Getting Back to Nature at Glen Oaks in Big Sur, California

The creekside Sycamore Cabin at Glen Oaks

The creekside Sycamore Cabin at Glen Oaks, surrounded by redwoods

Big Sur, one of Northern California’s most beautiful spots, is the perfect place to get back to nature. But that doesn’t have to mean roughing it. Glen Oaks, a collection of cabins and guestrooms located just off Highway 1, offers cozy and comfortable accommodations surrounded by the towering redwoods for which the area is so well known.

Glen Oaks offers several types of accommodation options. There are the king and queen rooms with gas fireplaces in the original adobe Fireside Lodge; the Cottage, a one bedroom house with private deck, living room, cast iron fireplace, kitchen, and king sized bed; Archies, a studio cottage with king sized bed and kitchenette; and several cabins in the Redwood Grove, including studio cabins and suites. I stayed in the Sycamore Cabin, part of the Redwood Grove.

The Sycamore Cabin has a small sitting room with kitchenette, ensuite bathroom, and bedroom

The Sycamore Cabin has a small sitting room with kitchenette, ensuite bathroom, and bedroom

My one bedroom cabin was set on the side of a small creek, and dwarfed by the surrounding redwoods. Outside, two chairs were spaced around a metal firepit, while inside there was a small sitting room with kitchenette, ensuite bathroom, and bedroom with queen bed.

The sitting room offered a small, modern couch, a coffee table, and an electric fireplace that was decorative and functional, keeping me warm once the sun set.  While there were no TVs, the cabin was stocked with a selection of games and there wass free wifi.

High ceilings and colorful decor help the cozy cabins feel spacious

High ceilings and colorful decor help the cozy cabins feel spacious

The kitchenette included a sink, mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and toaster, as well as a small collection of dishes, glasses, and barware.

Glen Oaks began with the building of its adobe motor lodge in 1957. It’s since been renovated, with a focus on sustainability and a rustic and relaxed, yet stylish and modern decor. The natural adobe walls help the buildings stay cool in the heat and warm once the sun sets, keeping energy costs low. Other eco-friendly products and materials used include recycled and renewable stone, bamboo, resin, organic cotton, natural wool blankets and  organic bath products. 

There aren’t many services available at the hotel – there’s no spa, pool, or fitness center – but there is an onsite restaurant, the Big Sur Roadhouse, that’s open all day and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, wine, and light bites focused on California cuisine with Chef Matt Glazer’s Cajun twist (the chef hails from New Orleans).

The small Big Sur General Store a half-mile up the road offers some basic supplies, including breakfast and beers, and next door, the Big Sur River Inn, is another option for lunch or dinner if you don’t feel like cooking.

There’s not a whole lot else nearby on this stretch of road, but then again, most people don’t come to Big Sur looking for lively nightlife. A visit to Big Sur is about getting away from it all, getting close to nature, and getting lost among the towering, ancient redwoods. In that respect, Glen Oaks is the perfect spot. It’s secluded and peaceful, quiet and romantic, but in no way feels like roughing it.

Plenty of windows let natural light into the bedroom

Plenty of windows let natural light into the bedroom

If you go: 

Room rates start at around $225 per night, with a two night minimum on most weekends, and go up to $450 per night. The hotel is located about 150 miles south of San Francisco, 30 miles south of Monterey and 300 miles north of Los Angeles. Cell service in the area can be spotty and two-lane Highway 1 is subject to traffic snarling construction and landslides, so check traffic before you go and make sure you have a map or directions handy. You can make reservations at the hotel website or on Hotels.com

I stayed at Glen Oaks as a guest of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Center, but all opinions are my own. 

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