As Santa Barbara residents we were looking forward to celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the day we met by having a wonderful lunch at the El Encanto. My husband surprised me by making reservations and after reading a recent article in the LA Times I was ready to enjoy a fabulous experience. Unfortunately we would rate our meal and experience as "good +". We were greeted at the hostess stand by two young women who didn't welcome us or seem pleased to accommodate our request for a table in the dining room. We had made reservations for the terrace but the day was overcast and cool so we decided that the dining room was a better choice. The room itself is absolutely beautiful with a stunning chandelier as the main attraction. The upholstered furniture is beautiful and the large windows overlooking Santa Barbara are perfect in this setting. Unfortunately the acoustics in the room could be much improved; the room was noisy during our meal despite the fact that only 5 other tables were occupied. We had hoped for a quiet, romantic respite from a busy week.
My husband ordered salmon which he enjoyed although the serving was rather small. I ordered the cobb salad which was disappointing. The balsamic dressing had little flavor and the salad itself was uninteresting. We each ordered a glass of wine with lunch. Our waiter, David, was attentive, pleasant and well trained. Others who waited on the table seemed tentative and unfamiliar with working in a fine dining environment.
Although my husband mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary nothing was done to recognize this. It has been our experience that better restaurants will celebrate a special occasion with a small dessert but nothing was offered.
All in all, we feel that the cost of the lunch ($82.00 plus tip) was exorbitant in terms of the service and the food. The staff needs additional training and we were surprised that in a hotel/restaurant of this caliber that the obvious gaffs were so frequent. Hopefully they will improve over time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Belmond El Encanto, a Forbes Five-Star luxury hotel, has been meticulously restored to capture all the romance and glamour that endeared it to both the local Santa Barbara community and visitors alike. As part of Belmond, this is the company's first excursion to the American west coast.
Ninety-two quintessential, California-styled suites and bungalows dot the lush, terraced grounds featuring seven-acres of gloriously landscaped gardens with sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean.
Original architectural features have been lovingly restored, including the historic, trellis-lined Arbor and Lily Pond. Modern additions to the expansive outdoor zero-edge pool and a new beautifully appointed boutique spa enhance the journey for today's luxury-seeking guest. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- El Encanto Hotel And Garden Villas