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“Would Recommend for a Group Retreat!” 5 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
Special Offer
$100 Gift of Indulgence
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Goleta
Certificate of Excellence
California
Level Contributor
119 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 323 helpful votes
“Would Recommend for a Group Retreat!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

I had the opportunity to do a site visit at this resort on 11/9 for an upcoming company retreat. Just for your background, we have hosted this retreat for the last four years (La Quinta, Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, The Grand Del Mar, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines) and will be comparing this resort to the Four Seasons (4S). We are looking for a place that is on the high end (4 to 5 Stars) that would still be family friendly and have great Spa and Golf available. Both of these resorts do not have their own golf course. Here is my detailed review of Bacara.
Location/Hotel: This resort is isolated off the beautiful coast about 15 mins past SB. Its next to the Sandpiper golf course which looked amazing. It is not a terribly large resort but is spread out. The resort was built in 2000 and still looks new. The landscaping was immaculate. The resort was very clean. There is ocean views from a number of the rooms. The walking trail next to the resort offers amazing lookout points. The beach was very easy access. The rooms are grouped by buildings (2-4 stories) and were scattered all south of the Lobby. They do offer golf carts to get around, but you really don't need it. The ambience is typical of SB and is very relaxed. Not really noisy (unless you were near the bar) and reminded me of Ojai (but not as expansive). I give the hotel layout and ambience a 5 star rating.
Service: I thought this was really good. From the moment we pulled up to the moment we checked out, you feel welcomed and pretty well taken care of. However with that said, it was still a notch below the Four Seasons. Checkin was pretty straight forward except we did not get the rooms that were confirmed to us. I had called the morning off to make sure that we had either connecting rooms or adjacent rooms (with our friends). I was reassured that they were adjacent. However, 6 hours later, we found out that they were in the same building but different floors. Nothing could be done about it (a tad disappointing) due to the high occupancy. Our luggage was taken from the car and loaded up onto a golf cart. They couldn't take all of our luggage at once, so the bellman had to return and get it. We called for housekeeping and room service a number of times and there response time was decent. I had requested a crib in both rooms, but only 1 room had it upon arrival. Initially the keys didn't work, but the bellman took care of that. The service at the restaurant and lounge was very good. We ran into some issues at the spa, but the manager was very understanding and discounted the treatment accordingly. Alice was the sales manager that took care of me and she was phenomenal. I just hope that the great service was not merely because they knew that I was on a site visit. The resort is very family friendly. There was no check in amenities for the kids. The crib came with minimal amenities. However, every one treated the kids well (especially at the Bistro). All in all, I give their service 4.5 stars.
Rooms/Amenities: We were placed in an executive suite in Building 8. This was facing the ocean and a short walk to the pool and beach access. The room was nicely decorated (with tile floors) and reminded me a little of La Costa in the decor. Nothing terribly fancy or knew. The Flat screen TVs were not terribly big. The sofa couch was fair in appearance and comfort. There was a half bath outside and a really nice size bathroom (with separate tub and shower). The bed was really comfy (I preferred their bed over the 4S). Bathroom amenities were decent. They offer 2 comp bottles of water and had a keurig avail (4S doesn't have inroom coffee machine). The room had a patio that had a partial view of the ocean. There was also an ipod/iphone dock next to the bed. I thought there were decent amount of plugs available. A microwave was brought to us by request. Biggest downside of the rooms was that we could here footsteps from above. Especially on the tile floors, it could be quite a bit noisy.
Pool/beach: We did not use it but I was really impressed with its layout. Both pools are right next to each other but I was more impressed with the cabanas. There are 2 stories of cabanas that surround one corner of the pool area. The upper ones were pretty basic, but the ones on ground level had TVs, fans, and fridges. Reminded me a lot of the pool party set ups in Las Vegas. I know you have to pay a pretty penny for them, but a nice option to have (especially for groups). The pools are heated. There were 2 jacuzzis that I saw. They even had a sandbox play area for kids. I did not visit the spa pool. The beach access was nice. The beach was a decent size but had a lot of seaweed and kelp (compared to the 4S). Still, made for great morning hike.
Spa: See my review regarding it. Basically my wife was not terribly impressed. A lot of it had to do with its service (or lack of). No towels (at 5pm) to be found. No toilet papers in most of the stalls. No personalized attention at checkin. All in all, not what is or should be expected from a 4-5 star spa. 3.5 star rating
Restaurant/Lounges: Had dinner at Miro and that was fantastic. They have an amazing patio and I would recommend having an early dinner out there. There is also a fantastic wine cellar to host a reception or big group dinner. The food was decent and they have an extensive wine list. We had a brunch at the Bistro and that was fantastic. They set us up right on the patio and we had a great view of the ocean. The weather was perfect and that definitely helped. The lobby bar was happening. We missed the nightly music. What I really liked was their fire pits out on the terrace. Made for a great spot for late night socializing. Their kitchen closes around 11pm (i think) but you can order room service and they will bring it out to you. Compared to 4S, you only had the bar area to hang out. Room service was ok, but they tack on $6 service charge. So order a lot to make it worth it. I was also a bit disappointed that they did not offer a Sunday Brunch buffet. They have a typical breakfast buffet, but did not offer anything special for Sundays (like the 4S). I would think that this big of a resort would put on quite a spread on Sunday.

