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“Almost perfect” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Belmond El Encanto

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Belmond El Encanto
Ranked #8 of 51 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Almost perfect”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2014

First impressions are everything: the El Encanto property is stunning with unobstructed views of the ocean and Santa Barbara. Wow! Our room was very nice, although I was disappointed that it didn't have a terrace. We asked for another room and even though the place was nowhere near full, we were told that it wasn't an option (maybe not at our price point?). Everything else about the room was pure luxury - heated floors, massive soaker tub, divine linens.

The breakfast at the restaurant was excellent, although over-priced. In fact, my major complaint was the cost of everything - valet parking, food, drinks, spa etc. One can easily spend $1000 on a one night's stay here. Most of the staff were very friendly although we were less than pleased with the service from one of the wait staff. We had asked to sit in a sunny part of the patio for breakfast (there was plenty of room) and were told that was not an option, only to see someone else seated there shortly after we had arrived.

There is no doubt that this property is spectacular, but be prepared to spend $$$.

Room Tip: Ask for a terrace at the time of booking
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lovetotravelgal45
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 review, 27 June 2014
Dear Lovetotravelgal45,

I am delighted to see that your overall stay at El Encanto was delightful!

When you are next returning we will certainly make an effort to satisfy your request for a patio, terrace or balcony. Many of our bungalows do have these features; however, not all of them. One of the most wonderful things about El Encanto is the quietness of the property. Even when we are quite high occupancy it is hard to know that just from wandering the serene grounds.

I do hope you will visit us again in the future for another wonderful stay, next time perfection!

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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953 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (165)
Date | Rating
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English first
Santa Barbara, CA
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2014

Attended a business conference here. Meeting space & ambience provided is perfect for impressing clients and focusing on the business at hand. Food and beverage service for meeting was exceptional. All staff were friendly, knowledgable and helpful. Will definitely return.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank AshleyAb
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 review, 27 June 2014
Dear AshleyAb,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience attending a conference at El Encanto.

We do have lovely space for meetings and events and wonderful food served by attentive wait staff. Our Catering and Sales team would be thrilled to help you plan meetings in the future.

We look forward to seeing you 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
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2014

Me and my husband, arrived at El Encanto after LA. and wow was it a relief! It is a oasis of tranqulity set amongst the beautiful foothills of Santa Barbara. The service was great, on check in we were shown to our room, which we did not like as the balcony/terrace was overlooked just slightly by the room above us. This complaint was immediately resolved and we were transferred to another room slightly higher up.
The staff were very helpful throughout the entire stay, booking taxis, organising wine trips and recommending some of SB's delicious food offerings.
We are planning a trip to the U.S. again this year and El Encanto will be on our itineray for the west coast!

Room Tip: Ask for a room higher up for more privacy.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank rebec_01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Valley Village, Ca
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 June 2014

So much to say but will try to keep it simple.
Firstly, I tried to book through luxury link since it said a great package was available for the month of June. I repeatedly tried to book and guest services denied every date I offered. Finally I said ANY DAY in june you tell me and they still denied me. WHY offer a package if you won't accept reservations for it? I ended up booking directly through the hotel and of course it was pretty empty while we were there.
Room was nice, sink kept backing up and housekeeping was failed to replenish everything after our first day. We had to call and have coffee pods, mugs, large towels, and wine glasses sent after we used them and she removed them the first day. NOT okay for a 5 star hotel.
This hotel lacked the personalized service you receive at a Montage or Ritz property. Not one person referred to us as "mrs and Mrs" when greeting us. Considering there were very few couples around, I did expect to be treated a little more individualized. Pool service was great. Drinks were fabulous. The pool is small and nothing special but its actually perfect for the space.
Breakfast was terrible. Service nonexistent. Food served luke warm. Pretty much every yelp review mentions this so Im shocked management hasn't fixed the service issue. Dinner however was fantastic. The food, drinks, service, view... all worth every penny.
I would consider staying here again if management addresses these issues.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
2 Thank Rachelle B
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 review, 27 June 2014
Dear RachelleB,

Thank you for taking time to write a review regarding your recent experience at El Encanto.

I do apologize that you had a difficult time booking a package through Luxury Link. There were quite a few dates the first half of June that were exceptionally high occupancy. I am glad you were finally able to find dates and were able to stay at our beautiful property. I am surprised to hear your feedback regarding the use of your name and personalized service as this is certainly something we pride ourselves on and strive to make each guest feel special.

I do hope you will return in the very near future and see a marked difference in the areas you felt were lacking.

Best wishes,

Laura M
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank HEDI47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beverly Hills
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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
Aspen, Colorado
Level Contributor
42 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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
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

Property: 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 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#6 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#7 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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.
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Also Known As:
El Encanto Hotel And Garden Villas

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