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“Cozy high-end resort”

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The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Goleta
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 3, 2013

I didn't know what to expect, but I figured that the service level would be good. I wasn't disappointed. Because I went with a friend, we asked for a room with 2 beds. But I booked through the United Mileage Plus site and that special request didn't go through. The front desk was nice about it, even though they had no rooms available with 2 beds. We got a rollaway for free, which we didn't end up using anyway because it was so clunky.

We used the spa and had great massages. The facilities are large and not too crowded. If you're going to use the spa, try to get a villa close to there. We were in Villa 3, which was really convenient for us, since we also used the Spa Cafe.

I didn't know that the beach had naturally-occurring tar, which is why we had tar wipes in our bathroom. The pools looked great, but we didn't feel like using the main pools, which were filled with kids.

There was only one misstep that I experienced with the Cafe, but I got an apology phone call and they made up for it with complimentary room service. Getting our car was easy too, and the attendants are very responsive. For a $30 resort fee, they'd better be!

I think this is a good option for families with parents who want to use the spa (and have the money to spend). Otherwise, not sure if it's a good resort for a romantic weekend--unless you stay closer to the spa, and further from the main pool area, which is better for families.

Room Tip: Stay closer to the spa if you want to avoid the families with kids.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank travelspye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,488 - 1,494 of 2,357 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2013

I went for a quick spa getaway to unwind. Trip wasn't very relaxing due to a host of service issues.

Pros:
-The resort is breathtaking. Beautifully landscaped, nice decor. My room made me feel like I'd gone back in time a little bit which I loved.
- The spa is excellent. I had a great session and the lounge areas are nice and comfy. The spa has its own adults only too.
- The Valet was quick and friendly.
- Food was yummy.

Cons: Service issues galore!

- My in room dining menu was missing pages. I called guest service and asked for a full menu so I could order dinner. I was told they would bring one to me " as soon as possible" but 1 hr later- no menu. Another half hour later- still no menu. So fifteen minutes after that I was in my car driving to find a resturant for dinner. The thing was still missing pages when I left the resort.

- I did have the full breakfast menu however, so I ordered breakfast. I was told my meal would arrive in 40 minutes for less. 115 minutes later ( I timed them) I finally had my breakfast. They took off a little on the check for the wait as a gesture, but thats a long time to wait for a waffle and bacon. The next morning my breakfast came within 18 minutes. Very inconsistant.

- They give out a little paper that lists the what's included in the resort fee which includes, among other things, a complimentary bottle of wine and daily water bottles. I did not receive the complimentary bottle of wine until I asked for it. I was drinking from the mini bar instead. Housekeeping came when I was at the spa and my water bottles weren't replaced. I called guest services to report this and when I came back to the room that night I still didn't have them. At night a resort employee happend to knock on my door asking if I was missing wine. I told him that the wine had already been delivered that afternoon, but I didn't get the water bottles. This whole wine/water should never happend at a five star resort.

-I requested turndown service in the afternoon on my second day. I did not receive it. Given their track record thus far, I didn't bother calling to remind them I'd requested turndown.

- I would have loved to lay out at the main pool but they were out of towels when I went down there. I waited for 15 min- still no towels. So I just left and took my chances on the tarry beach instead.

- A dead bug was smeared on the wall of my bathroom when I arrived. There were at least 5 moths floating around in my room, and I saw 2 spiders. The ceilings are pretty high and I couldn't really reach them so I just left them alone.

- My socks were practically black from walking around in my room. Gross. They must not mop the floors very often.

- And the grande finale- check out. This exchange pretty much summed up my experience at the resort. The person who checked me out seemed completely disinterested. He simply said "Hello" and waited for me to speak. He didn't ask "how can I help you" or "what can I do for you", or even " how are you" - nothing. So I told him I was checking out. He says "last name and room number." I gave him the information then silence. He didn't ask if I enjoyed my stay, or thank me for staying, nothing! He just prints out the receipt and lays it on the counter. And then he says "you're all set." Thats it. I've never had such a cold farewell at resort in my life. Completely unacceptable for any hotel , much more so for a "five star" resort.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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4  Thank peachyb321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Thank you for writing such a detailed review about your recent stay. While I was happy to read that you enjoyed our breathtaking grounds, Spa, guest rooms and delicious food, I was truly disappointed that we fell short in other areas of your stay. I have contacted you privately so that I can personally follow up with your comments. I hope that we can connect and to welcome you back in the future.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manger

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2013

This is a beautifully appointed property with a very posh appearance. Each room has outdoor space that we could see and it is comfortable to sit out with privacy the way the resort is designed. The bottle of wine they welcome you with is quite pleasant. The room product is fantastic and the mahogany doors are a feature not seen anywhere else. This is a great property for couples but the crowd there is not very kid friendly even though the pool is. Service at the pool is outstanding. The beach needs someone cleaning up the washed up kelp...we were run off by the bugs enjoying the decaying kelp. Overall, an amazing resort for couples and spa retreats.

Room Tip: Ocean view is nice but cooler. If you like warmth choose an inside room to get out of the sea breez...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Larrytravels1615
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review about your recent stay. Our beach is a beautiful ecosystem and in order to maintain its natural beauty and habitat for endangered species nearby, we do not disturb the beach. I apologize about the Kelp and hope this helps you understand why. We hope to welcome you back so that you can enjoy our beautiful property and service.

