When you think of a cabin in the woods, what springs to mind? The latest horror film? A rustic outbuilding with no running water and an unthinkable toilet situation? You’re not alone, because that is exactly what I thought when my fiancée declared that he wanted an outdoors adventure during our road trip on the west coast of California. Admittedly, I’m more of a room-service-and-fluffy-robe kind of girl when it comes to holiday accommodation, but in the name of love I thought I’d compromise. But, in between buying mosquito repellent and headtorches, a 5-star saviour in the Big Sur heard my prayers.
Glen Oaks may offer the rural location of Redwood forests off the famous Highway One along the Big Sur but these are no ordinary wood cabins. With sleek furnishings (think outdoor roll top baths, mosaic tiles and Instagrammable bedrooms), underfloor heating and waterfall showers, this is an outdoor getaway I could get on board with. Once a family-friendly motel, current owners Tracy and Basil Sanborn snapped up Glen Oaks from a friend and, with the help of architect and designer Steve Justrich, have turned it into a luxury oasis for those who need to re-connect with nature, and themselves. With no TV or phone signal available, don’t expect to find the typical distractions of modern life at Glen Oaks. Although tweeting our breathtaking back yard of flowing rivers and waterfalls from our private deck is top of my agenda, not being able to is surprisingly refreshing. After three days of listening to birdsong, falling asleep to the sound of rain falling on our roof and taking long walks along the coast, Instagram and Facebook are a distant memory.
Whether you’re a country bumpkin or a city dweller, it’s impossible not to become immersed in the surroundings of Glen Oaks. Expect to add an extra hour to your journey time thanks to the unbelievable views of the ocean’s violent swell along the highway. From cliff-edge roads to daring bridges, the landscape provides optimum conditions for selfies aplenty.
The strong nature aesthetic lends itself perfectly to Glen Oaks design as the eco-friendly cabins have been lovingly created with nothing but the guest experience and the historic landscape in mind. Taking the lead from the original adobe walls, known for keeping the hot sun out and the warmth in, each suite uses recycled and renewable stone, wood, bamboo, resin, wool carpets and organic cotton for an authentic stay. Each cabin is positioned amongst its own clearing of trees, facing away from surrounding neighbours making you feel completely secluded in your own private section of Redwoods.
The restaurant owned by Glen Oaks, is a short walk away and serves breakfast and lunch and guests get a very welcome free coffee and doughnuts in the morning!
Days flew by in a blur of morning yoga on the deck and chilly evenings roasting marshmallows (mats and smore kits are available in-room) in our outdoor fire pit before retiring for a peaceful night’s sleep with nothing but fresh Big Sur air in our lungs. Suddenly, living al fresco doesn’t seem so bad after all!
Glen Oaks Big Sur, 47080 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
Tel: +1(831) 667-2105
Glen Oaks is located off Highway One and is approximately 160 miles from San Francisco and 350 miles from Los Angeles. Complimentary parking is available for guests outside each cabin.
Type of Hotel: Luxury Wood Cabins
Number of Cabins: 16 rooms in main lodge, 2 cottages and 8 cabins all with complimentary Wi-Fi.
Insider Tip: With the nearest supermarket 40 minutes away, make sure you stop off in Monterey or Carmel to stock up on groceries as supplies are very scarce. Do also make sure you take advantage of the local pub – it’s beautifully rustic and uses the freshest ingredients in its food.
Price Band: Medium to high
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Jessica Harris is a UK-based journalist with a background in fashion, beauty and travel journalism.
Photographs courtesy of Glen Oaks Big Sur