Belmond el Encanto
A couple weeks ago, another opportunity arose for me to visit one of the most beautiful cities on the central California coast, the lovely and peaceful Santa Barbara. This time, my friends suggested we stay at the Belmond El Encanto; SB’s only Forbe’s five star resort for the last three years in a row. We hopped in the car, cruised down the highway and landed in the sleepy and blissful coastal town ready for a little R&R.
When I think of luxury resorts, what immediately comes to my mind is STUFFY. I am more of a boutique hotel or airbnb kind of gal. However, tucked away in the hills of Santa Barbara, the Belmond El Encanto was anything but stuffy. It encompassed all the amenities of a luxury resort but had more of a secluded and quaint boutique hotel kind of feel; right up my alley. It was hidden and discreet, like I was within my own private oasis. All together, the best way to describe this hotel would be: one of a kind. And here’s why…
The staff was truly the most accommodating and friendly I have ever experienced. Small details like personalized stationary, and monogrammed pillows with my initials made me feel extra warm and fuzzy. There was a fireplace in our bungalow where my girlfriends and I sat and chatted about life; also adding to the warm fuzzies. The marble heated floors in the bathroom, deep soaking tub and rain shower head were all divine.
For someone who appreciates aesthetic, the Belmond El Encanto has a strong and rare mix of themes throughout. It stays true to Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial ties with white concrete buildings and crawling ivy, mixed with a more quaint and homey feel with it’s craftsman style bungalows. My eyes immediately noticed the climbing wisteria over the arbors at the entrance and upon the bricks in the lush garden. The lily pond was stunning and peaceful; I even meditated over the lily pads early one morning. I noticed and appreciated all the hints of deep baby blues throughout the resort. From the porches, to the pillows on the bed, the floral design on the headboard and the beautiful crushed velvet sofa in the lobby. All perfectly matching the color of the sea, which we had panoramic views of from the pool, the open air dining deck, and to my surprise: our bungalow’s porch. The sea sat just beyond the sprawling hills and beautiful homes of SB that were nestled beneath the resort. I felt as if I was floating on a cloud above all of Santa Barbara, in my own utopia, reveling in the sun and the salty sea breeze.
The resort had so much to offer that despite the short drive into town, we didn’t even step foot off of the property the entire two days we were there. We lounged by the infinity edged saltwater pool, got our workout in with an early morning core strengthening class, hung out on our quaint front porch, and dined like there was no tomorrow. I have particularly fond memories of our late night dinner we were treated to our first night there. We ate out on the open air dining deck underneath the night sky while we feasted on the freshest seafood, and gazed up at the stars, white wine in hand. Inspired by the starry skies, we got into conversation about astrology and I felt like a kid again trying to pinpoint constellations; The Seven Sisters, The Big Dipper, Cassiopeia (Serendipity anyone?), Orion’s Belt. The sky was so clear that all were identifiable. It’s moments like these that make my soul smile.
Life is more rich when filled with adventures and continually experiencing new places and things. Luckily for all of us adventure seekers, The Belmond owns and operates 46 unique hotels in enriching destinations across the globe. I hope to one day find myself at Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy, lounging cliffside above the Mediterranean Sea, doing yoga at Belmond Jimbaran Puri in Bali, or aboard the Belmond British Pullman, a vintage carriage train.
Until then, I’ll always appreciate and look back fondly at my stay in Santa Barbara and feel humbled and thankful for the hospitality. I left feeling inspired and refreshed, even after just two days. The Belmond El Encanto’s decor, surroundings, activities and staff certainly had a way to reenergize my spirit.
Grateful for this experience, thank you Belmond El Encanto fam <3