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The Best Of Guide to Montecito, California

Montecito, California

The perfect combination of beaches and mountains just two hours north of L.A.

My husband and I used to travel annually to Santa Barbara and Montecito, California for his job. For many years, my brother lived in Santa Ynez Valley, a little known slice of wine country and horse ranch paradise just a one hour drive from Santa Barbara. Summers would be spent taking the kids on trail walks, pony rides, berry picking and leisurely afternoons at different wineries. For a few years, my parents rented a house for a month to gather the family and explore the Santa Barbara region. One of our favorite neighborhoods has always been and always will be Montecito.

This mountainous yet oceanfront town on the California coast is home to celebrities like Oprah and Prince Harry, with sprawling estates and impeccably maintained landscaping with a wildly European feel. All of these factors are why Montecito is such a special destination to me and my family. I want to share with you not only why I love it so much, but also how you can make the most of your trip to this California coastal destination.

Perfect For: Family Trips | Weekend Getaways | Road Trip | Romantic Getaways | Special Occasions

Montecito Travel Guide

Getting to Montecito

Getting There

Montecito is just 15 minutes from Santa Barbara airport which has direct flights from major hubs across the USA. Montecito is only a two-hour drive from LA, making it perfect for a weekend getaway from the city, or part of a longer road trip itinerary.

Fly: 15 min fromSanta Barbara airport (SBA) .

Recommended Stay: Weekend getaway to one week.

Best Time of Year to Visit: July to November


Rosewood Miramar Beach

What to Do in Montecito, California

  • Watersports & Beaches

    Visiting the beaches is a must. Butterfly Beach or Miramar Beach are both popular. Although Miramar Beach Hotel services are for guests only, there is access to the beach for locals through the hotel property. Being located on the coast means it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy some watersports like renting a kayak or trying out some surfing. Hotels like the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel offer equipment rental so you can get out on the water on their beaches. Santa Barbara Harbor located nearby is the perfect place to set off on a fishing trip or whale watching tour. 

  • Montecito California-Beaches and Watersports

  • Montecito California-Shopping

  • Shopping

    Montecito is ideal for shopping lovers! There is a range of shops from Maison K to Mate Gallery and my favorite shop in the country – Wendy Foster, which has a couple of locations on State Street, Montecito and Los Olivos in Santa Ynez Valley.

    Don’t miss the Montecito Country Mart where I found some amazing vintage Gucci Glasses! There’s also so many boutiques and shopping outlets in the hotel resorts which are well worth checking out.

  • Missions and Gardens

    Blessed with an ideal Mediterranean climate, Santa Barbara is famous for its beautiful gardens including the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Lotusland and Casa del Herrero. Santa Barbara is also home to the Mission Santa Barbara, a Franciscan mission founded in 1776 known as the “Queen of the Missions”.

  • Mission Santa Barbara

  • Montecito Farmer's Market

  • Santa Barbara

    Being so close to Santa Barbara, you can spend an afternoon or even a full day there relaxing on the beaches, getting out on the water, exploring the town’s boutiques and cultural attractions or enjoying the huge range of culinary experiences on offer. Santa Barbara has six weekly farmers markets, fresh seafood coming in daily and not to mention the range of local ranches and vineyards. 

  • Santa Barbara Zoo

    If you’re traveling with kids, the Santa Barbara Zoo is a must-visit. There’s a miniature zoo train ride, giraffe feeding and several other animal encounters to make it a memorable family day out.

    Make sure to ask at your resort about activities and upcoming events too.

  • Santa Barbara Zoo

  • Santa Barbara Wineries

  • Wine Tours or Tasting Experience

    The climate around Montecito and Santa Barbara is perfect for growing grapes and there’s a range of wineries and vineyards you can visit. Alternatively there are tasting rooms in Santa Barbara if you’d prefer to stay closer to resorts. California wines are some of the most famous in the world, making this a great addition to your Montecito itinerary.

Where to Stay in Montecito California

Where to Stay in Montecito, California

Montecito and Santa Barbara are home to some amazing hotels and resorts such as the Four Seasons Santa Barbara, The Bacara Resort, which was recently taken over by the Ritz Carlton, and smaller boutique properties such as Belmond El Encanto and San Ysidro Ranch.

San Ysidro Ranch

San Ysidro Ranch

Set back in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the San Ysidro Ranch is perfect for those travelers who seek out the smaller, more secluded and boutique locations. Setting foot on the ranch, tucked away in 550 acres, you feel at one with nature which is a huge focus of the property.

The San Ysidro Ranch has been welcoming guests since 1893 and it absolutely capitalizes on that historic charm as part of the luxurious, secluded experience. With 38 vine-covered cottages across the hillside, surrounded by lush gardens buzzing with bees, each cottage comes with its own large stone fireplace, four-poster bed, private patio, sunken spa and outdoor shower. The vaulted ceilings and stone fireplaces bring a touch of mountain chalet style to the easy, open-plan California living.

San Ysidro offers three dining options which combine farmhouse ranch style decor with award-winning cuisine and a famous wine cellar! Dining under the twinkling lights on the terrace in summer, or by the huge stone fire in the winter, you’re guaranteed a unique dining experience that’s perfect for romantic occasions.

One of my favorite things about the property is the unique experiences they offer for guests. Their Signature Salon and Spa, Private Dining and Exclusive Wine Tasting are also ideal for couples getaways, romantic treats and special occasions. The amenities on the resort also include a heated swimming pool, fitness studio, yoga classes, live music every night and lawn games and minigolf.

The Ranch is also a great option for those who prefer a more active vacation. The resort has botanical gardens on the property to explore, plus access to 17 miles of hiking trails on their doorstep. There’s also bicycle rental and access to the private golf course at Montecito Club.

Book the San Ysidro Ranch with Diego Travel to receive the following:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Continental breakfast daily in the Stonehouse, for two guests per bedroom
  • $100 USD Food & Beverage credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • 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
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

We recommend the San Ysidro Ranch for:

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

Four Seasons Santa Barbara

Four Seasons Resort: The Biltmore Santa Barbara

*NOTE the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort is currently closed for renovations

 Located in Montecito itself and on a property of 22 acres, the Spanish Colonial style, open fires and terracotta tiles give you the feeling that you’ve stepped straight into Europe. The courtyards woven between villas and bungalows give this a relaxed yet luxurious feel which ties in perfectly with the mountainous backdrop.

The Four Seasons offers a combination of Rooms, Bungalows, Villas and Suites. The entry-level Jungle and Garden rooms are surrounded by leafy greenery, immersing you in a jungle oasis. While the ocean view rooms are the next step up and allow you to enjoy your ocean view from your own private terrace.

The Bungalows are perfect for four adults or two adults and two children, while the Fremont Bungalow is the ultimate secluded experience with two bedrooms, a large terracotta tile patio, a fire pit and a heated plunge pool.

The Ty Warner villa offers 180-degree ocean views, a private pool and a large outdoor patio and entertaining area. For just two adults, this is the perfect retreat for couples.

If you can tear yourself away from the beautiful rooms, the resort offers six food and drink options including the Italian-inspired Bella Vista which offers organic California cuisine with panoramic ocean views. The Coral Cafe and Bar is perfect for families and casual light bites throughout the day.

The Four Seasons resort at Montecito is home to one of the largest hotel swimming pools in the world at its Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club. Here you’ll find a 50m Olympic sized oceanfront pool, fitness centre, yoga classes, sauna and steam rooms, a kids pool and direct access to Butterfly Beach. Plus there is a range of spa and wellness treatments for the ultimate relaxation.

Book the Four Seasons Santa Barbara with Diego Travel to receive the following:

  • Daily full breakfast for two people per bedroom, served in a hotel restaurant or through In-Room Dining
  • Hotel/Resort Credit* (based on room category booked) enriching your clients’ stay with their choice of experience – from spa and dining to recreation:
  • Guest Rooms: USD 100 credit per stay
  • Suites and Specialty Suites: USD 200 credit per stay
  • Private Retreats: USD 200 credit per bedroom per stay
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in**
  • Complimentary standard Internet in all guest rooms and premium Internet in all suites

We recommend the Four Seasons Santa Barbara for:

Couples Getaways | Honeymooners | Special Occassions | Business Trips  |  Larger Groups or Incentive Trips

Rosewood Miramar

Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, Montecito

The first thing that strikes you about the Rosewood Miramar Resort in Montecito is the effortless luxurious beach-living vibe that exudes from the hotel, the decor, its location and the amenities. The Rosewood Miramar was the property I was most excited about visiting and it was without a doubt, the highlight of our California coast road trip.

