Belmond El Encanto : A Luxurious Santa Barbara Escape

Belmond El Encanto property view

Santa Barbara has long been called the American Riviera. With its subtropical temperatures and proximity to coast, it’s easy to see why everyone who visits is so enchanted with the location, especially when staying at the Belmond El Encanto. In Spanish, Encanto quite literally means “enchantment” or “glamour“. Nestled right in the neighborhood mountains, overlooking the dazzling waters of the Pacific Ocean the Belmond El Encanto is Santa Barbara’s only Forbes Five-Star resort. With a longstanding history of being a landmark for inspiration, relaxation, and romance, the property is steeped with tales of tranquil offerings to Hollywood elite and beyond. The Belmond El Encanto has hosted former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Golden age celebrities such as Clark Gable, Carol Lombard and Hedy Lamarr, and today has become the go-to destination for many celebrity artists. I’m honored to say I’ve now added my name to it’s guest list as well. It could be the perfect hideaway for your next luxury escape too.

Arriving at the Blemond El Encanto Kia Motors America

Luxury vehicles line the drive at the El Encanto (pictured here : Kia Optima, Cadenza, Stinger and K900)

As soon as you arrive on property the staff graciously anticipates your every request. As the porter escorted me to my bungalow, he shared the unique history of the resort with me. Everything here has meaning and was designed with thoughtfulness of the overall experience. I love learning interesting facts and special stories that are only told by those who know a property best. Curious about something? Just ask the staff, they are incredibly knowledgeable and always happy to share.

Belmond El Encanto bungalow exterior

Opening to guests for the first time in 1918, the property has exchanged hands a more than a few times in its history. Belmond reopened the hotel in March 2013 following an extensive seven-year, $134 million dollar meticulous renovation to bring back glamour, restore original architectural elements and updating with the modern luxe detailing that you experience today.

Rooms Made for Relaxation

Belmond el Encanto bungalow

92 luxuriously designed bungalows and suites are situated among acres of lush gardens and landscaping. In the air the scent of lavender and eucalyptus sweeps over you as you walk along the pathways to your reserved hideaway. There are two distinct styles of early Santa Barbara architecture present here – California Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival. Each bungalow interior is decorated with works of art reflecting the Santa Barbara landscape.  As a landmark property much of the architecture styling has remained the same but the interior comforts of plush beds, heated floors, wi-fi access, push button gas fireplaces, controlled lighting, private terraces, waterfall showers and over-sized tubs have not been overlooked. The cottages provide a more than accommodating space for master bedroom and living room space. The in-room welcoming of a fruit plate and bottle of wine was a lovely surprise.

Belmond El EnCanto Welcome

Gardens, Pool and Spa

El Encanto Belmond Lily pond

Courtesy of Belmond El Encanto

The gardens are as welcoming as the rooms themselves and you might find yourself torn between where to spend the majority of your time. Signs along the walkways subtly direct you to your chosen spot of interest: a historic 1928 wishing well, serene waterfall, or a historic lily pond perfectly positioned under a wisteria lined arbor. Any choice is a good choice here and all make the perfect backdrop for memorable photos you’ll treasure forever.(insider tip: the lily pond is home to an adorable family of turtles.)

El Encanto Belmond Santa Barbara Wishing Well

If the pool or spa are more your interest, you’ll be delighted at what you find. The zero-edge saline pool is positioned to look out over the ocean and city for a spectacular view. The full-service, on property spa offers an array of treatments over seven rooms including a couples room to relax and unwind together. The Spa also offers relaxation lounge, showers, steam rooms and private lockers.

El Encanto Belmond Santa Barbara pool

Courtsey of Belmond El Encanto

Be certain to take advantage of the complimentary sunglass cleaning and Evian cooling mist service before returning to your room. Ending the evening with glass of Californian wine in hand, watching the sun dip below the horizon, is the perfect way to remember this luxurious escape whether visiting for a solo retreat or relaxation with ones you love.

Enchantment at the Belmond El Encanto

To book your stay visit the Belmond El Encanto online or see more on instagram and twitter.

Address: 800 Alvarado Pl, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, United States
Phone: +1 805-845-5800

Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation. My host for this stay was Kia Motors America as part of the Kia Santa Barbara Experience #KiaSBExp