Belmond El Encanto
Dating back to the 1920's, El Encanto has been meticulously restored by Belmond, and aims to capture the romance and glamour of that era.
There are 92 rooms, housed in California-style bungalows spread around the landscaped gardens. Many have views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean, and all have a private garden or terrace. The décor throughout is contemporary yet cosy, and some rooms have fireplaces.
Chef Patrice Martineau heads up the kitchen, whipping up all sorts of culinary delights and focusing on laidback California coastal cuisine with an Asian twist. Guests can eat in the dining room or al fresco on the terrace with stunning Santa Barbara views. Elsewhere the bar serves Japanese and American bar food.
Facilities include an infinity pool, gym and spa, and the hotel is perfect placed for exploring Santa Barbara. Visit the museums or zoo, or hop on one of the hotel's electric bikes and explore the downtown shops.
Why We Love It
El Encanto sits high on a Santa Barbara hillside between lush green mountains and the dazzling blue sea but just minutes away you'll find exquisite restaurants, fine galleries, boutique wineries and the beautiful California coast. Best of all worlds, springs to mind.
Canary Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, complete with roof top pool and just a short bike ride from the beach.
There are 97 rooms and suites in total, all with four poster beds, hardwood floors and city views. Speaking of views get even better from the roof top pool deck, with the mountains behind and the ocean stretching away to the front.
If you can drag yourself away from the view, the hotel at large is worth exploration, with designer Michael Smith's colonial Spanish and Moorish themes throughout in the garden fountains and tiled terraces.
The hotel's Finch and Fork restaurant is one of the finest in Santa Barbara and showcases the region's bountiful produce, from seafood to cheeses and delicious wines. The fish tacos come particularly highly recommended and for wine aficionados, the head sommelier has a tasting of California's finest every evening.
For guest's who want some pampering after that tiring lying by the pool and gourmet cuisine, the hotel goes one better than a spa - sending the expert therapists from the local luxury spa Float to your room instead. Now that's service.
Why We Love It
The Californians get service like few others, but the hotel staff's 'we can at Canary' policy takes the concept to even greater heights. Nothing is too much trouble.