With 160 rooms ranging from Guest Rooms to Beachfront Bungalows and the Ambassador Suite, there are accommodation options to suit various price points and group sizes. They even offer the option of Studios to cater for groups of three.

The Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort is Montecito’s only truly oceanfront resort property and boasts direct access to Miramar Beach. The hotel also offers a range of outdoor activities to complement its beautiful location, including family beach yoga, sunset beach walks, sea kayaking and Hobie Cat rental and even private charters so you can sail the California coastline.

I love that the Rosewood Miramar Beach resort is also the only 5-star Forbes spa in Santa Barbara, so you can expect nothing but five star treatment at the Sense Rosewood Spa and wellness centre which boasts a fitness centre and adults-only pool as well as a huge range of rejuvenating spa and wellness treatments.

Our stay at the hotel was incredibly relaxing thanks to its beach location and the amenities on offer, plus the added bonus of six restaurants available at the property, so we rarely needed to venture far for dining. Caruso’s is the gourmet option which we were treated to on the first night of our stay and the food was just incredible.

Book the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel with Diego Travel to receive the following:

  • Exclusive Rosewood Elite Amenities
  • Complimentary one category upgrade upon arrival, based on availability
  • Daily USD $30 breakfast credit for up to two people per bedroom
  • $125 Sense Spa credit per stay
  • Welcome note and amenity from the Managing Director on behalf of Diego Travel
  • Diego Travel Welcome Box for First-Time Clients

We recommend the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel for:

Small families | Honeymooners | Romantic Getaways | An escape from the city

Belmond El Encanto


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.

The rooms 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.

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. 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.

Book El Encanto with Diego Travel to receive the following:

  • 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

We recommend the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel for:

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

Where to Eat in Montecito California

Where to Eat in Montecito, California?

  • Caruso’s

    Caruso’s, Rosewood Miramar’s 1 Star Michelin restaurant offers oceanfront al fresco dinning . Its light and stylish decor is reminiscent of mediterranean beachfront restaurants and offers some of the best ocean views of the American Riviera.

  • Jeannine’s Restaurant and Bakery

    Jeannine’s has been a Montecito institution for over 30 years. With Cafe menus serving breakfast and lunch, as well as a bakery full of cakes, scones and sweet treats, it’s great for breakfast or snacks on the go while you’re exploring Montecito and beyond.

  • Bree’osh Bakery Cafe

    A sumptuous bakery cafe you have to visit! With pastries, buns and quiches and all available at curbside pick up, Bree’osh is an easy way to grab something to eat on the go.

    They also offer baking and cookery classes if you want to try something a little different!

  • Honor Bar, Montecito

    Open from 11 AM till late, the Honor Bar serves sandwiches, burgers, pizza and light bites during the day and also offers a great range of wines, beers and cocktails in the evening too.

    With a slightly more formal dress code, this is a great option for romantic evening meals if you’re looking for somewhere outside the resort.

  • The Stonehouse

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

    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.

  • Rancho San Ysidro Restaurants

  • Bouchon

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

A Few of My Favorite Things

  • It’s the perfect city escape. Being less than 2 hours from LA, it’s an ideal destination for a weekend break by the ocean.
  • The relaxed vibe. Santa Barbara is a favorite destination for the same reason, but Montecito has something special. Thanks to its smaller size and with hotels like Rosewood Miramar Beach being right on the waterfront, you really have the opportunity to unwind and relax.
  • The Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel. Being the first truly beachfront resort in Montecito already makes this hotel special. But each detail is so thoughtfully prepared throughout the property that it really was the highlight of our California road trip.
  • With the beach and mountains both nearby, there’s plenty to do in and around Montecito and Santa Barbara for any kind of traveler. Whether you’re a hiker or surfer planning an active vacation, or if you’re looking forward to enjoying some downtime on the beach or by the pool on a more relaxing getaway, Montecito can offer you both.
Montecito is a great option for families, couples or special occasions. With the choice of hotel resorts, and having the mountains and the beach on your doorstep, there’s enough adventure or relaxation to design your perfect California coastal getaway. Contact Diego Travel today so we can help you book your perfect Montecito vacation.

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Hotel Review: ALiLa Napa Valley

Hotel Review

ALiLa Napa Valley

A Luxury Adults Only Hotel in Napa Valley

Located just minutes from downtown St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley, ALiLa Napa Valley is the perfect base for a romantic getaway or vacation with friends to explore California Wine Country. Originally a physician’s home built in 1905, the historical building is now known as Acacia House, and welcomes you in for a delicious cocktail and mouthwatering meal, both made with fresh local ingredients and served up by their expert mixologists and chefs. The historical “gateway” into the property is a warm juxtaposition next to the modernized wings where the rooms and suites are located.

While there are many fantastic hotels and resorts to choose from in Napa and Sonoma Valley, the location of ALiLa Napa Valley make it ideal for daily outings to the local wineries, and the warm and friendly staff make you feel like you’re coming home after each day of adventure.

Perfect For: Honeymoons | Weddings | Bachelorette Groups and Parties | Bachelor Parties | Romantic Getaways | Incentive Trips | Corporate Groups | Adults Only Groups | Friend Getaways | Corporate Meetings | Spa Seekers | Foodies

ALiLa Napa Valley Location: Located in the heart of St. Helena, ALiLa Napa Valley is also in the center of Napa Valley.

Getting There: The nearest airport, Santa Rosa Airport (STS) is just 17 miles from ALiLa Napa Valley, or San Francisco Airport (SFO) is just over 2 hours. Other nearby airports include Sacramento (SMF) or Oakland (OAK).

  • 38.5093871,-122.478475

    ALiLa Napa Valley

  • 37.622451999999996,-122.38398938548363

    San Fransisco International Airport

Alila Napa Vibe

Vibe: Because ALiLa Napa Valley is adults-only, the atmosphere lends itself to being more peaceful and zen-like. The staff is approachable and friendly, and I found strangers gathering in Acacia House, sharing stories of winery visits and restaurant dishes before or after dinner. The property is small and intimate, but the rooms themselves are spacious and offer complete privacy. Whether you’re the type of person who likes to mix and mingle with fellow travelers, or keep to yourself, I think you can accomplish both things here at ALiLa Napa Valley. It is less spread out than other nearby properties like Auberge Stanley Ranch or Carneros Resort and Spa, but the intimacy delivers a touch more charm in my opinion.

While Napa is packed with more bars and restaurants, St. Helena is the best place for wine enthusiasts looking for a more elevated experience. ALiLa Napa Valley just happens to be the best hotel in St. Helena!

Accomodations: The room categories for the 64 luxury hotel rooms and suites at ALiLa Napa Valley are quite straight forward and easy to understand. The Historic Farmhouse Rooms are the entry level rooms located on the second floor in the Acacia House, and I do not recommend booking, unless you’re looking for a more B&B-style experience. From there, rooms move to either the estate view wing or the vineyard view wing, and offer only king beds or queen/queen bed options. While both buildings offer pretty views, if I’m going to be in Napa Valley, I want to be looking out over an expansive vineyard. All rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, making the most of this gorgeous view with a mountain in the backdrop. Depending on whether you want a full separate living room, or if you’re okay with just a bedroom, should determine whether you’ll require a room or suite. Popular with small groups or gatherings is the Corner King Vineyard View with Balcony. There are only a few of these, and with a large wraparound balcony, there is ample space to order hors d’oeuvres and bottles of wine to enjoy the view overlooking the pool area and vineyard either pre- or post-activities. The largest room category is the Vineyard View Suite, featuring a king bedroom with separate living room and approximately 1,480 square feet of space. When you book your stay with Diego Travel, as a Hyatt Privé member, you will receive an upgrade at time of booking along with other Hyatt Privé amenities like breakfast included and a resort credit.

Alila Napa Bathroom
Alila Napa Terrace

Food & Beverage: Perhaps one of the best things about ALiLa Napa Valley are the foodie options in and around this hotel. Acacia House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and their award-winning mixologist serves up pairings for each meal. With dishes such as Golden Saffron Risotto & Brentwood Corn or the Iberico Pork Schnitzel with crème fraiche and caviar, the dishes are unique but maintain simplicity with their locally-sourced ingredients. The Lounge is the newly opened outdoor social bar, which offers cocktails, wine and light bites with a seasonal menu. Beyond the offerings at ALiLa Napa Valley, you are in close proximity to famous staples located in the nearby towns of Yountville and Calistoga. From The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Ad Hoc in Yountville to Press, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, to the casual Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena, eating and drinking will be at the forefront of your trip. The concierge team at ALiLa Napa Valley does an excellent job of curating a program for you that includes all the best spots for both food and wineries, but also exploration, shopping and adventures along the way. While the wine train is a popular way to see wine country, I prefer to send my clients with a private driver, so that they can go at their own pace. However, we can tailor your trip to include whatever you want!

