The trip was for my wife's 45th birthday. She has always wanted to stay at Bacara. Our priorities for a property like this are generally 1) A great ocean view 2) A property that is easy to get around with all amenities close by 3) multiple food and beverage options at any time of the day. For the most part, Bacara met all of our expectations. A few things worth noting.
Location: The hotel is not near downtown Santa Barbara so you either need to drive, shuttle or cab to get there. Other than the SandPiper golf course, there is nothing you can walk to.
Property: Perhaps the most beautiful hotel property I have ever stayed at and I have been fortunate to stay at some amazing places around the world. Buildings and landscaping are gorgeous and constantly maintained. I would normally not even mention this but it was so over the top good. The property is on a hill that goes down towards the pool/beach. It is quite a slope but they do have golf carts everywhere (and I do mean everywhere) and can shuttle you if necessary,
Rooms: Gorgeous rooms, very spacious. The configuration had the oversized tub in the oversized bathroom situated as such that you could look out the patio door toward the ocean. Just beautiful. The 8, 9 and 10 buildings seem to be closest to the ocean. Building 9 might be the best as 10 might be a little too close to the pool (more later).
Pool: We arrived on a Saturday in July and were quite frankly a little surprised by the number of kids at the pool. The noise was unbelievable and all I could think about was the poor people with rooms near the pool. It seemed more like the Disney Grand Californian than a $800 a night resort. When we got to our room in building 8 I was thrilled that I couldn't hear the noise from the pool. Again, I love kids, just not what I expected. By Sunday afternoon the pool was relatively quiet and we spent a great day out there on Monday.
Service: Service overall was great. We didn't ask for much but everyone was very friendly. For example, our room wasn't ready so the front desk gave us a voucher for free cocktails in the bar. The bartender poured very premium cocktails for us and kept checking with the front desk on the status of the room without us asking. Good stuff. Also, every morning I would go to the spa restaurant to get a latte (there is no "coffee shop/stand, huge fail) and the girls at the front desk couldn't have been nicer.
Food: We ate at The Bistro 3 times, twice for dinner and once for breakfast. Great outdoor seating, great service. Loved it. Service from the pool bar/grill was also excellent. We didn't eat at Miro or the other restaurants but we heard they were all excellent.
$$$$: OK, price is never really an object for us but value is. I was totally happy to pay $800 for the room, the food was expensive but high quality and well worth it. My small issue was with my morning latte. With no coffee spot, my only option was to go to the Spa Cafe where they happily made me the equivalent of a tall (read small) Starbucks for $11 (incl a $2 tip). That's insane and insulting. Also, breakfast at The Bistro for 2 was about $75. A couple of mornings, we took a nice walk up to the SandPiper golf course and had a great breakfast for about $20.
Overall, we loved the property. Put in a decent coffee spot and don't charge $9 a latte and we'll be back.
As for golf, I've reviewed Santa Barbara golf before but Sandpiper (next door) and Rancho San Marcos ( a lovely 30 minute drive into the Santa Lucia's) are both worth playing. Check GolfNow for good rates.
- 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