Belmond El Encanto
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2014 Best of the Best Finalist: Best Comeback
- The spectacular views from the Channel Islands Terrace
- Free bicycles for guests are motorized to assist in getting back up the hill to the property
- Zero-edge pool with views of the Pacific (and poolside service), and a fitness center built under the pool
- Vegetables and herbs for the restaurant’s California cuisine are grown in the hotel gardens
What To Know
- The hotel reopened on March 18, 2013
- Although bike rentals are free, you’ll want to rent a car to really explore the area
- A $35 resort fee per night will be collected upon check-in at the hotel (and includes WiFi, bottled water, daily newspaper, coffee/tea, access to spa/gym facilities and shoe shining)
- READ MORE: 72 hours on Highway 1
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Nestled amid seven acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in Santa Barbara’s exclusive American Riviera neighborhood, this hideaway’s 92 suites and bungalows mix Craftsman and Mission styles, providing a secluded retreat for couples, solo travelers looking for tranquility, and (well-behaved) families. The meticulously restored gardens—plants and trees were stored and saved while the renovations took place and put back from whence they came—include camellias, tulip trees, begonias, roses and more amidst a lily pond canopied by a 100-year-old wisteria vine.
Bed & Bath
Belmond El Encanto’s California bungalow-style buildings feature two main interior styles — Craftsman or Spanish Revival Mission. All are light and airy with wood floors, and many feature fireplaces and patios or porches with space for dining al fresco. Mission-style furnishings are a mix of wood and leather couches, glass and iron tables, marble-topped minibars and wooden desks. Craftsman-style rooms are fitted with linen and wicker furnishings and wooden headboards hand-painted with cherry blossoms. The marble bathrooms are a treat, with separate rainfall showers, deep tubs, double sinks and organic amenities.
The chefs blend artisanal ingredients with rich flavors at Belmond El Encanto’s signature restaurant, incorporating locally-sourced seasonal produce of the Santa Barbara region into his inventive California Coastal cuisine. Expect herbs directly from the chef’s garden and Belmond El Encanto cheese, each block made from the milk of Ellie, the resort’s cow. No matter what you order, the Santa Barbara–specific wine list will wow any oenophile. Also on offer? A zero-edge pool, spa, fitness room, sundry shop and a book-filled library with a fireplace.
In the Area
Jazz crooner Luca Ellis entertains guests in the cozy, modern Lobby Bar several nights a week. Grab a cocktail and take a trip down memory lane with tunes from the Great American Songbook. Catch up on your West Coast history at the “Queen of the California Missions,” the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara. Be sure to listen for the ringing of the church bells. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the lovely Santa Barbara Botanic Garden are great places to take the kids. The Riviera Movie Theater, which shows first-run art films, is within walking distance.
How to Get There
Perfect for sundowners; a wonderful cocktail list (I highly recommend the Garden Gimlet!); beautiful terrace; and glorious view of the sunset.
I visited with my family and whilst there raised a tiny query about the service (which for the most part was absolutely charming). Not only was my issue addressed immediately, but the manager on duty stopped by our table to greet us and ensure that the query had been resolved to our satisfaction.
I'm a big believer that level of service does not mean perfection; it means putting the customer first and making the effort to resolve every query, however small they may seem. On this measure the service at El Encanto was first class.
Thank you all for such a lovely evening. We'll be back.
We stayed here for two nights while travelling between San Francisco and Los Angeles. We arrived late but were warmly welcomed and shown to our room. The room was large and well appointed with large bathroom.
The following morning we had a lovely breakfast on the terrace and headed for a relaxing day by the pool. Lunch by the pool was excellent.
The hotel also offers transport to downtown Santa Barbara and it’s worth booking this early if you are planning to travel down at peak times.
Overall a great stay and we would definitely stay here again if visiting the area.
This was my second time staying at the Belmond El Encanto, and I was extremely excited to return because my first experience was nothing short of amazing. This time, while still nice, was a bit of a let down, NOT because of service or staff friendliness, but because of a few issues with the room. I was told I was "upgraded"--understandably a very nice gesture for which I was appreciative--but our cottage was directly over the laundry facilities, and at very late/early hours (2:30AM and 4:00AM), for three nights in a row, I was awoken by the heavy whirring of the laundry machines. On our second night, the shower drain suddenly quit draining properly and created a pond while showering.This go around, the bed was not as comfortable as the bed I had during my previous stay, and the mattress moved a lot when my partner rolled or changed positions.
Overall, the property is quite charming, offering a feeling of seclusion and as if you are living in a Santa Barbara neighborhood, rather than downtown with tourists--something you may want to consider if you'd prefer to be downtown. That being said, there is a shuttle that will pick up/drop off within a five mile radius, but I didn't take advantage of it this go around.
I may likely stay here again, but I would not recommend the room I stayed in because of the noise from the laundry facility.
Spent the most “much needed” get away with my boyfriend.... I was impressed with the level of the staff’s professionalism. I’m vegan and I was so happy the hotel had many options for me. The hotel is located in a quiet area on the hill overlooking Santa Barbara just 10 min away from the Downtown. The heated pool has the most fantastic view. The patio will offer the most scenic sunset.... the cottages are clean and very stylish.... I could go on and on.... Thank you so much for a wonderful stay.
Great hotel. Rooms are very spread out in multiple small buildings. All very quiet. Beautiful grounds and great location in the hills of Santa Barbara.
Restaurant was very good tho service at breakfast just a little spotty, but otherwise the food was all fantastic.
Don't miss the turtle pond! They look like statues, but the turtles are all alive. They are extremely photogenic and the hotel has turtle food to feed the fish and turtles in the little pond.
Room service was excellent. Wish we had more than a few days to spend! (There are some great drives up in the hills of Santa Barbara easily accessed from the hotel with some great scenery).