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“Disappointing for sure” 3 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 9 hotels in Goleta
Scottsdale, Arizona
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Disappointing for sure”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

Bacara Resort has been on my wife's list of places she has wanted to stay for years but after a four night stay this past weekend what a complete letdown. From checkin when we were told that we needed to be prepared to get the tar off our feet if we walked on the beach and that we could tell we were seeing the ocean if we could see the oil rigs this place was a huge disappointment. We moved from one partial oceanview where we barely could see the ocean over a roof and through a tree to another partial oceanview room where you only could see the ocean when standing and if we sat down on the balcony chairs all we saw was garden, yet paid for the ocean. The Bistro restaurant delivered regular eggs instead of egg whites, "but the ticket says egg whites" the waitress tells us despite them being yellow. They took them back then brought egg whites with the wrong things inside. Bathrobe that was bloodstained in the room and towels that were stained at the pool. Lunch at Bistro took 50 minutes to arrive and the pizza was undercooked as was the hamburger. The place wore us out, we could not continue to complain. Overall service was no where near a luxury resort level and there is no reason to pay the high prices to stay here. Be sure if you go that you rent a car because Santa Barbara is a 20 min drive away and that is where you are going to want to spend your vacation.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
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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 23, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write such a careful accounting of your recent stay. I am extremely grateful you have shared your concerns with us. I have sent you a private message in order to be in touch and try to right a wrong. I hope to speak with you soon.

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,261 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
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English first
San Francisco, California
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

Wonderful experience form check in to departure. The staff is friendly and really there to make the experience great. We had our daughter and there were plenty of activities to keep her busy. Our suite was well appointed, I am not a fan of the shutter dividers for bathrooms, but that seems to be the trend. The resort is beautifully nestled into nature enhancing the feeling that you are away from it all. We ate at the restaurant by the beach which was lovely, the service there could bump up a notch.

Room Tip: HIgher floors are a big plus here.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Saint Paul, Minnesota
Top Contributor
388 reviews 388 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 101 cities Reviews in 101 cities
228 helpful votes 228 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

I read all the negative reviews from June and was frankly dreading our stay due to the poor service comments. My husband was attending a conference here and so we accompanied him for four days. We arrived late in the evening and it was rather busy at check in. The staff member said the computer was not working so he went in the back to try and pull up our reservation. It took about 10 minutes and finally he came back but with no success. Meanwhile other people were checking in and we were just waiting. Finally, we asked if we could have someone else help us and then things went smoother. The second staff member saw that we were a bit frustrated and so he said that he would comp our breakfast in the morning. We thought that was a very nice offer. We enjoyed our room except it would have been nice to have queen beds instead of double beds. We did feel that the beds and pillows were very comfortable. There was a small refrigerator in the room which was nice. Our room was a garden view and it was away from the main traffic. It was a good idea to have someone take us in the golf cart since there are so many villas and a person initially can get lost looking for their room.
In the morning, we did go to the Bistro which was very near the pool. We ordered the buffet for $32 which was a bit expensive but there was a variety of food and it was delicious. We found the wait staff to be very attentive and filled our water and coffee quite often. There are umbrellas and our waiter wanted us to be comfortable and adjusted it to block out the sun.
It costs $30 a day for valet service and we were impressed with how quickly they brought us our car. We would see the valet guys running to the parking lot to retrieve the cars. At the end of our stay, they put two water bottles in our car which was a nice touch.
We did not go down by the beach since we did not want to deal with the tar issue on the beach. We did sit by the pool and several times during a 20 minute time period, we were asked if we wanted a beverage. It was a nice touch for families with little kids that they had a sand area where they could play.
Except for breakfast, we did not eat at this resort but instead drove 12 miles into Santa Barbara where there is quite a variety of restaurants to choose from.
When we called for valet to send someone to pick up our luggage and have us check out, they came within 5-10 minutes.
Overall, the resort has beautiful grounds, close to Santa Barbara and under an hour away from the wine country, was a bit expensive, and was very impressed with the overall staff. They clearly aimed to please and and asked several times about our stay. From our experience, I would recommend this resort.