Wellness/SPA: The wellness program and Spa at ALiLa Napa Valley was one of my favorite aspects of the hotel. Experiences range from forest bathing at the nearby redwood forest national park to sound bath healing using a guided meditation through use of crystal sound bowls. They also offer yoga, pilates, sip-and-paint classes, astrology readings and of course exceptional spa treatments. We did a Scents of the Valley journey, where a local perfumer led us through an hour-long educational and interactive scent experience, and we got to go home with our own creations, made with the local flora of labdanum, lavender, pink peppercorn and fir. I highly recommend this class for groups of girlfriends who are wanting some fun downtime together as a pre- or post-activity to spa treatments.

Alila Napa Spa

St Helena

Shopping: Long considered Napa Valley’s Main Street, downtown St. Helena has a variety of charming shops, galleries and can’t-miss food stops like Model Bakery, which has been in its location since 1908 and whipping up the perfect pastries in their original ovens since the 1920s. Oprah added their Morning Glory English muffins to her Favorite Things List back in 2016, and the bakery has had a line out the door ever since. If you’ll need new pants following your growing waistline post-bakery, you can stop into a personal favorite, elysewalker  for a wardrobe chic enough for the most discerning Napa wineries and galleries.

BottleRock Napa Valley is another favorite attraction for the area. This annual celebration of the best music, wine and food happens at the end of May, but you’ll need to plan ahead and hotels and tickets sell out.

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone  is located less than 1 mile from ALiLa Napa valley and is home to multiple award-winning restaurants that are open to the public, including Gatehouse Restaurant, The Bakery Café, and the Greystone Wine Bar & Herb Terrace.

Wine Tasting: Within 20 minutes of ALiLa Napa Valley, there are 40 different wineries that range from every type of wine imaginable. These are all the best wineries of Napa Valley. I am not kidding when I say that ALiLa Napa Valley is ideally located for wine tasting. When you work with Diego Travel, we customize your itinerary depending on the types of wines you like and your budget. Whether you’re looking for big name brands or small family-owned and operated homestead wineries, we will point you in the right direction.

Outdoor Activities: Worth mentioning are the numerous outdoor activities there are to do in and around St. Helena in Napa Valley. From golfing, kayaking, hot air balloon rides, cycling and the Napa wine train, we can customize an itinerary for you that includes a little of everything and makes the most of your time in Napa Valley. No two trips are ever created the same for our clients. Looking to propose or renew your vows on this romantic getaway? We work with partners in Napa Valley to make these experiences one-of-a-kind.

What  Sets  It  Apart: Aside from the ideal location to the best wineries and restaurants, what sets ALiLa Napa Valley apart from other resorts and hotels in Napa Valley is the attention to detail and care that the staff pours into your stay. From personalized welcome amenities to the genuine friendships you’ll form while on property, I felt truly looked after at ALiLa Napa Valley in comparison to some other Napa properties.

ALiLa Napa Valley is not a sprawling resort and does not have many of the amenities that other Napa Valley hotels might have, but the comfortable and sleekly decorated rooms make for the perfect place to lay your head at night after full days of Napa activities. If you’re looking for a boutique property in the heart of it all, I truly think there is no better place.

Alila Napa
Alila Napa Pool

How Much Does it Cost? ALiLa Napa Valley ranges from around $900 for an entry level room in low season to around $3,500 for a top suite in high season.

Diego Travel Loves: Because our clients get Hyatt Privé perks, I love that the ALiLa Napa Valley team always takes care of my clients like they are family. I know when I send someone there, they’ll collaborate on the itinerary with me as if they were planning their own weekend there for the first time, highlighting their favorite spots and insider tips throughout my clients’ stays.

What we love about the Bel-Air
Extras you get booking with Diego Travel at Hotel Bel-Air

Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

  • Hyatt Privé Exclusive Offers
  • $100 USD Hotel Credit
  • Room Upgrade
  • Breakfast for Two
  • Welcome Amenity
  • Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
  • Connecting Rooms

Insider Tips:

Don’t miss the opportunity for a cocktail-making class, which we can set up with a mixologist during your dinner at Acacia House. We made lavender and rosemary cocktails using fresh, local herbs, and it was one of many highlights during our stay.

When planning a group trip, we can assist you with room placement, to ensure rooms are located nearby to one another. As there are separate buildings, you’ll definitely want to consult with us to ensure proximity, as placement can be key here.

Finally, don’t miss your VIP access to Beringer Vineyards, adjacent to the property and California’s oldest operating winery. We loved B Cellars too, with wine tastings paired with B bites. 

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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

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


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.


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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    Hotel Review: San Ysidro Ranch

    Hotel Review

    San Ysidro Ranch

    An exclusive hideaway in the foothills of Santa Barbara

    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


    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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      Hotel Review: Terranea Luxury Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes California

      Hotel Review

      Terranea Luxury Resort, Ranchos Palos Verdes California

      A luxury oceanfront resort that embodies the California lifestyle and is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Southern California coast

      Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and laidback Californian lifestyle at this coastal resort, less than one hour from Downtown L.A. This Mediterranean inspired luxury hotel offers guests award-winning amenities, luxurious accommodation and a captivating range of activities and adventures for the whole family to enjoy across this 102-acre hidden gem in Southern California. 

      Perfect For: Families | Couples | Business Meetings | Team Builder Days | Outdoor and Nature Lovers | Sustainability-Focused Travelers | LA Residents wanting to escape the city

      • 33.7384,-118.3978

        Terranea Resort

      • 33.9417,-118.41


      Location: Terranea is located in Rancho Palos Verdes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, also known for the Rolling Hills Estates.

      Getting ThereTerranea can be reached in under one hour from L.A. and LAX, being situated 17 miles south of LAX  or 24 miles from Long Beach Airport.

      Terranea Palos Verdes Vibe

      Vibe: Terranea truly is one of the best-kept secrets on the Southern California coast. The resort effortlessly combines sophisticated relaxation with adventure experiences so you truly feel like you’ve escaped day-to-day life to experience something extraordinary. The resort embodies what they call ‘Terranealife’, an immersive Californian experience of adventure, relaxation, great food and incredible attention to detail across its amenities and accommodation. This really is a Mediterranean escape in the heart of the West Coast.

      Accomodations: Across the 102-acre resort, Terranea offers four accommodation options to suit a range of budgets, plus an exclusive villa option for an unparalleled luxury vacation experience.

      Terranea Bathrooms

      Guestrooms: These spacious rooms come with a private balcony offering views of the Pacific Ocean, Pool views or Garden views. Designed with relaxation in mind, all guestrooms come with one king-size bed or two double beds, walk-in showers, flatscreen TV and luxury bathroom amenities provided. With the two double beds option, these rooms can sleep up to 4.

      Suites: Every suite comes with a separate living room, a fully stocked pantry and a bar, all with sweeping ocean views. Ground floor suites open onto the beautifully manicured lawns. Covering 900-2,200sq ft, suites are the ideal option if you want your own private space to relax and unwind.

      Terranea Suites

      Bungalows: Designed to give you that home-away-from-home feeling, yet completely immersed in luxury, the bungalows can all be found along the ocean’s edge and boast upgraded amenities, four-poster beds, fireplaces, an outdoor firepit and they’re adults-only, providing the ultimate escape for couples to unwind and feel rejuvenated on the doorstep of the Pacific Ocean. Bungalows can sleep up to 6 adults.

      Casitas: Curating the subtle Mediterranean vibes of Terranea, these residential-style accommodations are perfect for family getaways, multi-generational family trips or groups. Casitas come with king beds, large kitchen and dining rooms, a private balcony or patio and sleep up to 8.

      Terranea Casitas

      Villas: For a totally secluded, exclusive experience, the villas at Terranea resort are the ultimate in individualized vacation experiences, with world-class amenities, and a completely private and secluded location on the resort. Villas come with up to three bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, a private outdoor hot tub, spacious kitchen, dining and living areas, plus a large terrace and one or two-car garages.

      Food and Beverage: With an incredible nine dining options to choose from, there is something to suit everyone, every meal, every occasion or dietary requirement. Solviva embodies the resort’s focus on sustainability, with a range of dishes using locally sourced and sustainably grown produce.

