiences, such as yoga and meditation surrounded by majestic hundred-year-old trees in the Redwood Circle of Life, Tai Chi, and daily hikes.
  • The Excursion Outpost—the resort’s new equipment library featuring complimentary items for use on picnics, outdoor adventures, and hikes through the trails, fields, and forests.
  • Access to private, reservation-only indoor and outdoor wellness studios.
  • Deliciously healthful snacks and complimentary reusable water bottles.
    Customized minibar offerings.
  • New outdoor lounging nooks across the grounds, perfect for couples.

As you can see, the most significant development here is that stays now include three meals per day, which wasn’t the case before (not even all guests received breakfast for free before — that was reserved for those who booked it as part of the rate, or guests who were Globalist).

The hotel will start offering all inclusive rates as soon as it reopens in mid-July.

Dining at Ventana Big Sur

What happens to points redemptions?

I was concerned about this policy change as it pertains to points redemptions. Awards (whether in standard rooms or suites) suddenly weren’t showing up, so I wondered if the hotel might stop offering award redemptions, or might introduce higher award pricing.

As it turns out, neither of those things is the case, and this is actually incredible news.

  • Ventana Big Sur will continue to cost 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night for a standard room redemption
  • Points redemptions will be all inclusive, just like paid rates (this includes points redemptions made in the past)
  • The reason award availability briefly didn’t show up was because they were updating their system to reflect the new all inclusive pricing

Stays at Ventana Big Sur now include three meals per day

Bottom line

Alila Ventana Big Sur is now all inclusive, so all stays include three meals per day. On paid rates that could be good or bad news, depending on how you look at it. Personally when I stayed here I enjoyed having at least one meal per day outside the hotel, as there are some super adorable restaurants in the area.

The absolutely amazing news is that points redemptions won’t be going up in price, and will be all inclusive. Talk about getting the best of both worlds. This was one of my favorite points redemptions before this policy change, and now it’s even better…

One of my favorite points redemptions in the world has just become even better…

What do you make of Alila Ventana Big Sur going all inclusive?

(Tip of the hat to @DamoBurns4)

Comments
  1. As someone with a standard 2-night points booking for late July, I am very interested in what you report back!

  2. Had a July stay canceled, and decided to move over to Carmel Valley Ranch for the same weekend. If anybody has any input on that decision would be much appreciated.

  3. hm I booked the vista hot tub suite for 60k Hyatt points in August 2020. I will call and and relay any relevant information. I hope I can be a useful data point for this blog. You do great work!!

  4. I’m in the same situation as MP other than using points for a suite. My guess is that we won’t luck into free food. If not, will they have a menu with prices? Also, I’d like to know what they will do about social distancing in their restaurant.

  5. I was browsing the site this weekend, and almost every night had suite award available for 60k. This must be a very recent change.

  6. I also have a 2 night booking for September. I don’t expect them to give the all inclusive rate, but would be extremely disappointed if they cancel reservations made before this.

    The terms that applied when booking should be honored, from both the guest and hotel side.

  7. @Lou: I haven’t been to Alila Ventana, but Carmel Valley Ranch is uninspiring. It’s very spread out with many, many rooms. The food is tasteless and the room service menu is very limited. Unless you are from a “flyover” state or Texas and have not been to many hotels, I would not recommend it.

  8. I booked a 4 nights stay in September with points, so definitely interested to know what’s going to happen there. I suspect we will just have to pay for our food, but I would not be mad if it included everything 😀 .

  9. Hi Lucky – Thanks for the article. This is certainly an interesting development. Like a few other commenters, Philly and I have points reservations at Ventana Big Sur later this year (we’ll be staying during the Northern California weather “sweet spot” between Labor Day and mid-October), so we’re very interested in how this plays out for existing reservations! We appreciate you tracking down the info and letting us know.

  10. AndyPBNYC: “Unless you are from a “flyover” states or Texas and have not been to many hotels, I would not recommend it.”

    WTH does that mean?

  11. Woah, I’m glad I booked a late summer stay! Hopefully they’ll honor it. If this is permanent, I’m sure that Hyatt will cook up a new points rate, but it will probably be much more expensive.

  12. Oh man, this is the number one hotel on my Hyatt points redemption list, but I haven’t had definitive West Coast plans to book anything concrete. I sure hope they honor everyone’s existing stays and don’t do anything to restrict future award stays – even if they cost more points.

    Will definitely be keeping an eye on this!

  13. @ Lou. I stayed at both ventana and carmel valley last year. Carmel valley has activities that you can plan before you visit. As Andy states above, the rooms are spread apart, but they are nice. There is nearby hiking (and some one site) and I liked the Carmel area (it is convenient to grab snacks here and there are many small restaurants nearby. The drive down to Ventana is absolutely breathtaking as Lucky states. Ventana needs no introduction. The rooms are spacious, the hiking nearby is incredible, the views are spectacular. Especially if you snag one of those tables with ocean view for breakfast. Grab some snacks before arriving as I don’t believe there are nearby convenience stores if you get hungry at night. As a lowly explorist, I was unexpectedly upgraded to suite.

