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The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Goleta
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 4, 2008

The week after the '08 Labor Day weekend at BACARA is mostly deserted. This makes for a very serene, quiet atmosphere. Very spa like. The property is beautiful and if you love white washed spanish / mediterranean architecture and decor , then this place is for you.

Service has been impeccable. Very personal. Of course, I can not attest to how this would be if the property was heavily populated.

The accomodations tho, are not my favorite. We stayed in a Ocean View Suite at 1700.00 per night. Very spacious but underfurnished. And the furnishings that are here seem mismatched and a bit beat up. The suite to which I refer is two rooms, bedrrom with separate living area. The bedroom contained king bed, with two raher hard provincial chairs at the foot of it. Beyond that is a small sitting area with a firplace and t
TVarmoire. Stuck in front of the fireplace was a large coffee table. So.........in this big spacious room, there was no cozy place to curl up in front of the fireplace. The separate LR was even more strangely furnished. Sofa bed shoved up in a corner, not facing the TV armoire. Desk in another corner with a small uncomfortable wicker / rattan chair. The only internet connection is in this room. None in the bedroom which can be locked off from the living area and rented separately I suppose. And there is no Wi-Fi.

All in all, things seem a bit old tho well maintained and very clean. The age of the room is evident in the large tube TV's and the condition of the furnishings. Also, the A/C thermostat on the wall seems to be more of a decor item than that of a functioning controller. While we were there, the temps were in the 70's and opening the windows cooled things off well enough.. But if temps were warmer I would say the room temps would not be pleasant. Even tho the weather was cool whle we were there, ti was damp and muggy and it would have been nice to have been able to pull the humidity out of the room.

All in all I would rate this as a place to recommend but would warn about the lack of furnishings in 13-309. I suspect that a small room with even the same furnishings would seem more accomodating.

Too, this is one of those places that will walk you to death. The lodgings are all in separate buildings from the main area. This is okay other than some of the walks are up very very very steep inclines. And when the sidewalks are damp this makes for even more difficult treks. There is a system of golf cars for pick up and delivery to and from your room but one does not always want to wait on a cart.

The pool area is beautiful and large and over looks the ocean. I did not utilize the spa so can not report. We did enjoy drinks and light dinner one evening in the bar just off the main lobby. The foods we sampmled were superb.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank ArkansasSmf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,109 - 2,115 of 2,369 reviews

Reviewed September 3, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Bacara for two nights back in June, and -- though I was nervous by the bad reviews here -- we had an amazing experience.

First of all, the service was amazing. There was a small army of helpful staff everywhere. The resort is spread out on gorgeous grounds, and staff on golf carts were always zipping by to offer rides. My husband had been in touch with a gentleman named Twee about putting some flowers in the room, and Twee happened to be there when we checked in. He shuttled us, via golfcart, to our room and was somehow always available to help when we needed anything the next two days. We appreciated the effort that he made.

The room itself was large and comfortable-- they even had a little bed for our dog.

The pool, though crowded, was nice and relaxing. We realized after half hour that we were lying next to one of the stars from dancing with the stars.

The restaurants and spa were also first rate. Exactly what you would expect from a resort of this caliber.

The only thing about this place is the expense. Everything there is expensive (you even have to pay around $30/night for parking). But you really are getting what you pay for.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank littletree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2008

Rob in the fitness center was the highlight employee of our trip. He took me and my two kids on a tour of the ranch across the street and couldn't have been nicer to spend time with. In fact, the service at this hotel is five-star. The bellmen, valet, wait staff at the Bistro were all fantastic.

The saline pool, our room (we were on third floor of building 24) food, amenities (Fresh) were better than expected.

I can't wait to go back and didn't want to leave, a good indication that our stay was exquisite.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank w0rkingm0m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2008

We wanted to stay in Santa Barbara for the holiday weekend, and since the cheapest rooms at the Four Seasons was $900, we decided to go to Bacara, and had no expectations, given the negative reviews. We thought how bad can it be? And we are still asking ourselves what people were trippin on!? We had a wonderful time. Our room had it's own private patio and overall it was spacious enough for two. We didn't need the best room/view since we spent most time outside. Ask for a room on the "bluff side". Dinner at the Bistro was very good (try the peanut butter cheesecake) and at Miro the next time (however, our server was a bit pretentious and the hostess sat us in the armpit of the restaurant--in a corner all by ourselves; we asked to be moved and later saw another couple get seated in the same place and then moved later!). It's nice to not have to drive anywhere once you get on the resort. So what is annoying is the fact that there are many people who brought their dogs aka children. If you are allergic to, or just don't like dogs, then you may want to rethink the place. It's not a resort that's advertised as pet-friendly, but on check-in you should know that a dog may have been in the room that you are checking into and have an option for a room where no pets are allowed. Someone's rabid little dogs went crazy the other night and it was really annoying. Some people didn't pick up after there poochs, which was disgusting. They give a bad name to dog owners. Anyways, It's a great place if you have kids (we don't) because there are two big pools. There is a spa pool for adults only; they could add a few more loungers. The fitness classes at the spa were awesome and free! I am sore today because I took advantage of them. the only other thing on the negative side was all the golf carts, carrying people around or for the service people doing their jobs. There was not a time we were walking on the path that we had to move to the side when a cart was coming through. It's great for the disabled and elderly and when you just don't feel like walking but it was starting to get annoying. Maybe it was just a busy holiday weekend and/or necessary for a 1000 acre property. All in all, it was worth the stay and we would recommend it to others.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank IWC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2008

