Big Sur River Inn

Highway 1 at Pheneger Creek, Big Sur, California, 93920, United States
Big Sur River Inn
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Satisfaction Terrible
Very Good


Value Score No Data

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Good For Solo
  • Families24
  • Couples33
  • Solo75
  • Business0

More about Big Sur River Inn

Now Just Another Big Sur Tourist Place

by TripAdvisor Member Raroach

I am sad to report that all Big Sur restaurants have now become too-expensive tourist stops. The funk and charm that was only left at the River Inn is now gone the way of Nepenthe, but without the view. I suppose the burgers ($11) are still good. Entrees generally start in the $18 - $23 range. The rustic decor has been upgraded slightly with some fabrics hanging over the beams and classical Muzak. Service was good but the food was not very well done. The bread was slightly stale and uninspired. The tomato basil soup was only adequate. The salad of organic greens was quite good. The big disappointment was the entree, seafood ravioli, which was way too over-salted. The waitress did forward my comment to the cook and she tried to tell me that they put no salt in it and the lobster made it salty. Sorry, but it was the sauce, not the little lobster bits. No house wines since they are a fancy-but-still-rustic place now.

great place

by A TripAdvisor Member

the food is great, and hey, everyone has off nights, but overall, its a great place. There are chairs in the river so you can relax, and as far as people getting drunk and whatnot, its great, I am a local, and have been there many times and have never once seen drunks that bad in the river. I love this place, when its hot everywhere else you can just go and relax at this beautiful place.

Beatiful Location....Needs a Bulldozer

by TripAdvisor Member suttercreek

As with many properties - homes, businesses, motels, etc. of this era of California construction...what this place really needs is a good 'dozing and a rebuild from the ground up. What we got for $145/night for a room for 2 in the middle of winter was pretty disappointing.

I was there with a relative for a family wedding at Big Sur. There is a lack of reasonable lodging in the Big Sur area, so we chose this due to no really good affordable places. We were completely unprepared for the overwhelming nose full of mildew when we opened the door to the room...this is, in my opinion due to the aged construction, the general dampness of the area, the lack of ventilation or dual pane windows.

The beds were comfortable...the room was clean. No coffee in the room and the place that sold it didn't open until 7:30 AM....and my mom does NOT Sleep in that late, so she had to wait for her morning coffee.

Suggestions: stay in Monterey...bring your own coffee pot.....make sure you bring warm sleeping clothes...the rooms are COLD in the winter.

Pretty much what we expected

by TripAdvisor Member jandollar

I don't imagine that this place is much of a deal in the peak season. However, we stayed during their "Winter Return" promotion, with discounted rates. I am not sure what the single rooms are like across the highway, but it is well worth the extra money to get a river room. For $195 we got the two room suite with a balcony overlooking the river. This rate included dinner and breakfast for two and 25% off on gas at their station. No TV or phones, but that is typical of Big Sur, so if you need it, bring a portable DVD player. The river suite did have an in room coffee maker. The furnishings were basic, but comfortable, including a comfy Mission style rocker. The bed was too firm for my taste, but better than too soft. The unit was very clean. The shower was tiny (watch your elbow on the faucet!).

For dinner I had the salmon and my husband had halibut, both were delicious. For breakfast we had pan fried trout and eggs. Where else can you get that? In Big Sur we don't expect luxury and you pay for location.

Set's the bar as low as possible

by TripAdvisor Member 2swans2

In 20 years of extensive travel in the US and a good deal of the world, I have to say this is the best example of an overpriced complete piece of trash I have ever stayed in. Their website is a fabrication of the actual dump you will find. This place is worth maybe $30 a night on a good day. Anyone who thinks paying $120.00 or more per night for this place needs their head examined.

Thumbs Way Down on the Big Sur River Inn

by A TripAdvisor Member

I read the bad reviews on this site last week and sided with the good, thinking, really, how bad could it be? And agreeing that we have to pay more to get a room in a remote beautiful place. I return from a weekend spent at Big Sur River Inn agreeing with the bad reviews. 1) the rooms are not only dated, they're run down inside, flourescent lightbulbs in the lamps, and the beds are completely uncomfortable. 2) the noise is nonstop from evening creaking of people in the rooms above, I could even hear the guy upstairs taking a leak in his room's toilet, bikers going full throttle on the highway out front and day-visitors drinking and being loud on the lawn behind. 3) if I pay $225 a night for a room, I'm expecting that the hotel is making money off me to afford me, the hotel guest, with quiet and relaxation. I don't care that there is no television or phone in the room, but I'd expect the atmosphere of the place to be clean, relaxing and comfortable. Big Sur River Inn has none of those three going for it and seems instead to take the room guest's money as well as cater to the party day-visitor crowd. Pretty poor way of running a business.

Great potential, but..

by TripAdvisor Member Chris_Deverson

As part of a holiday exploring the Pacific Coast, we stayed at here to break up the journey. Although the location is great and the Inn itself was picturesque, we, like most people, were on the other side of the road in what was little more than a shed. This was a real disappointment given the cost of the room. If you pay in the region of $130 you should expect a better standard of accomodation. An ice bucket was all that was offered in terms of extras (you have to see the bar tender over the road for the ice)!! In the hotel literature it proudly stated that the rooms were built by the owner in the 1960s - I would contend that little has been done since to improve things. I feel the owners want to foster a rustic, almost hippy vibe, while making mega bucks in the process. The restaurant food and service was good.

Just keep driving...

by A TripAdvisor Member

If you're looking for something that's just one step up from camping, this might be your place. But, we weren't.

Things to be aware of...
- Most of the rooms are only about 100 feet from Hwy 1 (and face the Hwy), so plan on it being loud.
- Our room (#11) didn't have A/C or a fan (not good on a hot day) which forced us to leave our windows open (agian, loud)
- The shower is TINY. If you're larger than a small child, beware. I'm an average size 5'9" male and the shower was small for me. So, if you're pretty tall or larger than average, you might have some trouble.
- Dirty and old, so bring your shower shoes.
- No TV or phone.

Okay, my wife is making me write this part...Big Sur is expensive and there is a lack of moderately priced hotels. So, if don't want to spend $400 a night, this is an option.

Personally, I won't stay there ever again.

What a Tacky Place

by TripAdvisor Member traveller70

The rooms are not nice and are not very clean. My family and I are okay with basic and simple but this place is outdated and tacky. I agree with the other poster who said this is one step up from camping - but I'd rather camp.

The bikers, the noise - I think this "Inn" is comprable to a Motel 6. If you are driving through and need a place to stay overnight then this may work for you but I would not recommend this Motel for anything more than that.

Sleep In Your Car

by TripAdvisor Member Bannatyne

Most reviewers have said it all. The noise was the worst. I felt as if I was sleeping at the Daytona racetrack. Their website absolutely makes this dump look good with creative photography. Ambien didn't even help here. Stay in Monterey and save the drive for the next day.


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 Big Sur River Inn

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Big Sur River Hotel Big Sur

Address: Highway 1 at Pheneger Creek, Big Sur, California, 93920, United States