Month: November 2022

Hotel Review: El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel

Hotel Review

El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel

Classic luxury combined with Hollywood Glamour offering views of the American Riviera
MARIA DIEGO

El Encanto became a hotel in 1918 and as a 105-year-old property, it manages to effortlessly combine historic charm with a touch of Hollywood, perched high in the Santa Barbara Hills of California. Offering unparalleled views of the American Riviera as well as exclusive additions available with Diego Travel as a Belmond Bellini preferred partner, you can be sure of a luxury getaway to remember.

Perfect For: Groups of Couples | Large Groups of Friends | Families with Older Children | Destination Weddings | Romantic Getaways | Special Occasions

34.4391,-119.7043

Belmond El Encanto

Belmond El Encanto location: Located high in the Santa Barbara Hills.

Getting There: Fly direct to Santa Barbara Airport SBA or just over a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from LAX, this is a great option for a weekend escape from the city or as a stop on part of a longer California road trip.

Vibe Belmond El encanto

Vibe: El Encanto prides itself on being a modern classic, combining the glamour of Hollywood with the rustic charm of the region and coastal influences from the American Riviera.

The hotel promises rooms that combine Spanish colonial style with laidback California craft. The resort effortlessly manages to exude glitz and glamour, while giving you the relaxed coastal California vibe as you unwind poolside at the zero-edge pool, enjoy the local wine and cuisine or stroll in their seven acres of secluded gardens. Views of the American Riviera from high in the hills, adds to that feeling of luxury and exclusivity that Belmond achieves to effortlessly.

Accomodations:

The property offers 92 rooms and bungalow-style suites across its seven acres. Superior Rooms are the entry level option at 350-400sq ft, while the Deluxe King offers 350-630 sq ft.

Terrace and Premier rooms are 500-700sq ft and promise ocean view rooms as well as poolside access. While the terrace rooms also offer your own private, furnished patio and premier rooms include a deep-soak bathtub, walk-in shower and a fireplace.

El Encanto Santa Barbara Rooms

There are four Specialty Suites available and these offer the option to connect two suites together for a 2-bedroom suite that can sleep up to 6 people. As does the Camilla Suite which also offers views. All Specialty Suites are located for maximum privacy and offer a separate living area with a fireplace.

The Oak Tree Suite is the largest and also comes with its own kitchenette and enclosed patio area.

Belmond El Encanto Rooms

All room options come with hardwood floors and underfloor heating while the suites and bungalows have marble floor with underfloor heating.

Belmond El Encanto Santa Barbara California Rooms

Food & Beverage: 

The hotel itself offers The Dining Room Terrace with stunning views of the American Riviera and Californian cuisine. Reservation is required.

The resort also recommends a range of preferred choices for food and drink in the nearby area. 

Belmond El Encanto Restaurant Outdoor

Rare Society is one of the newest additions to Santa Barbara as an upscale steakhouse reminiscent of the retro steakhouses of Las Vegas but with a twist of modernity, fine dining and locally sourced ingredients.

Santa Barbara is also home to a fantastic range of drinking experiences including the Tasting Room at Paradise Springs, Test Pilot cocktail bar and Figueroa Mountain Brewery.

Belmond El Encanto Restaurant

Tre Lune is a relaxed Italian restaurant with wine pairings and cocktails. Toma is also a great choice for authentic Italian food with a fine-dining feel.

Bouchon is a top choice in Santa Barbara with passionate owners, Amy and Mitchell, catering for any dietary requirements and producing spectacular dishes.

Stonehouse is a unique experience at the nearby exclusive property, San Ysidro Ranch. Located in a historic 19th-century citrus packhouse, the stone terrace, open fires and spanish guitar brings a rustic element to this local, award-winning cuisine.

Belmond EL Encanto Bar

Wellness: The Spa at El Encanto is a luxurious escape that immerses you in the coastal vibe of the California location with luxury skincare products and treatments available.

San Ysidro Boutique

Santa Barbara California

Things to Do: There is no shortage of activities available at El Encanto and their concierge team is all too happy to assist in making your trip even more memorable.

Horseback riding can be arranged, a private guided wine tour of local vineyards and producers, or a private sailing charter are just a small selection of the luxury experiences on offer in the area.

Explore the SantaBarbara Botanical Gardens, go whale watching in the Pacific for a once-in-a-lifetime experience or play golf at the Sandpiper Golf Club or Glen Annie Golf Club, both offering views of the ocean from the course.

Electric bikes, a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine can also be arranged for you if you want to escape into the countryside for a hike with a romantic touch.

What  Sets  It  Apart: The Belmond El Encanto team is passionate about helping you to experience the perfect luxury escape in the Santa Barbara Hills. Whether that’s dining with them, or finding you the perfect dining or excursion experience with one of their preferred partners in town.

