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“What an escape” 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 #3 of 60 hotels in Santa Barbara
Woodland Hills, CA
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“What an escape”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

My wife and I needed a 3 day trip to get away from the doldrums and repetition of everyday life. We love Santa Barbara and had heard of the restoration of the famed El Encanto. Suffice it to say, this is the perfect place to decompress and forget how busy the world has now become. It's nicely nestled in the hills overlooking the main city and the ocean further out. I love how quiet and serene the place is. The rooms are very intimate and well appointed, and the grounds! Let me tell you ... so many nice nooks and places to stroll. The trees, flowers and plant life around the grounds make the place feel magical. especially when paired with the So Cal sunlight. As for the staff, they are there for your every need, but not intrusive at all. The food (have the burger!) was very flavorful. I would go back in a heartbeat. The perfect escape.

Room Tip: Get a room with a view down the hill towards the ocean.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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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278 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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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 (56)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Topanga, California, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

The El Encanto Hotel is Fabulous! The property, views, cottages, food, staff, art program and everything else about this hotel are the VERY BEST. The drive to the hotel is very nice from Los Angeles up the coast. It only took an hour and a half. Go out to the terrace and have a very relaxing time with a glass of wine and the ocean view is the best around!

Room Tip: Cottages with an ocean view are great but all the cottages have different views and the entire prope...
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  • Stayed May 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cusco
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

My wife and I just spent a beautiful weekend at the new El Encanto. What a special place. The recent renovation was meticulously done and the setting is second to none. There is still some tweaking to service, but if you didn't know that they just reopened it would be hard to tell. Food was great. Spa was intimate and personal. Great treatments. We'll be back for sure!

Room Tip: The Wishing Well suite
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  • 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
    • 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, May 12, 2013
Dear John S.,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience! I am thrilled that you were able to experience all of the magic of El Encanto - The Spa, The Romance and The Cuisine! I look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
richmond, ca.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
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.
Southern California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 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
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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
41 helpful votes 41 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.

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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:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#2 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#6 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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