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The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
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Reviews (2,467)
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Reviewed September 28, 2013

My husband and I really wanted a nice resort break / baby moon trip alone without our other two children before our third was born. We decided on the Bacara because it was nicest most affordable option in the area. I'm about 7.5 months pregnant and was looking forward to relaxing in a nice room and by the pool a lot. Our room sadly was basically in a basement and smelled very musty and maybe even moldy? It was one of the garden level rooms and it was very dark as well. I was pretty upset as we rarely get away and to spend all the time and money we did and end up In a corner basement room was depressing. We asked for a room change or upgrade and were told there were no other rooms but offered a voucher for dinner at Miro (which we turned down as we had dinner reservations elsewhere in town). Also there were always leaves around our door and then a random crib was hanging out in the hallway for more than a day with a mattress and everything - wasn't exactly what we wanted to see every time we came and left our room.

The pools were very nice, the smell of the naturally occurring tar can be a bit overwhelming but didn't bother me the way another smell did - sitting by the pool it smelled almost like they had a continuous mist of bug spray going... I'm chemically sensitive and being pregnant am overly aware of these things so this was another disappointment / it did smell like it was the natural version of insect repellent but I was hoping to smell fresh ocean air.

The positives: the service was great at all the pool, the spa and spa dining and the bistro restaurant. Food was excellent too! The wine and cheese hour was a nice touch and the fitness center was great as well.

I was hoping to fall in love with the place but don't think i would ever want to return because of the room we had. If I knew someone who had to come for a wedding or convention I would suggest they request a non-garden room or at least one that could get some sun.


  • Stayed: September 2013
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3  Thank MAB123
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 September 30, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write about your recent stay for your baby moon. While I was pleased to read your positive comments about our pools, spa, dining, cuisine and service, I was truly disappointed that you were not pleased with your guest room location. To that end, I have contacted you privately to right any wrong. I hope to connect with you soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2013

This resort is truly amazing and one-of-a kind! We loved our room, the grounds, pool and restaurants. You feel like royalty here! Celebrated our 15th anniversary here and it was perfection! Want to come back every year! If you want to get away from it all and relax, relax, relax...this is the place for you!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank cindy h
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 September 30, 2013

Thank you for writing about your recent stay for your 15th anniversary. Congratulations. We are so pleased that you had an A+ stay and we can’t wait to welcome you back to relax soon!

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager

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Reviewed September 27, 2013

A Beautiful resort. The food at the Bistro was Fantastic and all the staff were extremely friendly. Our room was beautiful and perfectly maintained.I will stay here again and will definately recommend the resort to family and friends.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Danielle S
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 September 30, 2013

Thank you for writing about your recent stay at Bacara. I loved reading that you enjoyed our food at The Bistro, friendly service and beautiful grounds. We hope to welcome you back soon.