      Mar’sel offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and is perfect for a romantic evening dinner, while the Catalina Kitchen and Bashi offer more modern, lively and authentic dishes. For something more casual, Nelson’s is a favorite with guests for the beautiful location on the cliffs above the ocean and the simple, surfside vibe. Sea Beans Cafe and the grill by the pool are great for light bites throughout the day.

      The Lobby Bar & Lounge is the perfect sophisticated and intimate way to end your night, with cozy fireside seating or al fresco spots with ocean views. Here you can enjoy craft cocktails and a range of wine and beers.

      Wellness: The Spa at Terranea embraces and captivates the energy of the resort’s location by the ocean and within nature. With a range of spa treatments offered by this multi-award-winning spa, you can’t go wrong with choosing a treatment here. 

      As part of the wellness offering, the resort fitness centre offers a fully equipped indoor gym and spa pool, plus activities for guests to enjoy including spin sessions, seaside yoga, seaside cycling and stretching. 

      Spa at Terranea

      Paddle boarding at Terranea

      Activities: Terranea is a real standout resort when it comes to the activities on offer and it would be impossible to recap them all here! Terranea activities are notable because there is so much to do to suit everyone, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, complete relaxation, family activities or kids experiences.

      The Links Golf Course is one of Terranea’s crowning jewels, being one of the country’s top-rated championship 9-hole golf courses, you can easily spend the afternoon on the course by the ocean.

      For those looking for a more active and adventurous getaway, let the resort help you book hiking excursions, horseback adventures, stand up paddleboarding, ocean kayaking or surfing lessons. There’s also a range of tour options available including guided ocean kayaking, whale watching tours or full- or half-day fishing excursions.

      Of course, Terranea is all about luxury and relaxation, so don’t miss the chance to book a private cabana and spend the day relaxing by one of the resort’s four pools. Or perhaps enjoy a spot of retail therapy in the resort’s exclusive selection of retail stores. Terranea is the opportunity to embrace the slower pace of life with a stroll along the beach, taking in the turquoise blue ocean and soaking in the sun on the property’s beach loungers.

      There’s a great selection for the kids too, from archery and falconry experiences to tide pool adventures and pony rides. There’s also a children’s discovery club throughout the week.

      What sets it apart: A huge factor that sets Terranea apart is its commitment and transparency towards sustainability. The resort is committed to protecting the landscape and nature in which it sits and is committed to minimizing its environmental footprint throughout the resort. The resort’s food waste recycling program supports their “20/20/20” goal, a pledge to reduce energy and water usage by 20% and send only 20% of its total waste to the landfill, all by the year 2020. 

      The resort donates unused toiletries to the Midnight Mission charity (nearly 300lbs in 1 month!). The resort also collaborates with Chefs to End Hunger to redistribute prepared food to local food agencies serving meals to those in need. 

      All this led to the resort being named the Platinum Adrian Award winner for Leader in Sustainable Tourism by National Geographic and HSMAI. The resort also earned the California Hotel & Lodging Association’s Award for Good Earthkeeping.

      Terranea Landscaping
      Terranea Bouganvillea

      How much does Terranea cost?

      There is a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and desired vacation experiences. 

      Prices start from $500 per night for guestrooms and up to $2,700 per night for three-bedroom casitas.

      The resort also offers member prices for a reduced rate on their accommodation options as well as packages such as The Golf Links package to include two rounds of golf and two breakfasts with your stay.  

      Diego Travel Loves: There are some things in life that words can’t describe. The experience of Terranea is one of them. From the vast range of activities to the attention to detail in the accommodation and dining experiences, each vacation here is tailored to you.

      Terranea Paddleboarding
      Diego Travel Extras at Terranea

      Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel in 2021:

      • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
      • Daily breakfast for two guests per bedroom served in Catalina Kitchen or In-Room dining (up to $60 credit)
      • $100 USD Resort or Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
      • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi
        • Coastal Escape: Enjoy a Southern California vacation at Terranea and save up to 15% off our Best Available Rate. Escape for a quick weekend getaway or an extended stay. There is plenty to do outdoors such as hiking, open-air painting by the sea, archery, stand up paddleboarding, and more. Enjoy adventures by land and sea, a round of golf at The Links, or any of our dining offerings. Book and stay through September 15, 2021; Subject to minimum night stay. Offer subject to availability. Not valid for group bookings of 10 rooms or more.
        • Book 3 Nights and get the 4th free! – Plan an incredible oceanfront getaway at Los Angeles’ hidden gem on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Enjoy plenty of time to discover, relax, and explore the unparalleled natural habitat of the Southern California coast. Book 3 nights and receive the 4th night free! If you book by September 6, 2021. Valid for stays May 26, 2021, until September 30, 2021. Promotion is subject to availability at the time of booking and may contain blackout dates. Not Valid for 10 or more rooms. Not valid for Ocean Front Rooms and Ocean Front Suites and Villas. Valid for consecutive days.
        • Stay More, Save More – Rediscover more summer, more savings, and more Terranea. Enjoy more time to experience all that Terranea has to offer on the Southern California coast. 
          • Stay 3 nights and receive 15% off 
          • Stay 4 nights and receive 25% off 
          • Stay 5 nights or more and receive 35% off 
          • Book by Sep 30th for travel through Dec 23, 2021.
          • Thursday-Friday arrivals will not be eligible for the 3-night stay offer. 

        * Excludes oceanfront rooms and oceanfront suites and all villas. All packages are subject to minimum night stay, blackout dates and availability. Not valid for group bookings of 10 rooms or more.

        Terranea Insider Tips:

        Don’t miss the opportunity to book an archery lesson during your stay at Terranea. Not only will  you find no better setting than the sandy cove overlooking the Pacific Ocean, but you will not find a better instructor that Terranea’s very own USA Olympic archery team medalist. 

        Olympic Archery Lessons at Terranea

        Summary of Our Stay at Terranea:

        After a week-long road trip down the Southern California coast, Terranea Resort was our final stop at the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Even though it is just 20 miles south of LAX, it might just be considered a hidden gem of California, with sweeping views across the Pacific Ocean. The waves crashing against the tall cliffs is mesmerizing, and the mist that hovers over the peninsula somehow reminded me of time spent in Ireland. I made this comment to Valerie, the sales director for Terranea during our site tour, and she said that the owners built it in a way that was actually inspired by the Amalfi coast. Okay, two different countries, but both with impressively tall cliffs and gorgeous ocean views. You get the picture.

        Terranea Beach

        This was a multi-generational trip for us, which has become increasingly popular during the pandemic and I think will continue to be a travel trend going forward. What does that mean? Grandparents, parents, kids, and maybe aunts, uncles and cousins joining in too. Truth be told, after a week in the car together, we all needed some extra space, and Terranea delivers just that. They have bungalows, casitas and villas, all with exterior entrances, kitchen, washer/dryer, and all the comforts of home. So whether you are staying over a weekend like we did, or a month, you could literally make yourself at home, comfortably and easily with very large groups.

        Terranea Slide

        We arrived in the late afternoon, and our 3-bedroom oceanside casita had a huge grassy area in front of our ground floor patio that overlooked the ocean. There were no steep edges, so the kids were able to run around and chase the hundreds of wild rabbits that made their home in the foxtails. While they played on the grass and sunset approached, I set up with my laptop (per usual) at the outdoor covered table and was able to work with the most breathtaking view. To me, our accommodation was the best on property, because we had privacy, amazing views, and that grassy area for the kids. And the beauty was that it could be converted into a 1 or 2 bedroom as well. Terranea delivers on flexibility.

        Terranea Rancho Palos Verdes

        ​For breakfast we walked down to Catalina Kitchen, one of their 7 restaurants on property, where we took advantage of our included breakfast which you’ll always receive when you book with Diego Travel. After breakfast, the kids bee-lined it to the main family pool, one of four pools, just in time for the sun to peak out from behind the clouds, so they did a few circuits down the water slide until it was time to head down to the beach where we had a private lesson set up with the resort’s professional archery coaches, Bob and his daughter, Brooklyn. It was this experience that really set this property apart for me as a travel advisor, and someone who has seen literally hundreds of luxury hotels and resorts. The setup is right in front of the ocean along these massive cliffs, and they have the whole area roped off for you to practice a really fun sport in the most amazing setting. And yes, you can set up a proposal after an archery lesson too. Lots of adults sign up and I highly recommend the activity for a fun date night. At any rate, it was the highlight of our stay, along with the hikes we took along the nature trails around the property.