  • Stayed July 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anaheim, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

Wonderful property. Beautiful grounds. Spanish style with fireplace in our room. Staff was very friendly and we even got upgraded to a partial ocean view. Only problem was that the trees and bushes blocked our view so it wouldn't have made a difference if we stuck with the garden view. If you request an ocean view room, don't get a room near the bluffs. You will not see the ocean. You have to get a room near the pool area to get the ocean view. Loved the decor and the spacious room. One problem that we encountered was that you can hear the workers early in the morning and you really couldn't sleep in.(6:30 am!) Which was a shame beacause the beds were so comfortable! We got woken up super early on both days. Part of the hotel was under construction, which didn't bother us, but the hallways are very loud and you can hear the workers slamming doors and talking loudly amongst themselves. I'm not one to complain, and I didn't bring it to management's attention. The other problem which was at the bar. We sat outside by the firepits(nice touch), server was extremely friendly, but there was only one server for all of the tables. Food took forever to come out and once it did, it was cold. Might have been an off weekend, but we were there on New Years. For a 5 star resort I would expect better like the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara. All in all, it's a beautiful resort, just needs a few adjustments. If you want to relax, play golf and hang out by the pool, this might be your place. Just keep in mind that it' NOT in Santa Barbara, it's in Goleta. It's about a 25 minute drive to downtown S.B. There's not much to do in the area except relax and play golf. Nice starrting point to drive into Solvang though. I might wait a while before I go back. I hope those problems were just a fluke.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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valencia, CA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013 via mobile

I just returned from a 4 day stay at Bacara. I had been very excited about this trip because of the reputation of the property and the beautiful location. The property is indeed beautiful, but my illusion ended there. The first night my friends and I ate at the Bistro restaurant. The highlight of the meal was walking in the door, and went down hill from there. We asked to be seated inside, as it was a little chilly out. The hostess said "of course" and then proceeded to walk us out to the patio to our table. Apparently hearing was not one of her talents. We then asked for a heater, and then asked again, twice more. It then took 3different people to attempt to light the heater. It lasted less than 5 minutes. 2 more attempts and it was a no go. In the mean time, we had ordered a bottle of wine. When it was finally brought to the table and poured, the waitress whisked it back away. Why? One and a half hours later we still didn't have food. The restaurant manager actually came over to the table and just said "the heaters are new, and we just opened" and just stood there looking like a deer in headlights.

My stay continued on with much of the same. It appeared that there was no attention to detail. One morning I had ordered breakfast and eaten out on my patio. When I returned to my room at 3pm, housekeeping had not cleaned my room, but the seagulls had attempted to clear the dishes, still on my patio (what a mess!)

We went down to the pool one afternoon and got towels to sit on. The towel was very stained, and I am fairly sure I recognized the source of the stains being something that leaks out of a diaper. How could a resort like this not take thos towels out of use?

Another time house keeping left my friend's room unlocked and the door propped open.

All in all, I could not recommend this hotel to anyone that I remotely liked.

Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

We selected the Bacara Resort as a destination for my daughter's 40th b'day gift, a mother-daughter chick trip. The grounds are astonishingly lovely. We have good reviews of the actual spa and the food was very good. We did hit a couple of snags which we do not think should have occurred since we were spending about $1000 a day to stay there.....first, the TV wouldn't change off the baseball channel. Nothing wrong with baseball, but it took over 24 hrs for a couple of "engineers" to come to the room and reattach the cord from the TV to the receiver. Fix took about 90 seconds. Second, they had placed a family with a small infant next door to us, so we were awakened five times during the night to a hungry screaming baby. It is certainly their right to come to a resort spa with a baby, but I think the staff should have not placed them next door to another client. They moved on the next day and our second night was peaceful. Third, immediately upon arrival the valet took the car and I stopped one of the young assistants to ask him a question at which point the head valet fellow barked at him loudly and abruptly, telling him to send me to the desk to ask that question. That was our initial impression of the Bacara, not a good one. Also, the courtesy "daily bottle of wine" ended up to be just one bottle of wine...since the daughter did not finish it, they recorked it and a half bottle became our daily bottle for the second day. Little things for the most part, but not worthy of a great rating. That said, the resort was restful during the day and laid back.

