Belmond El Encanto: California’s Best Splurge-Worthy Getaway

For those unfamiliar, Santa Barbara, otherwise known as the self-styled American Riviera, is a cruisy 2-hour road trip from the heart of Los Angeles.

You only need to witness the oceanfront views or the sea of whitewashed buildings with their dramatic backdrop of mountains to understand why….

Let us paint the picture: Just like Cannes, San Remo and Portofino, Santa Barbara has legions of restaurants that wind their way down to the seaside, with charming streets and quaint surroundings that effortlessly intertwine history and culture together, apparent to most who visit.

Far off in the distance, vineyards are spread across the foothills; closer by, shoppers stroll in and out of bespoke boutiques and riveting galleries.

To say that Santa Barbara captured our heart would be a true understatement.

Without thinking that this small, Spanish colonial heritage town could get any better… it did. As north to the hustle and bustle of West Hollywood resides the newly redesigned Belmond El Encanto, an incredible hideaway perched up in the hills above the sparkling Pacific Ocean, overlooking the red-tile roofs of downtown Santa Barbara.

Belmond El Encanto is a historic getaway for some of Hollywood’s elite, and those alike. The Mediterranean-style complex has hosted many luminaries over the years, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and privacy-seeking stars from Hollywood’s golden years.

With revamped Californian-style bungalows, lush acres of gardens, a serene spa, a dining terrace with ocean views and an infinity-edged swimming pool, it is the ultimate getaway retreat.

Days at Belmond El Encanto look a little like this:

Stroll out of your secluded bungalow and explore seven acres of meticulously landscaped gardens on the Belmond El Encanto grounds, making your way to the Fitness Centre to pick from a variety of classes on offer in true Californian style. Our favourite? Yoga by the Lily Pond.

Breakfast is served on the terrace with ocean views, as you enjoy the balmy Californian air. With a large menu to choose from, the options are endless. Complimentary electric bikes are at the ready by resort staff, with the famous ‘State Street’ precinct a leisurely bike ride away.

The town is so easily navigated that you can visit almost a dozen historic and architectural landmarks all within a 12-block radius of downtown Santa Barbara.

Afternoon sunshine is to be absorbed by the zero-edge heated outdoor saline swimming pool at Belmond El Encanto. Lie beneath the elegant aquamarine parasols whilst enjoying complimentary 10-minute poolside massages by the incredible masseur onsite.

If you’d like to indulge in further relaxation, Belmond El Encanto also offers a beautiful spa with ocean-inspired therapies drawing from the surrounding landscape to calm and relax guests.

Once the sun begins to set, watch the close of day from your private porch, with a glass of Californian wine in hand before heading to dinner in the ever-elegant ‘Dining Room & Terrace’, where local produce and nearby Californian wineries are celebrated.

Of what sounds like a dream, is just merely a snippet of another day at Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara.

If you’re looking for a getaway to re-charge, relax and indulge your senses, you’ve found it. We left feeling inspired and refreshed, even after just two days of experiencing the hospitality at Belmond El Encanto – the true meaning of casual-luxury.

Belmond El Encanto
800 Alvarado Place,
Santa Barbara, CA                                                     

Words by Cat Spanti 

Josh Bozin
Our Editor-in-chief Josh Bozin is a journalism graduate who specialises in fashion, men’s grooming, food and sport. He is seen at all the right events, always sets the sartorial benchmark and is known around town for his quick wit and way with words.