We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Want the lowest hotel prices? You're in the right place. We check 200+ sites for you.

The Esalen Institute

Certificate of Excellence
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: 55000 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920-9546
Phone Number:
+1 888-837-2536

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 183 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 124
  • 28
    Very good
  • 10
  • 6
  • 9
Surreal Moon-Tanning Experience

If you are staying in Big Sur (or within reasonable distance) and DON'T sign up for the wee-hours hot springs session...you're missing out! Sure, you've got to take a nap... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 26 October 2016
Atlanta, Georgia
Add Photo Write a Review

183 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 177: English reviews
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2016

If you are staying in Big Sur (or within reasonable distance) and DON'T sign up for the wee-hours hot springs session...you're missing out! Sure, you've got to take a nap around 10pm....but it's worth it. My love and I ventured out at midnight to Esalen, gathering in the parking lot at the top of the driveway on the side of... More 

3 Thank moonspies
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
48 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 October 2016

What an amazing place. Nothing compares to soaking on the cliffs of Big Sur in warm healing hot springs under a blanket of stars! The energy of the place is great. They offer many different kinds of great workshops. The food is good and the staff are helpful and friendly. The reason they have only 4 stars is the beds... More 

3 Thank Isa M
Gilroy, California
Level Contributor
378 reviews
273 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 September 2016

Even if you do not attend any conferences or workshops at Esalen, you can get a massage (the famous Esalen massage) then watch the sun set from thermal pools on the cliffside above the beach.

Thank Norma W
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2016

This is the place to go for deep healing and relaxation. The natural hot sulfur baths and the gorgeous cliffs of Big sur and magical forest is a combination to not be missed. This is a bucket list place. I love it!!!! Oh and the most amazing organic (grown right on the property) food daily included in the rental. So... More 

3 Thank Dgale11
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2016

Esalen Institute offers classes, spa services and more.. I first visited the outdoor hot tubs decades ago and still remember it fondly! Built into the cliffs in Big Sur, you won't find a more beautiful, unique place to relax and experience. Be sure to call or visit online wa-a-y ahead to reserve a spot- in demand.

1 Thank M R
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 September 2016

I spent a weekend here for a writing workshop and the whole experience was magical. The setting and the ethos of the place is so warm and beautiful. The hot springs are beautiful, and clothing optional is liberating. If you're open to new idea and spending time with like minded, interesting people this place is for you. If you don't... More 

3 Thank Newwhite
Kirkland, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 September 2016

Magical wonderland. Love everything about this place. Had some of the best slumber in a long time. I had a phenomenal thai massage that was priceless. Enjoyed the incredible night sky while soaking in the hot baths.

2 Thank 29carole777
Capitola, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2016

Attended a workshop this weekend at Escalen. First, let me say the setting is beautiful. What's hard to understand is the lack of hospitality and customer service! This was my first time here. No one told me the amount of uneven pavement one would need to traverse to just get a cup of coffee in the morning! Yes, I understand... More 

14 Thank mhernandz
Level Contributor
31 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2016

Going to Esalen can be a life-changing experience. Top-quality personal growth workshops led by national experts are well worth attending, and the vibe at Esalen couldn't be more inclusive and accepting. I think everyone should go there at least once. The property is beyond amazing, the baths unsurpassable, the massages out of this world...there is nothing to say but superlatives!

5 Thank Sue H
Philadelphia, PA
Level Contributor
106 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2016 via mobile

The Esalen experience is transforming. The new lodge is gorgeous. I recommend visiting Esalen solo as you savor more of the Esalen experienced with deep thought and meditation, quiet reflection, while providing you the space for engaging in conversation with like minded folks.

5 Thank OrangeKipepeo

Travellers who viewed The Esalen Institute also viewed


Been to The Esalen Institute? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of The Esalen Institute and other visitors
7 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (7)

Questions? Get answers from The Esalen Institute staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?