Despite the size of the resort, the luxurious feel of the bungalow-style suites help you feel at home while also exuding glamour and elegance.

Bouganvillea at Rancho San Ysidro
Bouganvillea at Rancho San Ysidro

How Much Does it Cost?

Superior rooms start from $900 per night, with deluxe, terrace and premier rooms all being upgrades from there. 

Suites and Bungalows start from $1,400 per night while the four Specialty Suites start from $2,399 per night.

Diego Travel Loves: The resort offers a great amount of flexibility for groups such as families or small wedding parties, with rooms and suites able to be adapted depending on your group and the number of bedrooms needed. The Oak Tree suite is perfect with its large terrace, kitchenette and multiple rooms.

San Ysidro Ranch California
San Ysidro Montecito California

Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

  • Diego Travel is a Belmond Bellini preferred partner and we get our clients access to exclusive promotions that can’t be booked online
  • Additional Belmond Bellini amenities
  • Priority upgrade
  • Daily breakfast included
  • Resort Credit
  • When you book your stay with a minimum spend, you’ll receive a $500 gift card toward a future Belmond Hotels stay
  • Guests who purchase a luxury experience with Belmond worth a minimum of $5,000 USD will receive a $500 USD gift voucher per booking to be used on a future stay at any other Belmond Property

    El Encanto Insider Tips:

    Don’t miss the locally sourced delicacies at The Dining Room Terrace at the resort, the seafood is a particular highlight, with Morro Bay oysters, freshly-shucked all year round.

    Diego Travel Review of El Encanto

    Summary of Our Stay at El Encanto

    As a Belmond Bellini preferred partner, I’m always confident of having a spectacular experience at Belmond properties, and El Encanto is no exception.

    From the welcome email from the concierge before arrival offering additional details and assistance to personalize my trip, to the exceptional service throughout the resort, El Encanto embodies the relaxation of the California Coast with glamour and sophistication.

    Belmond El Encanto Santa Barbara

    The range of luxury activities on offer and the proximity of plenty more options in Santa Barbara town makes this an easy vacation that’s a real joy to experience and immerse yourself in.

    Belmond El Encanto Pool

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    Belmond El Encanto Santa Barbara


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    Hotel Review: San Ysidro Ranch

    Hotel Review

    San Ysidro Ranch

    An exclusive hideaway in the foothills of Santa Barbara
    MARIA DIEGO

    Tucked away in the tranquil setting of the Santa Barbara foothills, San Ysidro Ranch is a luxury escape like no other. With 38 unique cottages set on 550 acres of a leafy ranch with citrus groves, miles of hiking trails and a running creek and waterfall, the privacy and luxury of this boutique property is one of Santa Barbara’s best kept secrets.

    Perfect For: Couples | Small Weddings | Honeymoon | Anniversary | A Tranquil Escape from the City | Privacy & Exclusivity | Romantic Getaways

    34.4467,-119.6229

    Rancho San Ysidro

    San Ysidro Ranch location: Located in Montecito in the foothills of Santa Barbara.

    Getting There: Fly direct to Santa Barbara Airport SBA or drive 2 hours north from Los Angeles.

    San Ysidro Ranch

    Vibe: As a property that doesn’t do any advertising and is focused so much on privacy, San Ysidro Ranch exudes understated exclusivity, privacy and intimacy. With just 38 individual accommodation options all with private entrances, luxury and impeccable service is the reputation that precedes San Ysidro Ranch, making it a favorite for romantic getaways, discreet city escapes and luxury stays in Santa Barbara.

    Accomodations: All 38 cottages boast sunken hot tubs, large four-poster beds, an outdoor shower, indoor shower and tub, a large stone fireplace, air conditioning and three meals a day included. The luxurious nature of this property promises no hidden resort fees or parking charges, the only additional costs at check out are excursions and alcohol.

    Half the cottages are standalone, and the rest share just one wall. But with private, gated entrances and enclosed gardens for each, the privacy of each cabin is never sacrificed.

    Rooms at San Ysidro Ranch

    Every cottage is uniquely decorated with an understated homely feel. While the patio for each cabin is intended to help guests get reacquainted with their senses as they immerse themselves in the tranquillity of nature.

    If you’re looking for a slightly bigger space, the Hibiscus, Orange, Kennedy and Terrace cottages are all 2 bedroom properties. While the Ivy Cottage is a 1 bedroom suite and the Warner Cottage is a presidential suite with a private pool, jacuzzi and kitchen.

    San Ysidro Ranch Bathroom

    The historic Churchill Cottage is a favorite for history and book lovers as Winston Churchill once stayed there and the library decor is a stunning English history aesthetic.

    As well as their own private entrance, all 38 cottages on the property come with their own parking space with electric car chargers for each. Every property is also pet-friendly.

