Price From $135
In 1955, Doris Fee decided to build a 15-unit motel along Highway 1, next to the Ripplewood Resort. When Basil and Tracy Sanborn took over in 2005, everything was exactly as it had been 50 years earlier.
The couple updated the reservations systemguests used to secure a spot by mailing in a checkand then tackled the rooms. "We wanted to maintain the spirit of Big Sur," Tracy says.
She kept the adobe walls, added bamboo floors and furniture made of sustainable wood, and had California artists create felted-wool rugs and pillows.
Bathrooms now have heated pebble floors and vanities made from recycled sorghum stock. The Sanborns installed stairs along the redwood forest trail, and soon they'll put in picnic benches along the Big Sur River. "We have the best swimming hole in Big Sur," says Tracy.