We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Oceanfront luxury.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bacara Resort & Spa

Save Saved
You added Bacara Resort & Spa to your Saves list
Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 9 more sites!
Bacara Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117   |  
  |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 9 hotels in Goleta
Gold River, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Oceanfront luxury.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012 via mobile

Exceptional luxury, impeccable oceanfront setting, with world-class amenities. This place is a must stay. Santa Barbara's finest and Northern California's great destinations. The beach is beautiful and we walked for miles along the beach!

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 25, 2012
Thank you for your kind review. Bacara is in fact the only beachfront resort in Santa Barbara. The beach is secluded and stunning. I am pleased you were able to enjoy this so much.

We hope to see you back again soon.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,343 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    739
    216
    148
    126
    114
See reviews for
288
543
28
117
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (351)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012

Just returned from a weekend stay at the Bacara Resort just north of Santa Barbara. This was my first visit to the Central Coast and the Bacara is a beautiful place to visit. The resort is separated and feels a bit isolated (in a good way) from the rest of the world - they have an absolutely beautiful piece of land right on the ocean.

This is NOT an inexpensive place to stay so I had high expectations and I'm reviewing it that way.

In my view, the Bacara is managed to cater to the many groups visiting the resort. When you looked around, the vast majority of staff members were focused on working in the areas related to the events happening - which meant that other details around the resort seemed to be forgotten.


PROS:

The Resort - The buildings are well kept and beautiful. The grounds and pool are excellent. There are some (relatively short) hiking and jogging trails, tennis courts and a beach area. The beach was covered in insects (not the fault of the resort) but the pool was perfect and picturesque.

Bistro Restaurant - this is the mid-level restaurant, but for us, it was actually the best part of the weekend. The dishes are inventive the service impeccable. The view over the ocean (you MUST sit outside if you eat here) is spectacular. The deconstructed ceviche dish along with the goat cheese stuffed figs were terrific -ooh and the monkfish.. Really, each dish was a surprise - in a very delicious way.

Spa + Fitness - Excellent gym with great equipment. One detail missed in the fitness center, the staff hadn't paid attention to the towels which were all used up by other guests when we visited.

Room Service - we used it for breakfast each morning and it was excellent and relatively prompt. A detail missed was housekeeping forgot to leave a breakfast card the first day so we just called.
(One note to the hotel is that the breakfast card is incomplete - there should be more choices listed other than just continental type items.)

CONS:

Crowded, Large Resort Feel: In many ways the Bacara feels large (well it IS a large resort) but the marketing for the place made me think it would feel more zen-like. Some examples:

Walkways - It seemed EVERY time you walk on the beautifully landscaped walkways you have to GET OUT OF THE WAY from the staff members on Golf/service carts. It started to bug me after then 10th, 15th and 20th time. The pathways were too narrow in many places for both pedestrians and service vehicles. I'm not sure how they could fix this other than build some separate service vehicle lanes.

Entry Court: The valets were excellent but there just weren't nearly enough to keep up with the mass of vehicles pouring into the small entrance court. It felt chaotic each time entering and leaving the property. We didn't really wait excessively - but it was more like entering a theme park hotel.

Lobby: Staff members were excellent but there just weren't enough of them. Each time we visited it was a bit chaotic (I noticed at least one angry customer complaining asking for a manager). It just felt a little too busy - it seemed there may be 50 people in the small lobby area but then only 2-3 staff members in sight who were busy giving excellent service to one or two guests. A detail missed in the lobby was that they had spa-style pitchers of tea and flavored water out for guests. The resort even went so far as to put out sliced sugar cane for the drinks, but they neglected to put out enough cups to actually enjoy the cold beverages.

Bathroom - Big detail missed here - I don't know why a hotel designer would ever think its a good idea to NOT soundproof the bathrooms. The doors separating the bathroom from the rest of the resort room, are louvered and pretty much open to the rest of the room. In other words, every noise made in the bathroom echoes throughout the entire rest of the room! Really these should be replaced with solid core doors for both the water closet and bathing areas.


JUST OK:

- Rooms - Except for the issue with the bathroom, our room was very nice. I wasn't a huge fan of the finishes (mexican tile, etc.) but it was nice and clean. Keep in mind that looking at the buildings MOST rooms do not have sprawling ocean views - most look at the beautifully maintained grounds. We had a peek of the ocean but I didn't mind our view of the courtyard for our building.

- Maid Service - was good, we expected turn down the first day but no big deal and no breakfast card for the following morning. Another detail missed here was that there wasn't enough soap for the room (sinks, shower and tub). For $400-500/night There really should be 3 bars set up - one for shower, tub and sink area.


Overall, the Bacara is a beautiful resort that feels a little crowded and seems focused on the many groups that visit. It wasn't quite the romantic five star experience I had expected (and they charge for). To summarize, if you were getting married you would want to have your wedding here - but maybe not your honeymoon.

Room Tip: Not many have an actual ocean view but it's ok. This place is more about the grounds which are...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 25, 2012
Thank you for your review of your recent stay at Bacara. I would be hard pressed to think of any critiques that have been offered with you level of objectivity. Not only was your underlying attitude one of fairness, you actually provided me with the kind of helpful information that I can use in enhancing and affirming the level of service to which we aspire.

