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“Nothing will ever surpass this...ruined for life!!” 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
Tempe, Arizona , United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Nothing will ever surpass this...ruined for life!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

This was quite simply the most exquisite, amazing, anomalous, astonishing, astounding, awesome, extraordinary, fabulous, magical, marvelous, phenomenal, preternatural, prodigious, spectacular, staggering, stupefying, stupendous, superior, the utmost, unaccountable, unbelievable, unearthly, unimaginable, unreal, wondrous place. So much so, we booked another trip for October before we left!! It has truly spoiled me for all other future lodging. I am very picky and have a critical eye; which comes second nature to me as a designer and after 4 glorious wonder-filled days in this paradise, I had a grand total of two things on my list which I would have done different, two very minor things. A rarity beyond belief for me. The attention to detail was unmatched and unparalleled. No detail was overlooked or missed. The service was indescribable in it's perfection. Not enough, nor the proper superlatives exist to properly describe the service and the staff. The top of the top.

Room Tip: A few of the bungalows have ocean views, but truly you can not go wrong with any of them.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 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
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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

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 (74)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
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English first
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2013 via mobile

The best news was that our golden retriever Indiana could join us. The room fantastic #1103, the bed heavenly, the bath room splendily fastidious and spa like. The pool just right, the gym very hi-tech. The restaurant beautiful the food okay... The grounds verdant and relaxing. The service was... professional innocence... Perfect. $700. for one in town night, we're locals, worth every penny.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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, June 15, 2013
Dear usmcsharpshot (and Indiana),

I am so glad you enjoyed your stay with us! It means a lot to us that our local community are returning to this iconic property and spending time here after so many years of our being closed. We hope you will visit us for a stay or just a casual afternoon enjoying a meal on the terrace.

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paso Robles, CA
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

We stayed at El Encanto from May 21st to May 23rd. We were in Bungalow #2201. The resort is stunning, the landscaping is impeccable, the pond, waterfall and other fun hidden treasures such as the beautiful pigs. A little taste of paradise for sure! We ate at the restaurant on site for lunch and two breakfasts. The food was fantastic and the service was VERY good, the prices are high but they are an Orient Express Hotel in Santa Barbara, so it was “expected”. Great cocktails in the bar and good pours for the money. Below is the pro’s/con’s of our stay at El Encanto. Overall a great experience with some minor improvements needed in housekeeping and room service.

Pro’s:
Premier Bungalow #2201 was beautiful!! Huge deck in back, front porch, super comfy bed, nice décor, large bathroom with carrara marble, hardwood throughout the rest of the bungalow and great little touches like the personalized bed pillow with the “B” on it (for our last name). Wonderfully warm heated bathroom floors with a thermostat we could adjust to our liking, the lighting in the entire unit was nice, great flexible reading lights on the headboard. Great linens on the bed and the most fabulous “throw” that was so soft, I took a picture of the manufacturer tag so I can order one for my home. Great mini bar selection for snacks and beverages, although quite pricey which is to be expected. The best rain shower head “ever” in the shower.

Con’s:
The location of the bungalow was not private enough or quiet enough for our liking. Main walking path for other room’s right outside as well as the parking structure was very close so we could see & hear the valet’s getting cars in & out when were on the deck. Upon checking out, we asked Max at the front desk to show us other rooms that would be more private and he showed us two as well as gave verbal recommendations for other rooms for our next visit – thanks Max!

There was only one washcloth in our bathroom when we arrived and I called and asked for more to be delivered. They never showed up and I had to call again in the morning, and then they delivered 4 of them. If there are two people staying in a room, there should definitely be more than one washcloth!

The first day when they cleaned our room, they did not restock the coffee pods, replenish the sugar, or replace the coffee cup that had been used, so they left us with one coffee cup and one coffee pod. I called housekeeping and they promptly showed up with the items.

