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“Gorgeous property but had some service problems” 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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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Goleta
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Gorgeous property but had some service problems”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

I'll start with the positive - this place is gorgeous and right on the ocean. It's far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Santa Barbara proper that it's a nice place to get away and relax. The pool is incredible, the rooms are beautiful (with a fireplace and the most comfortable bed to boot!) and the grounds are breathtaking.

Now the negative - we had a bunch of service hiccups from start to finish. I'm not a picky person but it almost became laughable how many things happened. Our friends who we were traveling with all had complimentary bottles of wine in their rooms, we did not - when we pointed this out to the front desk they apologized and said they'd send one down but it never came. Our waiter at the nice (& expensive!) restaurant Miro was either new or having a breakdown - he got so many things wrong and was bumbling, late and frazzled the whole dinner. Our waitress at the bar later was the same way, getting orders wrong, etc. But most importantly, we had the loudest neighbors who kept us up from 1100pm on, laughing, in and our of their room slamming their doors and I was surprised how the noise traveled. We finally gave up at midnight and called the front desk, were told security would handle it, yet the noise continued to way past 2am. We both had our ear plugs in and a white noise app on an iPhone cranking, yet we still couldn't sleep.

I will have to say, the front desk handled it well upon check out and did apologize and comp us our dinner, so I appreciate how it was handled. But, for a quiet getaway resort, I was so disappointed we couldn't enjoy our comfy room and bed more. I would suggest a room on the top floor or request to stay away from wedding parties so you do not have our same experience, because otherwise this place really is lovely.

Room Tip: Noise carries and the doors slam so I would suggest a top floor room if that might wake you up
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, July 2, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback from your recent stay. It was wonderful to read all of your wonderful comments about our gorgeous location, beautiful rooms and breathtaking grounds. I am sorry that we fell short with consistent service throughout your stay. Such valid feedback as yours will help us improve. We hope that despite the service hiccups you experienced you will give us another chance in the future. Thank you again for your time.

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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1,373 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (357)
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English first
Gibbons, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

This resort is beautiful, very luxurious and the food was amazing. I attended a business meeting here with over 250 people and I cannot think of one little hiccup - every single interaction was above expectations. I will definitely come back to this resort for a pleasure trip. If you are considering a meeting location, this place is #1!!

The screening room was an excellent alternative to a traditional conference style and then as our meeting grew (to over 300 people) we transitioned into the Ballroom and it was also fabulous. The facilities are top notch, and the food and service at this resort make it an absolute 10!!! I honestly cannot think of any single one little constructive criticism (and that's unusual for me!!!)

Room Tip: I stayed in villa 10, on the main floor. I had the most amazing ocean view and a walk out my patio...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 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
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Kathleen C, General Manager at Bacara Resort & Spa, responded to this review, June 17, 2013
I was so pleased to read that you had such an excellent experience while here on business. We can’t wait to welcome you back for a leisure vacation soon!

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
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port moody
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

This resort was fabulous. All the staff were friendly, helpful, they went out of their way to help you anyway they could. The rooms were very comfortable and clean. I was here on a company function and will be going back. 5 *****!

Room Tip: Had a partial ocean room view, but I can't see any room being bad as the gardens are beautiful t...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 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
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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 17, 2013
I enjoyed reading your review about your recent stay for your company function. I was pleased to read you enjoyed the resort and service. We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future!

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

spent 4 days here last month and wish I could have stayed longer, it was blissful. the staff were very attentive, the amenities were great and the rooms wonderful. I cannot fault this resort and would go back in a heartbeat...in fact hoping ot go again next year. the pool is to die for, the spa pampering and the food yummy...what more can i tell you .......don't put it off or hesitate, GO!! you wont regret it.

Room Tip: make sure you get a seas facing room!
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern California
Top Contributor
255 reviews 255 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

We prepaid a special package offer. When we checked out we had to remind the hotel to credit services that were included in the package. They had overcharged us and it took three requests to get it resolved. Then three days after check out, our credit card was charged an additional amount - so yet another call to the hotel to resolve that overcharge.

So here is a review of the two night stay:

CHECK-IN/GUEST ROOM:
Front desk agent, Jonathan, checked us in. He explained the Bistro restaurant was closed. This was significant information that should have been provided prior to our arrival. It would have been beneficial to know in advance. Jonathan offered us a choice of a pool view or spa view accommodation location and explained the $35 daily resort fee. He said, “please drink as much of the complimentary waters in your room as you like.”