Room Tip: Ask not to be placed next to a family with children/baby. The walls are thin enough that you can he...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

I will start by saying that I'VE BEEN DREAMING of going to Bacara FOR YEARS since my friends raved about it.

But sadly, somewhere between their raves and us booking our "pre-honeymoon," things changed. It was our biggest travel disappointment to date. Trip Advisor has never let me down until now. But it's clear to see from more of the very recent reviews that our trip was not an anomaly.

We had many of the same issues as other guests who have already listed them… This is NOT a 5-Star SERVICE resort. The location IS 5-Star. The grounds ARE 5-star. But there are many 2-star hotels with better service than Bacara.

Also, for us, this was NOT a romantic weekend getaway - at least not during the weekend of June 29th. When we travel, we do not mind children/families around us, but we specifically chose Bacara because we thought it was an adult resort where we would find a relaxed/gorgeous/romantic atmosphere with amazing service for our short pre-honeymoon. But, instead, these days It appears to be more of a family friendly resort - so if you have kids, it may be better suited to you these days than it was to us.

From start to finish it was a constant let down that we spent too much of our time there discussing rather than relaxing/enjoying.

So here's how it went, in a large nutshell:

-Most overheard phrase by employees to other guests (and to us) over the weekend: "I'm sorry…."

-I was told that we could plan to arrive early since we were heading up the morning after our wedding and although check in would be at 4, they would make a note of the fact that we were celebrating our honeymoon and our room would be likely ready much earlier, possibly even by 1 or 2. Well, we arrived at 3:50pm due to bad traffic, and there was no room ready - ok we know check-in is at 4, but why make the promises over the phone? They found us another room shortly after, which was fine - and thankfully NOT overlooking the pool which they somehow had down that I had requested (thankfully we were situated a little further back so the screaming of children in the pool was at a much lower decibel level than had we been right over the pool. Not romantic.)

-The restaurant Miro asked us if we were celebrating anything when we were coming in and we said "yes! our honeymoon!" Then they proceeded to say "congratulations." And that was it. Not sure why they asked us if they weren't going to acknowledge it any other way (like all the other places we've been for anniversaries/etc.) But on the upside, we did get to sit next to a woman talking to her daughter about colonoscopies! (This is not Bacara's fault - but at least it was so unromantic that we started laughing hysterically throughout our honeymoon dinner.)

-The Bistro was less than half full for brunch, but they didn't seat us for over 30 minutes - when we asked why, they said "they didn't have enough silverware."

-So many employees were friendly, but seemed to know nearly nothing. It was as if it was everyone's first day of work. (I don't mean this literally - but almost)

-There were way too many kids and babies in the pool for us to go in and feel comfortable. (plus it took forever to find 2 lounge chairs next to each other). When the jacuzzi finally freed up, we got to sit in it for about 90 seconds before a couple with their 8 year old jumped in. Fine anywhere else, not so fine for romance.

-Couples massage ($400+) - hate to say it, but I've had better massages in a nail salon. The price for such a joke almost made me cry. The automatic 20% gratuity must not be very motivating for the therapists to do a great job.

-If you need something brought to the room and you call the front desk, forget about it… it's not coming.

-Was sent a review form about our stay where I wrote about my experience and how our weekend was not what we were expecting. Response from Bacara: NOTHING.

-A guy with a travel-related website tweeted about his bad service the same weekend we were there - and Bacara tweeted him back to get in touch with them. I tweeted as well (I do not have a travel blog/website… yet!), and the response I got: NOTHING.

-Lastly, upon leaving - they packed up our car and brought it around, except that it wasn't our car! The cherry on top, as we called it! We got that straightened out before we left though ;)

On a high note, now our real honeymoon can only be better… We've chosen a "Trip Advisor #1" hotel, so fingers are crossed that it truly is that good.

Room Tip: If you want romance, request to NOT be put in a room overlooking the main pool - it is too noisy wit...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.

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Additional Information about Bacara Resort & Spa

Address: 8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Goleta
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 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*
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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