Belmond El Encanto
Photo: Belmond El Encanto

Belmond El Encanto is located high up in the lush rolling hills of Santa Barbara, California, overlooking both the nearby town and the azure ocean. A place of tranquility and serenity, this exception promises otherworldly charm and an aura of complete relaxation.

Wander through the seven acres of gardens, dine or drink in one of the hotel’s three different establishments, or take a cooling dip in the infinity-edge pool. There’s even an acclaimed on-site spa, which aims to make all your stress melt away. With an iconic 1920s façade, this elegant hotel provides a mix of city convenience and beautiful natural surroundings, making it an ideal place to stay for those seeking to combine countryside leisure and downtown vibes on their vacation.

»Belmond El Encanto Guest Rooms

Belmond El Encanto Guest Rooms

Belmond El Encanto provides a variety of accommodation choices through its 92 rooms. Guests have a choice of suites and specialty suites located in the classical building, as well as one of the many bungalows on hotel grounds. These bungalows are decorated in either California Craftsman or Spanish Revival-style, and provide a luxurious and intimate retreat.

The bungalow rooms contain either one king sized or two queen sized double beds, and the sleeping area comes with an oversized workstation desk and chair, widescreen LCD HDTV with premium channels, soft armchairs or couch and an iPod dock. The rooms also contain a Nespresso coffee machine and an honor bar for guests’ convenience and comfort. The marble bathrooms are truly a treat, featuring heated stone floors and indulgent bathtubs – either free standing or deep soak, depending on the room.

Rooms are divided by views, and some also boast extra features; generally, king sized rooms are advertised as possibly containing fireplaces while double rooms are not. Superior Bungalow rooms have garden views and a king sized bed, being the most affordable of all accommodation choices.

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One step up are the Deluxe Bungalow Double and Deluxe Bungalow King rooms – many have patios or balconies with outdoor seating and views are either of the hotel garden or the Californian coast. A few Double Bungalow King rooms even have quaint fireplaces to lend a cozy glow to evenings. These are the only rooms which potentially boast a sea view, for those who want to be able to see the ocean.

Premier Bungalow Double and Premier Bungalow King have furnished private patios or balconies, and the views on offer are the garden or, in some cases, the city of Santa Barbara. These view choices are shared by the Deluxe Premier Bungalow Double or King rooms, though the latter options feature more space in which to spread out.

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»Luxury Suites

Luxury Suites

King sized suites at Belmond El Encanto share the same understated grandeur of the bungalow guest rooms, but they also have the benefit of extra space and multiple rooms. The marble bathrooms provided have both a luxury bathtub and a rainforest shower, adding to a sense of tropical elegance.

Superior Suites promise to impress, with a spacious separate living area that boasts French doors leading into the bedroom. Views can be enjoyed from the patio, and chilly nights can be warmed with the open-hearth fireplace. The Deluxe Suite features a sofa bed to accommodate additional guests, but are most notable for their peaceful garden setting which gives uninterrupted views of the greenery.

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Premier Suites combine an extensive living space with a private patio that can seat four, making for an excellent spot to sit and watch the majestic local landscape change through sunset colors. Finally, the Deluxe Premier Suites represent the ultimate indulgence, as each one is unique and carries its own distinct charm. The sitting area, furnished patio or balcony and excellent views remain, but there is also an exquisite fireplace and a sense of total bespoke classiness.

Specialty Suites are the final level of accommodation at Belmond El Encanto. With their enchanting and exciting décor, each room draws upon unique inspiration that creates beautiful suites which capture the local landscape. These suites feature kitchenettes, spectacular fireplaces and can be connected to another room to create a two-bedroom, self-contained residence. The private terrace affords guests breathtaking views of the coastline or garden which cannot be beaten, and promise to provide complete and total tranquility.

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»Dining at Belmond El Encanto

Dining at Belmond El Encanto

Local reigns supreme at Belmond El Encanto’s artisanal restaurants. There are herbs picked directly from the garden, and cheese made from the resort’s very own dairy cow, Ellie. Menus change according to the time of day and the eatery chosen, so get dressed up for The Dining Room, make a reservation for Afternoon Tea in The Lounge, or grab a snack in The Bar.

The Dining Room and Terrace is the most formal restaurant, with menus that change for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner services. The cuisine is contemporary and influenced strongly by the Californian coast, and thus features fresh ingredients directly from the surrounding area. Large windows offer panoramic Santa Barbara views as well as create a light, elegant space to enjoy the dining experience. The Terrace is also available for outside seating, allowing couples to share romantic top-quality meals under the stars on balmy California nights.

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In contrast, The Lounge is delicate and classic without being pretentious. It provides light dining options, or a British-inspired high tea menu filled with scones, French pastries and hand-made sandwiches. Reservations for tea must be made 24 hours in advance, but casual diners are taken all through the day.

The Bar is a much more low-key dining affair, preferring to offer simple and quick bites for busy travelers. Its menu is dedicated to re-imagining American bar classics, packing them with flavor and punch. Photo:

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»The Bar and The Wine Room

The Bar and The Wine Room

Guests looking to indulge in something a little stronger will feel right at home in both The Bar and The Wine Room.

The Bar has a huge range of alcoholic drinks, from wines and beers to high-class spirits. There's also a signature cocktail menu, creating drinks which are innovative yet familiar and guaranteed to quench your thirst or whet your appetite.

The Wine Room is a more intimate affair. It is a dining space, but the wine, which comes from many quality Californian vineyards, is as much a focus of the meal as the food. The Wine Room may require a group booking or reservation for special gatherings in order to enter, so be sure to speak to the helpful hotel staff for more details.

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»The Spa

The Spa

Whether you’re after couples massages, invigorating body wraps or exotic detoxes, The Spa at Belmond El Encanto promises to satisfy your every need. Spread across seven exquisite treatment rooms, there are also showers, steam rooms, a relaxation lounge, a wet treatment room and private lockers within the spa complex, and treatments include a selection of detoxifying teas for guests to enjoy. This idyllic day spa promises to soothe and reinvigorate in equal measure.

All products make use of local ingredients and draw inspiration from the area in order to be truly natural. Treatments on offer include massages, facial therapy, oxygen treatments, bronzing, waxing, nail bar services, hair options and full- or half-day pampering escapes.

Spa specials change by the season, such as the Soothing Chamomile Body Treatment in the spring which is designed to celebrate renewal and revitalization, and is made with resort-grown ingredients. The Spa is the perfect place to try something new or re-visit an old favorite Photo:

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»Weddings & Conferences

Weddings & Conferences

Belmond El Encanto is a charming location with up-to-date amenities and stunning surroundings, making it perfect to hire for weddings, corporate events or even private family gatherings.

The romance of the 1920s building and sprawling gardens, combined with the area’s perfect weather, makes weddings at the hotel an excellent choice. The garden makes for a beautiful outdoor wedding space on clear days, while the sumptuous ballroom will lend the ceremony total elegance.

Wedding planners at the hotel will help to organize everything from the menu to the décor, allowing the couple to take a step back and focus on what they want. Wedding day packages can also include pre-wedding treatments in the spa, or honeymoon accommodation in Santa Barbara.

Events in general can always find a space at Belmond El Encanto, as there is 9,820 square feet of event space both indoors and outdoors, with the 3,000 square foot ballroom being perfect for large gatherings of up to 300 people. Business events can be catered to with video conferencing, climate control and flexible room set-ups, and corporate retreats can focus on team-building activities in the beautiful Pacific Southwest.

800 Alvarado Pl, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, website, Phone: 805-845-5800

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Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California