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Deetjen's has been the embodiment of Big Sur for generations. It isn't about the plush amenities (there aren't any) or a feeling of seclusion (single-panel wood walls mean you can hear a neighbor's sneeze), but an appreciation for Big Sur itself.
"The whole idea behind Deetjen's is its sense of place," says general manager Torrey Waag.
Built in the 1930s by Norwegian immigrant Helmuth Deetjen, the hotel became a haven for artists and writers. These days, the hotel and its café are as much a draw for full-time Big Sur residents as they are for visitors.
There are 20 rooms in seven ramshackle cabins, and they're not for everyone. But if the glowing comments in each room's guest book are any indication, there's something deeply satisfying about staying amid all the hand-built furniture, surrounded by a collection of antiques, with trees rustling and surf crashing in the background.