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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.