My name is: Maria Hampton.
I'm known for being: Spa manager at Ventana Big Sur.
I’m talking about: Spa Alila at the Ventana Big Sur. It’s a truly special place! Sitting among the redwood trees, just along the Pacific Ocean, the spa offers the peace and beauty we are all seeking. With everything from basic Swedish Massage to Energy Work, Astrology Readings and Essence Portraits, there’s definitely a unique service for everyone.
This is special because: Our bodyworkers are the best of the best and are very passionate about each of the services that they provide. The spa is at the center of Ventana, overlooking the Ocean Meadow Pool and Infinity Hot Tub, both with amazing views. One one side, you see the ocean; on the other, Redwood Canyon. My absolute favorite element is our private massage cabanas. They are so quiet and serene. You can soak in a giant copper tub overlooking the canyon, followed by a massage, all while listening to the wind rustling through the trees.
When it comes to well-being, we’re all about: The peace and beauty of Ventana doesn’t stop at the spa. It is integrated into all aspects of the property. The rooms are especially quiet and spacious—with fireplaces and tubs for relaxing.
One thing you can’t miss is: Ventana’s morning yoga at the Sur Vista. The location is right on the cliffs, overlooking the Pacific. The views are spectacular and the energy center of that particular spot brings your practice to a whole new level. Live, meditative music flows along with the class, as well.
I also wouldn’t miss our Herbal Compress Massage, during which an expert bodyworker—specifically trained in this modality—uses a specially crafted herbal compress (heated to the perfect temperature) to massage your whole body. The compresses are made with thoughtfully chosen herbs that contain healing and restorative properties.
My favorite secret detail is: The Tara Botanicals CBD Oils that we offer. We sell the line in our retail shop, but also can incorporate the products into treatments. The collection is hand-crafted locally like many of our unique offerings and represents the essence of Big Sur. The birch and rose oil has an amazing scent! I use it for aches and pains, headaches, cramps and muscle soreness.
Your body will thank you because: You’ll be left feeling relaxed and restored! We’re so rarely able to take time away to fully recharge in today’s world. We are always on the go, always plugged in. Spa Alila encourages us to completely unplug and gives us the resources to do so.
Whether guests start their days with yoga or breakfast on the porch, then move onto spa treatments or hiking in the Redwood Canyon, they’re sure to find what they need to recharge.
You’re in the neighborhood, you must try: The Smokehouse, which opened this summer in the historic Post House. It’s a great spot to stop for a bite to eat. They have amazing, in-house smoked meats, local veggies and refreshing beverages.
Escaping should be part of your process because: We spend our days caught up in work, family, social media and all of the chaos of everyday life. Escaping gives us the chance to reconnect and rediscover the little things—our partners, nature, ourselves. This makes us better people.
Escaping is part of my process because: I love what I do and I practice what I preach. I truly believe that taking the time to appreciate our surroundings and decompress in a place like Spa Alila allows us to be the best versions of ourselves, every day.