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“Enchanted!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Belmond El Encanto

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Belmond El Encanto
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93101   |  
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Ranked #4 of 61 hotels in Santa Barbara
Beverly Hills, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Enchanted!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

El Encanto is a wonderful hotel with a beautiful view of the Pacific. The room was gorgeous with an extremely comfortable bed and a new spacious travertine bathroom. The spa was terrific! Hopping bar with Luca Ellis singing Standards and Sinatra. Food is delicious. In particular, they served a special risotto that they created for me. Dessert was a sensational Floating Island. Yum! Easy fabulous getaway!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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306 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
Date | Rating
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English first
Los Angeles, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

Last week I checked in for a mid-week stay to try the newly remodeled El Encanto Hotel and to my surprise it was more than I could have imagined. My bungalow was located off the beautiful brick arbor with my favorite Wisteria in bloom it surrounds a reflective lily pond within a grassy lawn. Located just steps away from the beautifully designed main building. I decided to have the afternoon tea served under the covered porch just steps above the grand terrace with
spectacular views of the city and the ocean. After choosing from a lovely selection of special teas the magic began. Tea is served on the most beautiful china I have ever seen. When asked where it came from the staff explained that it had been hand-painted especially for the Hotel by Artist Lissi Kaplan who captured the beautiful essence of the hotels flora on each piece. I always love a proper afternoon tea and this one definitely was. I loved the extra attention to detail everything tasted so delicious.

As I sat in my reverie, I began to see many locals and guests arrive for the Cocktail hour so, I decided to walk the grounds and take in the place. I stopped by the fantastic pool, stuck my hand in to check the temp and it was heavenly. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my bathing suit so I continued on to see what was around the next corner. I found a gym with all the latest equipment located under the pool and then continued on a path that took me by the ballroom and then, my favorite part the Spa. I peeked in, checked out the menu and did a quick scan however, I will have to try it on the next trip. I had friends coming to meet me for dinner so I dashed back to my room to change. Did I mention the Bathrooms? They are fantastic in both size and luxury. My friends arrived and we had a delicious dinner of perfectly cooked Salmon for my main and a stunning salad with lettuces grown fresh from the chef’s garden on the property. My one friend had a special request due to dietary restrictions, which they granted without a fuss and then we all dipped into the exquisite Floating Island Dessert wishing we had ordered two. Later, as we walked the grounds with all the magnificent trees and beautiful plantings, we were transported back to another time. I bid my guests adieu and collapsed into the heavenly sheets to have a wonderful nights sleep.

Note to self on my next stay don’t forget to pack a bathing suit, book spa treatments and stay more than one night. They have created such an enchanted oasis up here on this hill it’s too bad I have to go back down to reality. Make sure you make a point to find the wishing well and throw a coin in so you will return sooner than later. I did and have already booked my next trip.

Room Tip: Each Bungalow is unique.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
Dear C M,

Thank you so much for a wonderful review! I am so excited to see all of the details of your stay and that you were really able to enjoy El Encanto to its fullest. We will certainly look forward to welcoming you back for your next visit...please let us know if you need any assistance booking those spa treatments you are looking forward too!

Best wishes, Laura
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Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

I was so excited about returning to El Encanto and I was not disappointed. In fact...I truly believe it's much better now than ever before. The staff was amazing. Walking around the grounds (which are beautiful!!). The historic lilly pond was restored brick by brick, the famous wishing well is still lovely. I would run into staff members and you would think it was their own home the way they described the new hotel. They were so excited and happy and they would tell me stories about the hotel like they were trained docents. I love seeing staff happy and proud of where they work. This makes for a better experience for the guests.

The bar staff was fun but respectful and made me feel at home, the terrace staff was so attentive that at times I thought they must think I was a celebrity. My room was beautiful. After dinner I came back to find a roaring fireplace, beds turned down, dim lights and a lovely cake (I had told them it was my birthday).

The next day at lunch on the terrace, I felt I was in someone's private home. Even the guests were friendly and since I was having lunch with a Santa Barbra resident I was graciously included in their warm hellos. Can't wait to come back to what I now consider my second home.

Room Tip: Hard to decide which rooms are better. This time we stayed in a bungalow close to the pool. No noi...
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, April 18, 2013
Dear Cynthia P.,

Thank you for your wonderful review! I am thrilled to hear you had a terrific experience. I am so appreciative of our amazing team members and am glad to hear you experienced their sense of pride in El Encanto during your stay. I will certainly make sure they see your comments! Looking forward to your next visit!

Best wishes, Laura
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Los Angeles, CA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Well overdue for some much needed R&R, I enjoyed several unimaginable moments at the El Encanto. This is a special place I could return to again and again to discover something memorable each time. "Harmoniously Elegant" is the phrase that comes to mind. The lobby bar at sunset was a sexy place for cocktails and live music. The food was fabulously delicious. Loved the Floating Island dessert...sublime! The spectacular city and ocean views can't be described, only felt. The landscaping is beautifully appointed and wonderfully fragrant. My room was exactly what I needed...unpretentious comfort. Plush bed, velvety robe, heated bathroom floors, hot rainfall shower, private patio and attentive service across the board. What rewarding escape! Next time...spa day with my girlfriends!

