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“Good, but not Great”

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Bacara Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 12 Hotels in Goleta
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Good, but not Great”
Reviewed August 27, 2006

My husband and I just spent 3 days at Bacara. It was our anniversary and every year we spend it at a different resort. I always tell the resort ahead of time that it's a special occasion and the resorts always do something nice, whether it's a note, a bottle of wine, or just a Happy Anniversary at check-in, something. No such thing at Bacara.

At Bacara, you walk in and stand in a long line to check in. You are then told to wait outside for the Bellman to come take you with a golf cart to your room. In our case, the Bellman forgot about us and we just sat there for 15 minutes. We finally went and got him. He then drove us to our room, which was disappointing. It was a small room, decorated like every other normal hotel room you've seen at a Marriott or Hilton. The room was dark so I tried to open the doors, but there were no screen on them so we were swarmed with flies. One side of the door had a screen, but they had put a thick carpet in front of it (which was huge so couldn't be moved) which meant that the door wouldn't open. It's as though no thought was put into designing and decorating the room. When you pay over $600/night, you expect a little more.

We then went to one of the restaurants which had decent food at very high prices. The wine I usually drink (Conundrum) was on the menu for $18/glass. I buy it retail for $29/bottle at the grocery store. I understand charging alot for wine at resorts, but at least make it wine that you can't find at every grocery store for 1/3 the price!

There were a number of other little things, like the concierge not returning phone calls, mishaps with spa appointments, a 50 minute facial going for only 40 minutes, etc. Nothing earth shattering, but when you pay premium prices, you just don't expect those little things that annoy you.

The word average actually sums up our entire experience. There was nothing really special, other than its location which is spectacularly beautiful. Otherwise, everything else was just ok. In my opinion, the Four Seasons is far superior to Bacara.

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
11 Thank Nannonie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (643)
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English first
New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2006

I really wanted to like the Baraca. It was a late addition to our honeymoon itinerary. Everything augured well, from the Santa Barbara setting to the organic ranch to the yoga packages. It sounded like a Southern Californian rival to the Post Ranch in Big Sur. But it wasn't.

The basic design of the Bacara is flawed. The hotel is a big impersonal complex of some 360 rooms housed in some twenty cod-Spanish villas, linked together by a golf buggy track. There's no feeling of intimacy or seclusion that you expect from a deluxe beachside retreat. And as a result it just doesn't hang together as a luxury retreat.

The clientele doesn't help either. Forget other reviews referencing the beautiful people - during our visit, the Baraca was populated by ham-thighed, loud-mouthed golf jocks. Try relaxing in earshot of their thuggish comments about fellow guests. There is nothing retreat-flavoured about waking up to banal pool chat drifting up to your balcony.

Now the hotel does have some good features. Outdoor dining at the Miro restaurant is an experience, the staff we encountered were great and the fitness facilities are sensational. But the dreamy promise of the Baraca is too far from the banal reality, and we won't be back.

  • Liked — Great outdoor dining
  • Disliked — It felt like paying $800 a night to stay at a Sandals
  • Tips/Secrets — Avoid anything too close to the pools or the golf buggys
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank calculating_hedonist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reston, VA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2006

A good friend was recently married at Bacara, so my husband and I stayed there for three nights. Even at the wedding rate, it was very expensive but we were excited to stay at such a gorgeous resort. Though Bacara is beautiful, the customer service is seriously lacking and I would be hard-pressed ever to stay there again. Weeks in advance (after never having our phone calls returned and thus having to call over and over again), we arranged to have a babysitter for our son and another bridesmaid's child while we attended the rehearsal dinner one night and wedding the next. We were told that the rate was $24/hour with a 4-hour minimum. Two hours before the rehearsal began, the front desk called to say the hourly rate would be $48, not $24. Obviously, this was a tremendous increase over the initial quote which we had confirmed no less than 5 times AND with just two hours before the rehearsal began, what were we to do. After a serious bout of negotiation, Bacara honored the initial $24 rate. They said, however, that nanny services for the following night would be $48 per hour which we found unacceptable being that we had been told $24 repeatedly. Finally, they relented and we confirmed that we needed a babysitter from 6-11 the following evening. As the wedding reception began the next night, we waited for our babysitters to show up. We called at 6:30pm and were told the sitters were on their way to our room. At 8pm no one had showed up and we took our children to the reception because we had already missed so much of it. Needless to say we were furious and involved not only the front desk and concierge but also the wedding coordinator. We were told that no nannies were on their way but that the resort would try to do something. Eventually two very young women showed up to watch our children and we were assured that Bacara would not charge us for their services. When we checked out, we had in fact been charged but the employee told us he would remove the charge from our bill. Today, one week after having checked out, I found charges on my credit card for the nanny services which Bacara promised to cover. I am now waiting, again, to be called back about this. For such an expensive, exclusive place, I was surely disappointed by the lack of assistance and help we received. It is with these troubling experiences in mind that I write this review and can only award Bacara 2 stars.