Conclusion: I believe that this is a great place for a group retreat (w/families). From a service standpoint, It is not in the same class as the Four Seasons or the Montage (Laguna Hills), but the overall experience is great. The lack of golf course can be made up by playing at the Sandpiper. I would have no reservations in bringing my group there.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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, November 14, 2013
Thank you for writing such a detailed account of your recent stay. We appreciate your taking the time to thoroughly review all aspects of your stay. We are happy to read that you enjoyed your stay and we hope to welcome your group to Bacara.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
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1,731 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 (485)
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English first
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
32 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

Got engaged and married in Santa Barbara 10 years ago. Decided to book our ten year anniversary back in SBA. Was deciding between the Fess Parker, Hyatt or the Bacara. So glad we chose the Bacara!!! It may be the best hotel we have ever stayed at and I have stayed at hundreds being in the tourism industry. I'm a regular Joe so could only afford their basic room package with breakfast for two nights (albeit still looking nice on-line). Dropped an email to the hotel to let them know it was my wife's and I's ten year anniversary and if they could do "anything nice" to make the stay "memorable" I would really appreciate it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get upgraded to an incredible ocean view bedroom suite. Now I know it was low season and the hotel probably had the rooms available (or not) but to upgrade to the one we got....WOW! Upon arrival we felt like royalty as both the GM Kathleen and the VIP Director Merlyn greeted us (what service!) We were then led to the room and what a shock we had on how beautiful it was and sweeping views of the double balcony to the ocean. About 20 minutes later there was a knock on our door and in came in a little chocolate pastry, and a Happy 10 year anniversary card! Again, being a regular Joe, we were floored at the service. Room was beautiful, wife loved the bath (bubbles every night with a view of the ocean) and I liked the included wine. It was also my wife's birthday a few days later and I had reservations at Buchon and we decided to ax that and have dinner at the Bacara it was so nice! Walked the trails (three times) strolled on the beach (forgot about the tar but the hotel even has special wipes to help out), hung out at the pool, enjoyed the fireplace. This place is 5 stars. Since we went end of October nobody was around so it felt like we had the whole resort to ourselves (only 3 other parties at breakfast both days). They gym was way better than 24 Hour fitness back home. All the staff treat you with exceptional service even as we drove up in out little purple Hyundai rental car. Room service was quick and efficient, chambermaids great and even the turn down service at night was a neat touch. If I had anything negative to say it's that the internet sometimes kicked us out but you know what? We didn't care because we decided we didn't even want to be on-line anyways and wanted to enjoy the resort. So not a bad thing! We didn't encounter ANY of the negative reviews we saw in previous postings and encourage everyone if they have the means to have a stay at the Bacara. Everyone was so nice to us and made us feel like VIP. The Bacara made our ten year wedding anniversary so memorable. Thank you Kathleen and Merlyn for making our anniversary so special; I know you didn't have to put us in the room you did and I want you to know we really appreciate you being able to go out of your way for us! We are sold! My wife says she wants to come back every year on our anniversary! Thank you again and a huge thumbs up to you and your staff! The Bacara is awesome!

Room Tip: Any room looks nice but the ocean views really are incredible.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, November 12, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed account of your recent stay for your ten year anniversary. It was a pleasure meeting you and your wife and I am so happy that we were able to make your anniversary a memorable one. We hope to welcome you back for many more visits to come in the future. See you soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
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Fullerton, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

We had an absolutely FANTASTIC stay at the Bacara! The room was divine, the grounds were beautiful, the service was exceptional, and everyone was extremely friendly and made us feel very welcome and comfortable. I would absolutely return and will recommend the resort to many! The only thing less than perfect to me was the lack of vegetarian/vegan food options. Everything else was incredible!!! The location of the hotel overlooking the ocean was perfect, and all of the extra touches Bacara does just puts it over the top! It's only about 15 minutes from State Street in Santa Barbara...ideal!

  • Stayed November 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, November 12, 2013
Thank you for writing about your recent stay. I am thrilled to read that you enjoyed our accommodations, beautiful grounds and service. We hope to welcome you back again in the future for another fantastic stay.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Napa
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

This is my letter to the Manager of Bacara to which I never received a reply. After my experience, I didn't really expect one. You be the judge.

Dear Kathleen Cochran:

I know that client feedback is important to you and the hotel in improving the Bacara experience. We checked in last Sunday, October 13. We had used points earned through Hotels.com to pay for two nights of our three nights stay.

On checking in Sunday afternoon (4 pm ish) there was a line 3 deep at the front desk & no one in sight. After about 3-4 minutes one person came out to start the check in process. In the meantime, a disgruntled guest planted himself at the desk in front of those waiting in line to continue his rant ( & threats) at one of your employees.

