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“Great family and weekend getaways!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bacara Resort & Spa

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Bacara Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117   |  
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Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Goleta
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Dusseldorf, Germany
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Great family and weekend getaways!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

We decided to stay in this hotel based on a recommendation from a good friend. The location of this resort is pretty far from the main area of Santa Barbara. It took about 30 minutes drive to have dinner in the town. The resort is located along the amazing stretch of the Gaviota Coast. It is a family friendly resort to relax and rejuvenate. We stayed at a Partial Ocean View Room, with an enticing peek of the Pacific Ocean. After a good breakfast, we enjoyed our walking thru the natural beach along California´s most spectacular stretch of Pacific paradise. Love the beach!
Good recommendation for family getaways!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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, June 4, 2013
I was so pleased to read that you enjoyed our stunning location along the beautiful Gaviota Coast to relax and rejuvenate with your family. We hope to welcome you back for many more memorable trips to come!

Kindly,
Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,621 reviews from our community

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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 (447)
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new york
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

Everything about this place is amateurish. No slippers because there had been a lot of people the week before - but isn't that the goal? The food made me very sick on one night and my husbands steak didn't make him sick but that is because he didn't want to eat bloody food. At one point we complained about a reservation screw up and were told by more than one person we hadn't spoken to the right employees - really is that our job to find the right employees? Here is what they are super at - taking loads of your money. Avoid at all cost.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
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, June 4, 2013
I am truly disappointed to read that we did not meet and exceed your expectations during your recent stay. To that end, I have contacted you privately to personally follow up with your comments. I was particularly concerned to read about your feedback regarding our food and service. Guest dining is an area at which Bacara has always excelled. Both our menus and our service have won us rave reviews locally and even nationally. I truly believe your experience was the rare exception, and I hope you will give us another try.

Sincerely,
Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mill Valley, California
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

We checked in today after a long drive from the Bay area. To be honest, I am very disappointed, and I have to admit that this is the worst 5 star resort I've ever visited. Our garden view fireplace room is very very dated. The furniture and the bathroom fixtures look very worn and dated with scruff marks everywhere. The hallway looks dingy and dirty. The TV in our room is broken. There is no turndown service. The screen fell off our door to the patio. The valet process is cumbersome. What is the most annyoing is the fact that there is a loud wedding party going on right next to our room, and it is extremely loud at 10:30PM. I did not spend $$$ to get away from my peaceful home to lie awake at night with loud disco-like noise at night. I just regret that I have to spend another 5 nights here and wish I booked elsewhere. The only positive is that the outside amenities do look nice, and the setting is very pretty. The place is dog friendly - which is another positive for us, but not enough to offset the negatives.

Room Tip: Do not book first floor rooms in building 1 - it is impossible to sleep with loud music from the bar...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
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, June 4, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review about your recent stay at Bacara. I am happy to read that you enjoyed our beautiful setting and that you were able to bring your four legged family member with you. I was truly disappointed to read about the negative aspects of your stay and have contacted you privately to resolve those matters with the hope you will give us another try.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

We were there Memorial Day weekend. There were 2 weddings occurring that weekend, so perhaps the service level suffered as a result. Although in some areas the service was fantastic (restaurant staff and poolside food service), other services were less attentive (housekeeping).

We checked in around 6pm, and service was prompt. Although the front desk clerk was pleasant, I was given incorrect information on the cookout dinners and about the complimentary wine in the room. The bellhop who helped our bags did a good job in showing us our room and was enthusiastic and quick at getting our bags.

Our room was situated in Villa 4, which was centrally located, but not particularly desirable (that would be poolside or oceanside) or undesirable (that would be far from anything). Our room faced a quiet pathway. However, as there were 2 weddings occurring that weekend, we did hear some noise later at night. The interior of the room was well appointed and clean. However, housekeeping did not replenish all the toiletries every day. Moreover, we did not receive turndown service every evening, and we didn't even receive bottled water the last evening.

Poolside service was terrific and the staff worked really hard at getting us drinks and food quickly. Although there were pool attendants later in the morning to help with umbrellas and setting up pool chairs, they were not around around 9-10am in the morning.

The restaurant staff were all professional and attentive. We ate a Miro, the Spa Terrace, and the Poolside restaurant, and the Bar for various meals and drinks during the day, and the service was uniformly good. There was a problem with the kitchen not being able to process orders electronically for lunch one day at the Poolside Restaurant (resulting in long delays), and the manager was very good at explaining the situation to all the unhappy customers, and she also offered complimentary chips and salsa to all the customers.

My breakfast meals at the Spa Terrace and Miro were tasty and prepared promptly. Our lunch meals poolside and at the poolside restaurant were delicious as well. Dinner at Miro, however, was a letdown. My prime ribeye did not taste like it was a Prime cut at all. It was dry, chewy and not well-marbled, even though I had ordered it Medium Rare. However, service at Miro was attentive. On our last evening, we ate at the barbecue cookout which had great service as well. Service at the bar varied. There were long delays one night (before dinner), but on another night after dinner, service was quick. Overall, I think that while breakfast, lunch, and drinks were of good quality, the food quality for dinner was lower. We had dinner in Santa Barbara one evening, and I wish we had gone to Santa Barbara for dinner all the evenings.

The gym had some good weight-lifting and cardio equipment. However, the water cooler was empty when I was there in the late morning. Perhaps they could have had some way for us to contact the staff at the gym (like a phone or intercom), as I'm sure no one wanted to interrupt his workout to go upstairs to the main entrance to notify them. That being said, shouldn't they have had staff to periodically check on these things?

