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“Enchanting Encanto”
Review of Belmond El Encanto

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Belmond El Encanto
Ranked #7 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Reviewed 22 May 2014

Was fortunate enough to stay at this beautiful colonial style paradise nestled in the hills above Santa Barbara as part of a Californian road trip. The staff are incredible and cannot do enough for you, service is sleek and the rooms are some of the most tastefully decorated in California, they just seemed to have got this place right. It is also worth noting that beacuse it is set high up in the hills overlooking Santa Barbara, which is often shrowded in morning fog you can sit pretty on top of the cloud enjoying the sunshine. Some reports suggest bad food but we had a wonderful dinner at the restaurant enjoying some of the best scallops I have ever eaten. El Encanto is pricey but trust me it is worth even for just a one night splurge. The only downside is having to leave.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Happynomad81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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755 - 761 of 1,032 reviews

Reviewed 19 May 2014

A beautiful property that has all of the hallmarks of a true 5-star luxury property. Excellent staff-to-guest ratio. Food and Beverage was all outstanding and clever too. Great mini bar sletions with fair pricing given the market.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank GTDAYLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2014

We stayed at this historic, newly-renovated hotel this weekend with our 2 young children. Most of the time, we were treated as a mere inconvenience to the staff, and most of their clientele.

I will begin with the pros. Belmond El Encanto is an absolutely charming, exquisite hotel set on top of the Santa Barbara mountains. When you step in, you are immediately greeted by their unique grounds, filled with plants, fountains and historic buildings. Every single room is different.

We stayed in Bungalow 2803, which is apparently one of their new add-ons. STUNNING renovation - the bathrooms had heated marble floors, and they had Aqua Di Parma soap and shampoo. There is a fireplace in the room (which heats up the rooms quite well). They even put a monogrammed pillow on our bed!!

However, beyond the initial "wow" factor, there is simply no depth. The service is awful, the their only restaurant (Dining Room) is beyond terrible.

First, it took me FIVE (5) telephone calls and a personal angry visit to the front desk to service our room. Seriously! You are charging $1200 rack rate per night, and you can't send housekeeping the first 4 times I asked?? Also, the housekeeping didn't clean our cups...and they did not refill the bath supplies. When we first walked in, there was a half-used bottle of hand lotion (granted, it's Aqua Di Parma, so perhaps they didn't want to waste...), but this isn't 5-star service.

The worst part of the trip was the Dining Room. I felt the staff was hit or miss. There were exceptional, outstanding servers who really cared about us...and then there were the puppets who said, "Is the food prepared to your liking" with a British accent, but their glazed over eyes and impatient behavior seemed to say "F you - we hate kids". It took forever to get seated (Even with a reservation) and our place settings were never complete (missing napkins, missing forks, spoons, knives, water, etc).

And the food!!! Terrible! The first night, I had cold clam chowder. Not even lukewarm. COLD. EW!

The second day, they served my 2 year old RAW chicken tenders!! (picture included). Thankfully, I cut into the chicken before I served it. When I made the complaint, they comp'ed the dinner...but with something as dangerous as salmonella, I truly felt that they should have comp'ed our entire dining at the restaurant. They didn't. In fact, at check-out, they didn't offer to comp at all. They didn't seem to care that they were serving raw chicken to a baby.

My shrimp was also very raw - I could see the glaze. I have a bad stomachache leaving the place.

The only thing that I enjoyed at this place besides the view and the room, was the exceptional spa facial I received.

Unfortunately, I do not think we will return to this place. The prices you pay are just ridiculous for the terrible service.

Definitely do not bring your young children here!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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12  Thank lawyerkelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2014

Dear lawyerkelly,

Thank you for your very candid review of your stay.

I have contacted you directly so that we can discuss your concerns personally. I assure you we take your comments very seriously and strive to create a wonderful experience for all of our guests, including our youngest visitors. I am sorely disappointed to see that we failed to provide our normally exceptional service to you and your family. I do hope you will give me the opportunity to speak to you soon.

