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“Fantastic Hotel and Staff” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

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Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   1260 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93108   |  
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Ranked #7 of 61 hotels in Santa Barbara
Manhattan Beach, California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Fantastic Hotel and Staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

For our 12 year wedding anniversary the wife and I loaded up the car with grandma, two dogs, our 3 year old son and headed to the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara. Everything about our stay, from arrival to departure was top-notch. We stayed in one of the hotels cottages, which included a main sitting room and a separate, large master bedroom. Considering our unique configuration of family members, this was a great setup for us. Dona at the front desk deserves a raise.

We've traveled all over the world and stayed in all sorts of hotels. The Biltmore/Four Seasons is the best resort type experience we've had. Believe, I love to complain as much as the next guy. So I guess my only complaint is that the hotel left me wanting something to reveal, something that the hotel didn't live up to or do—sorry, I'll have to live to complain another day.

To keep the grounds as lovely and tropical as they are, there's a huge-normous team of gardeners and attendants always in motion and always fixing, trimming, watering and cleaning something. The team's handwork is clearly evident throughout.

Hotel highlights include an absolutely spotless, clean and beautiful dog friendly beach; two pools, spa and an completely authentic Santa Barbara old-school experience. People often compare the Biltmore to the San Ysidro Ranch; I've stayed there too and prefer the Biltmore's beach front location.

We're already planning for our next stay.

Room Tip: we stayed in cottage 940, awesome set up and very private. Actually, we got this room because it'...
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  • Stayed November 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Portola Valley, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

A few days at the Four Seasons Biltmore always clears the brain and is a wonderful "get away" from everyday life. Sunday lunch in the main dining room was very crowded and the service was slow but that is to be expected on a very hot Nov. Sunday. The waiters were very busy but also very nice and accommodating when they were available. The hotel was busy with a meeting and also a wedding so there were many people for the dining room to help. At dinner that evening, we were almost solo in the dining room and

  • Stayed November 2012, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

We were on the Amex platinum package and when we arrived at the hotel around 6pm (after check-in), our room was not ready which is unacceptable at that hour. We had to wait an hour or so and then they gave us the worst room at the end of a corridor that was very dark. Needless to say we were very disappointed. We've been to a dozen Four Seasons all around the world and this was our worst experience in term of check-in and room. I would recommend booking a suite instead of a room. The rest of our stay was very good. The coral casino pool is beautiful and with good service. The concierge was very good at booking for us Lotusland. Amazing, not to be missed! Went for a dinner at San Ysidro Ranch and it was magical, i regret not booking there for the vacation. We did one day of driving in wine country (Los Olivos etc.), nice day trip.

Room Tip: choose a room higher than first category.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Coast
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
148 helpful votes 148 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

We visited this hotel on a recent weekend, using it as a base for touring the area and some R&R. While I am aware that this is a wedding destination hotel, I wasn't prepared for how it would actually feel. There were three weddings during our two night stay, and I have heard that summer weekends can bring up to 5 such events. There were pockets of chaos the entire weekend, beginning at check in and peaking when imbibing guests wandered around the lobby and grounds to continue the celebrations. It's a version of being a non participant at a hotel dominated by conventioneers. Further, our room faced the lawn, a scene of two weddings with the additional onslaught of set up/take down noise. There was certainly nothing that the staff could do, so we didn't choose to complain about it.

There is, as many have commented on, a train that runs next to the property. We heard it a few times during the day and evening but not at night, which was a relief. The hotel provides ear plugs and a little information page about the excitement of arriving by train in days past, probably trying to tone down complaints. It wasn't a problem for us at all, however.

The property is older and generally well kept, but there are whiffs here and there of "old." There is a wide variety of rooms and cottages, so I'd suggest looking through the images on the website to make a selection. The staff was pleasant and friendly. The valet parking space is tight and can get very busy when a lot of guests arrive at the same time. Fee is $31/day. Charge for internet, as well.

Four Seasons has this irritating corporate policy of not providing much information about the hotel in rooms in order to generate interaction with the staff. As a result, there wasn't one piece of paper in the room that provided basic information, such as hours of the restaurant and fitness center, towel availability at pools, etc. Everything takes a phone call and it's just a waste of time for guests and staff to have to handle such mundane questions.

We had breakfast at the restaurant - the buffet looked lackluster, but the ala carte menu was excellent and the service friendly and professional. Montecito is short walk away, but it is a strip of mostly upscale clothing stores. For the touring part of our program, we would have preferred to be in Santa Barbara proper, with its wide selection of restaurants, shops and attractions.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSSantaBarbara, Resort Manager at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, responded to this review, November 23, 2012
Thank you for sharing your comments regarding your recent visit. We do our best to balance our leisure, wedding and business guests, and while we usually do a great job, I am truly disappointed to hear that we fell short on this occasion. I appreciate your candid feedback regarding the train, we are looking at ways to better communicate this nuance of the Resort to our guests prior to arrival. We've also heard mixed feedback from guests regarding the information in guest rooms, which is helpful for us to take into consideration. I'm very glad to hear you had positive experiences with our staff and in the restaurant. I would be happy to speak with you personally regarding the details of your experience, so please feel free to contact me anytime.

