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“Renewal” 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
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Renewal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

On a recent visit to El Encanto we discovered that it has emerged from an intensive restoration with all of its distinct charm and history preserved. The grounds, the rooms, restaurant, and spa facilities have been transformed and ascend to five star heights. We found our bungalow and patio to be lovely (and quiet), and it was a pleasure to see thought and care reflected in so many design details. Although there was a late afternoon event held in the gardens each day we were there, they were tightly supervised, timed, and impressively contained....They happened to include classical music, and from our patio we listened to the musicians play and found it agreed with the moment in time. Later, we definitely wanted to try the restaurant for dinner, and were compelled to be outside on the new patio to enjoy the weather and the view. There's an extensive wine list... and if you make it to dessert, a few are amazing. During our weekend we continually found any and all of the staff to be warm, accomodating, and working very hard. All in all, it's a wonderful place with a welcoming, soft ambience...Classic Southern California. If you go you might find that you want to stay put and relax in one of the lawn chairs on the grassy slope near the pool, (I wanted to, but didn't get to it) or indulge in a stellar massage (my husband returned from one in an altered state) ---But then, maybe the town or the beauty of the region, the presence of the water and the coastline could easily call you out and away to other discoveries. So many decisions... But it's almost certain El Encanto will welcome you back with a smile.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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

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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
  • Any
English first
Abilene, Texas, United States
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

We came here years ago and eagerly awaited the opening after extensive renovation. Because of the location this continues to remain a favorite for dining, the view is fabulous! With an increase in bungalows perhaps some of the intimacy seems lost. Staff helpful and friendly.
The price is great in comparison to similar facilities in the area. Pool was crowded and you do see people quite a bit bc of the layout. Great for a weekend with friends and family but not where you want to go fr a intimate romantic get away or liaison :)

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Limerick
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013 via mobile

The El Encanto is perfectly positioned on a hillside overlooking Santa Barbara. (5 mins drive from town centre)Commanding the most beautiful vista of " The American Riviera". When we arrived we went straight to the terrace bar for cocktails and to take in the fabulous views (as we waited for our room to be ready.) our room was a charming bungalow suite very private and discreet nestled amongst the lovely landscaped gardens. Waiting for us in the suite was a lovely welcome note and a plate of fresh berries with luscious chocolate dipping sauce.The suite had a lovely living area....cozy bedroom with fireplace ...most comfy bed and large bathroom I loved the Modern Apothecary products.overall s great stay and a hard place to leave.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
London
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

After Carneros Inn and Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur we were slightly apprehensive about our last stop on an epic 10 days being anticlimactic. But we needn’t have worried. El Encanto is a charming and beautiful hotel in the hills above Santa Barbara.
The grounds are really pretty and, like Carneros, each room is its own little Mediterranean type lodge meaning you stroll through the gardens to and from dinner. The food was delicious and as a combo of price/view/quality this probably ranked as near the highest – it felt very good value vs the two aforementioned hotels and with a lovely setting overlooking Santa Barbara bay you won’t be disappointed. Coming to the bar in the evening for a cocktail as the sun set was one of the highlights and, given the climate – it is hotter here in the evenings than further north, a really relaxing way to end our trip.
The other real high point was taking the complimentary hotel bikes (which have electric optionality) down into town and using this as our means of transport around Santa Barbara. It isn’t an intimidating cycle and we ended up lunching at Brophy Bros – which is a must for its eclectic localness, although go at 12pm not later – thankfully that electric motor makes getting back up the hill in the evening much easier!
There were some notable glitches though and these are probably nothing more than teething issues as the hotel has just reopened from a 7 year renovation; our room wasn’t turned down the first evening, the cold taps ran warm in the sink and no bottled water was provided (this was all corrected after the first day though); the hotel tried to add a $35 per day valet service (nowhere else had tried to pull this trick) and at no point was this mentioned as they took your car away; some of the service at the bar in the evening and at breakfast was a bit sloppy…and some of the staff are a bit over keen.
These are small though and if you want a hillside retreat from which to explore santa Barbara this is the place – the hotel manages to pull off relaxed and exude some grandeur at the same time…
PS – the pool is a mineral salt pool so not chlorinated and a lovely touch – especially if you like swimming underwater!

  • Stayed September 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

Had a wonderful dinner last night out on the terrace. The weather was nice the food was perfect. I had the veal duo. The veal was coked perfectly and the sweetbreads were to die for. The sommelier Jerry made an excellent choice of wine from the Santa Barbara area. I can't wait to go back to try other interesting items on the menu.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Moscow
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013 via mobile

This is easily one of the best hotels we've ever been to. It's a 5-star resort, which lives up to any expectations - located on the top of the hill, lush gardens, breathtaking views, impeccable service, nicely decorated rooms. On top of that, it definitely has its own charm, which makes it a never want to leave place. The only thing that could be improved is breakfast. It's not bad, but could be much better in terms of taste of food. Didn't have time to try the spa but pretty sure I wouldn't have been disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Beach, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

This hotel has only been open 4 months, so they are still ironing out some kinks but it was a fantastic getaway for me and my friend. It took them 7 years to renovate. Our cottage was stunning and the property is now one of my favorite places I have been. It is very peacful and worth every penny.

Room Tip: All of the rooms are bungalows with a spacious private back patio, all one story, entering from the...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 2
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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