- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
In 1918, the El Canto Hotel and Garden Villas first opened its doors. Today, 100 years later and lovingly restored to highlight the original Spanish-colonial and Californian laidback style, Belmond El Encanto’s modern additions include a zero-edge outdoor pool and a sumptuous spa.
In the 1920s, it was popular with the California Impressionists known as the Plein Air artists. Roosevelt spent many an evening here, and other notable names from Hollywood’s hay days came to stay: Hedy Lamarr, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard included.
Located less than ten miles from the Santa Barbara Airport, LAX is less than 100 miles away. And once you get here, you’ll lack for nothing; Santa Barbara as a destination has it all. There’s sailing (you may see California grey whales migrating between mid-February and mid-May), there’s gorgeous shopping in town, wineries to explore, art museums, polo, and – not to forget the young – a zoo; an animal lovers’ haven with Asian elephants, Californian condors, Masai giraffes and over 180 other species.
The property has 62 bungalows and 30 suites, beautifully renovated Mission and California Craftsman interiors decorated in shades of white and stone with natural oak floors. Creature comforts abound, like top-of-the-line bedding, Etro products, heated floor marble bathrooms, walk-in rainfall showers, silent air-conditioning and vast, fluffy beds. Larger suites have open fireplaces and private terraces.
The hotel’s expansive indoor-outdoor terrace offers some of Santa Barbara’s best food (and wine) prepared with the finest locally-sourced products, dished up by smart, professional servers. If you eat here, you’ll be treated to romantic, panoramic sea views. Otherwise, there’s the lounge which is more of a casual affair but with gorgeous views, too, and both venues offer a kid’s menu.
Public areas (there’s artwork here to see like Hirst’s Diamond Butterfly) are a far cry from the see-and-be-seen attitude of Hollywood. You come here to relax and revel in the tranquillity and serenity. So go for a yoga class on the lawn, and then lie back on a grey wicker sun-lounger alongside the idyllic turquoise pool. Order a Roosevelt (cocktail, what else?) and pick up the novel you purchased in town. Everything else will be managed for you.
How to get here
2 hours by road from Los Angeles International Airport
92 suites & bungalows