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Do Go Back To Big Sur, As Long As It's At Treebones

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  Site Where: 71895 Hwy 1 [map], Big Sur, CA, United States, 93920
May 2, 2011 at 3:02 PM | by | ()

Remember The Thrills?

It says a lot about the place you’re staying when a yurt is the pedestrian option, but that’s how we felt when we booked two nights at Treebones Resort the week before last.

See, the reason we were really heading up to Big Sur was because we wanted to stay in The Nest – the treehouse perched on a bluff overlooking Highway 1 and the Pacific. But, thanks to its being booked up months in advance, The Nest was only free on our second night. So the first, we luxed up in a yurt.

Our yurt, 12, qualified as a partial ocean view – although we didn’t get much enjoyment from said view because our first day was freezing cold. But there were two chairs on the deck that we could have enjoyed it from, had we brought our longjohns.

The yurt itself was basic but spotless and comfy, too: a queen bed with, for once, a pretty quilt, a futon, a sink (with an eminently stealable bar of handmade lemongrass soap, spring water from their own underground aquifer and compostable cups) and towels. There was a small heater and, for those (um, us) who were still too cold with that, reception had more to loan out. The end result? Toasty.

As for the bathrooms, there were male and female blocks of toilets and showers up by the reception and lounge area – three showers and three toilets for the women, and two showers for the men – as well as one male and female toilet over the far side of the site. They were pretty clean, considering there are the inhabitants of 16 yurts using them. And we never saw a line for the showers over the two days.

Breakfast is free for all guests, served in the lodge, overlooking the ocean. And, despite snarks on Tripadvisor, it was pretty good: great coffee, cook-your-own waffles, scrambled eggs, granola and fruit from the garden. We could have done with some bread or meat to go with the eggs, but what was there was delicious. There was also free WiFi in the lodge, which wasn’t superfast but enough to work without problem. And there’s a small pool and hot tub just outside.

What was our first yurt experience like? Well, it was kind of as we expected. It felt like a proper bedroom – it had a wooden floor, wicker walls, a basin and a bed – except the windows were made of plastic and there was a skylight in the roof, which meant the room got bright as soon as the sun came up, and we awoke to the sight of tree branches overhead.

The only problem? The soundproofing. In the wind, the branches overhead brushed the top of the yurt (although it was kind of soothing, like whale music as we went to sleep) and we could hear pretty much everything from the yurts around us, depending on which way the wind was blowing. It’s pretty deceptive because they’re so well equipped that you feel like you’re in a proper room – and then you hear the neighbors’ conversation as clearly as if they’re in that same room with you. Also, the yurts in our area were pretty bunched together – there was one about four feet to our left, one about six feet behind us, and a huge one to our right. We got more privacy in the treehouse, which, even though it’s open to the elements, is removed from the yurt area.

There’s a solution to the intimacy issue – request yurt 15 or 16, which are full ocean view yurts on the far side of the site from the others. They cost $20 more than the partial ocean views.

Would we stay again? In a heartbeat. Yes it’s expensive, considering you’re basically getting a sexed-up tent and shared bathroom facilities – mountain view yurts, perched round the back, cost $169, our partial ocean view cost $179 (worth the extra $10) and the full ocean views cost $199 – but the position, perched over Highway 1, is incomparable. And the experience – waking up to the sound of birds and sealions, and opening your door to see the Pacific below – is a keeper for life. Just bring a woolly hat for when it gets cold.

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