Kindly,
Kathleen Cochran
General Manager

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Reviewed July 3, 2013

Beautiful hotel and grounds. The pool staff was awesome and very accommodating
The food was good but kind of pricey, wish they had more restaurants at the resort to chose from but did notice a new bistro was opening in September. But for this size of a resort which is also secluded there should be more options.
We did have some service issues which included the following; calling 3 times to get the bottle of wine that I paided for when I booked our reservation I thought was excessive, they seem very frugal with soap and shampoo, 1 bottle of shampoo and a small bar of soap for a family of four is not enough, let alone trying to get some more takes and act of god. My husband finally tracked someone down. Our tv was not working properly one night and dialing there at-your-service button...we got no answer ( I wasnt surprised). We finally sent our son to the front desk to have someone come down....thought problem on tv was fixed but it was not!!!!
I also love dogs but having dogs in the pool area and restaurant terrace was a big turn off, we also had a dog in the room next to us who was always out back in patio, one of my children is scared of dogs and would never go back on grass area to run around because they always had dog out...
We have traveled to many hotel with the kids and without (at varies price points) and i just felt their service needs some impovement!!
Would i come back and give them a second chance probably But without the kid's.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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3  Thank ozzydog13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write about your recent stay. I was pleased to read that you enjoyed our beautiful grounds, friendly staff and delicious food. I happy to report that we re-opened The Bistro this past week and now offer four different dining options for you to select from. I am sorry that its closure affected your stay. We are a pet friendly hotel, however, dogs should never be allowed at our pool area and I will follow up on my end to ensure that this does not happen again. I am thrilled to read that you will return and hope to welcome you back soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager

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Reviewed June 30, 2013 via mobile

I have to say it is frustrating to walk and walk and walk to get to your room even if the grounds are gorgeous! My room was on third floor in Villa 9, overlooking the pool. Great location, fireplace, very comfortable bed, cozy room. Dinner? Leave something in the car? Walk, walk, walk, up the steep hill around a curve, climb some stairs, is this boot camp? I won't be back to the Bacara.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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3  Thank Salyeniatravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, responded to this reviewResponded July 2, 2013

Thank you for your recent review. I was pleased to read that you found our location great and that you enjoyed our accommodations. Bacara sprawls over 78 pristine beachfront acres. I am happy to say that most of our guests enjoy our sweeping property. I am sorry that you felt differently. We do offer jitney rides from your room to anywhere on property. Next time you visit, and I sincerely hope you do, you can call and ask for a ride. Hope to see you back soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran

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Reviewed June 28, 2013

Be aware of a great resort, but cant walk on the beach, tar will take over your body. food is small portion and expensive, not enough wait staff to accommodate numbers at hotel, surprisingly lots of children, so expect noise. isnt trained on gluten allergies

Room Tip: Love the rooms, very roomy, cozy, comfortable, bright and the fireplace added romance and ambiance...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank Randy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, responded to this reviewResponded July 2, 2013

Thank you for your review about your recent stay. I am happy to read that you found the resort to be great. Bacara dining has always been an area that we have excelled in and I am proud to say that we have won rave reviews for our service and cuisine locally and nationally. I am sorry that your experience was different than what most of our guests. As for the tar, we rest directly in front of the world’s second largest natural ocean seepage in the world. Tar is common all up and down the California Coastline and is a natural occurrence. We are happy to provide materials to remove the tar, clean your shoes as well as showers near our beach entrance. We hope that you will give us another chance in the future.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Having gone to college at UCSB, I had always wanted to visit this pristine stretch of beach. It was always difficult to access...but now this beautiful hotel gives us all access to a place that reminds me of old California. The walks around the grounds are lush, inviting, and safe. One sees no one else, as the location is quite secluded. The pools are magnificent and inviting. Other guests were welcoming, and delightful. Staff was universally available, and kind. The food at Miro was so good we ate both lunch and dinner there. Admittedly, it would be difficult if one wanted to have access to Santa Barbara's fine restaurants, as the distance to SB is rather daunting. But if one wishes a time "away" then Bacara is perfect. The patio off the cocktail lounge offers warm fire-pits, and a wonderful drinks. Their menu is appealing as well. We spent hours on the room's large patio just enjoying the birds in the tree outside our room.
One of the most tranquil vacations we have ever enjoyed.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank AliLosAngeles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathleen C, General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, responded to this reviewResponded July 2, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review about your recent stay. We love welcoming back our Gaucho Alumni and I was so pleased to read that you enjoyed all aspects of your stay. We can’t wait to welcome you back for another tranquil vacation.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran

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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 The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Address: 8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117-2474 (Formerly Bacara Resort & Spa)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Goleta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Goleta
#1 Romantic Hotel in Goleta
#2 Family Hotel in Goleta
Price Range: $452 - $853 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara 5*
Number of rooms: 358
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Along the bluffs and beaches of the Gaviota coast lies The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, a resort of stunning natural beauty and relaxed luxury. With 78 acres of oceanfront property, including two miles of natural beach, we offer an expansive sun-drenched setting with endless vistas of sea and sky. Our resort in Santa Barbara, California features innovative and artful design that is in keeping with the intimacy and aesthetics of a Mediterranean village. Unwind at an award-winning 42,000-square-foot spa and fitness center or relax beside one of three zero-edge swimming pools and 26 private cabanas. The resort's 358 newly-renovated guestrooms and signature suites artfully infuse luxurious interiors with modern technologies for a true sense of comfort. Additional resort amenities include a new oceanfront restaurant, Angel Oak, four Har-Tru clay tennis courts, a Foley wine tasting room, and the adjacent Sandpiper Golf Club. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Santa Barbara Bacara Resort
Bacara Spa Resort Santa Barbara
Bacara Resort Santa Barbara Ca
Bacara Santa Barbara
Bacara Hotel Santa Barbara

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