    San Ysidro Ranch Cottages

    Food & Beverage: 

    Head Chef, Matt Johnson, has been at San Ysidro Ranch for 18 years and his passion for food is reflected in the incredibly high standard of dining at the property.

    San Ysidro boasts two restaurant options with an additional option for private dining also available.

    The Stonehouse is located in the historic 19th-century citrus packing house, with creek views and a dining experience that feels as if you’ve stepped into the vineyards of Italy.

    Rancho San Ysidro Food

    Aside from the award-winning dining experience, San Ysidro also stands out thanks to its world-renowned wine cellar which is the only property to hold a Grand Wine Award and is also the only place in the world that has two vertices of Pertruce from Bordeaux. The 12,000-bottle wine cellar houses an extremely rare collection of wine and spirits, perfect for any oenophiles.

    For those in search of food offerings in nearby Santa Barbara or Montecito, Bouchon offers a spectacular menu with wine pairings. Lucky’s is also a popular option for a white linen dining experience offering a steakhouse menu with an old Hollywood feel, located on the Coast Road in Montecito.

    Also located in Santa Barbara is Paradise Springs, the first bi-coastal winery in the US, offering wines from its California and Virginia locations.

    Rancho San Ysidro Restaurants

    The unique take on American style cuisine is award-winning and consistently voted the top dining experience in Santa Barbara. With open fires and an ocean-view terrace, this is a truly romantic dining experience.

    The Plow & Angel is all about delicious comfort food, located in a cosy stone cottage with fireplaces and wooden fixtures and fittings.

    Private dining is available in the Old Adobe, a historic California landmark dating back to 1825 and one of only three of its kind remaining. The Old Adobe can be rented for an evening with prices starting at $750.

    Lunch at Rancho San Ysidro, Santa Barbara, CA

    Wellness: The story behind the spa at San Ysidro is a testament to the impeccable service that goes above and beyond in every sense.

    The full service spa was only built during the pandemic because so many women were traveling to Montecito to see hair stylists after their usual salons in Santa Barbara were closed. The owner wanted to provide the best possible experience for the locals, so he built the full-service luxury spa which now guests can enjoy too.

    From massages and facials to hair services, the salon and spa is focused on continuing the theme of tranquillity and rejuvenation.

    San Ysidro Boutique

    Golf at San Ysidro Ranch

    Things to Do in San Ysidro Ranch: A stay at San Ysidro means the opportunity to build your own luxury escape, whether you’re looking for daily hikes, sunset cruises or horseback riding in the foothills.

    Horseback riding with a picnic lunch or boating cruises at sunset are a favorite for couples on a romantic getaway.

    And if you don’t want to leave the property, San Ysidro still offers onsite events daily, such as the Belvedere cocktails and live music 3-7pm each day or 17 miles of hiking trails with ocean views

    What  Sets  It  Apart: The first thing that should be mentioned that sets San Ysidro apart from the rest is the impeccable service. Not only are privacy and discretion constantly maintained, but the staff go above and beyond to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

    Housekeepers have just four rooms each to clean, meaning the attention to detail is of the highest standard, as well as staff turnover being incredibly low, thanks to the property’s great incentives for staff.

    The owner is onsite and oversees everything, ensuring the standards remain at the absolute highest, while the guard house maintains security on the property at all times.

    Morning yoga, access to the Montecito Country Club, exquisite dining and exclusive excursions are all details that the property provides that sets it apart from other luxury properties in the area.

    Bouganvillea at Rancho San Ysidro
    Bouganvillea at Rancho San Ysidro

    How Much Does San Ysidro Ranch Cost? Rates start at $2495 with meals included.

    Diego Travel Loves: The uniquely designed accommodation, stellar service and emphasis on privacy is what puts this in the top 5 properties I’ve ever experienced.

    The owner is passionate about ensuring everything at the property is impeccable, the staff are committed to your comfort and privacy, while the dining, spa and excursion options are really the details that go above and beyond any other California luxury boutique hotel experience!  

    San Ysidro Ranch California
    San Ysidro Montecito California

    Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

    • Personalized selection of the right cottage for you, thanks to my personal relationship with the team at San Ysidro Ranch
    • $100 bonus when you book with Diego Travel

      Rancho San Ysidro Insider Tips:

      Book at creekside cottage to guarantee creek view rooms.

      San Ysidro Ranch

      Summary of Our Stay at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California

      It is rare for me to feel so completely blown away by a property, but San Ysidro Ranch achieved exactly that.

      Everything about the property is a special experience and you feel so catered for and cared for as a guest, from the rooms to the dining experiences and activities offered.

      San Ysidro Ranch Dinning

      The property radiates exclusivity and luxury but in the most understated way, making you feel at home but also a word away in the peace and calm of this retreat into the foothills.

      A stay at San Ysidro is a very special experience.

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      San Ysidro Ranch


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