We walked to our room Villa 2 #2205 . We noticed 3 used water glasses on the floor of the hall near our room. These glasses were moved on Tuesday to the cabinet at the end of our hall, now joined by two dirty red wine glasses. Wednesday a.m. they were still there when I went for a walk (more on that below) and breakfast (more on that below). However, when we left our room at noon to check out they were finally gone. When we got into the room Sunday, there was only one robe so I called housekeeping and ordered another one for a gentleman. They asked what size, I told them Large--A medium robe was delivered.

Breakfast Monday am.--we arrived at 9 a.m. to a not very busy terrace, ordered coffee (which came immediately), two toasted bagels, a bowl of fresh berries and a grapefruit. We had a tee time at Sandpiper at 10:20. At 9:30 we left our table and told the hostess we were leaving, at which time, she told us we had to wait to sign the check for our coffee, then came back and told us our breakfast was now being served. (We left since it was too late at this point. At this time she did not ask for a signature for the coffee.)

That morning (Monday) when we went out, I handed a gentleman at the front desk a note with some things we needed: A Large robe, slippers for the cold, hard tile floor, a price list for the in-room bar and snacks, and I wanted to know if the bottle of Merlot in the room was complimentary. We got the robe. Nothing else. Also, One bar of soap between the basin and the shower was a bit off- putting.

Then, the final touch was after my walk on the beach Wednesday a.m. I got back from the beach, had a nice breakfast and went to my room to get ready to leave. Imagine my distress when I looked at my feet which were covered with spots of oil/tar. In the binder in the room, it states that the oil/tar can be a problem, but it comes off with the wipes located in the room--there were none.

My overall opinion of Bacara is it's a 6 star hotel running on 3 cylinders. Gorgeous setting, amazing. Some of the staff were real winners; others were just doing a job and it showed.

I hope my critique is helpful to you. It's meant to be constructive and not mean spirited. We travel 6 months out of the year-all over the world and stay on some of the finest cruise ships and in some of the finest hotels. We had been so looking forward to our stay at Bacara and were so disappointed.

I waited 3 weeks before posting this--hoping the hotel would reply.

Room Tip: Don't get stuck in a dark ground level room on a walkway. Noisy in early a.m.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 8
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, November 12, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback about your recent stay. I am sorry to say that I was never in receipt of your letter and would have certainly replied right away. While I was pleased to read that you enjoyed our setting and service in certain areas, I was truly disappointed to read your overall letter. To that end, I have contacted you privately so that I can personally right any wrongs and address your concerns. I hope that we can connect soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
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Clayton, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

We had an exceptional stay at Bacara. The resort is beautifully appointed, the rooms large and comfortable and the politest, most helpful staff of any resort we have ever stayed at. That include many four and five star resorts. It was located in a quiet area, away from the Santa Barbara traffic, yet close enough to be in town in 15 minutes. It is on a lovely, though rather sea weedy beach, which was great for a nice walk. The on site Bistro had excellent breakfasts. The pools and jacuzzis were very nice with lots of places to sit and enjoy the sun. It is upscale, with lots of nice amenities, but not snobbish at all. We did some wine tasting, shopping, walking on the beach and ate great meals. We will definitely return.

Room Tip: We chose a king room with a fireplace and it was a fabulous spacious size. I
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  • Stayed November 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, November 12, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write about your recent stay. I am so pleased to read that you enjoyed all that Bacara has to offer and we can’t wait to welcome you back for another visit soon.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the resort on November 19, 2013. We booked the room through a third party and when checking in to the resort, front desk informed us that they were unable to find our reservations. After several minutes, they decided to check us in while they continued looking for the reservations. They promised to call us as soon as the issue was resolved. However, they did not call us back and my husband and I went to inquire at the lobby. We waited several more minutes until they said that it was all resolved and that they found our reservation. We were told that there would be a standard pending transaction on our credit card but we would not get charged from Bacara since we booked through a third party (besides parking and items we purchased). Upon checkout, we reviewed the bill and it was all correct.


However, days later the transaction for the room was posted to our credit card. We called a minimum of four different times and each time we were told that someone would call us back or that the transaction had been fixed. NOBODY EVER CALLED US BACK!! We then noticed on our credit card that we were charged again for the same transaction and then refunded the same amount. This did not fix our initial problem since the original charge remained on our credit card. My husband was finally able to reach someone from accounting and they were able to remove the incorrect transaction three weeks later. Overall it was horrible customer experience and a huge headache for us. We did not expect our anniversary getaway to the resort to turn into a nightmare.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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, November 12, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write about your recent stay at Bacara for you anniversary. I was truly disappointed to read about your billing experience and have contacted you privately to address your concerns. I hope that we can connect soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

I have got to say the management at Bacara really stepped up and made our second trip there amazing.
We stayed there previously and had some issues. The management went to great lengths to be sure we came back and that our stay was without any issues, plus a few wonderful surprises. I always say that some times things can't be helped and you may not get the service you desire but it is how they deal with it that counts. The Bacara dealt with graciously and made up for any inconveniences we had last time.

Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, November 12, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write about your most recent visit. I am so pleased to read that we were able to turn your experience around and we look forward to welcoming you back again in the future.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
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 Business Hotel in Goleta
#1 Romantic 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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