Where do the rich and famous go to get away from it all? Why, they go to Montecito, where regular folks are billionaires and celebrities are just regular folks. This lush, intimate village a short drive (or bike ride) from Santa Barbara seems a world apart, with quiet streets, intimate white sand beaches and gated estates.
See & Do
While there are plenty of legendary Montecito estates that you can't visit (at least, we're pretty sure that Oprah doesn't take unannounced guests), there are a handful of great historical sites that you can tour when you visit. Schedule a trip to Casa del Herrero to view a classic Spanish Colonial Revival home that's remained essentially unchanged since it's construction in 1925. And don't miss Ganna Walska's famed botanical haven, Lotusland, where the deceased opera singer/heiress has created a fantastical universe of unusual blooms and blossoms.
Epicureans flock to Montecito because, well, there's simply good food everywhere. While no one style defines the area, the quality of food is pretty much universal. For the freshest sushi, try Sakana. In the mood for Italian? Make a reservation at Tre Lune, Via Vai, or Pane e Vino. And for breakfast, nothing beats the legendary Sunday brunch at the Bella Vista, a restaurant at the Biltmore hotel. Munch of scrumptious breakfast treats for every appetite while enjoying bottomless mimosas. Snag a seat on the patio for an ocean view... you may even spot some dolphins!
Montecito is a true relaxation destination, so in the evenings locals tend to take it easy. You might choose to go for a moonlit stroll on Butterfly Beach or hike to the top of Montecito Peak before the sun sets and take in the view. Or, if you're craving a little socialization, why not head to one of the area's more sophisticated watering holes? Get a specialty cocktail at the Plow & Angel Bistro or rub shoulders with local billionaires (well, you never know) at Lucky's, a classic steakhouse with timeless appeal.
Ok, so we can't promise you'll actually sleep with the stars, but there's a good chance you'll be sleeping near one or two. Montecito is where the stars come to play and, since even celebs need their beauty sleep, there are plenty of luxe hotels in the area. For example, the Montecito Inn is a glamourous boutique hotel that was established by Charlie Chaplin in 1928. Other hotels that celebrities like to frequent include the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara and the San Ysidro Ranch.
Fashion lovers, look no further! Coast Village Road in Montecito is the place to go when an afternoon of high fashion label-hunting is on the roster. Visit dressed to see collections from top designers like Yves St. Laurent and Stella McCartney. Or try their sister store, ready, for more relaxed denim and streetwear pieces. Need something for an afternoon at Butterfly Beach? Or evening cocktails at the Coral Casino? Stop by Malia Mills to find sophisticated women's swimwear, ready to wear and fabulous hats and accessories.