        La Samanna Beach

        The property is quite massive with so many different room/villa categories, and also so many different activities and dining options to choose from. I highly recommend setting up a call to discuss which one would be right for you, and reserving your activities and dining in advance. I did not take this advice, and missed out on the opportunity to enjoy the spa while there because I didn’t reserve in advance. I was incredibly impressed with how beautiful the area was, and wish we had stayed a little longer to be able to participate in the activities like kayaking, visiting the natural tide pools, more extensive hiking up to the lighthouse, and star gazing. We will definitely be back! And if you plan to go, be sure to reach out to book your stay with Diego Travel to receive your exclusive offers that Terranea often has for our clients, and so that we can VIP you and add on those additional amenities like resort credit and complimentary daily breakfast.

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        Hotel Review: Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, Montecito

        Hotel Review

        Rosewood Miramar Beach

        A luxury beachfront hotel with modern residential beach living in Montecito, on the Southern California Coast

        Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel in Montecito is located on the oceanfront with views across the iconic California coastline. With 160 rooms, 26 beachfront units and exclusive residential suites, the Miramar Beach hotel combines easygoing Californian beachfront living with luxury style and attention to detail throughout.

        Perfect For: Small families | Honeymooners | Romantic Getaways | An escape from the city

        • 34.4204,-119.6302

          Rosewood Miramar

        • 34.4261,-119.843

          Santa Barbara Airport

        Rosewood Miramar Beach Location: Miramar Beach Hotel is located just eight minutes south of Downtown Santa Barbara.

        Getting to the Rosewood Miramar Beach:The resort itself is only 15 minutes from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport which has direct flights from major US hubs including LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Denver. It’s also a great option to include on a California Coast road trip if you plan to visit the area around Santa Barbara, it’s around a 2 hour drive from LA.

        Book Rosewood Miramar with Diego Travel

        Vibe: Miramar means ‘to behold the sea’ and the name truly does reflect this stylish coastal resort where there is so much attention to detail in every aspect of the decor, the amenities and the experiences available. Being the only truly oceanfront resort in Montecito, your arrival feels like a moment of calm washing over you. Away from the traffic, the city and the rush of daily life, the resort encompasses oceanfront living to give you a luxurious yet home-away-from-home feel.

        Accomodations: Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel boasts 160 rooms. The resort has 26 units on the beach, two beach house suites, and beach studios, as well as rooms and suites with ocean or garden views. The Hotel is choosing to limit their maximum occupancy to 70% for the rest of the year, so you can be sure your care is the top priority when you visit.

        With 124 rooms on the property, you can choose from rooms overlooking the ocean or the gardens. Beach house guest rooms and studios are located on the beachfront with spacious rooms and private patios decorated in a light-airy coastal style that’s perfect for a relaxing retreat. Bungalow guest rooms offer views of the beautifully manicured gardens and lawns.

        Lanai Guest Rooms are in the two-story Lanai House and have rooms of varying sizes for up to four guests. They also offer the choice of garden or mountain views.

        An alternative to Rooms is their studios, which are slightly bigger than the Beach House rooms and give you the option of an additional 3rd guest with beachfront views.

        Bungalows include the Bungalow Suites with a private courtyard, Garden Bungalow suites with private terraces and garden views, or Lanai Suites with large windows and private terraces. The bungalows all come with private entrances and offer you space and amenities beyond those of guestrooms and include luxurious and spacious parlors and fireplaces for up to four guests. The bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners or for special anniversary trips.

        Located on the beachfront with uninterrupted ocean views and with just two Beach House Suites available, these oceanfront suites are hugely popular. At 960sq ft, with relaxed indoor and terrace decor and accommodating up to 4 guests, the suites are a way to make your stay truly special with the beach on your doorstep.

        The Ambassador Suite offers panoramic ocean views and is the largest accommodation option available at 1,885sq ft. The suite can accommodate up to 4 guests with living rooms, a dining area, a private kitchen, a king-size bed and a large private terrace overlooking the lawn and with full views of the ocean. Located on the second floor of the Manor House, you’re just five minutes walk from the beautiful Miramar beach.

        Rosewood Miramar Rooms Overview

        Rosewood Miramar Rooms

        Rosewood Miramar Bathroom

        Rosewood Miramar Bathroom

        Caruso’s Restaurant Montecito

        Food & Beverage: There’s no need to venture far thanks to the incredible six restaurants and food options at Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel. Caruso’s is Rosewood Miramar’s most gourmet option. Our meal on our first night was here and the food was beyond incredible. As was the ocean view dining at the restaurant.

        For something more casual, the Miramar Beach Bar at the property is great for cocktails and light bites throughout the day. There’s also the Cabana Bar which is perfect for poolside refreshments.

        The Manor Bar is the resort’s sophisticated evening option with dark wood-panel interiors, a formal bar and luxurious seating, creating a cozy evening atmosphere for drinks after dinner.

        There’s also something for the kids too, with the popular Scoop Shop right by the pool area!

        Wellness: Rosewood Miramar Beach is the only 5-star Forbes spa in Santa Barbara, so you’re guaranteed a luxurious retreat when you choose to stay here. In fact, most people do choose to stay for at least 3 nights to really soak in the rejuvenating, coastal calm of the resort. As well as the Sense Rosewood Spa, the resort wellness centre also offers a fitness studio, sunrise yoga and adult-only pools to relax and restore you on your trip.

        Rosewood Miramar Spa

        Rosewood Miramar Beach Activities

        Things to Do in Montecito:The Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel offers a range of family-friendly experiences such as family beach yoga, falconry experiences, family movie nights and the Explorer Club for kids.

        The resort offers countless activities and excursions for adults too which are perfect for romantic getaways and special occasions like tastings at the gourmet restaurant Caruso’s or sailing the Santa Barbara Coast on a private charter cruise. If you’re looking for something more active, the hotel also offers frequent pop-up events, hiking excursions and surf excursions which can be booked upon request during your stay.

        The resort retail experience is another amenity hand-selected by the hotel to bring luxury upscale brands to their guests. With regular pop-ups like the Dior Summer Collection, alongside boutiques like The Webster, shopping is part of the experience at Rosewood Miramar Beach.

        What  Sets  It  Apart: When we finally had the opportunity to visit this summer, I knew our stay in Montecito and at the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel would be the highlight of our California coastal road trip. Developed by Caruso, the hotel is of course stunning, with elements throughout that show the time and attention to detail that’s given to all their properties.

        The hotel is also child-friendly and you’ll often find a lot of families staying for the weekend. Weekdays are more popular with couples for romantic getaways, honeymoons or anniversary trips.

        Everything about the Miramar Beach Hotel is personalized for the comfort of their guests. These are some of our favorite parts of the resort:

        • Forbes Five-Star Rosewood Spa
        • Scoop Shop ice cream and candies is a kids’ favorite of course!
        • Family-friendly pools next to the Scoop Shop
        • Adult-only pool with rentable cabanas
        • Lincoln House Cars (one yellow, one pink!) to take you anywhere you need to go in a three-mile radius of the hotel
        • Six restaurants and bars
        • Bocce Ball courts and shuffleboard
        • A coffee cart on the beach
        • Kayak and Hobie Cat rental from the beach club
        • Retail boutiques including Christian Dior and The Webster
        • A 24/7 guard to assist guests with crossing the train tracks which operates a train several times a day

        Rosewood Miramar Beach
        Rosewood Miramar Beach Vibe

        How Much Does the Rosewood Miramar Cost? The cost varies depending on the accommodation option you choose. Prices start from $1,600  per night for garden view rooms. While an Ambassador Ocean View Suite starts at a nightly rate of $13,000.

        Diego Travel Loves:

        The wait for a luxury beachfront hotel of this calibre has been worth it to see the easy luxury that Rosewood Miramar creates for their guests. From the soft cream to light blue furnishings that emulate the ocean on your doorstep, to the variety of amenities for all ages and groups, Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel is effortless luxury. 

        Rosewood Miramar
        Beach at Rosewood Miramar Montecito

        Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

        • Exclusive Rosewood Elite Amenities
        • Complimentary one category upgrade upon arrival, based on availability
        • Daily USD30 breakfast credit for up to two people per bedroom
        • $125 Sense Spa credit per stay
        • Welcome note and amenity from the Managing Director on behalf of Diego Travel
        • Diego Travel Welcome Box for First-Time Clients

        Rosewood Miramar Beach Insider Tips:

        You can request one of the Beach House Studios which are further from the restaurant. By booking with Diego Travel, we can choose the specific room you wish to be placed in for your trip.

        Hotel Bel-Air garden

        Summary of Our Stay at the Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, California:

        When I heard that Rosewood Hotels opened the Rosewood Miramar Beach in the heart of Montecito in 2019, I was ecstatic because it would be the area’s first truly beachfront resort with rooms on the water.

        Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito California

        My husband and I had been visiting the area for years due to work obligations and family living in the area, so we couldn’t get there soon enough. Santa Barbara is one of my favorite destinations in the world, especially for it’s casual California surfer meets upscale hippy chic vibe, so I mapped out our itinerary from morning to night with activities like shopping, dining and time for the beach.  Pulling up to Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel feels like stepping into a European resort. The bellmen and valet greeted us and addressed us by name from the start. The sales director met me straight away along with two other colleagues and made us feel at home. We arrived prior to check-in time, so they had one of our rooms ready for us, so that the kids could immediately change into their swimsuits and head for the beach, while my mom and I ditched them to hit the shops. And speaking of shops, the hotel itself has a few of my favorites, including the pop-up shop by Christian Dior, which was absolutely stunning, a personal favorite – Brunello Cucinelli, Goop by the famous Gwyneth Paltrow, and The Webster, which also has a location in Miami Beach. Another on-property favorite is the James Perse store, which cannot be missed for travel basics like comfortable lounge pants and basic tees. However, I had been eyeing hitting my favorite series of stores by Wendy Foster that have locations in Santa Barbara, Montecito and Los Olivos. Speaking of Los Olivos, while we didn’t have time on this trip to spend some time in Santa Ynez Valley, I always suggest to my clients who love wine and horses to split their time between that region, just an hour north of Santa Barbara.  

        Dior Boutique Rosewood Miramar Beach

        After a day of shopping, and the kids has their fill of the pool and beach, we met for dinner at Caruso’s, the formal beachfront restaurant that offers a truly fine dining experience that really transports you to Europe.  The experience was impeccable, and the food was delicious…and if you’re in the right company, stop for drinks at the bar just before dinner.  Post-dinner, we were happy to let the kids run free on the sprawling grassy lawn while my husband and I leaned back in some of the white adirondack lawn chairs, people and star gazing while we talked.  While an intimate wedding was going on while we were on property, it really didn’t take away from our experience, as the property is so large that we wouldn’t have even noticed had we not walked by the dancing bride and groom and a roomful of infectious laughter and live music coming from the Manor Bar on our walk back to our bungalow.

        Caruso’s Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito CA

        I would be remiss not to mention the experience of the service itself at Rosewood Miramar Beach.  Everyone addressed us by name, and the welcome amenities for myself and the kids went above and beyond. (No, I’m not spoiling the surprise, because when you book with Diego Travel, you’ll also get spoiled by these amenities). One evening, the bath tub wouldn’t fill so we determined there was something wrong with the stopper.  Within minutes, a man arrived and quickly replaced the bath tub stopper.

        Rosewood Miramar Beach Turndown Service

        The grounds are beautifully landscaped and have special touches throughout, which makes your stay there feel magical.  We really didn’t want to leave the property at all, and  spent very little time going out to eat at outdoor restaurants like Bouchon and Jeanette’s, and visited the Santa Barbara zoo – my favorite because it’s small enough to not be too tiring for the little kids, yet with beautiful views of the ocean, especially from the giraffes.

        Santa Barbara Zoo

        Some of the things we did not have time for, but I would have loved to plan, is the bespoke beach picnic that the hotel will set up for you on the beach.  I also would have loved to have time to charter a boat ride to sail along the Santa Barbara coast, but we ran out of time.

        Let’s go to Rosewood Miramar

        One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Montecito Country Mart in the Rosewood Miramar’s cute yellow vintage car – they have a pastel yellow, pink and blue one and are available to drive you to any location within Montecito on a first-come, first-serve basis.  My kids loved this experience!  They also love the bocce ball and shuffle board and kept themselves busy with that while I got in quick last-minute trip to the spa for a massage.  Hey, someone has to research!  The massage was phenomenal, and while it’s small, the areas are pristine and decorated in the perfect way that Rick Caruso appointed the rest of the resort.

        Let’s go to Rosewood Miramar

        Whether you’re planning a romantic weekend getaway, a longer summer vacation or a California coast road trip, the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel is a great option for families, couples or special occasions. Our stay at Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel was truly special and we only wish we could have stayed longer – I highly recommend a minimum 3-night stay, but if you truly want to do it all in Santa Barbara and Montecito, you’ll need a little longer. Contact Diego Travel today so we can help you book your perfect Montecito vacation, and add Rosewood Elite amenities and the VIP touch to your stay.  

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        Hotel Bel-Air LA

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        Hotel Review: Hotel Bel-Air

        Hotel Review

        Hotel Bel-Air

        A Luxury Boutique Hotel and Hollywood Icon Tucked into the Bel-Air Foothills

        Hotel Bel-Air is an iconic Hollywood boutique hotel made up of 103 rooms and suites, set on a 12-acre private oasis tucked in between the mega mansions and sprawling compounds of the Bel-Air elite. Famous actors, actresses and industry moguls find reprieve in the privacy of the hidden bungalows, each one with its own unique distribution and décor

        Perfect For: Small families | Honeymooners | Romantic Getaways | A Quiet Escape | Discrete Meetings

        • 34.0938,-118.449

          Hotel Bel-Air

        • 33.9417,-118.41

          Los Angeles International Airport

        Hotel Bel-Air Location: Bel-Air is located just west of Beverly Hills, just east of Brentwood, and entirely in the Santa Monica Mountains.

        Getting There: LAX, or Los Angeles International Airport, is a major hub and chances are if you‘ve traveled internationally, you’ve flown through this airport. Bel-Air is located about X miles from LAX, which can vary in time depending on the infamous Los Angeles traffic. My rule of thumb is to always allow an extra hour for every thirty minutes you expect to drive, as you never know when you’re going to come up against an unavoidable LA traffic jam.

        Hotel Bel-Air Entrance

        Vibe: The hustle of LA slips away the moment you turn onto the neighborhood streets entering into Hotel Bel-Air. As the valet greets you, a footbridge carries you into the most magical of gardens, with over 100 different types of plants and 4,000 trees on property. Naturally, the guests at Hotel Bel-Air speak in hushed voices, stroll slowly through the quiet property taking in the sounds of chirping birds, and discretely glance around to see who’s who around the pool and courtyard restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s at Hotel Bel-Air. While the element of Hollywood glamour seeps from its veins, the expectation to respect the peace and privacy of others is the unwritten law.

        Accomodations: Hotel Bel-Air has 105 guest rooms, with 55 rooms and 48 suites, which can be configured between 1-6 bedrooms. When you book with Diego Travel, an independent affiliate of McCabe World Travel and member of Dorchester Collection Diamond Club, the entry level room would be a Deluxe with Patio, as our clients receive an automatic upgrade at the time of booking. Because every room has a unique configuration, it is best to speak with me about what you are looking for so that I can guide you to the best fit. The Hotel Bel-Air’s sales manager’s favorite room category is the Bel-Air Suite because you get a huge amount of value for the rate. I had the chance to tour most room categories, and also had a private tour of the Herb Garden Suite and the Swan Lake Suite. The Herb Garden Suite has a full kitchen, a spectacular living room with soaring and ornate wood-beamed ceilings, and a glamourous bedroom, walk-in closet/dressing room, and large marble bathroom perfectly suitable for prepping for the Oscars. The Swan Lake Suite was my favorite and would be my top pick for a honeymoon or romantic getaway. The suite is largely feminine with blush pink undertones throughout, a plush velvet sofa in the living room and the bedroom walls adorned with delicate butterflies, as if floating overhead as you sleep. The white marble bathroom has a floral mosaic motif on the walls. My favorite part of Swan Lake is the exterior courtyard and hot tub, which is very large and has pool loungers, sitting chairs and an outdoor dining table. I didn’t get to see the Grace Kelly Suite or the Presidential Suite, but those are other great options, all with the ability to connect to other rooms. It is important to note that many guests fall in love with a particular room number, since each one has a unique configuration, décor and setting. While they cannot guarantee a particular room number, they will certainly do their best to accommodate your request or get you into one most similar to your request. Using a travel advisor will absolutely help you get preferential treatment when it comes to getting your room request.

        Bathroom at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Resort

        Rooms at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Resort 2

        Rooms at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Resort 2

        Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel-Air

        Food & Beverage: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air offers modern California cuisine (think fresh farm to table) with a Mediterranean influence. The breakfast menu, which is included with your stay when you book with Diego Travel, includes a massive selection of fresh juices and health shots, apparently something that the Hollywood crowd subsist on. If you’re looking for something more hearty, their avocado toast was to die for. We ordered dinner to our suite one night, where we ate outdoors around the fireplace on our patio in total privacy. As our family is gluten-free, Hotel Bel-Air provided the yummiest gluten-free cookies we had tried in a long time.

