Santa Barbara's legendary El Encanto resort reopened this March after a seven-year wait. Located atop the picturesque hills of the Santa Barbara Riviera district, El Encanto was originally established in 1918, making it the oldest hotel in the area. Popular with celebrities like Clark Gable and Barbra Streisand back in the day, this hotel was purchased by the Orient-Express hotels group in 2007 and has been meticulously restored to its former glory.
El Encanto is said to be home to the very best views in all of Santa Barbara — Photo courtesy of El Encanto
'El Encanto' is Spanish for 'place of enchantment' but, in this new iteration, it might as well translate to 'place of luxury.' California bungalow-style suites and cottages dot the property. Amenities include in-room fireplaces, rainfall showers and private gardens and terraces. The El Encanto even stocks sets of beautifully monogrammed pillowcases and customizes the bedding to reflect guests' initials before arrival.
Many rooms feature private balconies that look over the lushly landscaped grounds — Photo courtesy of El Encanto
In addition to their lavish private rooms, guests at the El Encanto are also invited to enjoy a beauty treatment at the deluxe onsite spa or a swim in the infinity pool (this one has a view of the Pacific). The hotel's restaurant operates under the guidance of chef Patrice Martineau and features a menu inspired by California favorites, with French and Asian touches. There is also a wine room for more intimate celebrations, as well as a lounge and bar.
And do you want to know one completely fascinating - and endearing - thing? El Encanto even has its very own cow, Ellie, who produces cheese exclusive to the resort. Pampered single-cow cheese made onsite? Now that's luxe!