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“An enchanting experience”

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San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property
Ranked #5 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 November 2013

As a travel junkie, and a fan of small, luxury inns, I had high expectations for San Ysidro Ranch. Fortunately, this is one property that knows how to deliver. In planning my trip, I considered both the Four Seasons and San Ysidro Ranch. It seemed illogical to stay away from the beach, but after a friend's disappointing stay at the Four Seasons, I decided to give San Ysidro a try. THIS WAS DEFINITELY THE RIGHT DECISION.

San Ysidro sits at the base of the mountains in the gorgeous enclave of Montecito (approx 15 minutes from downtown Santa Barbara.) Upon entering the property, my first impression was that this was a garden paradise. The buildings and surrounding property were teeming with Bougainvillea, roses, citrus orchards, olive trees, etc., etc., all tended to by resident hummingbirds. On a small scale, it rivaled any botanical garden I have ever visited.

The staff, although young, were all very helpful. We were quickly checked in, questioned about our numerous restaurant reservations (more on that later) and shown to our cottage, Cypress, a small but absolutely enchanting space, luxuriously, impeccably, and comprehensively appointed. They didn't miss a beat. Cypress was complete with a fireplace, spacious private garden, and a very special distant view of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands beyond. It should be noted that not all cottages have an ocean view however the garden and creekside views are all special in their own right and would in no way take away from the overall experience. The Cypress cottage was actually one of the less expensive options, yet still managed to be spectacular.

On our first night, we discovered why Natalie, the helpful young woman at the front desk, was surprised by our many restaurant reservations. San Ysidro ranch has two of the most romantic restaurants that we have ever visited, anywhere in the world. Both the Stonehouse Restaurant, and the Plow & Angel have outdoor spaces that are nothing short of magical. The indoor rooms are gorgeous, but the outdoor spaces are truly unbelievable. We love trying new restaurants, we had three out of four nights planned at noteworthy Santa Barbara establishments, yet we ended up staying three out of four nights on property. The food was wonderful (although a bit pricey), the service was excellent (special kudos to restaurant manager Mike and wait staffers Matt and Adam), and the ambiance was unrivaled. You won't want to leave for dinner.

San Ysidro Ranch also has a beautiful, peaceful pool area, with a heated pool, workout room, and croquet courts, beautiful private event lawns with ocean views, private dining rooms, and a lovely main house, great for a casual breakfast by the fire. We also had massages on our patio, which was a treat.

To fairly review this property, I must mention that, as is the case everywhere, San Ysidro Ranch is not perfect. We had a few services glitches, but it's the way problems are addressed that truly separate nice properties from exceptional ones. When the Front Office Manager, Harry Hirsch, was made aware of our issues (and these were not make or break problems), he went far, far, beyond expectations in making sure we were accommodated. Harry's understanding and professionalism are a credit to this property. As we told Harry, we will be back, and we will recommend our friends to this property as well. Staying at San Ysidro was a truly memorable experience.

Now, back to location. We decided to take a scouting mission to the Four Seasons, which is also in Montecito, but down by the water. This property also gives an amazing first impression. You drive in and think "gorgeous!" and the common areas live up to that expectation. Where the Four Seasons falls short are in ways that, unfortunately, are out of their control. A train track runs behind the property with trains running at least every 3 hours, day and night. We could hear the train, distantly, from San Ysidro, which was far away. Our friends who stayed at the Four Seasons said the train sound was literally a deal breaker. In addition, the Four Seasons was built in 1927 and unfortunately, only a handful of rooms sport ocean views. You may be close to the beach, but you'll still have garden views, and the gardens are no San Ysidro. In addition, the beach club across the street is private, and available free for only the priciest of rooms. The standard level rooms must pay a ridiculous price for admission.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank sybarite4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanysidroranch, General Manager at San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, responded to this reviewResponded 8 November 2013

We are thrilled that you enjoyed your visit to San Ysidro Ranch so well. Please come back and visit again soon.

On behalf of the San Ysidro Ranch Team,

Seamus McManus
Managing Director

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293 - 299 of 471 reviews

Reviewed 28 October 2013

Our cottage with a private garden was lovely. The staff was very helpful and very professional. We enjoyed our dinner at The Stonehouse. The chocolate souffle was perfect but the wines were a bit pricey. The atmosphere and the waitstaff were special. I would highly recommend the entire experience.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Scottie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanysidroranch, General Manager at San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2013

We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us. We hope to see you again soon!

On behalf of the San Ysidro Ranch Team,

Seamus McManus
Managing Director

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Reviewed 24 October 2013

I have been to a lot of luxury hotels in my life but San Ysidro was by far my favorite hotel, offering complete peace and relaxation. What an incredible place. We were treated to first class service, beautiful surroundings, and a feeling of relaxed luxury.

The staff was so generous and helpful. Any request was immediately met with a solution and kindness, and every effort was made to make you feel totally relaxed and pampered. My fiance was arranging our proposal and the hotel staff did everything in their power to make us have the best day of our lives. They stored the ring, kept the secret, suggested places to proposed, helped get champagne and my favorite flowers in an exquisite bouquet, and even gave us an upgraded room!

And the room... our room (Citrus) featured a jasmine covered pergola on the front porch, and showcased a view that overlooked the garden, the valley, and out to sea. The room itself was filled with beautiful antiques and modern touches. It had a fireplace in the sitting room which was filled with minibar treats that were complimentary with the room. There was a private back patio with in-ground hot tub, lounge chairs, and an outdoor shower.

The hotel grounds were lovely and quiet... each area had different plants and flowers and the entire property smelled amazing. I would go back just for that smell!! The pool was tranquil and relaxing. We also enjoyed the hiking trails, and the hotel offered a backpack and water for the hike.