The resort fee realistically included only two complimentary bottles of water for the entire stay. Only two bottles of water were available in the room but were not replaced. So Jonathan should not have made it sound as if there was plenty of bottled water available. On day two, a gentleman came to check our mini bar. We requested he bring more “complimentary” bottles of water. He agreed but NEVER returned. Not only did he not replenish the “complimentary” water, three days after we checked out, the hotel charged our credit card over $45 for mini-bar items. Since we did not drink or eat anything from the mini bar, we disputed the erroneous charge. Hopefully the hotel reversed this on our credit card as they agreed.

We were escorted in a cart by Stephen to our 3rd Floor room in Villa Bldg 6. Our king accommodation overlooked the pool yet was a substantial distance from the main pool daytime activities and noise. Good location.

The property grounds are quite lush, landscape is well maintained and clean. The property has access to a good stretch of beach.

The spacious guest room offers tile floors, a ceiling fan over the foot of the bed, working a/c, reading lights overhead the bed, a desk without paper and pen, large flatscreen tv, closet and a broken arm on the wicker chair w/ottoman. The broken wicker snagged shirt sleeves. Furnishings are slight of five star luxury. The bathroom has one sink , a small one person tub and a separate shower (a plus). The small toilet area has a functional door. There was a nonworking phone next to the toilet. Bathroom lighting is a bit dim. While this is not a PLUSH five star bathroom, it was very clean. Bath SHEETS were of excellent quality, yet are stored in a basket on the floor. Mattress linens are “ok” but not what we consider “five star quality” There is a sheeted duvet but no top flat sheet for those of us that do now wish to be covered in a heavy comforter. A request for a top sheet was honored with a very wrinkled sheet.

POOL:
Our first day at the pool was not a five star experience. We waited over 30 minutes for the pool attendant to come our way. Finally, we yelled to get his attention. He said he was sorry he didnt’ see us -- we were four chairs from the attendant station! He offered no menu’s. When we inquired why type of beers were available, he responded, “we have a lot.” We requested an Amstel Light but was then informed that is not offered that at the pool. So much for “we have a lot.” Thus, we inquired again, “what beers do you have” and he said, “Coors Light, Bud Light.” Perhaps he could have offered a menu, but he did not. We asked, “anything else?” He seemed put out by having to “remember” what other beers were available. Realizing he was not able or willing to bring a menu or go through the list, I settled on a Sapporo. He returned with a 22OZ. LARGE CAN of beer and no glass. The 22OZ. CAN is HUGE. One expects a five star resort to let you know it is 22oz, since standard beer cans are 12oz. One also expects a beer (plastic) glass. Had we known the beer was going to be this large and served without a glass, we would not have ordered it. We requested a glass, and he said “oh I didn’t know you wanted a glass.” This is suppose to be a five star resort - are you kidding me! Staff should either bring the glass automatically, or at least ASK while you are placing an order. The staff should definitely let a guest know when the beer is a 22OZ CAN and not the standard 12oz.

Day 2 at the Pool was much better. Jessica, the pool attendant immediately came to help us with the umbrella. After that, she quickly brought a menu. The menu not only lists all the beer options available, it clearly identifies Sapporo is only available in 22oz. Jessica is a five star employee.

Cabana's look nice but no printed info available in the room or at the pool as to the cost.

SPA
Joshua gave a decent massage. What turned me off was that as soon as he took me to the room, he began a sales pitch for a “$35 treatment upgrade” These upgrades should be discussed earlier, not DURING the first minutes of the allotted massage time.

Another turn off was to find that after the message, the ladies lounge with fireplace, comfortable chairs, complimentary coffee, teas, waters, magazines, etc. was CLOSED to spa guests. I was informed I had to leave because it was the only time the “decorator” could come to the spa to discuss laying new throw carpet!!! Are you serious...a five star spa and I have to leave because this is the only time the decorator has to do this!!! ??? REALLY? Upstairs was an outdoor lounge has HARD wooden lounge chairs with not cushions, no tea, no magazines, no open umbrellas...So there was no lounge chairs to relax in and enjoy a beverage after the service. Definitely NOT five star spa service. When I spoke to the desk receptionist, she claimed to have no knowledge that they were working in the lounge. She asked if I wanted to speak to a manager.

Victoria the manager advised that this was the only time the decorator could come to work. Let me get this logic: the guests pay the hotel/spa for five star services, the hotel pays the decorator, and the decorator gets to inconvenience the “five star” spa guests because we all live to meet her schedule. REALLY? After I explained how the decorator should not inconvenience paying guests and this was unacceptable customer service, Victoria then offered a 20% discount for each of my two spa services (day 1 and day 2). I advised her that my services were included in a prepaid two day package. Victoria promised the refunds would show up on our final bill when we check out. Another situation that took time on the phone to sort out before check out.

