Price From $155
John Handy and his wife, Corinne, spent years searching the central coast for a place to retire.
Only after they bought 11 acres in southern Big Sur, however, did they realize that new zoning laws wouldn't allow them to build a house. So they built a hotel. "But we didn't want it to be like a hotel at all," says John.
His mother turned the couple on to the idea of yurts, tent-like structures that can be built with very little wood; their simple foundations also wouldn't require bulldozing the steeply sloped land.
John commissioned craftsmen to make chairs from unwanted saplings for the main lodge; for the terrace, he had a 65-foot bar built from a redwood that had been cut down and abandoned.
The 16 yurts have pine floors and wooden furniture, and best of all, each has a skylight to let the sun and stars peek through.
Rate includes breakfast.