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“Beautiful location”
Review of Belmond El Encanto

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Belmond El Encanto
Ranked #8 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Reviewed 17 June 2014

Lovely surroundings, very friendly staff, excellent food and comfortable bed! I would certainly recommend and return to the hotel.
There are a though a couple of things we did not like.
The cupboard/storage space is tiny, also the wardrobe is in the bathroom, which makes it difficult to use the bathroom, if the other person wants to get dressed.
Parking is very expensive, especially if you stay for a few nights. Being valet parking only, tips go on top the already inflated fee!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank HEDI47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 June 2014

I recently was at El Encanto (memorial day). The hotel is gorgeous, that's the main reason I'm giving them SOME stars, but the service was far from the standard of a 5-star hotel. I have many unfortunate situations that happened to me during my stay.

- Concierge was helpless - In one instance, I asked for dinner recommendations, he gave me 2 or 3 choices but no additional information on those places (i.e. chef, special dishes, typical cuisine, etc). He never asked me if I made my mind, leave alone offer help to make a reservation for me. In another instance I asked for things to do in SB, to which I only got a "there is an art walk" response. I'm pretty sure there is more to see in SB than an art walk. Anyway, I ended up resourcing to online sites and apps.

- Some valet guys were rude - In one instance, I came back late; there was one person by the valet stand but didn't approach to take my keys; I finally went to him and got a "yeah, I'll take care of it" but without even acknowledging my presence, he seemed he was looking for something. Then, on another night, as I was leaving the hotel, a valet guy abruptly stopped me and asked me if I was "Mr X", to which I responded "yes" twice, I offered to show him my ID if he was so unsure about my identity.

- Bathtub was a complete nightmare. We stayed at a California bungalow; we liked the decor, pretty rustic. Except, the bathroom had one major design flaw, the shower/ bathtub had a crystal wall that only covered ~1/8th of it, which made our bathroom floor become a water pond in a matter of ponds. When I complained about it, instead of getting a different type of room I got a "wall of towels" to absorb the mess. It was a complete disaster.

- One night I needed to get the password for the WIFI, no answer from front desk in 3 attempts in 30 min. Walked there, but no one was at front desk (it was between 10 and 11 pm), I waited for 30 min without success, so I gave up on them.

Honestly, I regret paying what I paid for my experience. If you're going to charge $700 to 900 a night you better offer out of this world service, and amenities that are unique and beautiful. I'm not coming back.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Cesar N
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 18 June 2014

Dear Cesar N.,

Please accept my most sincere apologies for failing to live up to our reputation for service excellence. I am quite disappointed to see that you experienced so many regrettable issues during your visit, and am truly sorry that I was not aware of your displeasure during your stay.

I, and the rest of our management team, are always pleased to hear from our guests during a stay if there are any problems so that we can take immediate action.

Be assured that we strive each and every day to create the perfect experience for each of our guests and we take it very seriously when we hear that this has not been achieved.

I do hope you will reconsider staying with us again, as I am sure you will see what many others have seen in our Five Star property.

Best wishes,

Laura M

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2014

The El Encanto sits on a hillside facing the ocean and offers lovely views. The rooms are cottages, mostly without ocean views, but most are well situated in the lovely gardens of the resort and feel very private. The pool beautifully looks out to the ocean, as does the restaurant. The rooms are clean, updated, and comfortable. Really, it is a lovely place. The only thing that it could improve upon is the service. It's just not what one expects of an Orient Express/Belmond resort. It feels like the staff is in training for a fine resort, but is not quite there and may be lacking expert management with experience to to get it there. Everyone is friendly, but there is not an above and beyond attitude, and no more than what a basic hotel may offer. Of course, if you can overlook that and do not expect the service of the Biltmore or such, it is a lovely property. That being said, we would return with the hope that it will only improve.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank BDPN
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 18 June 2014

Dear BDPN,

Thank you for taking time to write a review to share your recent experience at El Encanto with the Trip Advisor community.

I am sorry to hear that you did not feel that our service levels were up to par with other Belmond properties you may have stayed at in the past. As a large collection of beautiful and diverse properties around the world we certainly pride ourselves on providing exceptional experiences to every one of our guests.

If you would like to contact me directly to share any specific instances I would be very happy to speak with you.

Best wishes,

Laura M

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Reviewed 13 June 2014

I have been to many beautiful hotels in California, but none have the view of El Encanto. No other hotel property in Santa Barbara has this $1,000,000 view. Last night while eating a spectacular meal, listing to live jazz music (playing near the dining area) and the view was an evening I will not forget. Looking at the full moon with it's reflection bouncing off the ocean and the city lights overlooking the American Rivera was truly a special evening. Many guests dining got up from eating to take pictures. The service was also 5 star! This property is a perfect getaway from Los Angeles. It's a beautiful drive up the cost with paradise waiting for you when you arrive....

