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“Best Hotel in Santa Barbara... Maybe in all of California.”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Belmond El Encanto

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Belmond El Encanto
Ranked #8 of 51 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Best Hotel in Santa Barbara... Maybe in all of California.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 13, 2013

Rooms are spectacular, food exceptional and service is even better! Perfect hotel for relaxation and quite reflection. Pool is perfect, but not over the top. Highly recommended by a world traveler. (I have stayed at this property twice in two months)

Room Tip: Room 301 is a good one. I have stayed at this property twice.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SolMig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, July 20, 2013
Dear SolMig,

Wow! You sure do know how to make us feel like a million bucks! Thanks for the great review and for becoming a return guest already! See you next time!

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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964 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (167)
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English first
San Jose
Level Contributor
33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2013

We spent 3 nights at El encanto in July 2013. This hotel reopened in march 2013.
The grounds, buildings, pool, spa are some of the most exquisite I have seen and experienced. It felt like I was in the south of France on coted'azur. The staff is very friendly. Front desk staff are wonderful and very helpful.
The valet is excellent . The spa is very special and must if you go to El Encanto.
If you book the cheapest room you won't be disappointed . Every room that we saw is very lovely,but who cares it is more fun to be outside and enjoy the views.
They some bugs to work out. The food is very inventive but not ridiculous. It is very tasty and described well on the menu. The bar is great and the bartenders are very helpful with dinner advice.
Here's what needs help: the wait staff is a little forgetful, if you ask for ice tea you may have to wait for sweetener or lemon. If you ask for ketchup with your fries they say yes right away but it never comes. The food service staff is very green. They seem like all college students who are distracted.
Secondly, they have issues with the tub showers in some rooms and the faucets at the sink. The water pressure is so high that when you go to wash your hands the water splashes on you and onto the floor. The tub shower is extremely dangerous . The water gets through the glass partition and floods the bathroom. Then the floor is very slippery, almost fell.
So there re few things that need tweaking and El Encanto will be more than perfect.
Also, there was a confusion on our room rate and they graciously gave us a lowered rate. That was excellent service!

Room Tip: Ask to see the rooms first, we had room 401 it was great! Any location is great!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank calgirlsanjose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, July 12, 2013
Dear calgirlsanjose,

Thank you for your lovely review! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your recent visit with us. Thank you as well for pointing out the water pressure issue, we are certainly working to regulate this in each room and have been successful in most, we will continue to monitor this. We will also continue to work with our restaurant team on the small details you mentioned. We hope you will visit us again soon!
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Maui, Hawaii
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2013

We were greeted upon our arrival with a welcome and acknowledgement of birthday celebration for my mom who I was traveling with. It was a lovely surprise that they provided us with upgraded accomodations in honor of her birthday so we got to stay at one of the highest points on the property on the second floor with a private patio. The rooms are beautifully done with attention to detail, including the bed pillow monogrammed with initial of your surname.

Some glitches still with the rooms and service however which was quite disappointing considering the cost of the rooms. We could not get the fireplace to turn on (there is a remote and then you also have to press the button at the far side of the fireplace that is not readily in view but even after figuring this all out it still was not operable) and when trying to call the front desk we had trouble with the phones. The waiter who brought our room service dinner stated he hadn't learned how to work the electric fireplace either so could not assist. After getting through to the front desk and being told someone would be sent right over, we then waited over an hour for someone to come look at the fireplace problem and they never showed so we cancelled our request. It would have been helpful to have the staff trained in the basics of the room operation and also perhaps some small overview list of how to operate the electronics in the room, such as the air conditioner, and fireplace.

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank NamasteMauiGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, July 12, 2013
Dear NamasteMauiGirl,

I am happy to hear you loved our resort and found a peaceful getaway! I do apologize that we were not able to assist with your fireplace and that it sounds like that went unresolved during your stay. It is always our goal to make sure each issue is taken care of and I am so sorry to learn that we let you down! I do hope you will come back soon, and we will certainly make sure your fireplace provides the cozy ambiance it is intended for!

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oceanside, CA
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2013

We stayed one night with our two pom pups. Everyone from the Hotel loved our dogs, which were allowed everywhere on the 7 acre grounds but the restaurant. The room was clean and beautiful (we stayed in a second floor suite in the 1900 building). Service was excellent. In room dining and menu were equally great. The hotel is off the beaten path, high up on the hill, located in a residential area, but very quiet. All in all, the experience was wonderful.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ruyama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Level Contributor
135 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2013

We escaped to this beautiful place after a sub-par experience by the beach.......they let us in early -- place is beautiful. Rooms are impeccable -- wonderful bedding, clean, quiet.......Am thankful we could get in on a busy holiday last minute.