We ordered room service the 2nd night and Michelle in the restaurant was very helpful! However, I ordered a bottle of wine she highly recommended and then I got a call back about 15 minutes later and she told me they did not have it, she was very apologetic and another one was recommended. Then about an hour later, I called again to order cookies & ice cream and again Michelle was great and gave me a list of cookies/ice cream to choose from. I placed my order, sat back down outside and a few minutes later, the phone rang and she again had to apologize to tell me they did not have the cookies we ordered and we had to make another choice. They really should know what they have available before offering it.

Overall, it was great and I am sure we will go back again someday!

Room Tip: Ask the front desk for recommendations, the Hummingbird Suite is stunning, we got to see it before w...
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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
    • 4 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, June 15, 2013
Dear RobinB2006,

Thank you for your very constructive feedback from your recent stay with us. Please be assured we do take all comments very seriously so that we can create the best guest experience possible. I am so pleased to hear your stay was wonderful and we very much look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

Made a quick getaway from Los Angeles. Found the property overrated, to say the least. Service at the bar and restaurant was slow. Menu very short and food subpar. The pool was quite small and crowded, not only with people but with dogs as well. No hot tubs.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, June 15, 2013
Dear reviewer1287,

Thank you for submitting your review of your recent stay at El Encanto. You will be pleased to know that we do have a no dog policy at the pool and this is being enforced, I apologize if a furry friend slipped in while you were here. I am sorry that you did not find El Encanto to your liking and would be happy to have more feedback from you if you would care to contact me directly in order to address any of your concerns.

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, CA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

I've stayed at the luxury hotels in Santa Barbara and can definitively say none compare to this amazing resort. The views are spectacular, the facilities stunning, and while the property is going through some growing pains as they just opened, it is by far the best property in Santa Barbara.

My boyfriend and I had one of the most romantic weekends in one of the bungalows and we cannot wait to return.

  • Stayed June 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

After having stayed at four orient express hotels in Italy,all truly amazing, I expected a similar experience. Though the room we stayed in at the El Encanto was very nice and had a terrific bed, nothing was comparable to our European stay. There are no views worth speaking about. The service was adequate - nice young people who had very little experience. We left our iPad and iPhone adapters. I called an hour after our departure, spoke to someone who has yet to call me back. The food was seriously wanting. I'm still waiting for my toast from breakfast...
Living in Los Angeles we like to go to Santa Barbara for a quick getaway when the weather is nice. We won't be returning. For prices like the El Encanto there are other choices with many more advantages.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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 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, June 15, 2013
Dear Sharon B.,

I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed our wonderful beds and meticulously renovated room while you were here. To be sure our European properties are spectacular and hard to compare to anything else. We do think we have something pretty special here too with our sweeping views of the Pacific and the red tile roofs of Santa Barbara from our Zero Edge Pool and lovely dining terrace. I do hope you will give us another try in the future. Please do contact me directly if you are planning to return so we can make sure everything is perfect for your stay.

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2013 via mobile

A friend and I visited Santa Barbara at the last minute and decided to stay here based on its tripadvisor ranking. We stayed in the most basic room (by any other hotel's standard, this would be exceptional) and spent one night.

Everyone from the exceedingly courteous valet staff (who dealt with our car and sorted our baggage without issue), to front desk (especially Joel, who pointed us in the direction of excellent Mexican food nearby) who were always warm and polite, and to the wait staff who accommodated any request we made last minute, were fantastic.

The grounds were immaculately kept, smelt great and led to amazing ocean views. The hotel was quiet at night and busy and sophisticated during the day. Having said that, the crowd is a bit older- a lot older in fact. We were probably the youngest there, and we're not that young any more. To be honest, that probably suited us anyway- this isn't the place you come if you want late night revelry.

Rooms were spacious, modern and comfortable. The main criticism I would have is the bathroom- the bath is a little old fashioned, and required a little fine motor work to get in and out of- probably a fracture risk for some of the more typical clients! No issue otherwise, and I slept well.

Gym was good, with a reasonable selection of aerobic equipment. Weights were a little over focused towards chest work. Apparently you can work out with a trainer if so inclined. Who knew?

This would definitely be a place to come back to.

Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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 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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