Santa Barbara, California
San Ysidro Ranch
What it is
A century-old celeb hideaway nonpareil on 500 acres of wine country, with an equally legendary restaurant and spa.
What it isn't
Too far inland to see the sea. Included in your 360-degree view: the Channel Islands (a national park where wild buffalo roam) glinting on the Pacific.
What we think
Jackie and John honeymooned here. Vivien Leigh married Sir Laurence Olivier here. If that doesn’t sway you, what will? San Ysidro Ranch is every bit worthy of its acclaim. Take the Stonehouse, touted as among the top restaurants in the nation, where dishes include caviar with housemade buckwheat blinis and California striped bass with napa cabbage and heirloom cauliflower and fennel broth. Or the spa, where herbs like lavender and rosemary grown on the premises are culled for use in its ultra-pampering treatments, such as aptly-named Nirvana, an 80-minute massage capped off with a foot rub. Accommodations are as luxe as you might expect, given that they host movie stars and presidents alike; all 41 private cottages feel like home—complete with persian rugs, hand cut stone fireplaces, gleaming oak floors, patios, and al fresco hot tubs and rain showers, and just the right medley of antiques dotting the premises.
You're here because
The luxury is unmissable, with Bose stereos, Bvlgari toiletries, Rivolta Italian linen bedding, Nespresso coffee makers, and a medley of gratis gourmet snacks in each room. Is being treated like royalty too much to ask? No, we didn’t think so.
Saint Isadore—patron saint of farmers—reportedly inspired Plow and Angel, another beloved restaurant on these hallowed grounds. Tonight, perched under stained-glass windows and looking at the roaring fire, you feel a little holy yourself—until you spy San Ysidro Ranch ribs and four cheese mac ‘n cheese with prosciutto on the menu, and learn they’re what the restaurant is renowned for. Hmmm. Maybe just a couple plates worth.
Restaurants & Bars
Stonehouse Restaurant - A Wine Spectator Grand Award winning restaurant serving regional cuisine
Plow & Angel Restaurant - Serves traditional American cuisine
Plow & Angel Bar
Six miles south of Santa Barbara but an entire world away. Tucked on a vast expanse of verdant green hills overlooking the coast line, you can do everything from hike 17 miles into the Santa Ynez Mountains or hit the heated outdoor pool.