        The Bar & Lounge offers a tucked-away spot that evokes the feeling of old Hollywood glamour mixed with the coziness of home.

        Wellness: The spa at Hotel Bel-Air is small and minimalist, and offers the basics in treatments such as facials, massages and manicures and pedicures. Due to Covid, the amenities like steam room/sauna were closed. While I didn’t have a treatment during our stay, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a comprehensive spa treatment plan or spa retreat. However, if you’re looking for a treatment to reduce jet lag after jet-setting around the world, then Hotel Bel-Air spa offers the perfect antidote.

        Spa at the Bel-Air


        Things to Do in Bel-Air: If you’re old enough to remember the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, then you’ll probably understand what I’m talking about when envisioning what there is to do around the Hotel Bel-Air. You are within a 10-15 minute drive of Beverly Hill’s famous Rodeo Drive, but also the posh areas of Brentwood, Melrose, and the Hollywood Hills. You’re also a stone’s throw from UCLA, so if you’re planning on visiting campus, this hotel will be ideally located for you and your family. The area has some of the world’s best shopping, dining, and sight-seeing in the city, with great museums such as LACMA, The Getty and Griffith Observatory, to name a few.

        What  Sets  It  Apart: I’m not sure there is another property quite like the Hotel Bel-Air in all of the United States. Perhaps in Europe you’ll find similar properties, which brings me to my point of what sets it apart. Even though you’re in the middle of it all in one of the largest and most sprawling cities in the world, the Hotel Bel-Air transports you to a European dream with the foliage, the gliding swans, the trickling water, and the chirping birds. This quiet, relaxing oasis where you’re chances of spotting an A-lister are high, are what sets it apart.

        Rooms at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Resort
        Bel-Air Pool

        How Much Does Hotel Bel-Air Cost? Rates vary greatly depending on the room category. Entry level rooms can start as low as $695, whereas the Presidential Suite and Herb Garden Suite start at $4,500 for a nightly rate.

        Diego Travel Loves: Los Angeles gets a bad rap for being the city of hustle and a concrete jungle, but Hotel Bel-Air couldn’t be more opposite. It truly is a respite from the world outside of Bel-Air’s boundaries, so if what brings you to LA keeps you on the go, reserving your stay at Hotel Bel-Air will definitely disconnect you and get you ‘away from it all’ at the end of each day. I love the location because you’re perfectly situated between the beaches of Santa Monica, Malibu and Venice Beach, yet close to Brentwood, UCLA, and even downtown Los Angeles.

        What we love about the Bel-Air
        Extras you get booking with Diego Travel at Hotel Bel-Air

        Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:

        • Dorchester Collection Diamond Club VIP Status
        • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability
        • full breakfast for up to two people (excludes alcohol and caviar)
        • $100 hotel credit credit per stay for rooms and Jr Suites and daily hotel credit of $100.00 USD for suites, to be applied to the final bill
        • Welcome Amenity
        • Diego Travel Welcome Box for First-Time Clients
        • Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability
        • Complimentary Wi-Fi

        Hotel Bel-Air Insider Tips:

        There are no double queen or double rooms at Hotel Bel-Air. They have only king beds and twin bed configurations, with queen pull-out sofa beds in some rooms. In every room category, there are certain units that have slightly larger square footage or a preferred patio or room distribution. When you book with Diego Travel, you’ll get preferential access to these as well as getting your automatic upgrade at time of booking. Also, the main hotel pool used to be a horse ring, so the junior suites surrounding the pool are converted horse stables.

        Hotel Bel-Air garden

        Summary of Our Stay atHotel Bel-Air:

        On a recent trip to San Diego to visit family, we had to make a quick trip up to Los Angeles for a doctor’s appointment. I had always been intrigued by iconic hotel legends like the Hotel Bel-Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel, but had never visited either of them. The Dorchester Collection team was the most responsive and accommodating to all of my requests, which is always a good indication of the level of service you’ll receive once you’re on property.

        Hotel Bel-Air California

        Our family decided to turn the visit into a mini-vacation, so I was joined by my parents, husband and all three kids. The connecting Canyon suites we had were perfect, and rather than just a door connecting them, we had an entire stair well between the two, which meant there is total privacy, yet we’d still feel close enough had we only been traveling with the kids. Each patio had its own hot tub and fireplace, perfect for chilly California evenings.

        Hotel Bel-Air Pool

        Upon arrival, I was of course slammed with work, so I set up my remote office on the suite’s spacious desk/office area to work for 20 minutes while the rest went ahead to the restaurant for lunch. When I went to catch up to them, the thing that struck me most was the design of the restaurant! While some tables are front and center, the majority of them are booths, tucked back and divided by both perfect foliage and curtains. Let’s just say it took me awhile to find them at a tucked away table. Again, if you’re a well-known celebrity and just want to have a meal in peace, it’s immediately clear why they love this place.

        Bel-Air Lobby

        The property feels intimate and there isn’t much to do for kids. The gardens are large enough to run around and explore for a day or two, but if you’re looking for a family-friendly, kids-club style resort, this is not it. While our kids weren’t the only ones making a splash at the pool, I did feel quite conscious of other guests’ book-reading and quiet conversations going interrupted by my three kids. Oops! The good news is that we didn’t stay long on either day of our stay at the main pool because we enjoyed our ‘villas’ so much, we didn’t want to leave!

        Hotel Bel-Air

        When comparing this property to the Beverly Hills Hotel, which I will cover in another article, I would say that this is the lesser kid-friendly of the two, and truly perfect for adults looking for quiet, to be left alone, or to have that important business meeting. It was the perfect respite to the overcrowded LA streets and perfect ending to our days of doctor visits, walking and shopping, and eating out on the town.

        Bel -Air Plunge Pool

        If you have any questions about staying at the Hotel Bel-Air, I’d be happy to answer them or help you book your stay so that you get all the added value mentioned above. Plus, you might just love the experience of traveling celebrity-style with a VIP status, that you’ll never want to travel without Diego Travel again!

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        Hotel Bel-Air LA

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        Laguna Beach – The Best Hotels and Resorts

        Laguna Beach

        The Best Hotels and Resorts


        My family lives in Southern California, spread out between the cities of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. We try to visit at least twice a year for a family vacation, and no matter how long we go for, it never feels like enough time. There are so many kid-friendly things to do in Southern California like outdoor parks, hiking, farms with petting zoos, fresh fruits and vegetables, horseback riding, museums and of course, the beaches. One area that had always evaded us was Laguna Beach, which was left for us to discover over our summer vacation.

        As most of the country was just reopening and still dealing with restrictions, we planned a long weekend trip to Laguna Beach to discover three new luxury hotels in this Southern California area, known for its beautiful cliffs, great restaurants and shopping, and tons of outdoor activities like surfing and hiking. In this blog, I’m going to highlight where to stay, what hotel will be right for your family vacation, and break down the differences between Montage Laguna Beach, the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, and the Monarch Beach Resort.

        Perfect For: Romantic Getaways | Honeymoons & Anniversaries | Families | Surfing | Golfers | Shopping

        About Laguna Beach

        Laguna Beach is 7 miles of coastline located between San Diego and Los Angeles, with more oceanfront hotel properties than any other area of California.  The topography of Laguna Beach includes coves, tide pools, unique beaches, sea caves and oceanside bluffs, making it one of the coolest regions to explore with kids.  Laguna Beach is home to some of the world’s most famous surf breaks, making it a favorite of surfers and stand up paddle boarders.  It’s also home to a fun arts and culture scene that includes year-round festivals, galleries, public art exhibits, and fun educational programs for kids.

        Getting to Laguna Beach, California

        Whether you are planning a honeymoon, a family vacation, or just a beach weekend getaway, Laguna Beach is a great option as a sole destination, or a stopover while visiting the entire California coast.  Laguna Beach is easily accessible by flying into John Wayne Airport (SNA), which is the closest but smallest of the airport options.  Alternatively, you could fly into either San Diego International (SAN) or Los Angeles International (LAX) and make the approximately 1.5 hour drive from either direction, depending on traffic.  If you have never visited California, I would recommend either starting in San Diego or San Francisco and driving the entire coast, if you want to make a fun family road trip and experience the best of California.  However you choose to explore California, we always recommend a rental car so that you can see and do as much as possible.

        • 33.5159,-117.758

          Montage Laguna Beach

        • 33.4822,-117.715

          Monarch Beach Resort

        • 33.4747,-117.7204

          The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

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        The Best Hotels in Laguna Beach

        While Laguna Beach has a ton of great hotels and resorts for honeymooners, couples getaways, or family vacations, I selected the top three luxury resorts in Laguna Beach that I wanted to compare for my clients.  I am going to break down the differences and pros and cons of my top three resorts in Laguna Beach and let you know which one is right for you.  Without further ado, here are the best hotels in Laguna Beach.


