El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel

An enchanting hideaway in the hills

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Tue, Nov 1 - Fri, Nov 4
2 People, 1 Room
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Santa Barbara, California

El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel

An enchanting hideaway in the hills

What it is

A classic, romantic hillside retreat brought thoughtfully into the present.

What it isn't

Smack in downtown Santa Barbara: The town's prime dining and shopping are a short drive downhill.

What we think

Belmond El Encanto embodies all the characteristics that make Southern California so lovely. The property sprawls over seven acres of sleepy hillside, in a mostly residential neighborhood overlooking Santa Barbara's red rooftops and out to the Pacific. The legendary hideaway first opened in 1918, becoming a playground for the likes of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, FDR and JFK. Belmond unveiled a major restoration in 2013, but it's still rooted firmly in the era of solidly crafted, handsome Americana. Now a grand central building holds the restaurant (it’s California, so expect the freshest local farm-to-table fare), an infinity pool and a sublime spa. From this main hub, winding paths lead to bungalows in both Craftsman and Spanish Revival style, some with fireplaces and terraces, all with understated dark wood furniture and large marble baths with soaking tubs. In all there are 92 rooms and suites, but the place feels like an intimate, secluded boutique resort—the picture of understated California elegance.

You're here because

You want a country-club casual throwback to the days of old California. It's ideal for couples, less so for rambunctious kids.

The Moment

On the terrace, you raise a glass to toast the warm evening and the crashing Pacific. As the server sets down a plate of Morro Bay oysters, you reach for your partner’s hand. Santa Barbara’s lights begin to flicker to life below.

Restaurants & Bars

The Dining Room and Terrace - California coastal cuisine

The Lounge - Light dining or elegant Afternoon Tea

The Wine Room - Private dining room with California cuisine

The Bar - the bar serves American bar food and offers live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings

Family activities

Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Sunset Kidd Sailing, Whale Watching & Yacht Sales

Explore the Channel Islands; hiking, snorkeling, mountain biking, surfing, kayaking


In the hills above Santa Barbara, less than 10 minutes from downtown. The local airport is 15 minutes by car, L.A. just under two hours.

800 Alvarado Place
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101
CA, United States