As repairs continue to close Highway 1, hotel guests can now arrive by helicopter.
If you can’t go around, go over, or so believes the Post Ranch Inn. The ultra-luxury resort in Big Sur, a remote part of the Central California coast, reopened last week with a deluxe new private helicopter package that circumvents the ongoing closure of Highway 1, the only road in and out of the area.
On one level, the quick thinking is a Hail Mary attempt to make the best of a bad situation regarding access to the Big Sur area: Structural damages caused by this year's brutal winter have forced road closures in and out of the resort until Memorial Day, at the absolute earliest.
On another level, the latest development makes a stay at Post Ranch Inn a more exclusive and memorable experience—and at a terrific value, too. For an additional $500 per couple, the resort’s new all-inclusive Escape Through the Skies package kicks off with a private 20-minute helicopter transfer from Monterey Airport, complete with Champagne welcome and stunning coastline views. Once on property, guests will receive three meals a day at Sierra Mar, the resort’s on-site restaurant, plus complimentary shuttle by Lexus Hybrid to the iconic Big Sur restaurant, Nepenthe, the adjacent Phoenix Shop, and Hawthorne Gallery, upon request.
Mike Freed, Post Ranch Inn’s managing partner, described the new offer as a double-down on experience. “We believe that creating the best possible guest experience begins with the journey,” he said this week. “Our goal for this once-in-a-lifetime helicopter [transport] is to encourage the comeback of Big Sur and to welcome our guests in true Post Ranch-style, while showcasing the world-famous Pacific Coast views from above.”
To say it was a bad winter for Big Sur would be an understatement. One round of heavy rains in February caused structural failures in the Highway 1 bridge over Pfeiffer Canyon; the bridge was dismantled in March to make way for a new span. Another February deluge triggered a series of mudslides that washed out the road in two other places farther south. Now, the bridge replacement project blocks access to Big Sur from the north; road closures at Ragged Point block access from the south.
As of earlier this week, local transportation authorities were working double-time to get parts of the road open again. Efforts to repair the southern approach are expected to be finished by Memorial Day, and San Jose, California’s Mercury-News reported that the bridge replacement project was expected to last through the summer.
For now, the Post Ranch Inn's Escape Through the Skies package is available through June 30 only. The package requires a stay of two or more nights; those who stay four or five nights net even more value, since all meals are included for the duration of a stay.