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Bacara - what's the real story?

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California
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Bacara - what's the real story?

We are coming up to SB in August on the way to central coast - one night stay in or around sb. What's Bacara really like? Is it worth it? Or is the Biltmore a better stay for the money. I know with the Biltmore you are closer/in town w/ all the restaurants, shops, etc. - and the all important skate park (I have boys ages 9 and11). Bacara is out a ways from everything (so I suppose you spend all your $$ exclusively at Bacara - they must love that - every meal, every drink). Is it so nice that you feel you wouldn't want to go anywhere else for one night/day. Is there easy beach access and are all the stories true that you wouldn't go to the beach because of all the tar? I went to UCSB in the '80s and we still went - is the tar still that bad? How is the pool for kids ? Are there tennis courts? Thanks for any input you can give me - I know no one who has gone to Bacara and I live in So. Cal. so you'd think it would be a poplular, easy destination for folks around here. Our family has done everything in SB - is there anything unique to do at and around Bacara (I don't mean to down play it's beautiful surroundings - that alone is reason to go I'm sure!)

Thanks for any advise - it's just a lot of money.

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

Sorry I have not stayed at either, so this is just 2nd hand.

I think the biggest downside with the Barcara is the location, which you are already familiar with.

The restaurant at the Bacara is very good (better than the Biltmore) and very expensive. They also have very nice spa services.

According to the web-site there are 4 har-tru clay courts.

I can't think of anything too unique around the bacara - other than close to Glenn Annie golf course and the butterfly's.

California
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2. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

Thanks for your input. I read a lot of negative comments in the trip advisor reviews so I just waned to get some more thoughts. Sounds like it would be a nice place for a romantic getaway, not so much with kids. When it comes to dinning mine don't know the difference between a $2.50 burger or a $17.00 Bacara burger if you know what I mean!

Newbury Park...
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3. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

Bacara is very nice - but definitely a get-away spa weekend type place for an anniversary or such. While there are kids there - most of the guest are people who have left the kids at home and are there to get away for a weekend or singles and childless couples. You are paying for the privacy and relaxing atmosphere for than anything.

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

The rooms at Bacara are very large and beautiful, and the pool is terrific, but as a general matter, the place struck me as somewhat sterile in comparison to some of the older competition in Santa Barbara [the Biltmore, San Ysidro Ranch, El Encanto, et al]. To be fair, my impression may have been affected by the fact that I was at Bacara on a business retreat, so the sterility aspect isn't surprising. I wouldn't hesitate to bring kids there, but I'd keep them at the pool: the beach access is easy, but yes, there is still tar on the beaches north of Santa Barbara.

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5. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

Let me know if you go to Bacara, I would be interested in hearing about your experience there. We had a very nice lunch at The Biltmore while in Montecito, loved the historic feel to the property and the tour I had of the spa was very nice.

We are considering either Bacara or the Biltmore for our next visit to Santa Barbara. Have fun! :)

Lompoc, California
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6. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

May I suggest that you read the reviews for the Inn of the Spanish Garden (rated #1 by trip advisor members) and then Bacara (rated 19- behind Holiday Inn Express), compare the prices and then make your decision.

When a property gets 1 or 2 bad reviews out of 20 or so, the bad reviews are usually of the sour grapes kind and can be ignored. When about 25-30% of the reviews are bad, and the same comments are repeated (such as the Bacara reviews) that is probably an indicator of a problem.

As for the last questions-- yes the tar is as bad as it ever was and there really isn't anything unique out in that area of Goleta in the last 20 years.

California
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7. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

Thank you for all your advise! Your point well taken on Bacara reviews. My husband an I spent one night at the Inn of the Spanish Garden's last December (up for the "Sings Like Hell" series at the Lobero - one of the best concerts we ever saw, a lot too because of the intimate venue - Jackson Browne and a band he introduced to the states from Spain - what a treat). Anyways, the Inn of the Spanish Gardens is quite a gem in SB - great rooms, lovely grounds, perfect location and a great breakfast, also the staff couldn't have been more pleasant...I could go on and on. Didn't feel it was the right place to bring the kids this time - but definately the number one choice for a romantic couple stay. And relative to other hotels in the area, I think it is reasonably priced.

