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“You Cannot Go Wrong at Bacara!” 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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Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Goleta
Houston, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“You Cannot Go Wrong at Bacara!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

Had the pleasure of staying at Bacara Resort for a destination wedding of dear friends. Had everything one could ask for to enjoy. The food was delicious, the service was great. Cannot wait to return!

Room Tip: Stay in a beach view room if you can....sunrise/sunset views are worth the extra money!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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, November 14, 2013
Thank you for writing about your recent stay for your friend’s wedding. I am so pleased to read that you enjoyed all aspects of your experience and we hope to welcome you back soon for another visit.

Kindly,

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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1,373 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
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Long Beach
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

My wife and I decided to take a weekend getaway and settled on the Bacara Resort after she had a great experience there during a girls' weekend this past summer. The place is beautiful and the location super convenient in that it offers that feeling of solitude one needs for an escape weekend, yet is only a quick trip down the freeway if you want to find yourself in downtown Santa Barbara.
For those couples that like to stay fit and active, there are any number of things to do. We walked on the beach, on the grounds, and along a trail-loop adjacent to the hotel. We rented bikes and rode over to this amazing butterfly habitat about a mile or so away. Being a swimmer, I thoroughly enjoyed two of the three beautiful pools to get in some lap swimming. The water was crystal clear and the temperature perfect. My favorite fitness aspect of this trip; however, was the two challenging yet fun classes with the famous Norm, Bacara's resident fitness trainer. This guy was the best! His TRX class kills and his 360 class later in the day kills even more. (I skipped his Zumba class, in between, but I hear that's pretty fun too.) This guy yells at you to follow his directions, keep your form, and reach your potential. He cranks classic rock, like Led Zeplin and asks if you're "feel in' the love" while you're pouring sweat. Any intimidation factor dissipates within minutes, though, after you realize the guy has a heart of gold. We live two hours from the Bacara, but I would almost make the drive up each Saturday just to take his classes.
I usually put on about 5 pounds after a resort-weekend stay, but Norm helped me come back to reality rested, a bit sore, perhaps, but ready to conquer my work week.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 14, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write about your recent stay. I was thrilled to read you were able to thoroughly enjoy our fitness center. We will be sure to share your kind comments with Norm. We hope to welcome you back soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
297 helpful votes 297 helpful votes
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
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 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fullerton, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Napa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 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
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 ( 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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