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled on business
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Linda R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2014

My wife and I got married at the El Encanto's pond area in 1989. Our return in May, to celebrate our 25th anniversary, was perfect. From the minute we were greeted by the friendly valets, to the moment we drove away two days later, time absolutely stood still in the El Encanto's refurbished oasis. We had been back several times in the 1990's but because the hotel had been closed for many years by an extensive remodeling project and several ownership changes, we didn't know quite what to expect upon return. We should have known that the result would be perfection. The "old" El Encanto indeed had a certain sense of charm, but it was beginning to fray around the edges. The "new" and rebuilt El Encanto captures the spirit of its former self, but boasts of a modern elegance that few destination luxury hotels can match. The grounds were postcard perfect and invited strolling. The lobby/bar/terrace/dining areas invited relaxing. The new-and-improved pool area was a real treat. (Wish we had time to experience the spa.) But the real reason we came back to this hotel was to rewind and unwind and enjoy the Wishing Well Cottage, although the El Encanto refers to it as a Luxury Suite. And luxurious it was! The bedroom, huge and plush. The living room, totally comfortable. If a bathroom can be described as "incredible", this one is. World class shower that made you feel like you were standing in a Rain Forest. The kitchen had everything you needed, including an exotic but extremely tempermental coffee maker. Ah, but the patio...a beautiful place to sit, relax, and be serenaded by the birds who seemed to know exactly when room service breakfast was being delivered. (Loved the Huevos Rancheros!) The army of a staff was attentive, but in tune to people's moods. I really appreciated that. Lunch on the terrace was a delight and the highly-trained service staff was super efficient. It's a real pleasure to enjoy a meal where all of the waiters--including a few who have returned from before the remodeling---were totally at ease and completely professional. If I could change one thing about the dining room, it would be the location of the tables (they seemed oddly situated in a way that didn't take advantage of the window views) and a few of the lower tables towards the center of the dining room featured low "couches" that were frankly uncomfortable. (We asked to be moved.) But that was a small issue. This is a local jewel that has been brought back to life and now shines brightly with a luster that few places can match. Really. No matter how good your camera is, the pictures you will take here only capture a fragment of the beauty and elegance of this wonderful place. Welcome back, El Encanto. It was worth the wait.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2014

While getting to El Encanto can be a challenge, once you are there it is spectacular. The rooms are spread over a hillside overlooking Santa Barbara and the Pacific. The amenities are what you would expect in this class hotel, but not over the top. The restaurant is forefront to the view and eating or having a libation at the outside patio is very refreshing.

The staff are very well trained, personable and professional.

Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Some rooms can be tucked away and difficult to find. Opt for a second floor in a bungalow with a vi...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled on business
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Thank KARXPRT
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 10 June 2014

Dear KARXPRT,

Thank you so much for your lovely review. It means so much to all of us to see that our commitment to service did not go unnoticed, especially by a seasoned traveler.

We do hope you will return again 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 7 June 2014

With my business travels for the past 35-years or so, I've stayed at some of the finest properties here in the US from coast-to-coast, however this place has a level of elegance of which is hard to beat! Allow me to explain! I tend to notice the "little things" and in my mind, I frequently compare one luxury hotel against others that I've stayed at previously. I look for unique little extras that might just stand out. For example, at the El Encantio in Santa Barbara, they place throw pillows on your bed with the initial of your last name embroidered into the pillow covering. Again--very nice personal touch of which I've never seen before at a hotel. Additionally, in the massively large shower, there isn't any conventional "round floor drain" for letting the water out into the city sewer system. Instead, they had some scored lines hidden on the floor tile, where the tile grout would be.Therefore, the shower floor drain system was totally hidden and transparent. A great touch to say the least. My only problem while there this past week was in spite of the fact I had the "do not disturb" sign hanging on my door, the guy who fills the room mini-bar keep banging on the door itself and woke me up. He was very insistent on getting in but I wasn't going to have any of that while I was resting. Other than that, this place is totally magnificent.

Room Tip: Try to get a room with a balcony and a view of the ocean.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled on business
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Thank David W
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 10 June 2014

Dear David W.,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience at El Encanto with the Trip Advisor community.

The details you describe certainly do help to make our rooms and ambiance so special. The hidden drains in the shower are one of my personal favorites!, so glad you noticed!

I do apologized that you were disturbed by our mini bar attendant servicing the room. It is of course our utmost priority to respect the privacy of each and every one of our guests and this incident will certainly be addressed immediately.

I do hope you will be our guest again in the very near future.

Best wishes,

Laura M

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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: £318 - £661 (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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