Thanks again for all the input -

usa
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8. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

Ill be at Bacara as well in August but only for a few days then it is back to stay with our friends. Agree that it is really a few night kinda place but the beaches up there are way better for sure. I would bring some beach supplies for whatvr the kids are into - as it doesnt look like their "kids club"is anythig special really ie a trip to the butterfly preserve would be great but the butterfly's are there mainly during the winter - and even then it would be a pretty cool trip for the fam via bike from the bacara. The tar is bad on all the beaches - even in front of the liliputian beach in front of the Biltmore. Hang a right outside the Bacara onto the beach and walk for Miles and check out some marine mammal grotto's toward the not too well known Naples - very few will be there - quite peaceful.

Main question is: How long will you stay in SB area for? Di you think of maybe 2-3 -4 Nights of Bacara before or after the mayhem in SB ...especially if your their during Fiesta (~Aug 4) then doing 3-4 nights in SB Downtaon.

Comments on Downtown - i do like the Spanish Inn (nice bedding and showers etc -) but i dont think they take kids. Andalucia is also okay - The GM is an arse and thus the place will never reach its potential but like the Spanich Inn...could be a King bed only place anyway.

So> SB main ie Downtown w/kids: (i did like there and had many guests over my 12 yr sebatcle. i would stay at any number of places on West Beach - you can walk to pier, state, take bike path on beach to zoo or the trolley ..watch crazy activity going on right on West beach... take path or trolley to harbor then stoll to Ledbedder Beach, rent Kayaks - learn to Surf etc. Heck you can go to the Sea Cove aka ledbetter grille aka Shoreline Cafe ( whtvr the name is it will always be the Sea Hag to me) have a corona or whtvr with your feet in the sand and watch your kids dive bomb the tourists with the kite....belive it or not is the only establishment in SB where you can eat/drink something AND have your feet in the Sand (and not get arrested) unfortunately i would not order anythng complicated or avante garde there - stick to a quesadilla or chips etc. bottom line - west beach is easy as it gets when visiting SB but it is not getting away.

Here is West Beach:

santabarbara.com/virtual_tour/…

(you can use city college tennis courts a block away)

Even East of State is not really quite the place. There are only a few decent places that may fit the bill for you West of State so you will have to look more - sorry - my parents always stayed at Oceano and it is decent. None will be Biltmore or offer that kind of level but you are in the middle of it. Before i forget - no to Brophy's if you have to wait - MAJOR no on endless summer or chucks, dont swim at west beach (it is a harbor).

Biltmore is no doubt nice but - nothing there really - if you want to get away then no doubt Bacara (yes they have tennis and nect to great golf) - if you want to be in SB main area with lots more to do - then i'd say west beach area of downtown without question.

Ill try to remember to look back and see if you have more Q's etc. Good Luck - maybe see you there - ill don't curenenty live there but we will be the ones checking in by bike (my friends will bring our bags by car and crash the pool area - i hope.

cheers,

John

The Ozarks
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9. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

I've stayed at both Bacara and the Four Seasons (Biltmore) -- and I loved both!

Bacara has much more of a resort feel and their spa is amazing. I will not forget the Bacara Body Melt. I like wide open resorts situated beautifully as is Bacara (I love the expansive resorts in Scottsdale, too.). If you want to walk around a really enjoy a property, Bacara is perfect. And the expensive hamburgers are delicious. There is a woman who walk around with a falcon that is really cool, too. My room was a ground floor bungalow style with a fireplace (gas w/ remote control) and a beautiful bed separated from the bath by a wonderful soaking tub. I found it to be a realxing beautiful place.

The Four Seasons had a totally different feel to me. It has been beautifully redone and the tile in the bathrooms is gorgeous! As previous posters have said it is right in Montecito and they will loan you bikes at no extra cost and the pier is a nice short bike ride away. I stayed in the main building and loved the feel of an intimate inn. I wandered their beautiful grounds and there are lovely bungalows nestled in the back. It is a much, much smaller property than Bacara but equally beautiful.

I can't say which I liked more because in my mind they were very different places. I feel fortunate to have visited both.

Santa Barbara...
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10. Re: Bacara - what's the real story?

I live only a 3 minute walk from the Bacara beach and go there OFTEN with my kids. Unfortuantely, other than coal oil point (at UCSB) this is the beach with the MOST TAR in Santa Barbara/Goleta. In addition, over the last 5 weeks the beach has become EXTREMELY ROCKY. I don't know if its from beach erosion, seasonal change or because a ton of rocks are washing up on the beach but its become almost unbearable to walk on. Hope that helps.