Is Alila Ventana Large Sur overrated? Or simply overvalued?

There’s a sure sort of person who emerges at any time when one thing begins to get hyped within the factors and miles/journey world. I name it “punk-rock journey man,” alluding to the children again within the day that liked punk rock bands…so long as they didn’t get too large. Punk rock journey man begins to get suspicious of any sought-after redemption or vacation spot that everybody and their mother appears to be Instragramming about. In spite of everything, how may one thing actually be “that good,” if everybody already is aware of about it?

The Maldives had been that vacation spot for a very long time (and doubtless nonetheless are). There’s a sizeable group of individuals for whom the islands are a tag-word for “secluded paradise” and watching the solar dip behind the Indian Ocean from an overwater bungalow is an unmissable, bucket-list merchandise. There’s one other, smaller group (who usually has by no means been to the Maldives) that thinks “Meh, it’s simply one other seaside. I can get to a kind of rather more simply with out spending a fortune and following the sheeple.”

Le Meridien Maldives Overwater Bungalow Deck Dawn View (watery footprints courtesy of Nick Reyes)

Some punk-rock journey guys now assume that Alila Ventana Large Sur has turn out to be the “subsequent Maldives;” an overhyped, overpriced vacation spot whose repute solely exists due to influencers and groupthink.

For me, the thought of someplace being “overrated” isn’t terribly helpful. I believe that what people like about journey is simply too individualized for that. Simply because I like Austria and am not an enormous fan of Germany doesn’t imply that everybody else will really feel the identical approach.

That mentioned, I’m intrigued by the thought of “worth,” and particularly how that idea performs into what we do with, and the way we really feel about, our factors and miles. So, let’s ask a special however associated query: is Ventana Large Sur overvalued?

Entrance garden of Alila Ventana Large Sur.

Worth is a tough factor

It may be tough to get people to agree on what worth even means within the first place. Within the “actual” world, it’s straightforward to say that one thing is “value” what another person is prepared to pay for it. If there are individuals prepared to plunk down $75,000 on a brand new Porsche, then that’s what it’s value, no matter whether or not or not I personally would pay that. Others say that worth is intrinsically particular person: since I’d by no means pay $75k for a automotive, a Porsche isn’t value that a lot to me.

An analogous debate goes on within the (admittedly bizarro) world of factors and miles, made all of the extra squishy by the truth that we’re utilizing funny-money “factors currencies” to pay for flights and resorts which have an precise greenback worth hooked up to them. To make issues simpler to course of, many people attempt to put an estimate on the relative worth of factors and miles through the use of a time period known as “cents per level (cpp).” The concept is that you could size-up totally different factors “currencies” by evaluating what number of cents you get in redemption worth for every level. However even that notion will get fudgy, relying on who you ask.

For instance, some people will say that, in the event that they redeemed 50,000 factors for a $10,000 enterprise class flight, they obtained 20 cents-per-point “worth” ($10,000 divided by 50,000 factors). Straightforward-peasy, proper?

Not so quick. Different individuals take into account that 20cpp a made-up quantity as a result of most of us would by no means pay $10,000 in precise money for that flight. Thus, the “worth” of the redemption is simply equal to the money worth that you simply’d truly be prepared to pay. If you happen to would solely pay $2,000 for that fifty,000 level flight, your actual redemption worth is someplace round 4cpp. Greg the Frequent Miler just isn’t an enormous fan of this definition.

Nonetheless others will say that the utmost “worth” must be marked at no matter it will price to purchase these factors. So, on this instance, in case you may purchase these fictional factors for two cents every, that’s their most worth. Even in case you redeem them for a $100,000 flight, they’re nonetheless not “value” greater than the acquisition worth of two cent per level.

So, worth is hard. However issues get even foggier when contemplating Ventana Large Sur.

Mountain view balcony at Ventana Large Sur

What makes Alila Ventana Large Sur so interesting

Ventana is definitely beautiful. It sits hillside above Large Sur, one of the crucial magical coastal areas in North America. The rooms really feel like luxurious cabins, with uncovered wooden, giant balconies, wood-burning fireplaces and soaking tubs. Some rooms have out of doors sizzling tubs and showers to go together with the ocean views. They’ve an excellent restaurant and all meals is included. You possibly can eat a multi-course meal within the restaurant, get meals delivered to one among two pool areas, or have room service delivered to your room. If you happen to’re planning on going out mountain climbing, they’ll pack a lunch for you.

There’s included completely satisfied hour drinks every day, in addition to complimentary s’mores (which it’s also possible to have delivered to your room). They’ve actions as effectively, like free guided hikes, night stargazing and honey tastings. The property, although huge, feels each secluded and tucked away. If another person had been paying, most people would agree that it’s a stellar place to remain.

Then there’s the worth. Ventana Large Sur is now a Hyatt Class 8, kicking up its nightly price to 35-45,000 Hyatt factors per evening, relying on whether or not you get peak, common or off-peak pricing. No matter which season you’re in, that’s a ship load of factors.

