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“Serene” 4 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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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
20% Discount on Suites
Ranked #4 of 53 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence 2014
richmond, ca.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Serene”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

This serene hill setting with glimpses of the city and Pacific Ocean is a hide-away refuge. As most rooms differ, I suggest one asks to preview room before transfering belongings. The pool itself is worth the stay, No tacky enclosures or pool signs. Just exclusive sensibility and comfort.
Moreover, outdoor breakfast included was a real outdoor treat away from home. However, dinner was short on portions and a bit too fussy. Sharing to cut costs does not yet work here. Of course, if one drives done the hill, hazards begin. So if the kitchen veers a little more toward comfort food, this hotel resort (some what like up-scale Mexico) with charming pathways and gardens is a show off treat.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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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488 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    370
    66
    33
    13
    6
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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 (95)
Date | Rating
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English first
Southern California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Without a doubt THE BEST hotel in Santa Barbara. The food and service in the restaurant were all 5 star and I wish I could give the service level 6 stars. The pool was fabulous. My only complaint is that I was only there for 1 night there but will be back. A must experience if you stay in Santa Barbara.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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.
Megeve, France
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

We stayed for only one night, on our way from Pebble Beach to Beverly Hills. The experience was really special. Our suite, the Wishing Well had nice interior design and was equipped with everything one would wish for. The bedrooms were spacious, the living room was cosy and the kitchenette was a very pleasant and useful addition.

Service was flawless. We asked for adapters and got them in 3 minutes, brought by a very attentive bellman. Everyone seemed to care for our needs and did their best to create the best possible experience.

The reception staff was also quite efficient, finding us SUVs and checking us in very quickly.

The setting is beautiful. The scenic gardens, where the little white bungalows are scattered create a unique sense of unity with nature and harmony.

All in all, if you wish to stay in Santa Barbara this is the go to place.

  • Stayed May 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.
Santa Barbara
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

As Santa Barbara residents we were looking forward to celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the day we met by having a wonderful lunch at the El Encanto. My husband surprised me by making reservations and after reading a recent article in the LA Times I was ready to enjoy a fabulous experience. Unfortunately we would rate our meal and experience as "good +". We were greeted at the hostess stand by two young women who didn't welcome us or seem pleased to accommodate our request for a table in the dining room. We had made reservations for the terrace but the day was overcast and cool so we decided that the dining room was a better choice. The room itself is absolutely beautiful with a stunning chandelier as the main attraction. The upholstered furniture is beautiful and the large windows overlooking Santa Barbara are perfect in this setting. Unfortunately the acoustics in the room could be much improved; the room was noisy during our meal despite the fact that only 5 other tables were occupied. We had hoped for a quiet, romantic respite from a busy week.

My husband ordered salmon which he enjoyed although the serving was rather small. I ordered the cobb salad which was disappointing. The balsamic dressing had little flavor and the salad itself was uninteresting. We each ordered a glass of wine with lunch. Our waiter, David, was attentive, pleasant and well trained. Others who waited on the table seemed tentative and unfamiliar with working in a fine dining environment.

Although my husband mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary nothing was done to recognize this. It has been our experience that better restaurants will celebrate a special occasion with a small dessert but nothing was offered.

All in all, we feel that the cost of the lunch ($82.00 plus tip) was exorbitant in terms of the service and the food. The staff needs additional training and we were surprised that in a hotel/restaurant of this caliber that the obvious gaffs were so frequent. Hopefully they will improve over time.

Dooley
Santa Barbara

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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, May 12, 2013
Dear DooleySantaBarbara,

Thank you for your very constructive review. I do apologize for missing an opportunity to wow you, especially on such a special occasion! Your feedback is very valuable in helping us to make adjustments where necessary and we certainly appreciate it. I do hope you will join us another time and hope to give you a more positive impression.

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gig Harbor, Washington, United States
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

We had a perfect dinner on the terrace. Jenny, our waitress, couldn't have been more friendly or attentive. The food was delicious and the view just spectacular! After dinner we sat in the lounge and listened to nice piano music complete with singer. We then walked the beautiful grounds and decided this would be a great place to stay for an upcoming anniversary. Everything here is pricey but it's the best so, for us, it was worth it.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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, May 4, 2013
Dear Pamela D.,

So glad to hear you loved your dinner with us! We are so proud of Jenny and the rest of our team and are really happy when our guests recognize them too! We look forward to seeing you back for your anniversary!

Best wishes,

Laura M.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palos Verdes Estates, California
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

This property recently re-opened after a seven (I believe) re-doing. The property itself is spectacular - beautifully done inside and out. The developers have done a great job of bringing this historical masterpiece back to life. Everything is in excellent taste and done with quality materials. The restaurant in particular, especially the terrace with its sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the ocean, is wonderful.

We ate at the restaurant four times in our four day stay - twice for dinner and twice for breakfast. All the meals were first class - well presented and the best meals we've had in Santa Barbara since Citronelle closed many years ago.. Dinner on the terrace is a special treat with the sparkling lights below.

So why then the 4 instead of a 5 rating. Because until they get the services bugs worked out it really is not a 5-star property. Please do not misunderstand, everyone we encountered is anxious to do a good job. Everyone has just the right service attitude. They just are all quite green and the mistakes are continuous. Most are, I believe, training issues that will resolve themselves with time and experience as all the intentions are good.

So, my advice - wait 3 - 6 months before you visit this gem of a place. Give them some time to work out the service bugs as well as some of the little things they still need to address to finish up the restoration and remodeling project. After that it will likely be one of the very best, if not the very best, places to stay in Santa Barbara.

We had a very good price for our rooms because it was part of a group buy for a business event. Had we paid full price at this time I would think it not very good value - will be but as discussed, while the prices are 5 star, the property is not quite there yet.

If you plan on eating at the restuarant for dinner, reservations are suggested. The place was full and mostly with non-hotel guests.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 3
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, May 4, 2013
Dear noclvrname,

Thank you for your review. We appreciate your positive remarks and do acknowledge that we are growing better every day. We do hope you will continue to visit us and see little changes and improvements along the way. It is always very exciting and challenging to start a new venture and we are glad you were here with us in the beginning!

Best wishes,

Laura M.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodland Hills, CA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013

Our anniversary coincided with the re-opening of this wonderful resort and we were fortunate to be able to take advantage of this "golden" opportunity. From the moment we drove in we were treated to the excellent service by the valet, and this level of service continued throughout our stay. The "meet" and "greet" at the check-in desk , where the General Manager was on hand to personally welcome us, was an additional highlight. We had a delightful lunch and anniversary dinner at the hotel dining room, which was again, perfect moments as part of our stay. When we entered the room there was an anniversary cake to welcome us.The bungalow with its terrace and view added to the ambience. In fact, we did not leave the property in our entire stay. The grounds were beautifully landscaped and just walking through the gardens at was a delight. Upon our checkout they even included two bottles of water for our journey home. This resort certainly earns its five star rating.

  • Stayed April 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 2
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, May 4, 2013
Dear Stanley D.,

We were honored to have you with us to celebrate such a wonderful milestone! It means so much to us that the experience was "Perfect" and hope to see you on many more occasions in the future!

Congratulations on 50 years!

Laura M.
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 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:
#2 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Romantic 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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