We hope you will consider a return visit. The fall and winter season is much less chaotic and the crowds are less.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

This past weekend we spent a weekend at Bacara Resort and spa. BREATHTAKING is the first word that cones to mind. There are only a handful of 5star resorts on the California coast that can measure up. This hotel caters to the stars and they are there every weekend. As you would expect, the parking lot is filled with high end automobiles.. we rented a suite overlooking the pool and ocean views where the comfort and decor was unsurpassed as was the room service. The site is magnificent and secluded, the service was impeccable and the restaurants truly provide an enjoyable culinary experience, whether you choose the Spanish themed Miro restaurant, with his art decorating the room, and ocean views abound or the pool and beach restaurant with its delicious daily brunch and fantastic overviews. We also used the gym that IS complete with the latest equipment, and let us not forget the spa that is commensurate with the best in the world. The beach US a good five minutes down a beautiful road and is relatively clean and secluded. Driving in from los Angeles for a weekend makes you feel like you have had a weeklong restful vacation. It is our favorite new 5 star resort. It is centrally located 8 min from the newly renovated Santa Barbara airport and 10 min to town.I would highly recommend
it.
Nir

Nir

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 25, 2012
Thank you so much for your very kind review. It sounds like you were able to enjoy all of our incredible amenities. In fact, most of our guests are quite happy just staying here! Thank you also for your comments about the Spa and Fitness facilities. As a Bacara Guest, there is no charge to enjoy either of these.

We hope to see you again soon.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

Each time I stay at this resort, I'm never disappointed. I'm always greeted with a warm welcome at the valet and with the close attentiveness from the bell men and receptionist, I know I'm off to a wonderful stay. My family and I have stayed in a variety of rooms available and find each to be very comfortable, clean and comfortable. We especially love the fireplace and great European french doors.
Each restaurant has an amazing variety to choose from but if relaxing by the pool or room service is on order, you can't go wrong. I'm so addicted to the Ceaser Salad with prawns that I might have to return sooner than later just to order it again.
If you're looking for a retreat, family vacation or a friends get together, this is the place.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 25, 2012
Thank you for your wonderful review and for your continued business. In fact we have thousands of families and extended families who return again and again and again.
We are glad you are among them.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

The location, grounds, and look of the place is awesome but you get better service at holiday inn for a third the price. Get ready to hike the hills of Bacara or get ferried around in golf carts. Enjoy the beach and the 20 minutes after each visit to remove the tar -- more tar sand than Alberta. And you are pretty well stuck here for all meals unless you want to drive at least 15 minutes. Better to stay at Kimpton in Santa Barbara where the rooms, service and surrounding restaurants are far better.

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 18, 2012
Thank you for your feedback on your experience. Although tar is not always present on the beaches of Southern California-it does sometimes lap onto our coastline. While, I know it can be an annoyance to many of us-the tar is from natural seeps that have been around for centuries.
We do our best to ensure our guests are aware of this possibility and are truly sorry that you found this part of your stay so disappointing.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Longwood, Florida, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

Covering two hilltops and a gazillion acres of ocean beauty; get used to using the word "wow". I was a guest at a birthday party which was off the charts for fun and excellent everything. It speaks to the quality of the overall experience when you find the hotel fully booked and the staff on their second set of track shoes. Relax and enjoy the awesome ambiance. It tops any place I've been and I've been around the world twice, to a world's fair, two hog-callings, three axle greasings and six rodeos. Bacara, six letters could be reduced to three: wow. Thanks for the experience.

Room Tip: If you want an ocean view, plan ahead and ask for it!
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 25, 2012
Thank you so much for your very kind comments. We are so pleased you made the most of your experience at our beautiful resort.

We hope you will return soon!

Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

Bacara is such an amazing resort. You feel swept away on a tropical island. The pools are gorgeous and time stands still while you drift from jacuzzi to spa to sauna. The wonderfully appointed rooms and beautiful grounds make Bacara a wonderland, but it's not for the delicate of pocket. $32 for room service for 2 scrambled eggs and that doesn't include $6 delivery fee and the 18% gratuity. If you can afford it, its a fantastic resort. It's my favorite vacation getaway or weekend rendezvous.

Room Tip: some of the rooms have no view at all, but I imagine it costs more for the oceanview rooms, but you...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 18, 2012
Thank you so much for your kind comments about your visit.

We hope you will come back to see us soon.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Bacara Resort & Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Bacara Resort & Spa

Address: 8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Goleta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Goleta
#2 Romantic Hotel in Goleta
#3 Business Hotel in Goleta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bacara Resort & Spa 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bacara Resort & Spa offers a luxurious hotel and family experience right outside Santa Barbara, California. Experience laid-back luxury and contemporary comfort at Bacara. Nestled on 78 magnificent beachfront acres, Bacara provides a vacation experience like no other. Whether you’re here for business or pleasure, we’ll pamper you with dazzling facilities, suites and the incomparable Santa Barbara sun and surf. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com, Tingo, Travelocity, getaroom.com, TripOnline SA, Priceline, BookingOdigeoWL, Venere and Jetsetter so you can book your Bacara Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Santa Barbara Bacara Resort
Bacara Spa Resort Santa Barbara
Bacara Resort Santa Barbara Ca
Bacara Santa Barbara
Bacara Hotel Santa Barbara

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Bacara Resort & Spa, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.