Even at these stratospheric costs, award nights can nonetheless be booked out months upfront. A part of the rationale for that is that the property normally has money charges that begin at round $2,500/evening all-in, and may go even greater, particularly in case you issue within the room upgrades that many elite members get whereas staying there. Although you may be paying 40,000 Hyatt factors/evening, the truth that the room would promote for ~$2,500 signifies that you’re getting greater than 6cpp worth, triple our Cheap Redemption Worth for Hyatt factors of two.1 cents every. That form of worth, mixed with the historic issue of acquiring awards, has saved demand for the property sky-high.

However, there’s a bit smoke and a mirror or two on the subject of Ventana pricing.

The “Marine Layer” cocktail at Ventana, served with a smoked-filled bubble on prime

What does a keep at Ventana Large Sur “price?”

Final time I used to be at Ventana, everybody that I heard checking-in was staying on factors, which could appear shocking, given how “tough” award stays are to get. Once I was trying out, I used to be inquisitive about this and requested the assistant supervisor, “on a median evening, how most of the rooms are award redemptions?” The reply was shocking: 65-75%. On the alternative facet, on any given evening, a most of ~25-35% of friends are literally paying these $2k+/evening costs.

I requested him if that was ever powerful for the resort from a cashflow perspective. He instructed me that it was truly nice as a result of, so long as the resort maintained excessive occupancy charges, they had been reimbursed at one thing near the money fee for these stays (reimbursement charges various based mostly on occupancy is a typical apply).

So successfully, the next money worth makes awards extra enticing and, so long as they’ll keep excessive occupancy charges, the property will get glorious reimbursement charges on these award stays.

My suspicion is that, if Ventana had been counting on money stays alone to maintain $2,500/evening pricing, they’d by no means have the ability to obtain it long run. In spite of everything, they solely have 25-35% of friends, on common, paying it now.

Is the property value it?

Curiously, neither of our visits to the property have been seamless. The primary time we had been there, we got a ground-floor room proper in entrance of one of many swimming pools. Our terrace confronted the sidewalk, in full view of the individuals strolling by. It was so public as to make the patio unappealing and we saved the window shades drawn more often than not. Not solely that, however the thermostat wasn’t working and there was no solution to management the warmth, outdoors of turning it utterly on or off. It was both roasting or freezing and it took two days and 3-4 upkeep visits for them to lastly say “uncle” and get us a brand new room (which was on the second flooring of the identical constructing and a lot higher).

The second time we visited, we requested for a second-floor room and received one with a mountain view. The warmth labored, the view was pretty and it was backed by an outside bathe…in full view of a number of of our neighbors. Regardless, we had been thrilled with the room. That’s, till the subsequent morning at 6:15am, when the hammering started. Seems, there have been fairly few woodpeckers that liked our exterior wall and would fortunately share that love with us, beginning about half-hour earlier than dawn and persevering with all through the day.

Each instances we stayed, we ordered breakfast in our room…as soon as. Every time, our meals was delivered between 1-2 hours late. Throughout our second keep, the breakfast dishes frolicked in entrance of our door, uncleared, for over 24 hours. Wooden deliveries had been forgotten on each stays. The second time, we arrived within the afternoon to an empty check-in room and waited, unacknowledged, for round 10-Quarter-hour. We lastly had been in a position to get somebody to the entrance desk by calling the resort and asking.

All that mentioned, we love the property. Throughout our first keep, my spouse and I saved saying some variation of, “XYZ is de facto shocking for a $2,000/evening resort.” We lastly caught ourselves and determined to take pleasure in it for what we truly paid for it: 25,000 factors of Hyatt funny-money per evening. We had a good time. A lot so, that we returned once more (albeit, earlier than the resort went as much as class 8). Even now, I’d actually take into account spending 35,000 factors/evening for a splurgy weekend getaway. The property is gorgeous and distinctive, the meals is excellent (if not nice), upgrades to some pretty rooms are straightforward to get. There actually isn’t one other place fairly prefer it on the West Coast that you could get with factors.

View from restaurant at Ventana Large Sur

Is Alila Ventana Large Sur “overvalued?”

I’ve talked to fairly a couple of individuals who have stayed at Ventana. To an individual, all of them loved it so much. Every one among them has additionally mentioned, in impact, “I’d by no means pay $2,000/evening to remain there.” When trying out after our first keep, I listened to a Danish gents, who truly did pay money, rake an assistant supervisor over the coals for Quarter-hour due to related points to what we had skilled. He was irate at having spent (based on him) over $8,000 for a 3 evening keep. I most likely would have been annoyed as effectively if had dropped that form of coin.

So sure, for my part, Alila Ventana Large Sur is totally overvalued. That is merely not a $2k+/evening property and I believe people anticipating to search out that may most certainly be upset.

That mentioned, it’s an extremely pleasurable place to remain. For me, it’s additionally an attention-grabbing instance of how the money costs we see could be deceiving, and that squeezing probably the most worth out of factors redemptions isn’t at all times obligatory for a weekend effectively spent.

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