Best wishes,

Laura M

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2014

The El Encanto was everything and MORE. The staff is very professional yet friendly at the same time. Everyone went above and beyond our expectations. We especially loved having our dog with us. Although everything at the hotel is pricey (but worth it), they only charge $35/night for your pet. Amazing. They even provide dog bowls, food and bed if you need. The food was incredible, too. We ate dinner and brunch on the terrace outside, as well as in-room dining for breakfast. We had a room on the second floor toward the back. Super quiet and romantic. The rooms were perfect (and I'm super picky). I almost cried when we had to leave! You will LOVE this hotel and everyone who works there.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank ModernDayGinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2014

Dear ModernDayGinger,

No tears! We are only 90 minutes from LA so hopefully you will be able to return many more times for many more wonderful getaways.

We do look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best wishes,

Laura M

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2014

Nestled in the tree tops, surrounded by 7 acres of postural beauty Belmond El Encanto remains a refuge for those who wish to kick back in classic style. You are immediately welcomed and a true sense of comfort envelopes the weary. If you love architectural features, outstanding views, culinary delights...a bar area that is both inviting and visual with the accompaniment of a fine piano player....then what are you waiting for?
Remember No Regrets...Built for Memories!!!

Room Tip: Always a room with a view!
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Wayne W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2014

This is a luxury resort and the prices prove it…but if you are up to a splurge for a special occasion, why not? The resort winds around 7 acres on a hillside and consists of many small bungalows and small buildings with suites. All the rooms have been recently renovated. Some rooms are big enough for a family. Dogs are allowed. Be aware that there is a lot of walking to get to and from your room…also many of the rooms have lots of steps to get to them. There is a fitness center, spa, and a beautiful infinity edge swimming pool with great views. The grounds are beautiful, containing many old eucalyptus trees and palms. There is a man-made waterfall and an arbor which would be great for a wedding. Our room had a patio which looked out toward the ocean, unfortunately we went during the recent heat wave and it was 102 degrees so there was no patio sitting for us. The whole place is so quiet…you can’t hear any road noise, just birds…very relaxing. Our room was quite spacious even with the king bed…had a fireplace (like we were going to turn that on!)…and heated floors in the bathroom. The only thing missing was a picture over the fireplace…maybe they weren’t finished decorating? The bathroom had a gigantic tub and a separate huge shower with a rainfall shower head. Linens are top-notch…there was even a pillow with an embroidered “K” on it (our last initial)…nice touch! The bath appointments are from Italy…very nice. Management left us a delicious sinfully-rich chocolate mousse cake as a tribute to our anniversary. Also, to add to our anniversary, there was a wrought iron heart stand with candles outside our room the night of our anniversary. All staff, from the valet to the front desk to the bar to the restaurant, were friendly, helpful and attentive (just as you would expect at such a high-end resort). Food prices in the dining room are also very expensive but the food is delicious! By the way, valet parking is $35 and the room price does not include city taxes which are a lot. They do have various packages such as bed and breakfast, gourmet, celebration which can save you a little money.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sheilakeel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2014

Dear Sheilakeel,

Thank you for spending your anniversary at El Encanto!

We love love and hope you will return for many more special occasions in the future...perhaps when the temperatures are a little less extreme so you can enjoy the beautiful Terrace.

Best wishes,


Laura M

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2014

Really lovely property high in the hills above the Mission with panoramic views of the ocean (at least from the restaurant/bar and pool areas.) A quiet and very elegant retreat with attention to detail, such as Acqua di Parma toiletries, Nespresso machines, and rich linens and towels. We were there less than 24 hours, but left feeling pampered and relaxed. Mandatory valet parking was a bit steep; we would have preferred a self-parking option as we were there for such a brief period, but this did not dilute our experience. p.s. My husband said the eggs Benedict was the best he's ever had.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank frankieSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Belmond El Encanto

Address: 800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93103-2176
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#5 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#7 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range: £329 - £861 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Belmond El Encanto 5*
Number of rooms: 92
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

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