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7 Luxury Hotels for Your Big Sur Road Trip

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
August 10, 2021
Whether you're planning a family vacation or a romantic getaway for two, California's Big Sur coastline will provide a stunning backdrop for a memorable trip. Stretching from Carmel-By-The-Sea south toward San Simeon, State Route 1 follows a twisting, two-lane path between the rocky cliffs of the San Lucia Mountains and the sparkling surf of the Pacific Ocean.
Sparsely populated and carefully preserved, this region offers not only amazing scenery but also fun things to do along the way. Scenic hiking trails in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park wind along the banks of the Big Sur River and through groves of redwoods and meadows where you may spot black-tailed deer. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers trails through redwood forest, along creeks, to coves and waterfalls. Andrew Molera Park, the largest on the Big Sur coast, offers biking and horseback rides along its trails, as well as a beach that's a popular surfing spot.
Though nature is the star of this region, that doesn't mean you have to rough it when it comes to accommodations. At the north end of this drive trip are several AAA Four Diamond hotels with luxurious amenities, fine dining and recreational activities, as well as proximity to fun attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium. There’s also another scenic drive to explore, the 17-Mile Drive.
iStockphoto.com/Moyo Studio

Carriage House Inn

Junipero Ave between 7th & 8th Ave.
(831) 625-2585
The Carriage House Inn is one of the best places for couples to stay if you're traveling to Big Sur for a romantic getaway. Nestled amid tall shade trees just steps from art galleries, restaurants and other fun things for couples to do, it offers spacious rooms with feather beds, fireplaces and spa tubs. Start your day with breakfast delivered to your door, and wind down from a day of exploring with wine and hors d'oeuvres in the library each evening.
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AAA/Inspector 71

Casa Palmero

1518 Cypress Dr.
(831) 622-6650
If your idea of a perfect couples getaway includes a few rounds of golf, you'll find the perfect retreat at Casa Palmero, one of the resorts surrounding the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links. This Mediterranean-style property features 24 rooms with wood-beamed ceilings, fireplaces and oversized tubs, and a variety of dining options throughout the Pebble Beach resort complex. Along with golf, activities include tennis, biking, hiking and spa, as well as the 17-Mile Drive, where you can take in the spectacular views by car or on horseback.
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The Inn at Spanish Bay/Fred Licht

The Inn at Spanish Bay

2700 Seventeen Mile Dr.
(831) 647-7500
The Inn at Spanish Bay is another great option for a romantic escape. Its location bordering the Links at Spanish Bay has obvious appeal for golfers, but it has plenty of activities for non-golfers as well, including biking, hiking and tennis. Dining options range from Tuscan-inspired fare to Hawaiian fusion, and wine lovers can partake of small bites and tastings in the hotel's wine cellar. Each evening, the Spanish Bay bagpiper plays a strolling serenade along the links.
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InterContinental The Clement Monterey/Craig Cozart

InterContinental The Clement Monterey

750 Cannery Row
(831) 375-4500
The Intercontinental The Clement Monterey is a great hotel near Big Sur if you're traveling with kids. Located on historic Cannery Row, this waterfront hotel offers panoramas of Monterey Bay and is just a minute's walk from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The hotel offers special activities for children, and babysitters are on hand as well.
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The Lodge at Pebble Beach

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

1700 Seventeen Mile Dr.
(831) 624-3811
While it's another great option for golfers, the Lodge at Pebble Beach also stands out among places to stay for families with pets, offering doggy day care activities, a "puppy concierge" and a special doggy menu available through room service. (Find tips for traveling with pets at .)
For human family members, fun things to do include tennis, bike rides, hiking, spa treatments and taking in the views of 17-Mile Drive while test driving a brand new Lexus.
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Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

400 Cannery Row
(831) 646-1700
If you're looking for fun places to go with friends during your Big Sur trip, you can't go wrong with historic Cannery Row, which is packed with restaurants, shopping and attractions including the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is the perfect spot to relax after exploring Big Sur or other nearby attractions. Book a room with a private ocean-view balcony and indulge in a treatment at the rooftop spa. Complimentary bicycles are a fun way to explore the area.
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Courtesy of Portola Hotel & Spa

Portola Hotel & Spa

2 Portola Plaza
(831) 649-4511
Another great hotel for families traveling with pets is Portola Hotel & Spa, which offers house-made doggy treats, pet-friendly dining areas and a daily "Yappy Hour" with a special menu for dogs. Kids can join the Portola Pirate program, where they'll get a souvenir bag and take part in a self-guiding treasure hunt around the property. Meanwhile, the entire family will enjoy the Monterey views, luxury amenities and proximity to fun, family-friendly attractions.
Did you know that a AAA Travel Agent can help plan your next road trip adventure?
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