The facial was ok, fragrant products only.

I learned in the steam room that the hotel allows pets. One person claimed a dog vomited twice in the lobby when she checked in.

MIRO
Due to a power outage in the city on our first night, the Miro restaurant was very busy when the power came on. Our meal was good but the waiter neglected to serve the “sides” we ordered. We were almost finished with our meal before anyone come to the table to check. We said our sides never arrived. They finally did and we were informed we would not be charged for the sides. Gregory our server was not very attentive - had he come by after the meal was served and checked, perhaps our side dishes would have arrived in time to be enjoyed.
Dessert was very good bignets and cheesecake.
Our second night at Miro (remember Bistro was closed), was a better server experience. We noticed that Gregory was a busy boy on night two.

Miro breakfast was excellent. Karen our server is worthy of a five star luxury hotel salary.

HOUSEKEEPING
Left housekeeping a daily tip. Housekeeping did add our request for a flat sheet, albeit wrinkled, but did NOT REPLACE any of the washcloths, hand towels or the bath mat
We phoned to request a pad and pen for the desk, a bath mat, washcloths and hand towels, a single bar of soap, and a shower cap...the man who took our call stated he would send someone.... when that someone arrived, he only brought two washcloths. We again asked for the other items, he returned with everything except the paper and pen. A third trip brought the pen.

HOTEL MANAGER
On the morning of day two, we left a voicemail message for the hotel manager, providing our names and room number. We asked to speak with her before we checked out. She never returned our call - no voicemail, nothing.

OVERALL
This hotel has a long way to go before it can be a five star luxury property. It is a three star hotel with lovely landscape. Customer service needs improvement, and that must start from the TOP DOWN. So as soon as they find a hotel manager that RESPONDS to the in-house guest....... perhaps things will improve.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, June 17, 2013
While I was pleased to read that were areas of your stay that you enjoyed, there is really no excuse for the series of problems you encountered during your stay. The fact of the matter is, we did not provide you with the level of service that is indicative of a five-star resort. I am sorry that I did not receive your message while you were here as I would have definitely attempted to connect with you about your stay. To that end, I have contacted you privately to resolve these concerns. I hope to connect with you soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Candler, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

A great spot for the mother-daughter trip we were on. Beautiful grounds, friendly staff, great food and yummy cocktails. The spa was overpriced (as is typical) but the daily fitness class options and healthy menu options made it possible to feel like you were at a wellness retreat without the freaky/funky vibe. I didn't mind the fact that the resort was spread out; it made it feel a bit like you were visiting a village, which I'm sure is what the designer had in mind. The beds were super comfy and the rooms are nice (but not 5 star). Downsides: the daily bottle of wine is a red and they don't allow substitutions or rebates; as a migraineur, I would have preferred the option of enjoying white wine (note: they did give us a bottle of sparkling cider but juice is not the same as wine). Another downside: they don't mention on the website that the beach has naturally occurring tar on it. While I didn't have a problem with it at all--in fact, we did yoga on the beach on morning, which was awesome!--I imagine some would want to plan for that possibility and bring old shoes to walk on the beach since the bell staff warned us that the tar wipes provided in the room aren't typically adequate for cleaning up running shoes. The only other issue I had was aesthetic/psychological: there was something a bit off-putting about seeing oil infrastructure (platforms, boats shuttling to the pier, trucks hauling it) while lounging at the pool on vacation. I know it's ironic (since I used a lot of oil to get to Bacara) but it's just not something I choose to look at while on vacation. Unfortunately, I imagine there's nothing that can be done about that.

Room Tip: Avoid the rooms on the lower level in the building near the pool: they feel like a dungeon. Opt for...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
San Diego, California, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2013

In town for a my son's college baseball game, and looking to make a mini vacation of it. Home run! The grounds were spectacular, everything well manicured and very clean. Our room was decked out Santa Barbara style, with every amenity we good think of. Again, very clean, and well maintained. The staff was incredible. We were in and out of the drive regularly and experienced a warm welcome every time. The bell staff was extremely accommodating. We ate in the Spa Cafe both mornings and had a superb breakfast; tables are outside and very inviting. We also ate in the main dining area each night. The views are amazing! And the food unreal! Try the bolognese if you get a chance! The overall experience is one that I hope to have again soon! If you are in Santa Barbara you won't want to miss Bacara Resort!

  • Stayed May 2013, 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
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Goleta
#2 Family 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 
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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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