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Glen Oaks Big Sur + Big Sur Roadhouse: Big Sur, California
Cortnie Fausner
by Cortnie Fausner
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Glen Oaks Big Sur (hotel) & Big Sur Roadhouse (restaurant)

47080 California 1, Big Sur, California

The Report

We have our hiking shoes, canteens and walking sticks ready, and it's not because we are headed to girl scout camp. We are ready to road trip to the redwoods in Big Sur to a newly remodeled and newly re-opened venue! With our extensive event industry background, we enjoy reaching out to new venues, and get a great feel for the way the venue will succeed based on our correspondence with management. We are happy to report that Jeanette, the general manager, has been extremely busy with the new opening of this gem, yet still extremely responsive and gracious in returning our emails. Always a good sign when planning events.

Big Sur is filled with majestic and ancient redwood beauties that thrive along the coast of California. Amongst these tall trees sits the recently renovated and re-opened Glen Oaks Big Sur and Big Sur Roadhouse . Glen Oaks Big Sur is located in the heart of the Big Sur Valley and is few short miles from hiking trails, boutiques, shopping and beaches. The Lord of the Rings trilogy could have been filmed in this magical setting... these towering trees are truly J.R. Tolkien-worthy.

HISTORY LESSON: The adobe motor lodge was considered modern in 1957 and 50 years later with it's new makeover, Glen Oaks Big Sur has a fresh rustic-modern and Green sensibility. The remodel was inspired by the original natural adobe walls, known for keeping the hot sun out and the warmth in. In keeping with that eco-concept, the property utilized recycled and renewable stone, Peroba wood, bamboo, resin, wool carpets and organic cotton to maintain the natural environment.

HOW WILL MY GUESTS GET HERE?: Glen Oaks Big Sur is located along highway one. The hotel office is located on the East side of highway one and the Big Sur Roadhouse is located on the West side of highway one. Monterey Airport is about 45-60 minutes north of the venue, however it is a domestic airport. The property is about 2 hours south  of San Jose and 3 Hours south of San Francisco (which both have international airports), or about 6 hours north of LA along the Pacific Coast Highway.

HIGH SEASON: May - October
FOOD SERVICE: Onsite Restaurant
BAR SERVICE: beer & wine only
VIEWS: Redwood & River
ESTABLISHED IN: Reopened July 2013
DECOR: Mid-Century Modern Forest


Are you getting married? You can tie the knot right next to the giant knot of an elder redwood. Glen Oaks Big Sur is ideal for small ceremonies in their redwood grove. The venue has both redwood and/or river views as the backdrop for your big day.

The restaurant on the property, the Big Sur Roadhouse, has an amazing back patio with an outdoor gas fire pit and private entrance that can be reserved for events - dinner parties, holiday parties, rehearsal dinners, receptions, day after wedding brunch and more. San Francisco designer Steve Justrich’s “homegrown modernism” has transformed the Roadhouse into a truly unique modern environment with the rustic backdrop of Big Sur. We love the juxtaposition of mid-century modern meets forest.

WHAT WILL MY GUESTS EAT & DRINK?: Chef Matt Glazer has a fresh take on the classic California cuisine. Hailing from New Orleans, Chef Matt brings a unique blend of Cajun style to the Cali-coast. In keeping with the Big Sur ethos, the seasonal menu is filled with locally sourced organic ingredients. Alongside your meal, you can toast and cheers the night away with either beer and/or wine.

PILLOW TALK:  After you have frolicked around the forest and celebrated the night away you can snuggle up in your luxury accommodations. You can pretend like you are roughing it during the day and then sleep like a king at night. Yes, you can have your cake and it eat it too. Whether you are out on a hike, or cozy in your room, you are never far from the warmth and color of nature. There are a total of 25 rooms at the venue, 15 rooms in the Adobe Motor Lodge, 2 Cottages and 8 Cabins. Your guests will especially love the walk-in showers that are evocative of showering in the forest, but with modern amenities.

Perfect for:

  • birthday party
  • dinner party
  • holiday party
  • wedding ceremony
  • wedding reception
  • Reunion


First and foremost, this venue is home to the second largest Redwood tree in Big Sur affectionately called Grandmother Pfeiffer! In addition to the incredible beauty of the surroundings, all of the rooms include heated floors, gas fire places and complimentary Wi-Fi. After a long day in the forest, you can scrub off the dirt from your hiking adventures with organic bath products from Innersense. When it's time to lay down and count sheep you will greeted with natural wool blankets by Pendleton Woolen Mills, Coyuchi organic cotton bedding and feather duvets.

Not ready for bed yet? Then throw up your feet and get toasty and roasty fireside. All of the cabins in the redwood grove have their own fire pit with complimentary wood. For those who want to tell late night ghost stories you can gather around the community fire pit available to the rooms in the adobe motor lodge and cottages.


1.  REDWOOD WHEEL INVITATION: This letterpress tree ring wedding wheel delivers information to your guests as they spin the wheel and rings on the tree. The designers, Burning HouseSF also offer a digital download version so you can DIY your own!  2. GEOMETRIC VASES: The mid century vibe, geometric shapes and already fabulous decor in the venue call for minimal accents on your tablescapes. These wood planters with geometric patterns are the perfect rustic-meets-modern centerpiece   3. BRASS DEER: We love the brass animals that hail from the mid-century modern design days. We also love combining the vintage pieces from the era with the forest animals that can be found in the redwoods. This brass deer perfectly fuzes the modern venue design with the redwood setting.


The venue is located in the sunniest spot in Big Sur. When it is foggy on the coast it is usually sunny and warm at Glen Oaks Big Sur and the Big Sur Roadhouse. The original owner back in the 1950’s drove from Carmel to Big Sur every day to find the sunniest location to build a motor lodge. She found that the location was the prime spot to build the guest rooms and offer a sunny getaway for travelers coming to the area.

BRAGGING RIGHTS: Named one of the most romantic hotels by 'Travel & Leisure' Magazine.


  • Just renovated in 2013!
  • A mid-century motor lodge amongst the redwoods?? This combo is both rare and incredible!
  • Pendleton blankets in every room
  • The second largest Redwood tree in Big Sur sits on the property
  • Your guests can choose to sleep in cabins or the motor lodge. Most rooms have their own firepits with complimentary wood.
  • You can go hiking during the day and sleep in luxury at night
  • You will shower with organic bath products in the forest.


Purple Sand Beach:

Pfeiffer beach is located about a 5-10 minute drive south of Glen Oaks Big Sur. It has purple sand beaches and amazing rock formations that you can see the waves crashing through. Pfeiffer Beach, with its purple sand, is located down Sycamore Canyon Road - Photo via jurvetson flickr

Mc Way Falls:

This 80-foot waterfall is an 8th wonder of the world nominee. Located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the waterfall spills down the cliffs onto the sandy cove and into the Pacific Ocean. This rare sight can be viewed from "Overlook Trail" off of Highway One. (photo via

Afternoon Tea:

Stop by the historic and pet friendly Cypress Inn, co-owned by legendary actress Doris Day and her son. Nestled in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the iconic Inn has been a landmark boutique hotel of the Central Coast since 1929. Enjoy your afternoon tea in the “Day Room,” where Doris Day films may be viewed upon request. Photo via Cypress Inn

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