Sincerely,

Michael Mestraud
Resort Manager
(805) 565-8202
michael.mestraud@fourseasons.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoover, AL
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

My son recently was invited to speak at a symposium of his professional association, which was hosted by the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara. Referencing my atlas, I found that the city lies at the southern end of the gorgeous stretch of the California Pacific Coast Highway which begins in Monterey, meanders through Carmel and showcases the indescribable Wonders of Big Sur. Consequently I invited myself to accompany my son so he and I might take advantage of his invitation and extend the business engagement into a long-awaited road trip. Since seeing the movie “The Sandpiper", I wanted to drive through Big Sur. This was the perfect time to do so. We spent one most night in the little arty village of Cambria, then stopped at Harmony and Morro Bay before crossing the mountains at Los Padres National Forrest and finally cruising into Santa Barbara.

Arriving at the expensively-groomed grounds of Four Seasons, there was no doubt that we were going to have a most pleasant and upscale experience. Walking into the impressively inviting lobby, we checked in and were then escorted through beautifully and meticulously maintained manicured gardens to our well-appointed cottage. Scarcely had we settled in when an attendant arrived with a tray of appetizers consisting of freshly-made baba ghanoush and delicate wafer crackers, compliments of the conference sponsors. Enjoying the refreshments we surveyed our room. Everything was exceptional as expected. The bathroom was exquisite, appointed with outstandingly colorful Spanish tile. I especially enjoyed the face and bath soap
made by L'Occitane with shea butter. Great fragrance.

Later that afternoon, I was fascinated by a wedding ceremony being conducted right outside our cottage. What an appropriate setting for such a monumental and personal event. After enjoying a simple meal at a nearby restaurant, we spent a most pleasant evening sleeping on extra-comfortable beds in our quiet, luxurious room. After my son’s presentation, I grabbed my camera and recorded a bit of the scenic beauty in which we were surrounded.

All in all, the Four Season’s Biltmore was even more lavish and special that I had even anticipated. Although I consider myself a well-seasoned traveler, only rarely have I been afforded the luxury and first class accommodations and service of such stellar lodging.

Room Tip: I doubt if there is anything other than a good room at the Four Seasons.
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  • Stayed October 2012, 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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dublin
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

This hotel is situated beautifully in front of the ocean, it is very pretty and the service is smart, our room was not huge but adequate and very comfortable, as usual the beds are a dream BUT the noise from outside our room every morning from the cleaning staff gathering outside was horrendous- not really the staffs fault more that the rooms are not sound proofed and the doors are flimsy.
We complained, we got nowhere. Apparently there was no quieter room available. The manager promised the staff would be silent- I'm sure they tried! We ended up just getting up earlier....
The beach club across the road is amazing and we spent most of our time there. The food is good both pool side and in the restaurant.The beach is nice to walk on. The sea is not the cleanest.
The main restaurant in the hotel is nice especially if you sit outside.
The spa is well run and a pleasant experience.

Room Tip: Bring ear plugs as all rooms are noisy apparently.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
FSSantaBarbara, Resort Manager at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, responded to this review, November 16, 2012
I truly appreciate your comments and would like to thank you for taking the time to mention the positive aspects of your recent stay. I'm sorry to hear that your experience was less than perfect, as we expect it to be, and will use this opportunity to revisit this topic with our staff. I sincerely apologize for the noise issues and moreover that we were not successful in resolving your concerns. I would welcome a chance to speak with you further about this, so please feel free to contact me anytime, and thank you again.

Sincerely,

Michael Mestraud
Resort Manager
(805) 896-1419
Michael.Mestraud@fourseasons.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

We will return to this beautiful place one day. The architecture is radiates a tranquility that cannot help but make you feel relaxed.

We were upgraded to a cottage and I could have lived there forever.

The gardens are beautiful and our children (aged 3 and 5) loved to play croquet and practise their putting on the green, just like daddy.

We ate all our breakfasts and had one dinner in the restaurant and one as room service.

All the food was impeccable; tasty, hot, well presented, plentiful and delicious. I would class the breakfasts as the best we have eaten outside Asia.

Any employee we encountered was charming and welcoming to our entire family.

The one tiny niggles we had were that the two afternoons we were at the pool there was no pool service at all. I know we could have gone to the larger club pool, but we loved the intimacy and proximity to our room of the hotel pool.

We will return to Santa Barbara as it is a gorgeous part of the world and when we do we will stay here again.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Address: 1260 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Barbara
#1 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#5 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#6 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara 5*
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Also Known As:
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara Hotel Santa Barbara
4 Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
Four Seasons Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Four Seasons

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