  14. As Hyatt Globalists, we stayed here for a paid stay last September. There were several glitches; the staff was trying to learn the Hyatt system. They gave us a nice upgrade with private hot tub; breakfast outside was good. and the wine/cheese reception. We checked into Post Ranch across the street after we left, and were thoroughly impressed (prices were much higher, but so was the quality) Dinner great; oceanfront views unparalleled.

  15. It also says they will now add 22% gratuity to your folio. At a rate of $1600 per night all inclusive plus tax plus gratuity this is going to be upward of $2000 per night. I too have a points reservation for September. If they cancel this, I will be very mad. It’s okay to charge for food but you shouldnt cancel a confirmed reservation. Another possibility is that they charge us the difference, that would be steep as well. For the nights when I booked, the room rate was around 800-900, now the same night is 1575. That 600-700 for food, plus the 22% gratuity, that’s pretty insane.

  16. I’d been waiting for California to open up so that I could book 3 nights on points here. Used to have super wide availability for points. Then suites only. Now nothing. All inclusive is totally unnecessary in this area. A huge loss.

  17. I called Ventana Big Sur and they said:
    – reservations made before made before June 2, 2020 will NOT be all-inclusive but will have the opportunity to upgrade to all-inclusive for ~$485/night.
    – the customer service rep couldn’t find award bookings in the terms and conditions. her guess is that award bookings will not include all-inclusive services, but guests will know upon arrival if they have all-inclusive services.
    – she couldn’t find award availability when she searched.

  18. I like breakfast at Ventana but I don’t think the rest of the food is particularly inspired. We always eat elsewhere in the evening and so this isn’t good news to me.

  19. Hi Brandon, any idea if you can order off their regular menu if you don’t want to pay for the extra $485 all inclusive? I would rather eat at different places and not be forced to eat every meal at Ventana.

  20. This is a real bummer. If they do end up allowing points redemptions at a higher rate, it will probably still be worth it given how expensive the rooms are, but I will be paying for something I don’t necessarily want to use the whole time. I love eating in the other restaurants in town, and I’m almost never eating lunch at a hotel as I’d rather buy a sandwich and eat it on hike or a scenic overlook somewhere along the coast.

    And if I have no choice but to pay cash rates, I can’t imagine picking Ventana over Post Ranch Inn, especially since it looks like this all-inclusive plan brings their rates in line with Post Ranch Inn. Ventana is great, definitely one of my favorite hotels of all time, but Post Ranch Inn is a completely other level.

  21. TJ,

    There is no hotel on the planet worth $2,000 a night.

    Last time I went to Big Sur I camped. I think the camping fee was $10!

  22. @TJ
    Since Ventana Big Sur allows customers to book with or without the all-inclusive service, I would imagine that a non all-inclusive booking would be allowed to order off of the regular menu ala carte style.

  23. @Brandon, is that $485 per person? A couple spending ~$1,000 on top of the points rate for 3 meals, one of which is breakfast, and a water bottle seems absurd.

    I’ll just pick up a bunch of stuff at the High Street Deli in San Luis Obispo on the drive up…

  24. Thanks @Brandon for checking for us! Did they tell you if that $485 includes booze? Because if that’s not the case, unless I’m missing something and based on the menu pictures Lucky posted in his earlier review, it looks like breakfast and lunch items run around $20-$30 each, and dinner in the $30-50 range depending so you’d really have to eat a lot to make it add up to nearly $245 per person per day. If that includes alcohol it may be more worth it but even then I’m not convinced by the value proposition here.

  25. Wow, that’s a great deal. I’ve never stayed here but have made the trek from Carmel to eat here for lunch several times and love it. 30k points seems like a steal for room/meals for 2.

  26. @Blake:
    There are one or two nights available here and there, but they are all weekday only. None on the weekends.

  27. Whoa, this is an awesome update for me! Fingers crossed this hotel actually opens on time now!

  28. Actually, this hotel doesn’t seem to have any availability at all (on any rate, cash or award) for any Saturday night throughout its entire booking calendar (the next 13 months). What’s up with that?

  29. @Jay

    I see plenty of availability. Make sure you are booking for 2 person or less. Anything over will not show any availability.

  30. @Fernando, when do you see availability? I cannot see any points availability in July or August, only paid rates

  31. @Ale, I see two nights on points in September available just now. Both weekend and weekdays for a two-day stay.

  32. I see points availability when i search, however when I actually try to book it…it states there are no awards available..

  33. @Fernando
    I am searching for one room, one guest, paid rates.
    I still don’t see any availability for any Saturday night. There’s plenty of availability for Monday-Friday nights and Sunday nights. Could you point me to a specific example that I can check, please?

  34. Nope. I don’t see ANY weekends available at all on points. Speaking of which, is there any way to check the entire month at a time? Or only checking by entering exact dates each time? I can’t see any availability for any weekend nights.

  35. Lucky (and others that have been)

    I have a few TSUs to use, but I’m wondering whether a suite upgrade is desired as opposed to trying for great view in a regular room.

