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Take a mix of sensitive eco-consciousness and wild architectural creativity, and position it on one of the prime spots in California—what results is the Post Ranch Inn. This luxury modern resort is set on the cliffs of Big Sur just off Highway 1 which runs from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Post Ranch has some of the world’s most luxurious tree houses and wooden cabins, with views along the spectacular coastline and into the Ventana Mountains behind. The architecture is modern and dramatic— blending redwood, glass, and steel in sweeping curves, arches, and skylights. Interior design is all uncluttered simplicity with muted earthy colors, exposed wood, and plain fabrics. You may stay in a triangular room 10 feet (3 m) off the ground on wooden stilts or a house modeled on the shape of a butterfly, but all guests get a wood-burning stove, private spa tub and terrace, digital music system with forty-five channels, and free walking sticks. There are no televisions or alarm clocks.

Guests can have spa treatments in their rooms; a massage on the private deck overlooking the ocean is a big favorite among California’s rich and famous. The inn’s Sierra Mar restaurant is perched right on the cliff edge and is made mainly of glass to maximize the fantastic views from the tables. The gourmet Californian food is complemented by an award-winning wine list.

By day, visitors are free to simply relax by the pools or take hikes into the mountains. Some embrace the Californian spirit still further with daily yoga sessions, meditation, and stargazing talks. The less esoteric can take a short drive to the towns of Monterey and Carmel for shopping and sightseeing.