I, too, was surprised by all the negative reviews. My husband and I were here for one night. We had a great experience with all the staff, from reception to the bellhops to valet. We had a fabulous room overlooking both the pool and ocean, with two balconies. It was quiet and romantic. The bed was the most comfortable I have ever slept in in my life -- the Frette sheets helped, I am sure. A warning: if you are looking to hang out in SB, this isn't the property for you. We were so tired from our drive that we decided to just dine at the hotel (which yes, was expensive and a disappointment -- except for the wine!). Also, if you like to lie on the beach, this isn't the place for you. And if you object to paying $24 for valet parking, I would go elsewhere. The pool is lovely as was breakfast. Unless you have an expense account, you also might find the spa treatments and fitness classes exorbitant. But for a really great night's sleep with beautiful views of the sun setting over the Pacific, I would go back in an instant.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Coach_Class
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2008

We stayed at the Bacara for the weekend, living in LA it is always an easy getaway. I was prompted to post a review after reading the negativity... The hotel is GREAT! Well maintained and the staff is used to dealing with guests that expect a "catered experience". We are BIG travelers and have stayed at many of the finest hotels in the world, and have always had a nice experience at the Bacara. The rooms are very clean, well appointed and unique, they don't feel like typical hotels rooms, as there are different room configurations and many buildings on sight. So there are no long indoor hallways, the individual buildings give a more intimate experience. The pool is pretty, and the view down the coast is relaxing. The only negative I would have is that the Bacara is a bit pricey, but not ridiculous if you are used to staying (and eating) at better hotels. And, if you are looking for a TRUE beach experience, the Bacara sits up on a bluff and the beach isn't that beautiful. But, none of the hotels in that area sit on the beach... I have stayed at the Four Seasons Biltmore, and their beach is across the street and not that beautiful either (a narrow strip of beach, nice for walking like the Bacara). The Bacara offers beach services and the Biltmore does not. Also, if memory serves me one cannot view the beach/ocean from the pool and very few of their rooms are ocean view. I also felt our food bill was probably 20% higher than your usual high end resort, although the food and service were very good. I felt the additional $150. for the weekend wasn't a big deal if one can afford the room rate. I don't know what the other posters are complaining about... maybe they are not used to high end resort prices? If you visit the area, I suggest eating outside at the San Yisdro Ranch, it was FANTASTIC. So charming and beautiful... we could have been anywhere... that was a real escape! Price shoppers beware... the ranch was expensive, but well worth it! The ranch has the Hotel Bel Air vibe, but more rustic.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
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Thank turbos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2008

Unfortunately, this is not a luxury resort. It is a tourist trap! I stayed there for the 4th of July weekend and for the basic rate they charged for the room (over $800), it would not rate better than a two star hotel chain for $99. The service quality is barely adequate, with staff clumsily trained to upsell every kind of possible service. They were nice and courteous but more attuned to a Ramada Inn than a "luxury hotel".
They will charge you for the air you breathe if they could during your stay. I don't mind paying for quality but when i feel that someone is trying to rip me off then it's a whole different matter and especially ruins my vacation. For example, the room service charges you 20% gratuity and a $5 delivery fee!!! the parking costs $24 a night and during our stay, the fires nearby sprinkled ash all over our car (no covered parking). The car was white with ash and they did not have the courtesy to discount the parking.
But the worst part of the experience was the rash i got from being in one of the jacuzzis in the hotel. I went to see my dermatologist after my stay and he recommended that I contact the hotel to notify them of the potential health hazard. I spoke to a manager who nonchalantly put me on hold to talk to his head of security because he couldn't be bothered to take notes. This is not only a lack of professionalism but also a lack of concern for their guests. A total disgrace for a hotel who dares to call itself "luxury".

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank thorgal2060
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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: $365 - $973 (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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