  36. this is the sort of update that isn’t worth publishing until they’ve actually confirmed everything on the back-end. there aren’t (m)any dates available for points booking, and the hotel is claiming there’s going to be a surcharge.

    best case, they back peddle and grandfather in existing bookings. worst case, they claim this was not confirmed with the hotel ownership, and they kill points in the future, knowing how much press this post (and Gary’s) have generated.

  37. What am I missing with several comments worrying about prior points reservations not including meals? Lucky states:

    ”Points redemptions will be all inclusive, just like paid rates (this includes points redemptions made in the past)“

    It may have something to do with the posting date being June 11 but some comments are June 8?

  38. You can’t book a single Sat night stay, it has to be either Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon.

    There isn’t much award space left for this summer – it was already mostly booked before the switch to all inclusive pricing.

  39. You can book glamping rates in one of the luxury tents for $240. I wonder if elite benefits or point apply since it’s through Hyatt site. Looks pretty decent.

  40. Amazing! I honestly didn’t think they would honor bookings made a while back but my 4 nights stay in september got suddenly very lucrative – paying cash would have cost me over $7100! Can’t wait !

  41. Also, is the cash and points rate a mistake? It says 15k points and $500 but room rates are $1525, so the cash portion should be closer to $760. Wonder if it’s because the system hasn’t been updated yet (since standard rate was $1000 before the change).

  42. Booked 2 nights bumping up to Valentine’s. Have to be careful, though, to scroll down on the booking page – on top says “No Availability,” but further down the points booking actually does show up.

    Thank you for this, Ben, a tremedous find. $540/nt in point value is incredible for this property. Reminds me of my awesome Miraval all-inclusive bookings I would never otheewise attempt without points!

  43. @Clem
    I do not recall explicit mention of alcohol being included in the all-inclusive rate. Sorry.

    I would imagine some basic alcohol would be included then fancy stuff being extra. But that is just my speculation.

  44. Restrictions:

    Please note that spa services, retail, Alila Experiences, upgraded food offerings and alcoholic beverages—including our award-winning cocktails and wines from our 10,000-bottle cellar—are available for a supplementary charge.

    To maximize guest and team member safety, and to minimize the impact of capacity restraints on our ability to accommodate requests, we kindly request that you work with your Leisure Concierge to schedule meal, fitness, and activity reservations in advance of your stay. Additional private experiences are available for an additional fee.

    Ventana Big Sur is an adult-only experience reserved for those 18 years of age and over. Your visit to Ventana Big Sur should be worry-free. For your convenience, a daily gratuity for our service team members will be added to your guest folio. Additional a la carte beverages and services will be assessed a 22% gratuity that will be added to your guest folio. Offer based on double occupancy. For single occupancy rates, please call reservations. Rate subject to all applicable taxes.

  45. I’m only seeing award availability for the standard king room; no option to book into the suites as outlined in previous post on Ventana. Has this option been removed from the all-inclusive changeover?

  46. The deposit policy indicates 1 night. Even if I book with points, does that mean I still need to pay 1.6k deposit? If anyone has data points would appreciate it

    Also are you saying that the 30k points reso will also require a service charge? If so what’s the better play: 15k points + 550 or 30k points + service charge?

  47. I just booked for May as it’s our anniversary. 90k points for 3 nights. Looking forward to it, thanks Ben!

  48. @TY
    “You can’t book a single Sat night stay, it has to be either Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon.”
    Ok, that explains it. Thanks.

  49. Inventory games here. 1King Bed with Fireplace on paid rates vs. 1 King Bed on points rates. Similar to what Andaz Maui was doing, can you bring up with Hyatt.

  50. Transferred Chase points and booked 2 nights in November late last night. A few test dates that I’m pretty sure were available are definitely unavailable now. And they may have pulled all dates on points for now. I did take a number of screenshots throughout the booking process — it certainly appeared that the offer was all-inclusive for 30,000 points. Hope they stand by it.

  51. Booked 2 nights for Feb 2020 via Hyatt Points. Didn’t see anything along the way that suggested the stay was “all inclusive” or includes bonus amenities. Calling Hyatt tomorrow. Concerned. @Brandon @Pam @lucky

  52. The term ALL INCLUSIVE generally means “all inclusive”.

    Unless I missed the fine print what you are describing is properly called “Full Board”.

    I would not be inclined at this price level to take advantage of the offer unless it was a real “all inclusive” with premium beverages.

    I guess I have been spoiled by international lounges which are all inclusive as opposed to most US lounges which are a total rip off.

  53. Phew! I thought I had missed the points boat on this one while waiting for California to reopen. This is great news, thanks Lucky!

  54. looks like all points room rates are all gone. Can’t find any points availability now up to next year July.

  55. Booked three 3-night point stays in November, February and next June for Mrs. Preacher and I. Hope this is like Miraval, where the taxes and fees aren’t charged either. It’s so fun to walk out with a zero bill!

  56. @Jay: thanks for the tip.

    To all that have been to this area, is a 3 night stay too long for this area?

  57. @Jay– thanks, the 3 night minimum is the key to unlocking availability. Just booked this for March.

  58. This is most definitely *NOT* all-inclusive. This is full board. Full board is when all meals are included. All-inclusive means it also includes alcohol. So while you can say all-inclusive all you like, that does not make it so.

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