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“Beautiful Cabin”
Review of El Capitan Canyon

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El Capitan Canyon
Oak View, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Beautiful Cabin”
Reviewed May 13, 2013

We went to El Capitan on Mothers Day weekend 2013 We had a Cabin Creek King. Beautiful cabin! The oversized tub with the big window that looks out to the trees was awesome. Bring your bath bubbles! Also bring all your cooking utensils. They have paper towels and toilet paper and bedding that's about it. Bring your own pillows because theirs are not the best. Bikes are a must. because it's a car free canyon. They have bikes, but you can only have them 2hrs. at a time. At the canyon store they pretty much have everything you need. Pricey though. Bubble bath was $20.00. It had dust on it. The Canyon grill was ok. I would bbq your own food. Don't forget the charcoal. They also have a small frig., microwave and coffee. Housekeeping service too. There were tons of kids there on the weekend. If you want a quite camping experience go during the week. We had a wonderful Mothers Day Weekend at El Capitan!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank WENDYLALA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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286 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
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English first
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

For the price, the cabins are very overpriced - granted, we were there for New Year's, but for the cost, I would've liked some better amenities, like even a bundle of starter firewood or s'more fixins'.
The bathroom was super dated & no hot water after one person took a shower. Utensils not provided in the kitchenette, which seemed amiss. Would stay there again, but have lowered expectations & our friends who slept on the pull out sleeper sofa in the living room were super unhappy as it was very uncomfortable.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Joyroll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redondo Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2013

My wife and I first stayed here in 2008 (before we were married) as part of a birthday trip to Santa Barbara wine country. We were amazed by how beautiful the property is, how clean and comfortable the tents and cabins and all the amenities are, and how helpful and friendly all the staff are.

Two years later, we were looking for the perfect wedding venue and we both thought how amazing it would be to get married there, but didn't think it was even possible. We spoke with Terry, the manager/event coordinator who spoke to the owners and we were able to have all of our friends and family stay on the property and be with us for the most amazing wedding weekend we could have possibly imagined.

Since then, my wife and I have stayed at El Capitan Canyon when she was pregnant, when our son was 9 months old, and just recently, after he turned two. We plan to come back as often as we can as our family grows.

This is a perfect spot for families, for a romantic weekend, or for getting away in quiet solitude for a while. The property combines first rate amenities and all the comfort of staying at a glamorous resort with the feeling of being out in nature and away from the hustle bustle.

I can't say enough about how amazing this place is and can't wait to stay again.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank J L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 28, 2013

Why we chose El Capitán for our wedding:

We love camping - in winter, summer, rain or shine (we admit that it is easier to camp in winter, summer, rain, or shine in California)!

A few years ago we began a tradition of camping every January (New Year's time) in Big Sur, California. It is one of our favorite places. Each year we have stopped and camped at many different campgrounds on our way to and from.

The first year we went to Big Sur, El Capitán State Beach was closed for camping. We drove through and thought, "sweet spot!" But that was all we got that year. The second year, we missed camping in El Cap because of the time of day we passed it (it's pretty close to home). Trips in between we needed to get up to Big Sur quickly because we were crunched for time, or for some reason or other we just never ended up there. El Capitán was this place we imagined as beautiful and amazing, but that kept eluding us!

Finally, we said forget trying to work El Cap into our Big Sur trips - let's just make a weekend trip of it.

When we arrived it WAS beautiful, and amazing, and so peaceful. But we had no firewood. The camp host sent us across the street to El Capitán Canyon Resort for firewood..."Where is that?" "What is that?"

The minute we set foot on El Capitán Canyon Resort we were SO SURE we wanted El Cap to be our wedding location. We immediately began plotting the fun we could have in this beautiful place. Woods AND ocean AND canyon AND camping AND cabins AND marriage AND a party!!

We thought we couldn't ask for more...and then Terry, John, and all of the staff who worked on our wedding at the resort were super helpful and awesome. They were the perfect combination of laid back and on top of everything, and all went beautifully according to plan without the stress and hassle we imagined was inevitable with wedding planning.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Grace K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redondo Beach
1 review
Reviewed April 24, 2013

My husband and I first went to El Capitan Canyon on the way back from Santa Barbara wine country about 6 years ago...little did we know then we would get married there in 2010! El Capitan Canyon is the best of all worlds. It has gorgeous nature, charming cabins, and every amenity that you could possibly need.

We are always told by friends and family that our wedding was one of their favorites ever and the main reason is the experience of being at El Capitan Canyon. Everyone enjoyed the hiking, the beach, the bikes, the llamas, the pool...and just relaxing at their fire pits under the stars. It is the kind of place where campers and non-campers alike can come together and have a great time.

