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“Finally - serenity found - the real deal” 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 93103   |  
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Ranked #4 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Los Angeles, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Finally - serenity found - the real deal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

As a well seasoned traveller ~ I have finally found that true oasis close to home - El Encanto in Santa Barbara was truly a getaway ~ light years away from Hollywood hustle and the traffic and noise are 7 acres of found joy and rare beauty. This remarkable garden jewel has been not only restored ~ but enhanced and held timeless to a style and grace long gone from the modern world. The light at sunrise and sunset at this special sanctuary are not to be missed. I walked the garden paths with my trusted canine companion (they think of everything for them as well) and my spirit was renewed and revived in ways I had not expected, all with zero effort on my part. This truly will become a legend again - only now with all the added plus comforts of our technology driven world. The soft quiet of the birds and ocean views from almost all rooms and large spacious outdoor areas. All different with character and charm from Spainish mission to great old original Craftsmen lodges. I loved my upstairs misson room with large patio and expansive view of ocean. and the dim lighting in under bath vanity is genius. Slept deep and soundly. The other great treat is the bar and Patio Restaurant - gorgeous setting and food and drinks and staff. All on their game with style and grace. Yes, finally, the real deal has arrived on the west coast and its only less than 2 hours away - Enchanted all over again - only more so.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 4 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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390 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (74)
Date | Rating
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English first
Beverly Hills, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
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!

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
18 helpful votes 18 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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.
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Additional Information about Belmond El Encanto

Address: 800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
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 Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#2 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#7 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Belmond El Encanto 5*
Number of rooms: 92
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Belmond El Encanto, a Forbes Five-Star luxury hotel, has been meticulously restored to capture all the romance and glamour that endeared it to both the local Santa Barbara community and visitors alike. As part of Belmond, this is the company's first excursion to the American west coast.

Ninety-two quintessential, California-styled suites and bungalows dot the lush, terraced grounds featuring seven-acres of gloriously landscaped gardens with sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean.

Original architectural features have been lovingly restored, including the historic, trellis-lined Arbor and Lily Pond. Modern additions to the expansive outdoor zero-edge pool and a new beautifully appointed boutique spa enhance the journey for today's luxury-seeking guest.
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Also Known As:
El Encanto Hotel And Garden Villas

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