I think the staff was overwhelmed with holiday --- housekeeping was behind in picking up dishes, honor bar not restocked -- not something you would expect from a 5 star resort. Also prices of meals were crazy -- $70 for a child at the 4th of July celebration seemed exorbitant to me. (Adults were $75) $100+ for breakfast (3 entrees, juice and fruit plate) -- great service but hard to rationalize when paying these fees (even with $45 breakfast AMEX credit)

That said, the staff was exceptional -- very nice, welcoming, warm and accommodating. Grounds are gorgeous.

I agree with other reviewers -- something is missing -- and I wouldn't want to be in villas near where cars are parked, etc. We had last minute room so didn't have patio, etc. I'd definitely recommend to come back with a partner/spouse and stay closer to pool/lobby -- there were kids here, but I feel more of a couples/adult resort.

Room Tip: Close to lobby/pool/spa
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kewb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, July 12, 2013
Dear KBidwell,

We were so glad to be able to accommodate you at the last minute over the very exciting and active holiday weekend! I am happy you found a respite here, and were able to partake of our offerings at the pool and for our 4th of July BBQ on the Terrace. I did take an opportunity to make sure you were not overcharged for the kids...we did charge $35 per child for a total of $70 so I hope there was not a confusion there...we really do try to be fair in our menu pricing.

Do feel free to contact me directly if you still have any questions on that. We hope to see you very soon!

Best wishes,

Laura M
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
63 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 4, 2013

Located on the hillside overlooking the harbor, the hotel rests in a beautiful setting with top flight facilities, a beautiful pool, quaint airy bungalows, a well trained attentive staff, a gourmet restaurant, easy access to Santa Barbara, Montecito and the adjacent wine country and elegantly appointed rooms. All of this is done in a low key, relaxed informal style that gives credit to the property’s unique history.
Of course you often get what you pay for and as a premium hotel the prices are high if not close to staggering. At $700/night for a deluxe bungalow (one level up from the lowest price) much should be expected but not all was up to standard.
The housekeeping didn’t measure up. We had to wait until 4pm for the rooms to be made up; the porch was dirty, we had to ask for ice and clean towels. I have no problem with that at the Holiday Inn but I expect a great deal more attention to detail at a facility that aspires to rank as top notch.
Nevertheless the experience was sublime especially lounging all afternoon at the pool in 80 degree water. My wife and I enjoyed ourselves immensely and we would readily go back for another visit on a special occasion.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura M, General Manager at Belmond El Encanto, responded to this review, July 12, 2013
Dear richardH,

What a beautiful description of our American Riviera setting! I love that you found it sublime!

I do appreciate your comments regarding Housekeeping and am so sorry that we missed the mark for you there! We will certainly use your comments to help with our ongoing commitment to service perfection.

Please visit us again soon!

Best wishes,

Laura M
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
656 reviews
99 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 407 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2013

After 7 years of painstaking restoration and modernization, and beucoup bucks, El Encanto has, like a butterfly, re-emerged, as it must have been in its enchanting heyday.

Orient Express has the reputation for taking great old buildings like the Splendido, Cipriani and Villa San Michele and turning them into modern facilities with good food and great service. They did so here.

Like the aforementioned, do not expect ultra luxurious accommodations, but faithfully and comfortably adopted great old places.

Perched in the hills of the Santa Barbara “Riviera” above the picturesque town with a view of the Pacific, if the fog permits, with a view of the Channel Islands in the distance it is the quiet eerie imagined in 1918 when it was first built.

The makeover cost the property its tennis courts but gained it a great gym and spa and all the modern conveniences of a luxury retreat.

The units are well equipped and have gas fires, which are welcoming when returning to the room on a cool night. The beds are very comfortable.

The dining terrace is beautiful and romantic they have done a great job ascertaining that the coastal weather does not impede with a great experience.

We stayed long enough to taste most dishes and one was better than the next. Then there is what has been their signature desert for decades: “Floating Island”. There are few places this side of Paris which make oeufs a la neige. Theirs is great.

Try and get a room with a private balcony so you do not have to share your quiet time with guests passing by. Also, this undoubtly will become the new go-to wedding spot so make certain no big nuptial is planned so you do not have to share the peace with revelers.

For those of us who also think relaxing means an absence of kids screaming, running and splashing appears that El Encanto will not try and lure these enemies of peace and quiet to their aerie.

Orient Express has lived up to their reputation of meticulously and imaginatively restoring great old properties and running them well. This is certainly another gem in their crown

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank venamo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond El Encanto

Property: Belmond El Encanto
Address: 800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93103-2176
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#4 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#6 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#7 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Belmond El Encanto 5*
Number of rooms: 92
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.
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Also Known As:
El Encanto Hotel And Garden Villas

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