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“Italy, Country Club and Santa Barbara”
Review of Belmond El Encanto

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Belmond El Encanto
Ranked #8 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Reviewed 2 June 2014

El Encanto is a fresh new experience in Santa Barbara. Sitting on the deck it has a similar feel to being in Italy looking down at the Isle of Capri. The restaurant is run by a friendly Italian gentleman - he may not get the order perfect but what charm and flair. At the same time the restaurant has the feel of a country club. Refined and correct.

The grounds are endearing and comfortable. The rooms are nice but lack a bit of flair and feel more like a model home than a hotel room. One downside is that many rooms have windows that look out on the grounds - which means people can look in. It is not uncommon to be able to see into people rooms without trying.

This is a great experience and challenges the San Ysidro Ranch Inn - which is saying something.

(Not the hotels fault - but one family had their little kids and it was very loud and out of place. - This is not the place for little ones. Many better options. I have kids but would not want to infringe on the romantic privacy of others at a place like this)

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Crusty634
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 May 2014

Wonderfully rejuvenated property with outstanding service, all employees exceedingly well trained. This is our second stay this year and we will be back. The property is pricy but though the price is high it is matched by the service and therefore value is also very high.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank totmurphy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

This is a great vacation place to be pampered and made to feel special by the staff. The entire staff was great, greeting us by name whenever we came into contact with them. The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Roger D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

We stayed at the Belmond for two nights. It was an unbelievable experience. From the time we pulled in to the valet we were greeted with friendly, impeccable service. Every member of the staff was attentive even if they were not directly interacting with us. The rooms are charming individual bungalows which allowed for more privacy when sitting on the front porch having a drink. The rooms are appointed with all the luxury you would expect. We enjoyed the state of the art fitness room and the pool was very relaxing. I highly recommend fitting in a bike ride with the electric bicycles. It helps getting up the hills.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Saksshopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2014

We spent two great nights at the El Encanto. We were in Cottage 102 which overlooks the pool, is feet from the restaurant and has great views into the bay. The staff were superb from start to the end - just enough service and just enough distance not to encroach on guest privacy. The quality of the food was excellent throughout our stay, dining and breakfasting on the terrace, warmed when necessary by the generous heaters disguised as giant table lamps and shades. The cottage is generously proportioned with coffee making facilities and a stocked honour bar in the separate lounge area. The bathroom features storage, a separate toilet and a deep tub (bath) with separate rainfall shower.

Beds are very comfortable and the room is spacious with robes and slippers provided. The outdoor verandah provided a nice location for early morning reading or to shelter from the unseasonal rain shower during our stay. The fitness studio is below the pool and features two outdoor bikes (one upright and one recumbent) and inside there is generous provision of both CV and weights systems. There is an adjoining dance studio and spa. The infinity style pool itself is heated and towels are provided along with a number of loungers.

The hotel is 3-4 minutes from the restaurants and stores but is very quiet due to its hill location. We will definitely return!

Room Tip: Well you can't do better than 102 unless you want a location where no-one passes your cottage!
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Steve E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Fantastic location for a luxury resort hotel. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the hotel on the first night. There are heaters for every table out on the terrace and the service is professional, friendly and attentive, they even bring a little stool for your purse to rest on!
Our cottage was spacious with lovely views, and a front porch with comfortable seating. The gym is well equipped and you can open the doors to allow the fresh air in while you work out. The pool looked lovely - unfortunately I didn't have time to try it out.
It's only a few minutes to downtown, and a few more to the beach so you don't feel cut off from the rest of the world. I enjoyed jogging the surrounding suburban streets and admiring the amazing homes. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Cottage #102 has the million dollar views and is not overlooked by any other rooms, also close to ma...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank MissJudith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2014

I stayed here with my fiance for the Memorial Day Weekend. The service was quite good, from the moment we pulled up for valet. We enjoyed the fixed brunch and the first course appetizers were incredible. I ordered the Ahi Tuna sandwich and she ordered the Eggs Benedict. Both were average, the Benedict being a bit better (the ciabatta style bread was a bit too dry and overwhelming). The view from the railing was quite nice - lots of trees with a glimpse of the city below and the Pacific Ocean beyond, not a jaw-dropping view, but quite decent.

The room was incredible though. It had a nice charm to it - a bit more personality than your St. Regis or Four Seasons, but what we enjoyed the most was the amount of ambient light pouring in. Most of the best hotels we stay at have one thing in common - sandwiched between rooms and a long hallway, meaning only one side of the room has an actual window. At the Belmond El Encanto - we had three walls of windows, only possible by virtue of the villa/bungalow style design. We also had a beautiful tree top view with hint of the Pacific Ocean peaking above from the balcony. The room was quite spacious, at least 450 sq ft.

The room were quite modern, with dimmable Lutron switches, and a powerful but quiet HVAC system in the room.

The mini bar was pretty impressive, although we never go a chance to make use of it. A bigger selection that most comparable places and reasonable prices, probably 20-30% less than what you'd expect for a $700/night room.

The bathroom was quite nice as well, heated floors, very deep and long tub, and nicely appointed with Acqua di Parma products. Even the best resorts will only give you a halfway decent brand, so I was quite impressed with this level of detail and luxury. They even brought new bottles out during the turndown service.

I enjoyed the welcome fruits and hand written letter, as well as the weather forecast "card" that was left on our bed during the evening turn down service. They even had a small lantern we could use to tour the grounds at night, which we most certainly did.

The pool is not as large as you'd want given the price point, but was large enough to enjoy. The water was incredibly warm, at least 85 degrees while we were there (most heated pools are around 81, so this was quite warmer than usual). It was a breezy 70 degrees around 6PM so the warm water was quite welcomed. No jetted spa tub that we could find though.

We enjoyed the continental breakfast the next morning which was quite disappointingly limited to a handful of muffins, bagels and toast, along with some juice, coffee, and fruits. My fiance ordered the waffle, which was quite good, but you can imagine we were overloaded with carbs at that point.

We had one minor issue with valet mistakingly bringing someone else's car up after we called in advance from the hotel room.

Room Tip: Upper floors are more private but have less outdoor lounge space.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 636arthuri
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 27 May 2014

Dear Arthur I,

Wow! What a wonderfully comprehensive and descriptive review. I am so pleased that you had a wonderful time at El Encanto over Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for spending your long weekend with us, we hope to see you again very soon.

Best wishes,


Laura M

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#6 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range: £332 - £696 (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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