An outstanding resort of great quality: Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara

When the Thomas fire and terrible subsequent flood hit Santa Barbara, Belmond El Encanto opened their arms to evacuees and bent over backward to accommodate them including offering them very special rates. Juggling rooms and working with a tireless staff decimated by the crisis and unable to get to work because the 101 was closed, they valiantly worked 24-7 to meet and exceed guests’ needs.

Resort Manager Shaun O’Bryan was in total command of the situation and kept the property running smoothly and with great quality despite many hardships.

Belmond El Encanto is a dream of a resort, set high above Santa Barbara in wooded and tropical gardens. We spent hours walking the meandering brick paths, admiring the old stone walls, swinging in a hammock, throwing pennies with a wish into the lotus pool with its graceful arbor. We’d read by the fountains and wishing well. Serving superb cuisine and with a world-class spa, it is a heavenly peaceful escape. We loved the heated infinity pool and work out gym. We loved the piano player at night in the bar. We loved the bright young people working there. We loved dining on the heated terrace at night looking at Santa Barbara’s twinkling lights.

Stay in a cottage or elegant room, it’s all romantic and special. The hotel’s courtesy shuttle will take you into Santa Barbara but, frankly, why would one ever want to leave this gorgeous place? If we could give it six stars, we would!

Room Tip: All rooms and cottages are sunny and quiet..some have ocean views, porches, patios…and fireplaces. One of our favorites: The Hummingbird Suite.


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