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“Enjoyed it, but I can see why people aren't crazy about it”

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Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
Ranked #7 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Manhattan Beach, California
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Enjoyed it, but I can see why people aren't crazy about it”
Reviewed April 11, 2013

This is a beautiful historic property built in the 1920s that was acquired by the Four Seasons and renovated. For that reason, it's worth a visit if you are traveling to California and really want to get a taste of Spanish colonial style architecture. The property has a lot of character and I applaud the Four Seasons for not trying to transform it into a nondescript modern-day resort property. However, for that reason, it also feels outdated; the floorboards creak, the walls are thin, there is a sense that the place has seen better days. You just can't win it all.

That being said, we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The service was impeccable. There are little touches where the Four Seasons hospitality really shines through. For example, we arrived on my child's birthday; the front desk immediately arranged for a birthday cake and gift of fruits, snacks, and a Four Seasons beach mat to be delivered to the room. The bathroom has wipes to remove tar that you might step on at the beach. They put ear plugs in the closet in case the train bothers you. They had free coffee and tea in the morning, chilled waters in the gym, and bowls of apples scattered around the property. The hotel had light activities for the guests (e.g., margarita tasting one afternoon, games of croquet every afternoon, smores a few evenings for the kids, etc.). I recommend taking the garden tour as the grounds have a large variety of plants, old trees, and an organic herb garden which supplies herbs for the kitchen. Our guide, who has worked there a long time, knew about every plant there and what was easy to grow in the climate. The Coral Casino beach club across the street is a great place to hang out. There, you can swim in a large pool (laps if you're serious or a separate roped off section for kids), walk down to the beach, or just lounge in the sun with an oceanfront view. (By the way, you won't see the sun set over the water because the coast line faces south at that location). You can play foos-ball and ping pong there too. The locker room is gorgeous!

At the main resort, there is a small 24 hour gym with water in the fridge, gatorade, headphones, and apples; pool for the kids; and two hot tubs set at different temperatures.(warm for families, hot for adults only). There are tennis courts but I believe you have to pay court fees. There are nice walking trails all around the grounds and along the coast. Kid for All Seasons was closed during the time we were there which was too bad; we would have liked to go in just to play games or watch movies even if child care was not provided.

Re: food - It is really expensive to eat at the property. A short drive away will take you to a nearby street called Coast Village Road with great little restaurants including a breakfast/gourmet sandwich shop named Jeannines, and a Mexican place called Los Arroyos.

Room - we had an executive suite which was comfortable but the bed was a little on the soft side. If you are sensitive to noise, request a room that is away from the conference area. Usually the noise dies down after business hours, but I was awoken a few mornings at 7:30 because our room overlooked the courtyard by one of the conference rooms. Bathroom had radiant heated floors which was a nice touch, and a rather roomy bath tub with separate shower. It was outfitted in Spanish tile to match the character of the buildings.

All in all, Santa Barbara is a slow-paced, coastal city and we returned from our stay there feeling (and looking, or so we were told) completely relaxed and recharged. Because we weren't running around trying to do a lot of things, we spent a lot of time together as a family, and the large property was conducive to just hanging out with the kids. It is pricey and not a good "value" - but then again, if your objective is just relaxing and staying at a beautiful oceanfront place with excellent service, this would be a great place to stay.

Room Tip: Try to get a room that is away from the conference rooms.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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4 Thank CAWorkingMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New York, NY
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2013

Amazing incredible stay. Beautiful room - fantastic service. We loved it! It was such a peaceful place to spend our babymoon. We went during a "stay nights and get the 3rd one free" - so it was a great deal as well. It was quiet and completely luxurious. We didn't want to leave!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank PamelaNY212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSSantaBarbara, Resort Manager at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your positive feedback about your recent stay at the Resort. We’re delighted to hear that you spent your “babymoon” with us and that you were able to enjoy your time before the arrival of your little one. I want to wish you well and hope that we can welcome you back again as a family!

Warm Regards,

Michael Mestraud
Resort Manager
p. (805) 565-8202
e. Michael.Mestraud@fourseasons.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2013 via mobile

Great location, however the hotel is outdated and the rooms need a refurb. The rooms are noisy and don't have any sound proofing - we could hear people walking into their rooms at 2 am and our room door shook as other people opened their doors!

We were asked on check in if we wanted an upgrade to a sea view room for $50, which we accepted and then had to wait 2 hours for our room, making check in 4.30 when we were only staying for 1 night. Upon checkout this showed on our bill as an extra $185 which was only honoured after a referral to the supervisor. Also wifi was charged to the room after this had been agreed that this had been included.

Overall we were disappointed and would not return to this hotel. Poor service and they only seem to be interested if you are on a conference or spending big $$. Not worth the money.

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank Sd1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FSSantaBarbara, Resort Manager at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, responded to this review, April 15, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review the Resort. I'm sorry that your stay did not meet your expectations and that you did not enjoy your time here. I've noted the noise issue that you mentioned and appreciate your feedback as it helps us to continuously improve on our guests' overall experience. I apologize for the disruption and hope that you will consider a future stay with us. I would welcome the chance to speak with you further.

Sincerely,

Michael Mestraud
Resort Manager
p. (805) 565- 8202
e. Michael.Mestraud@fourseasons.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberta, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2013

We arrived late after a difficult travel day and were relieved to see the cot we requested ready for our child. Room service was fresh and prompt - best fresh squeezed orange juice ever. Our very clean, recently renovated room was right by front entrance/valet and I wondered if it might be noisy though it was surprisingly quiet - woke up to the sound of the ocean.

Coming from a very snowy winter, we were excited to find that the courtyard pool area among the main buildings is lush, sheltered and much warmer than the beach. Great walking path in front of hotel where our child watched dolphins swim off shore and tracked a tiny bunny through the flowered shrubs: magical Easter treat!

Well worth the expense. Wish we had stayed longer, would love to go back!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank TEDtours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
368 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2013

Overall, we enjoyed our stay very much. The property is well located on the cost, the cottages are very private and nice. The only negative would be the operation of the Bella Vista restaurant, which was not up to the standards of the Four Seasons. We had service problems at breakfast on our first day and dinner there was not memorable. The lunch on the restaurant's patio was fine. The lounge was very good for service as well as offerings. Only other negative, a rail line next to the property wakes one up just before 7 AM each morning!

Room Tip: Cottages are very private; we enjoyed it.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Dhanan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

This is a beautiful hotel with great attention to detail. Everyone is friendly and helpful. My only concern was our service the first night at the Bella Vista restaurant. It was fair but everything else was excellent.

The rooms are stately and very beautiful. We were on the first floor and so it was a bit noisy with traffic on the stairs and upstairs hallways.

Overall, the personal service was outstanding and the property immaculate. I would definitely return.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Sanjay M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

This is our 4th Four Seasons property and therefore have high expectations of the Four Season...this one did not disappoint. Great location right on the beach and access to the Coral Casino was great...that place is amazing. Only negative comment was that they charged for wifi access even in general/public areas. For the price we would have expected wifi to be included as this place is not cheap. Highly recommend grabbing dinner at the San Ysirdo Ranch...that place was amazing as well and recommended by Four Seasons hotel staff.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank jd6141
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Property: Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
Address: 1260 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93108-2805
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#2 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Barbara
#3 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#5 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#5 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara 5*
Number of rooms: 207
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just steps from one of the most beautiful beaches in California, with private bungalows and terraces that overlook the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands. Set amongst 22-acres of lush jungle and tranquil gardens, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara defines luxury living and service on the American Riviera. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
4 Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara Hotel Santa Barbara
Four Seasons Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Four Seasons

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