Coffee was available in our room via Keurig, and that was a nice touch. However, coffee outside the room was only available in the restaurant Miro, nowhere else, not even at a coffee stand or lobby or Spa, unless we sat down at the restaurants (where there was usually a wait for a table).

The beach was not comfortable to walk on. There were large amounts of seaweed strewn on the beach, and there were clearly a number of non-hotel guests on the beach (it is a public beach), so the atmosphere was more mass-market. Furthermore, there were some broken beer bottles on the beach.

At checkout, the checkout clerk was not very friendly and even a little smug. It seemed as though he was trying to rush me at checkout while I wanted to check the items on the bill. I also had to ask for an envelope to put the bill in. Since we checked out at 8:15am, I don't know why he was in a rush as there weren't others waiting in line to check out. It also would have been nice if they had slipped a copy of the bill under our door, as many hotels do, so that I could have checked the bill ahead of time.

Overall, Bacara was a fairly good resort to stay at, but just falling short of the top tier 5 star service that one would expect at, say, a Four Seasons. Perhaps that is why their rooms are priced lower than at the Four Seasons Santa Barbara. You get what you pay for. I would stay at Bacara again, as perhaps service levels suffered because of the two weddings; however, I would imagine that they host numerous weddings.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 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, June 4, 2013
Thank you for taking the time such a detailed account of your recent stay over Memorial Day Weekend. There are so many areas that you reviewed and I was pleased to read that you received fantastic service from our pool and restaurant staff. While you enjoyed several of your meals onsite, I was disappointed to read that we did not meet and exceed your expectations with regards to your dinner at Miró. I have contacted you privately to discuss in detail all the other areas of your stay. I am happy to see that you will return and hope to personally welcome you back on your next visit.

Kindly,
Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

Rooms are very nice. Towels are soft. Spa was in good shape and massage was good. However, like many resorts on the beach, they tend to be run down due to tough weather conditions. Bacara is not necessarily rundown but, other than the rooms, it needs a face lift. The management does not keep the premises painted. Rust is on the fences; walls are chipped and the feeling is that the place feels bare. No life to Bacara. When checking in, there was a long line and only one person checking people in and out. Not a good idea when one pays $500/night. Don't come here for the beach because it is dirty and smells of tar, and there are no cabana's on the beach. In fact, the hotel has nothing to do with the beach. Plus, there happens to be an oil rig offshore. Service was mediocre. Kids from Santa Barbara seem to hold most positions and are not well trained. Sorry for not giving this a greater score. It just doesn't deserve it.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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, May 31, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write your review. I am happy to read your comments about your Spa experience. Bacara is located on the cusp of the pristine Gaviota Coastine. Immediately in front of Bacara lies Haskell’s Beach, a cherished treasure in our community. In order to preserve its natural beauty and thriving ecosystem the beach remains untouched. We do however have a Beach House that is open during the summer and offers umbrellas, chairs, towels, food stand (including wine and beer) as well as water activity rentals. So we very much embrace the beach, just from a respectful distance. We hope that you will join us again to experience all of these amenities.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

Is there any reason why a hotel of this caliber needs to nickle and dime when the customer is already paying premium prices? No free parking? High speed internet costs extra (unless you want to pretend it's 1999)? The "Midweek Retreat" (an extra $200 over basic room price) "includes" 2 massages but then there's an extra $60 fee for said massages. Downstairs neighbors come knocking at our door at 8am complaining/accusing of stomping and noise d/t standard morning activities. And highway 101 is really close/loud, esp for east facing rooms...

On the upside, the rooms are nice/clean/pleasant, the location is decent -though take note it is 12 miles outside Santa Barbara. The grounds are very pretty. The ocean/beach is very nice. The Miro restaurant is great (spendy but not outrageous).

Just be warned that to have a truly "exceptional" experience, expect to spend a few hundred more dollars per night than the $300 basic room price (or even $500 midweek retreat price). I mean, just charge $350/night and at least let me think I'm getting "free" parking and decent internet for my money...

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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, May 31, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback about your recent stay. I was pleased to read that you enjoyed our guest rooms, oceanfront location and your dining experience at Miró. Resort fees and parking charges are an industry wide practice at many other destination resorts such as Bacara and we remain competitive with them in regards to this. Despite your frustration with this, I do hope that you will join us again to enjoy all that Bacara has to offer that you enjoyed on your recent visit.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013

I expected the bacara to be the santa barbara version of LA's Terranea. It turned out to be roughly the same idea...but the service at the Terranea is amazing and the service at the Bacara's bar was atrocious. I left furious and I will never let anyone drag me there again.

Room Tip: choose a room at the Terranea instead
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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, May 31, 2013
I was so disappointed to read your review about Bacara Bar and have contacted you privately to resolve the matter. Guest dining is an area at which Bacara has always excelled. Both our menus and our service have won us rave reviews locally and even nationally. I truly believe your experience was the rare exception, and I hope you will give us another try.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
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 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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Goleta
#2 Business Hotel in Goleta
#2 Family Hotel in Goleta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bacara Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 360
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 
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Also Known As:
Santa Barbara Bacara Resort
Bacara Spa Resort Santa Barbara
Bacara Resort Santa Barbara Ca
Bacara Santa Barbara
Bacara Hotel Santa Barbara

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