The staff at El Capitan Canyon made our wedding unforgettable and did absolutely everything to take care of us and our guests. There was not a single thing that went wrong or was left to chance. The staff goes above and beyond to help guests - most recently running some milk up to our cabin for the store when we forgot it for our son's bottle.

We have been back three times since our wedding - once for a birthday and twice for our anniversary. It is a part of our tradition now and amazing to see it now through the eyes of our two year old son - as they light up at the sounds of the crickets, owls and frogs. Every time we visit, we want to stay longer.

We have stayed in almost every type of cabin - from the tent cabins to the Safari cabin and they are all special in their own ways. I think our favorite are the king cabins - we love waking up in bed and seeing the trees outside the double doors - and soaking in the deep tubs. We always get a bundle of wood and the S'more pack when we visit. We usually eat at the Canyon restaurant so that we don't have to lug too much stuff up for the weekend. It truly feels like getting away...even for a quick trip.

I hope you love El Capitan Canyon as much as we do. It's a very special place!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Traci L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Gabriel, California
Level Contributor
23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

This is "glamping", at it's best...glamour camping! I believe my wife saw this on Oprah...a small canyon filled with tent cabins, real cabins, swimming pools, massage hut & many other great attractions. We always stay in a canyon loft, a one bedroom cabin with a loft that sleeps 4-5. They are equipped with microwave, small fridge, sink & full bathroom. This necessitates bring Coleman-type stove or reliance on ancient BBQ fire pits that double as campfires. You don't need linens or sleeping bags...even towels are included! The surrounding canyon is so quiet & beautiful, made all the more pleasant by the fact that cars are not allowed in canyon campgrounds, except to unload. Unfortunately there is usually someone breaking the rules by leaving their car outside cabin, or playing amplified music. A call to the office will generally get a response in the form of a ranger visit, however, in the interest of keeping the peace, we don't usually complain.

The big downside to this resort, is the extremely high cost...depending on season, a cabin can be upwards of $400 a night.

Room Tip: Go in low season...fewer noisy kids if you're trying to relax, but then, kids in the outdoors is...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Skeetdad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aliso Viejo, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013 via mobile

This is a camping resort, some have referred to it as "glam camping." My little one really wanted to "camp" and while my husband is an experienced camper, my idea if camping is a hotel with no room service. So, this was a nice compromise. The location was perfect too.

We stayed in the adventure yurt, which was another compromise as the little one really wanted to stay in a "tent", not a cabin. The yurt was a big round room/tent with comfortable beds (queen and a twin with a trundle), a table with two chairs, a few lamps and a mini fridge, and a very nice skylight in the center (which can open for ventilation). While it had electricity it did not have plumbing, as expected, with a "tent". The bathrooms were very close and pretty clean overall. It's worth noting that it also had a door that could be locked. Our kids thought the yurt was super cool.

The yurt was next to the playground and pool which was great for our young kids. The tire swing was a HUGE hit, they had so much fun! The only down side was the noise at night when they were trying to sleep... but all in all it wasn't too bad.

The fire pit and a small camping stove made it easy to cook and there is also a market within the campground that sells kits and food. The only thing we bought to eat there was a s'mores kit for a family of 4 (which can feed many more than 4). It was definitely worth it as it even came with metal skewers for the marshmallows.

We did a few short hikes or nature walks as our kids are small and not up for the long hikes yet. The hike to the trail along the coast was littered with poison oak, but we managed to steer clear and the coastline was beautiful. The tide pools were a lot of fun too. The resort hosts a llama hike to an adjacent llama farm. The guide was informative and friendly, and it was a relatively easy hike (only a short steep section at the beginning).

Star gazing was phenomenal!

Despite the nightly visit from the neighborhood skunk (which admittedly did rattle me, but not my husband) it was a fun trip and as comfortable as camping with no en suite bathroom can be. We will definitely return and try out the cabin, which we heard a lot of good things about from the other campers.

The last night we were there was a weekend and it is definitely a lot more lively once the weekend crews arrived. So for us, we'll probably avoid the crowds and stick to a weekday stay next time.

Overall, it was a good family experience, even for a non-camper like me.

  • Stayed April 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank jogoko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Capitan Canyon

Property: El Capitan Canyon
Address: 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93117-9789
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 126
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Also Known As:
El Capitan Canyon Hotel Santa Barbara
El Capitan Canyon Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara El Capitan Canyon Hotel

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