Christian Stan, at 4 Jul. 19, in Heaven on earth, Hotels, News, Ocean View Hotels

Popular with the Plein Air School of artists, Belmond El Encanto’s former 1920s glory has been lovingly restored to become one of the most celebrated resorts on the West Coast. The restoration process helped to highlight the original Spanish-colonial and Californian craftsman styles, with modern additions including a zero-edge outdoor pool and sumptuous boutique spa. Here, every sense is heightened.

This iconic early 20th-century property is situated atop a commanding hillside, offering ninety-two quintessential, California-styled bungalows and terraced grounds featuring seven-acres of gloriously landscaped gardens with sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean.

Original architectural features were lovingly restored, including the historic, trellised-lined Arbor and Lily Pond. Modern additions to the expansive outdoor swimming pool and a new beautifully appointed boutique spa enhance the Belmond El Encanto journey for today’s luxury-seeking guest. Sumptuous contemporary cuisine will also delight with organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Although relatively small – with 92 rooms – it is spread across seven acres of lush sloping gardens, so each bungalow feels very secluded. Some overlook the ocean, others the gardens, which include a lily pond with basking turtles – seemingly made of stone, until one blinks its eyes. Their languor encapsulates the relaxed mood of the hotel.

Rooms are furnished in cream, pale green and beige with leather armchairs. Some rooms have fireplaces and bookshelves, with titles such as The Fabulous Fifties and, fittingly for such a welcoming hotel, A Place Called Home. Robes and slippers are provided and bathroom floors are heated. Many rooms have balconies or outdoor patios; the very best have large private walled patio gardens with wicker furniture.

The hotel has one restaurant which includes a spacious outdoor terrace – with heaters and blankets for cold days – and an elegant indoor dining room. The menu is especially strong on excellent seafood.

Taking inspiration from coastal elements, The Spa at El Encanto promises a sublime escape. Expert treatments feature one of three luxurious skincare lines, while reviving hydrotherapies offer a wonderful route to wellness. After your treatment, recline with detoxifying teas or juices on the terrace––the views of Santa Barbara will enchant you.

Double rooms from $505 in low season and from $655  in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi


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