I booked a couple nights at the El Encanto for our 25th anniversary. Seemed a nice splurge for a special time. And it was nice as it certainly should be! We had the "misfortune" of spending the previous two nights at Ojai Valley Inn which unfortunately clouded my perception of this stay. The Inn is in the middle of an open valley with incredible views - bucolic and so peaceful, top notch service. The El Encanto is in a beautiful part of Santa Barbara, with some nice city views from the restaurant and pool. But otherwise the grounds, peaceful & immaculate as they are, feel very closed in and crowded to me. The bungalows are everywhere, and it's rather easy to check out what folks are doing in their rooms as you wander the paths if they have not drawn their shades. I'm sure there are extremely private areas of course, but we were in a bungalow on the ground floor with a neighbor's terrace on one side and pathway on the other two sides. I'd upgraded our room to a larger size with what I thought would be a view or patio, but we ended up with neither though it didn't really matter. The room was wonderful - large and loads of amenities. (I do think Tripadvisor should do a study regarding the environmentally UN-friendly aspects of luxury travel however. But that's a different review and much more involved!) The restaurant was nice, service good and food decent. Again - comparison to the outdoor dining at Ojai was just not fair. But I found myself relating back to that repeatedly. The prices are aggressive as expected - a very simple breakfast for two topped $60. The heated pool (85+degrees!) was fantastic, and fitness room extremely complete (though I did find the required elevator ride down one floor to be a rather dismal statement of our lethargic society). Our absolute favorite aspect of the resort was use of their battery-powered bicycles to ride all over Santa Barbara - we had them for much of the day and went everywhere. What a hoot! But that really shouldn't be the most memorable thing about a stay in a luxury hotel....
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Belmond El Encanto, a Forbes Five-Star luxury hotel, has been meticulously restored to capture all the romance and glamour that endeared it to both the local Santa Barbara community and visitors alike. As part of Belmond, this is the company's first excursion to the American west coast. Ninety-two quintessential, California-styled suites and bungalows dot the lush, terraced grounds featuring seven-acres of gloriously landscaped gardens with sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. Original architectural features have been lovingly restored, including the historic, trellis-lined Arbor and Lily Pond. Modern additions to the expansive outdoor zero-edge pool and a new beautifully appointed boutique spa enhance the journey for today's luxury-seeking guest. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- El Encanto Hotel And Garden Villas