        The Monarch Beach Resort

        This 400-room Monarch Beach Resort is a massive 175 acre property set further back from the beach, but offering gorgeous views of both green hills and ocean.  The 18-hole golf course runs perpendicular and slightly downhill to the beach, which makes it an ideal beach and golf resort.  In 2019, they completed Laguna Beach’s only beach club, which offers a beachside restaurant and private beach access with chair setup and service.  This beach club is only open to hotel guests and club members, which is a nice bonus of staying at Monarch Beach Resort.

        For me, the downside was the commute to the beach.  You have to arrive by golf or shuttle cart, which takes about 10-15 minutes, plus the wait time when you’re ready to go.  It’s not a huge deal if you plan to go to the beach and stay put, but if you have little ones and need to go back and forth to the room, it would be a challenge. 

        Other important features of this resort is that it is very kid-friendly and dog-friendly.  Dogs have designated run zones and and trails around the property.  Monarch Beach Resort does have a kids club, though it was not open during our visit.  They created outdoor kids activities and even relocated the gym equipment to an outdoor tented area to allow guests the continued use of the ‘gym.’ 

        The resort has 3 pools – the 2 main ones are nearly side-by-side, separated by a restaurant and gates with one being the family pool and the other being the adults-only pool.  I did feel the pools were on the smaller side for being such a large resort.  The third pool is located in the Miraval spa, which is also adults-only.

        While they have many different types of accommodations, a resort favorite is the fireside junior suites for their ground floor easy access to the outdoor spaces and fire pits that are nice and cozy in the colder months of the year. 

        Book Monarch Beach Resort with Diego Travel to Receive the Following:

        • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability
        • Daily full breakfast, for two guests per bedroom in AVEO Table + Bar or via room service ($80 credit per day)
        • $100 USD Resort credit, to be utilized during stay (Cannot be used for room, tax, valet or resort charge, not combinable, not valid on retail items, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
        • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
        • Complimentary Wi-Fi

        We Recommend Monarch Beach Resort For:

        • Large families or family reunions
        • Golfers
        • Corporate or incentive travel
        • Large weddings
        • Large reunions that require large outdoor spaces
        • Those looking for a more lively scene

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        The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

        Last, but not least, was our stay at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, the southernmost hotel of the three.  Just in front of Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, this spot is a favorite to surfers from around the world.  The team at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel made us feel like rock stars, with a VIP welcome and amazing amenity for our kids that made it feel like Christmas morning.  As an independent affiliate of McCabe World Travel, our clients get the privilege of receiving STARS perks at any Ritz Carlton property worldwide.  What does this mean?  It means VIP treatment, priority upgrades, extras throughout, and white glove “Guardian Angel” service throughout your stay.  Why would you ever book direct, when you can book with us and receive all of the above?

        During our visit, California restrictions required any indoor restaurants to remain completely closed.  Due to this, dining options on property were extremely limited, with only 180 Blue, a small outdoor patio with, you guessed it, 180 degree views of the ocean and sunset.  So, this small venue was always to capacity and only allowed for high table seating, which proved challenging with a small 3-year-old.  However, during “normal” times, you would have plenty of indoor dining options.

        Here’s a cool fact about this luxury hotel: Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel is the only Ritz Carlton in the world that overlooks a natural surf break.  So, if you have a surfer in the family (like we do!), then the Ritz Carlton would be a great choice for you.  It is a hike down to the beach, and once there, the hotel does not provide any chairs or beach service like towels or beverage service.  So, keep that in mind when planning your trip.

        The hotel has 396 rooms and suites, with suites recently renovated with beds that have a direct line of vision to the ocean.  Not a bad way to wake up in the morning!  The lobby was renovated in 2018, and standard guest rooms have a planned renovation underway over the next couple of years. 

        For kids and adult activities, the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel provides an eco adventure tour, night crawler hike, and whale watching tours to name a few.  They also provide a complimentary 45 minute photography session if you want to get your holiday card photos taken during your stay.  Personally, the downside to the hotel was the pool.  Located in a courtyard, with zero views to the ocean, I felt it was enclosed and for being on a beach vacation, it would be nice to spend time at the pool feeling the ocean breeze.  I also didn’t like that there is no beachside service or chairs.  However, if those aren’t your priorities and you just want the best spot for easiest access to surf, or the closest hotel to Dana Point, or the hotel with the best views from your room, then Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel is the best choice.  Just be sure to ask us which room category would ensure you have the ocean view you’re craving. 

        Book Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel with Diego Travel to Receive the Ritz Carlton STARS Exclusive Amenities:

        • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability
        • The Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Amenity
        • Daily Breakfast for Two at Raya, In-Room Dining, or The Market Place
        • $100 Hotel Credit
        • VIP Status with In-Person Warm Welcome and Note from General Manager
        • First Priority on Wait Lists in Sold-Out Situations
        • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
        • Complimentary Wi-Fi

        We Recommend Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel For: 

        • Surfers- The Ritz Carlton is located directly above Salt Creek, one of Southern California’s iconic surf spots. 
        • Those who love an ocean view but don’t plan to spend much time at the beach or the pool
        • Corporate or incentive travel
        • Ritz Carlton loyalists or Marriott Bonvoy members


        Montage Laguna Beach

        Montage Laguna Beach resort is the Montage brand’s premiere property, the first in its portfolio and the pinnacle in Pacific coastal luxury.  From the moment you arrive to the lobby, the floor to ceiling views of the Pacific Ocean are jaw-dropping.  Throughout the pandemic, Montage Laguna Beach never closed, remaining open for locals and clients who were in-the-know to the property’s standards and exclusive access to the beach. 

        This hotel offers 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom suites with three different views.  While all rooms have views of the ocean, the entry level rooms are on the ground floor, or “horizon views.”  One of the advantages of booking your stay with Diego Travel, is you’ll receive an automatic view upgrade at time of booking.  In total, the resort has 258 rooms and suites that underwent a complete renovation in 2019.  The hotel room decor is a soft, neutral, coastal blue palette that feels straight out of the pages of Elle Decor magazine. 

        The biggest highlight of the property is the easy access directly down to the beach, albeit down some pretty steep stairs.  Montage Laguna Beach offers beachside service with chairs and towels, so if the beach is your thing and is high on your priority list, then Montage Laguna Beach should be your first choice.

        Other highlights, especially if you’re traveling with kids, is the amazing kids club and activities menu they offer.  While it’s not included in your hotel stay, they offer half and full-day programs for kids ages 5-12 years old.  While the kids are enjoying their fun outdoor activities like swimming in the pool with mermaid tails on, you can go enjoy one of the 20 spa treatment rooms or the adults-only spa pool. 

        With the option of multiple bedroom units, I love Montage Laguna Beach for family or multi-generational family trips who are looking for the best in service, highest quality accommodations, and al fresco dining with oceanfront views.  It’s also a great options for honeymooners or adults looking to get away for a weekend because you can use the spa pool which also sits in front of the ocean. 

        Book Montage Laguna Beach with Diego Travel to Receive the Following:

        • View upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability (applicable to Ocean Coastal & above)
        • Welcome Amenity
        • $60 daily breakfast credit per bedroom at The Loft or Room Service
        • $100 USD Spa Services credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
        • Early check-in, subject to availability
        • 4pm guaranteed late check-out
        • Complimentary VIP Access to South Coast Plaza, Southern California’s Premier Shopping Destination and exclusive shopping offers/discounts at select luxury retailers.
        • Complimentary Wi-Fi

        *for suite stays of 2 nights or more, spa credit is $200.00

        We Recommend Montage Laguna Beach For:

        • Families
        • Multi-generational families
        • Honeymooners
        • Celebration Travel
        • Small, intimate, and luxury weddings

        Laguna Beach in a Nutshell

        To summarize, whether you’re planning a 2-night stay as a stopover or a week-long summer vacation, Laguna Beach is a great option for a honeymoon, family vacation, or couples trip.  We spent three nights, but felt like we could have spent a lot more, and didn’t even leave the hotels to explore around town.  When you book your vacation with Diego Travel, we provide all the above listed amenities at no extra charge to our clients.  Direct hotel bookings are always complimentary, and when planning or concierge service is involved, there is a minimal custom trip planning fee.  Next time you’re planning to travel worldwide, feel free to reach out to see how we can enhance your travel experience.

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        Laguna Beach- Best hotels and resorts guide

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