Points Paradise: A Luxury Stay without Breaking the Bank
Nestled amidst stunning landscapes and offering unique cultural experiences, Alila hotels are a collection of boutique luxury properties managed by Hyatt. Each Alila property is one-of-a-kind, reflecting the destination’s distinct character and showcasing the best in local design, architecture, and craftsmanship. In my opinion, this particular Alila property should be high on your bucket list for aspirational stays thanks to the serene nature of the location and the incredible staff.
Due to the limited number of rooms at the Alila Ventana – 59 rooms and suites, finding availability, especially on points is no easy feat. This property ranges between 0% and 0.1% availability most of the year for standard rooms. You read that right! It’s harder to reserve a standard room here than to get into Harvard (4%) or getting a job at Google (0.7%). Luckily, there are now a ton of tools at our disposal to help track and measure availability. For this stay, I used maxmypoint.com to search for upcoming availability. The tool makes it easy to search through a calendar of availability with a few clicks as opposed to having to run multiple searches on the Hyatt.com website. Below, you can see a wide range of options for reserving the Alila. The cheapest base room is 45k (blue) and this is the most uncommon to find. The next tier are the standard suite for 66k (purple), followed by the premium suite at 90k (black). As you can see, the cash price (green) for the base room starts at $2,300!
Maxmypoint page for Alila Ventana
Fortunately for us, we found a 45k/night availability for January 1st back in early December, so we quickly called Hyatt to jump on it before it vanished. As Hyatt Globalists, we were able to do an “advanced points booking” to hold the room, even before we had moved enough points to our account. We were extremely stoked to say the least!
Maxmypoint has access to hotels across the major hotel chains – Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, and Marriott. I appreciate that you can sort and filter by popularity, points, value, and availability. I find myself coming here frequently to discover potential ideas for future trips. The free tier enables you to do basic searches, but the paid tiers have more powerful functions including email alerts for exact days – super useful if you have a specific property and timeframe in mind.
Our Wonderful Stay at the Alila
The property is in one of the most beautiful parts of California, Big Sur. From the Bay Area, it took us ~2.5 hours driving down the Pacific Coast Highway to get to the Alila. I’ve gone backpacking a few times in this area, but the drive never ceases to amaze. We highly recommend this area for anyone interested in hiking, coastal beach walks, or looking to escape the city life.
The PCH drive to Big Sur
Since we were only staying for one night, we wanted to make the most of our experience, so decided to arrive early around 12:30pm. We drove up a small, windy hill and arrived at the valet (complimentary), who helped us with our luggage and escorted us to the Social House for check-in. At this time, our room was not ready yet since guaranteed availability is at 4pm, but the property mentioned we were free to explore and have lunch at the Big Sur House. Lunches, dinners, and even room service is all included at this property during your stay.
The resort is neatly tucked into a mountainside forest of Redwoods and it does an amazing job at preserving the natural landscape surrounding it. I believe this is the most beautiful property we’ve stayed at and we’ve definitely been to enough Hyatts to support that statement! The Sur House is the main restaurant onsite and is located 0.3 miles from the guestrooms down a winding hiking trail. It offers restaurant goers panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs and ocean and provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. It’s open to the public as well if you’re ever looking to check it out without staying at the Alila. Menu options cater to all guests and had a wide range of meat, vegetarian, and vegan options. We both tried the fish – Branzino for Jenny and grilled fish tacos for myself. Fantastic quality!
Outdoor Patio at Sur House
At 4pm, we received a text that our room was ready, so we made our way back to the main Social House to pick up our keys. The concierge let us know that they had upgraded us to the Big Sur Suite as a benefit for being Globalists. Definitely a welcome surprise. The room itself was large and included a fireplace, soaking tub, vinyl record player, and jacuzzi on the balcony. Amazing!
After settling in, we reconvened at the Social House to start the guided Redwood Hike. One of the main allures of this resort are all the experiences curated by the team. There are both complimentary and paid experiences offered ranging from axe throwing to hikes to champagne tasting. We opted for the Redwood Hike, Coastal Ridge Hike, Morning Yoga, and Beekeeping/Honey Tasting activities. Signing up is a breeze as you can reserve online prior to arrival. If you’re feeling spontaneous, you can also text the onsite concierge to reserve as well. See the gallery later for all the pictures from our experiences.
Post-hike, we headed back towards the Sur House for dinner. As it was winter, we were seated inside the restaurant instead of on the patio as we had for lunch. There were many familiar faces from earlier activities and it was really cool to get to know other guests since the property is so small. White Lotus vibes for sure! Dinner was a pleasant three course meal (pictures attached in gallery later) and we were free to order multiple appetizers (A5 wagyu anyone??) along with one entree and dessert, each. Again, the quality was amazing and was on par with a one Michelin star experience.
To help digest and relax, we went to the Japanese onsen (hot baths). It was such a surreal experience getting to soak in the hot water while star gazing above. What a way to kick off the new year!
The next day, we started with Morning Yoga led by the Director of Programming herself followed by the Coastal Ridge Hike, which wound its way steeply up the surrounding cliffs. This hike gave us an awe-inspiring view of the entire Big Sur/Ventana area and we recommend it to anyone staying here. We were able to secure late checkout at 12pm, so we headed next to the Beekeeping activity where we learned about the importance and societal structure of honeybees, and tasted all the delicious honey they provide. To round out our trip, we headed to the Sur House one final time to eat lunch before heading back to check-out and our car, where our luggage met us. This truly was an incredibly luxurious and relaxing stay and worth every point. Would I stay here for the cash price? Definitely possible given all the value the resort provides, but at 5.1 cents per point award value ($2,300 suite price / 45,000 points redeemed), it’s a no brainer. Check it out for yourself!