Kindly,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

Sorry but this is going to be a long one, just so I can get every detail. I will not bother with the frustration on just making reservations and a thirty minute hold to speak to the spa prior to our visit.
We decided to stay here because our first choice was unavailable. (Ojai) Upon entrance everything seemed nice and we were greeted properly. We first decided to check out the bar off the lobby and it was okay nothing special except for the $50 tab for a glass of champagne and a beer. As the bellman took us on a tour of the place it was nice. He asked us about our plans and our main thing was that we wanted to relax by the pool. I asked him if there was a method to reservations for the cabanas or first come first serve. He told us first come first serve even with our cabana reservations.
We got to our room where across from our door was a armoire that had cheese plates and left over food and wine glasses on top of it. No big deal right maybe the people just got done. We headed to dinner which was ok. I was served a wine instead of rose champagne, and then when I ordered another champagne instead of saying something they brought me the original rose I ordered. The wait staff definitely seems to be fed by local college students that still need to work on their service. I ordered a alfredo gnocchi that for some reason had a heavy presence of mushrooms, was not the best dinner.
The next day we decided to try again and start fresh and headed down for breakfast, along our way we thought we would stop by to pick our cabana. Only to find out we didn't pick you must request when you reserve your cabana what you prefer. Which when I made the reservation and the bellman both said first come first serve. After realizing our disappointment the manager Gail came out and unfortunately we let her know we were not happy. Sparing the minor details she did what she could and helped with the day. But again were let down when we went for breakfast and the service took forever and the best service and kindest face was from the Hispanic gentleman that was helping our waitress. We ventured to the cabana where even with the managers help the service took forever. Two waiters for all of the cabanas and the other college guys that seem like they should be helping were more interested in flirting with girls from the property. The pool was full of unattended children and just rude people. We spoke with another couple who wanted to go to Montage but thought Bacara would be on par and they were also let down just as much.
The only amazing thing about this place was dinner at Miro. The service was finally impeccable. The food was amazing. It was our one night of exactly want we wanted. Even down to Yury who asked about our stay and we let him know our disappointment even down to the fridge not working in the room and he came back to let us know he let his manager know so they could possibly have it fixed. Sadly when we returned the fridge still did not work and the plates that had been there since we checked were now two days in heat right outside our room. Which was serviced so the cleaning crew continuously walked by the dishes and did nothing.
I myself am winded just writing this and thinking about how horrible the visit was when all we wanted was something amazing. I wont even bother to go into how the spa was not impressive either. The masseuse made me feel like she was in a rush for my whole massage. It was just not any place I would ever hope to see again.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank mgnhillary
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 September 30, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed account of your recent stay. While I was pleased to see that you were pleased with your dinner at Miró, I am truly disappointed to read the rest of your review. I have contacted you privately so that I can personally address your concerns. I hope that we can connect soon.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

Let's start with the few PRO's:
The bellhop and valet staff was friendly, attentive and fast. The food in the bistro and at the beach bar was delicious (but pricey). WiFi was available on the whole premises.

And continue with the lots of CON's:
There was a loud rumbling noise coming from the ceiling in my bathroom (the ceiling was even vibrating!). It took the engineering department two days to fix this, making me sleep with ear plugs for 2 out of my 3 nights at Bacara.
There was also trouble with the TV and the remote. I specifically asked them to wait 1h (I had to shower first) for the TV problem to be fixed. Minutes later a guy knocked on the door with a new remote while the privacy sign was out!
The laundry service ruined (heavily scratched) multiple buttons on my favorite shirt.
The minibar was not restocked by housekeeping.
The waiters at the bistro were pretty slow and it took them way too long for the food to arrive at my table. The bar staff at the beach bar was ridiculous: They had enough time to chat with each other but needed 30min before asking me if I wanted a drink. When you sat a bit away from the beach bar it was pure luck if you got served at all (some guests got served, me never).
My room seemed not very well maintained (noise, broken shower head, shower door not closing tight, broken TV, dirty patio, overall "wore down" look). Same applies to the whole resort: It looks aged at a lot of places. The beach is also useless because of natural tar.
There is only valet parking and they charge you $30 per day! There is also a daily resort fee of $25 which basically includes very slow (they call it "basic") internet connection. For this kind of money I would expect high-speed internet!
Mistakes happen at the best places. But so many incidents during a short 3-night stay is no coincidence and is in accordance with the many average, poor and even terrible reviews here on TripAdvisor. It was my intention to tell all this to the general manager. But when I checked out, nobody even asked me how my stay was. When they don't even care a bit how my stay was, how can I expect them to listen to complaints? I said nothing and left with an angry feeling that not even the front desk staff is well trained at Bacara. When you visit a 5-star resort you have high expectations. Bacara was by far not able to meet any of them. I will definitively not come back and not recommend the place to anyone.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Marcel B
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 September 30, 2013

Thank you for writing about your recent stay. While I was pleased to read your feedback about our friendly bell and valet staff as well as food at The Bistro and pool area, I am disappointed to read the rest of your review. I feel your frustration and disappointment from what you wrote and for that I am truly sorry. I truly care about your feedback and to that end, I have contacted you privately to personally follow up with your concerns. I hope that we can connect about your stay.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Cochran
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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