  • Liked — Gorgeous location!
  • Disliked — Poor customer service!
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank engrossi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport Beach, Ca
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2006

...From the undertrained adolescent staff, surly upper management, and on down to the only "fair" cusine and the dorm like rooms, Bacara is overpriced...over-rated...and intended for those who clearly have more money then sense! Visit it or even stay a night if you want to say "I've been there done that" but if you're looking for a 5 Star vacation experience this is definitely not the place....

  • Liked — Checkout...
  • Disliked — Surly management staff....highly over priced....dorm like rooms...
  • Tips/Secrets — avoid this place unless you're purely into ego..
  • Stayed August 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank fghton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2006

I MUST say that i have never had such a horrible experience at a Resort or have ever been so insulted by a Resort management! My husband took me here for my birthday. He thought it would be the PERFECT get away. SURPRISE NOT!!!

We arrived on Friday night & had 2 massages scheduled in our room. There were great, but when my husband went to sign the bill each massage was $500.00! They were far from that good. Then we went to sleep around midnight only to be awoken by a party of 15 people above us at 1:00am. We had to call security 3 times to have the nosie & people removed. The next day we were scheduled for a horse back ride on the beach. The resort gave us a card to go a ranch (the ranch was nice) but this ranch only rode in a cirle of dirt for 45 minutes and no where near the beach. When i expressed ours concerns to the manager Terry he said that he was changing out room so we wouldl not be distrubed by the guest above & this room had a GREAT surprise for us & assured us of a beatiful sunset! Well, the room was nce but not even in the direction of sunset (barely see the ocean) & the managers big surprise was a flower with a most insulting note! Too top off the end of our weekend when we checked out the bell boy didn't put our luggage into the car! Thank god we went into Santa Barbara for breakfast and did some shopping. When we opened the truck to put our bags inside we saw that our luggage was NOT there! So we had to go back and retrieve it! When we got back to the resort 3 hours later our luggage was still sitting right out in front & my husband walked up got it put it in the car (no one at the resort even asked or stopped him. This place is way over rated & they plain old (-)you! The weekend cost us $2855.00! It wasn't about the money if the service was good. But the service was horrible the whole experience was nasty!

  • Liked — nothing even the sheets on the bed were bad
  • Disliked — room service management
  • Tips/Secrets — go anywhere but here
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
9 Thank sandymed2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suffolk, Vriginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2006

This was our third visit to Santa Barbara and have always enjoyed it. However, this time we were disappointed with our choice of hotels. Previously we had stayed at the Four Seasons (Biltmore) and we were always impressed. We decided to try the Bacara as we had read about it in various publications. Upon check- in the staff seemed very confused with our accomadations as they were getting it confused with another guest's account. This proved to be a problem until even a month after we checked out. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful and the staff was very helpful. The room however was the biggest disappointment. For $800 per night I expect something better than what one would find at a Marriot or nice Holiday Inn. The room was small (compared to the Four Seasons) and the bed, bedspread and linens were of very poor quality. There was no coffee maker in the room when we requested one we were informed that there would be a charge for it (come on - we're talking $800 a night!). Additionally, we dined at the upscale Miro restaurant - very expensive and very dissappointing. I don't need to go on, you get the picture. We drove over to the Four Seasons and booked our stay for next year.

Stayed April 2006
Helpful?
4 Thank 2thdr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utah
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2006

My family and I stayed at the Bacara the first week in August while our son attended the MJ Flight School Camp. It was a wonderful experience.

The rooms are great. The pools are great. The Spa was great. The staff was great. I read all the reviews before making our reservation and was glad we believed the good reviews. Was staff was very attentitive our entire stay. We went into town twice a day so, we feared having the car in valet parking would present a problem. Tip #1 call in advance and the car will be there when you are ready to leave. The food is expensive at the Bacara (and very very good) but, Santa Barbara is just 5 minutes away.

There are many fast food to average restaurants to choose from. There were also 2 weddings (1 very large) during our stay that did'nt affect us at all. I don't know what everyone else was talking about. Anyways, stay at the Bacara and expect to spend some extra money or stay somewhere else. As for us, we enjoyed everything about the Bacara and we are looking for to next August!!

  • Liked — The setting
  • Disliked — The price
  • Tips/Secrets — See review
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank griff30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bacara Resort & Spa

Property: Bacara Resort & Spa
Address: 8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117
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
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Goleta
#1 Business Hotel in Goleta
#2 Family Hotel in Goleta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bacara Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 358
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Along the bluffs and beaches of the Gaviota coast lies a resort of stunning natural beauty and relaxed luxury. With 78 acres of oceanfront property, including two miles of natural beach, Bacara offers an expansive sun-drenched setting with endless vistas of sea and sky. The resort's innovative and artful design 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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