In May, one of the biggest landslides on record in California buried a small section of Highway 1 — a famous coastal highway — under 40 feet of rubble. The blockage has devastated the ever-popular Big Sur region, where local businesses, resorts, and retreat centres attract tourists from around the world.
But it hasn’t stopped visitors with funds to spare from visiting.
Post Ranch Inn, a luxury resort located approximately 40 miles north of the landslide at Mud Creek, is offering complimentary helicopter rides to and from the inn with stays of three or more nights. The “Escape Through the Skies” package ranges from $US4,291 to over $US13,500, based on room type and duration of stay. It’s a steep price to pay for isolation in Big Sur.
But it’s also a rare opportunity to avoid the crowds that usually clog the roads during the summer.
Highway 1 remains closed on both sides of Post Ranch Inn, and the resort is currently only accessible by air. The Inn typically fills its 39 guest rooms (for about 78 guests) this time of year, but has seen visitation rates fall since the landslide. Between 25 and 40 guests at a time were on the property in May; a spokesperson for Post Ranch Inn said those numbers have risen to 50 or 60 guests.
The resort partnered with Del Monte Aviation to offer pick-ups from Monterey Regional Airport. The ride begins with a “champagne welcome” and offers breathtaking ocean views. The helicopter lands directly on the property, where guests are greeted and whisked away.
“Post Ranch Inn believes creating the best possible guest experience begins with the journey and Highway One through Big Sur is arguably one of the most beautiful routes in the world,” a spokesperson for the inn told Business Insider.
The resort continues to offer its usual variety of activities and amenities, including guided nature walks, culinary garden tours, and yoga classes.
The Escape Through the Skies package runs through August, though it’s unclear if Highway 1 will be open by then. The mudslide on May 20 spewed 1 million tons of rocks and debris onto the highway and the cliff beneath it. Early estimates say it may take as much as one year and millions of dollars to clear the rubble and rebuild that stretch, The Mercury News reported.
“The goal for this spectacular helicopter experience is to encourage the comeback of Big Sur and welcome guests in true Post Ranch-style,” a resort spokesperson said.