Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
What We Love
- “Farm to straw” smoothies with fresh local ingredients at the organic juice bar
- The large spa with locally inspired treatments like antioxidant-rich grapeseed body scrubs
- Easy access to the beach, both at a beach club and on the cruiser bikes available for rent (a path leads from the hotel to Santa Barbara’s main waterfront drag)
- READ MORE: 72 hours on Highway 1
What To Know
- A bit of nickel-and-diming: $10 a night for basic WiFi, $31 a night for valet parking, $19 a night for self-parking, and charges to rent a bicycle or beach chair
- As with many historic hotels, the soundproofing leaves something to be desired
- Access to the affiliated beach club is free for higher room categories, but it’s $200 a day for those in superior or deluxe rooms
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
After an extensive (and expensive) restoration at the start of this century, the hotel exemplifies “American Riviera” style such as the terra-cotta-tile roofs, whitewashed walls, and brick walkways are lit by gas lamps outside. Inside there’s a rich Spanish-colonial feel, with adobe archways, wood-beamed ceilings, and historic and custom furnishings.
Bed and Bath
Bedrooms are spacious and outfitted in typical, slightly conservative Four Seasons style with a muted gold and green color scheme. The suites have gas fireplaces, beautiful heated tile floors in the bathrooms, and large steam showers. Bath products from L’Occitane add to the luxury quotient.
The spa, designed by Peter Marino, is a standout, with 11 treatment rooms, some of which overlook the ocean and have fireplaces. Marino also designed the affiliated members-only Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club (not an actual casino) across the street. Open to club members and guests in higher room categories, it has a huge swimming pool, extensive gym (in addition to the one at the resort itself) and the terrific oceanfront Tydes restaurant serving modern Californian fare. Back on the resort side, the sunset terrace at the Ty Lounge (the hotel is owned by Beanie Babies mogul Ty Warner; hence the naming—and all the plush toys in the gift shop) is a local favorite and great place to end the day with a glass of local wine.
In the Area
There are nearly 250 wineries in the area, and it’s virtually impossible to spend time in Santa Barbara without a day of playing Sideways in the city’s tasting rooms. Standouts include Au Bon Climat, which has been making subtle pinot noirs for 25 years, and Kunin, known for producing small lots of Rhone-style wines. There’s also an impressive culinary scene, populated by straight-ahead neighborhood restaurants like the Hungry Cat, where seafood and a raw bar dominate the menu. Work it off by biking or walking along Butterfly Beach.
How to Get There
We have not stayed at this beautiful hotel and resort since we often stayed with friends living in seaside condominiums a block away, but we've walked over for meals in the beautiful dining rooms of the hotel. Today, a bright, sunny Sunday, we were there for a delicious pre-Christmas brunch. The hotel's lobby was decorated for the holidays with lovely seasonal lights and colorful installations, and our brief visit there was a very special excursion.
The Biltmore's dining room is bright and cheerful during the day and softly candle-lit in the evening. Today's lunch was served in the bright sunshine overlooking the sea, which sparkled nearby. Friends enjoyed beautifully served brunch-fare -- mimosas, bloody marys and eggs benedict. My wife and I chose a variety of appetizers and small dishes -- flavorful hummus, salads, and melon/prosciutto platters. All of it was delicious and beautifully served. The air was warm, the sky blue and sunny, and the seasonal hymns and carols were lovely to listen to in this incredibly pleasant environment. Meals on that Biltmore terrace, overlooking the sea, are wonderful occasions at any season, but today's pre-Christmas atmosphere made today's lunch feel very special indeed!
We had a very late evening check in -- 10:00 pm -- and service could not have been better. This is a beautiful classic resort hotel that is spotlessly clean, and has been kept up perfectly. The dining area is spectacular for breakfast -- it faces right out onto the the ocean and feels like it could be on a Caribbean island. Great service in the dining area as well. We were only guests at this hotel for one night, but it was a perfect stay. Highly recommend for a stay in Santa Barbara.
The Resort is just top notch. Beautiful grounds and superb and extremely attentive service. Even just a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice and the smoothest coffee is delivered with a smile. The rooms are very comfortable and spacious and the attention to detail is impressive. You will feel pampered and relaxed. It comes at a price, but it is flawless in its physical plant and service delivery.
We have stayed here before and the setting is marvellous, especially the hotel grounds and decor. Generally the staff are excellent however we ended up waiting for our bags and the car for a long time because we think the front desk forgot. Also unfortunately we had a family in the room next to us who just allowed their child to scream and scream before six am every day and between 8 and 9. Not the hotels fault but the soundproofing between the rooms should be better for $700 a night!
I admit I am a hotel snob and I research my hotels and rooms relentlessly before I make a booking. I booked the Santa Cruz suite because it had a fireplace, two bathrooms, a partial Oceanview and a separate entrance. The fireplace and bathrooms are great although the bathrooms are very small by modern standards it’s OK since it’s a historic hotel. However the Partial Oceanview should barely be mentioned since you really only see a sliver of it, the majority of your view is of the front entrance where people drop off their cars which is especially annoying when you’re in bed and you hear slamming car doors all day.
I called the day ahead of our arrival to let the hotel know that we were expecting my boyfriend’s son to join us for one night as it was his 20th birthday and we were celebrating. They told me that they would have a chocolate cake for him which I was very excited about. Sadly no cake arrived or any acknowledgment of his birthday occurred. Not a huge deal but I had been looking forward to surprising him. I would have done it myself had I not been expecting that the hotel was going to do it.
The description of the room Also mentioned a private entrance that would make it easy to have access to the restaurants in the hotel lobby however, this door has no key, no lock and no door knob thus rendering it useless and that feature should be removed from the website. Also the “balcony” is actually just the landing of the stairway for the unusable door, it only accommodates a cafe table and two chairs, there is no room for dining outside and no chaise lounge. Since I made the reservation through American Express they promised an upgrade if there is one available so I called downstairs to see if there was a better suite we could switch to but I was informed that specialty suites do not qualify for the American Express upgrades which is something that will be good to know in the future. I think we would have been better off booking two separate ocean view rooms instead of this suite.
His hotel also accommodates dog switch for those of us who are traveling and sleep deprived is not a good thing. I was awoken this morning at 8:30 by barking dogs but by the time I called down to the front desk they had already left. If a five-star hotel is going to allow dogs I think I should soundproof the rooms or have them in a special wings so they don’t have to bother other people who want to enjoy their stay in peace and quiet.
Overall it was a pretty great stay the staff here, as always, is amazing. Everyone is unbelievably friendly and willing to accommodate special request quickly and with a smile. The included breakfast that we had through American Express was fantastic as were our two dinners that we had at the Bellavista restaurant. The hotel itself is beautiful, like going back to a different era. The bar is stunning and we ate outside several times and were kept warm by the heat lamps. The pool area was also very nice with the water being just the perfect temperature even though it was chilly outside.
This review was dictated so please excuse spelling errors and strange word substitutions.