Room Tip: Room 601...morning coffee on the patio. Beautiful!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 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.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
Dear MsEscapades,

I am so glad you found such a respite here at El Encanto! 601 is one of my favorite rooms as well. With each room being unique we have so many great spaces to find a quiet moment, next time perhaps you will discover another great one! We look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Best wishes, Laura
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

I stayed two days at this property in April 2013 for a business meeting. The hotel has pulled off quite a feat by maintaining the integrity of an older, even iconic, Spanish style group of bungalows in a spacious garden setting. Despite their classic looks, once you get inside, the rooms have the latest in bathroom fixtures (with fast-running water in the showers), entertainment options, endless power outlets - amenities not usually associated with older facilities. It is clear that the renovation that closed the shut down for several years has succeeded. The public areas were outstanding: the health club has state of the art equipment and the swimming pool ( I am an everyday swimmer) was a treat: about 20 meters long and rectangular and using salt as opposed to chlorine. Great for laps! The dining area has a inside and an outside portion, the outside being one I really enjoyed - given the magnificent view of the Santa Barbara coast. I cannot comment on the restaurants, as my meeting had its meals programmed. But the restaurant decor was very tasteful with carefully chosen dinnerware. But for me the crucial feature that will bring me back for personal visits for rest and recreation was the tranquility and comfort of the room. Exceptionally luxurious sheets and comforters and a fire place in the corner. The zen-like character of the surrounding gardens made for one of my most most enjoyable sleeps ever. The staff was excellent: checkin was quick, turndown service was total and the parking valets were courteous and quick.

  • Stayed April 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.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

I recently stayed at El Encanto with my family, after their re-opening. We loved our experience...beautiful views and rooms,friendly staff and wonderful food. I would definitely recommend this place to my friends and family.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Niguel, California
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
270 helpful votes 270 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

Stayed at the newly renovated El Encanto and was very pleased. Everything on this sprawling 7 acre one story and two story, simple, understated bungalow property with its lovely landscaping and charming lily pond and arbor creates a welcoming aura.

The ocean view from both the covered deck and the dining room is stunning. Every table has a wonderful view! You seriously should make a trip up here for this if you are visiting in the area, it's worth it.

There are pathways and steps leading to the individual bungalows. Bungalows that I stayed in had comfortable seating patios outside. Inside there was good natural light with lots of windows, wood floors, oriental rugs, gas fireplaces, and generously sized writing desks.
The flat screen tv's and Nespresso machines just add to the fun of being in the room.

A pre-printed welcome note, signed from the general manager and accompanied by a small bowl of fresh fruit is a nice touch.

All is immaculately clean, nicely done, and they have the most incredibly comfortable beds, pillows and silky-soft sheets!

White sheer window treatments cover the windows during the day, and black-out curtains provide additional privacy at night.

The new bath towels were thick, soft and very absorbent.
Toiletries are 1.3 fluid oz. sizes from Aqua di Parma, which smell wonderful.
Water pressure was very good.

The 74 degree heated pool surrounded by lounge chairs looked very inviting, with the pool's unobstructed view of the ocean.

All of El Encanto management and staff went out of their way to be helpful and nice, with gracious and attentive service, from the valet parking attendants ($35 daily rate if you are staying overnight - but free if you have just come to use the spa or dine at the restaurant), to the front desk (Katie, Kelly, Laura and Maximo), to housekeeping, to the dining room during meal times.

Breakfast was delicious, and service was prompt from the smiling Mauricio.
A wonderful Huevos rancheros with attractive presentation, and with a steaming hot latte in an enormous cup:)

Afternoon tea was superb. Exquisite china and serving pieces, a plethora of freshly made offerings with the $30 dollar menu and 6 loose leaf teas to choose from.
They outdid themselves with this incredibly elegant tea service, even surpassing the award winning luxury hotels that serve afternoon tea in London!

From about 6:30 a.m. to approximately 8:00 p.m. there is some road noise from the nearby residential streets, the loading dock / trash bins area adjacent to the valet parking circle / entrance to the hotel , on the private service driveways meant for valet parking as they take cars to and from the overnight garage, housekeeping / maintenance as they trundle by with their carts, and the gardeners with what I think was their leaf blowers but may have been some other sort of landscaping gadget.

However, at night I had a blissful relaxing quiet sleep.
Luxury Cottage Wishing Well is my personal favorite, and deluxe 703 would be my second choice, with a delightful filtered view of the ocean through the treetops on a clear sunny day.

Next time, I will try the Spa!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, April 16, 2013
Dear Cinderella_Dearest,

Thank you for the comprehensive and wonderful review! It is great to see El Encanto through your eyes! I am so glad you enjoyed your visit and were able to experience so many of our amenities and dining options. We very much look forward to seeing you again very soon, the Spa is calling!

Best wishes, Laura
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond El Encanto

Address: 800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#2 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#2 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#7 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Belmond El Encanto 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This iconic hotel has been meticulously restored to capture all the romance and glamour that has spanned nearly 100 years. 92 California-styled bungalows dot the lush grounds which feature seven-acres of landscaped gardens with sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. Modern additions like the expansive outdoor swimming pool and a boutique spa will enhance the El Encanto journey for today’s luxury-seeking guest. El Encanto’s charming setting atop a commanding hilltop perch offers the ultimate secluded retreat, creating an eclectic and authentic ambiance for romance and rediscovery. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Encanto Hotel And Garden Villas

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