Yes the hotel is expensive, but worth every penny! You want to feel like if you pay for the best, you are actually getting the best and you undoubtedly feel like that at San Ysidro.

The only change I would have made would have been to go to Plow and Share rather than Stonehouse... our meal at Stonehouse was wonderful but for the price we have had far better food. So even though the food was delicious, I think they could have reduced the price by 20% and it would have tasted just that much better.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank savvytravelmaven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanysidroranch, General Manager at San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2013

Congratulations on your engagement! We are so privileged to be able to make the special memories in the lives of our guests even more special. We hope your experience at The Ranch was everything you wanted it to be and more. We wish you all the best!

On behalf of the San Ysidro Ranch Team,

Seamus McManus
Managing Director

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Reviewed 4 October 2013

This was by far, the most enjoyable hotel experience I have ever had. The grounds are stunning and the rooms are luxurious and warm. The staff was very welcoming upon arrival, being professional yet warm and approachable. We were celebrating my boyfriend's Birthday, and it seemed everyone on property knew. Birthday wishes were offered upon arrival, along with a beautiful display of cookies and wine. Each night, the turn down amenity was different which was a nice touch. In addition, we had roses placed on our pillows. Upon check out, I was offered water, coffee and fresh baked cookies for the road home. We had plans to check out local restaurants and attractions, but we simply didn't want to leave the property. We had dinner at the restaurant's bar two nights in a row, and had a wonderful time chatting with Pedro, the Bartender. He managed to talk me into the $48 Carbonara Pasta, which sounds crazy, but are still talking about how incredible it was. We can't wait to return!

J+A

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank jbmaca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanysidroranch, General Manager at San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2013

It is a pleasure to read of your recent stay at San Ysidro Ranch. We agree, the Carbonara Pasta is absolutely fantastic! We hope to welcome you back soon to taste some more of Executive Chef Matt Johnson's creations.

Seamus McManus
Managing Director

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Reviewed 4 October 2013

I ate there with two friends from the UK on the evening Sept 20th. We were given a table beside the server which was not good.
However the menu looked good and two of us ordered steak diane which was a favourite in London in the 60s. The steak were give was precooked and nothing like the steaks we have eaten in the past. There was an attempt to produce a sauce but it was more like a gravy anything else. Its was disaster and very disappointing and very expensive.
The link below gives you some idea how it should be prepared:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/steakdianewithbrandy_67955
Hopeful the establishment will take note!!!

Room Tip: Don't eat there!!!
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank EtchinghamDavid1942
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanysidroranch, General Manager at San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2013

We're sorry to hear your recent dining experience was not as you expected. We would love the opportunity to welcome you back to The Stonehouse Restaurant to sample some of Chef's other wonderful dishes.

Seamus McManus
Managing Director

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Reviewed 2 October 2013

It is very hard to review a five star restaurant because it is very hard to be perfect. We turned onto the cobble stone drive lined with a colonnade of beautiful lightly lite olive trees. As we approached the guard house a very friendly hotel guard welcomes you onto the grounds with a smile. The valets receive you at the motor court welcoming us to the restaurant. Ok, well I had to remove one star because they opened my door but not my fiancee. She had to open her own door.

We walked up the gently lite stone steps up to the Stone House restaurant and the Hostess immediately escorted us through a fantastic stone and warm wood decorated drawing room and onto the out door patio. Let me say that the architecture and decor are very well done and that alone is worth the trip.

Our waiter was fantastic and his recommendations where right on. Now we did have to ask for some bread to accompany our wine. Well at a five star you should not have to ask for the basics. So one more star deducted.

The food the service was THE BEST!

The motor court is equipped with a few heaters to keep you warm while waiting for the valet to retrieve your car. As my car approached I noticed the valet must have thought that he was racing my car in the Indy 500 squealing the tires into the pit area. REALLY! I did not appreciate that at all. So one more deduction.

All in all the architecture, food and service have no equal. However, they can pay a bit more attention to the small details.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
4  Thank Angelidecovolo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanysidroranch, General Manager at San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, responded to this reviewResponded 6 October 2013

Thank you for taking the time to comment on your recent experience at the Stonehouse Restaurant. We take great pride in our beautiful restaurant and always strive to deliver a 5 Star experience. We have noted your recommendations and appreciate the same.

Seamus McManus
Managing Director

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Reviewed 23 September 2013

We have stayed at many lovely 5 star hotels in the US, Canada, Bermuda and Europe. To date, The San Ysidro Ranch is our all time favorite. When spending this kind of money, one expects the very best in every aspect of the stay. This was the first time we did not feel there were suggestions/criticisms (large or small) to be made with a hotel/resort.

Room Tip: We stayed in a Creekside cottage and felt it was in the best location on the property.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank wana5700
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanysidroranch, General Manager at San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property, responded to this reviewResponded 27 September 2013

It is an absolute pleasure to read of your recent stay at San Ysidro Ranch. We strive to offer an impeccable experience to each and every guest and are so pleased to learn that your expectations were well met. We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back for another wonderful stay.

On Behalf of the San Ysidro Ranch Team

Seamus McManus
Managing Director

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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 San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property

Address: 900 San Ysidro Ln, Santa Barbara, CA 93108-1325
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#2 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range: £632 - £1,057 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property 5*
Number of rooms: 41
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the Montecito foothills of Southern California’s wine country, San Ysidro Ranch has provided a tranquil vacation destination for discriminating travelers for over a century. Guests are drawn to the Santa Barbara hideaway for its blend of natural beauty, romantic heritage and classic luxury. Myth and history mingle in the lush garden where Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier exchanged vows; in the setting of John and Jackie Kennedy’s honeymoon retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property Hotel Santa Barbara
San Ysidro Inn

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