Best Hotels in Santa Barbara
Bacara Resort & Spa
This luxury spa resort serves up a well-crafted mix of soft adventure and high-end pampering.
Just ten minutes northwest of Santa Barbara, Bacara provides a relaxed, sophisticated escape. Sitting on 78 acres, the lavish destination resort is comprised of a cluster of white stucco buildings set atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Twenty-five years in the making, the resort is the brainchild of its creative founder, real estate mogul Alvin Dworman, whose dedicated interest in health and fitness resulted in a property that promotes more than just luxury. For starters, a magnificent, 42,000-square-foot spa, spread out over three levels, offers personalized wellness programs and a cardiovascular and strength training center with one-on-one sessions.
The 311 well-appointed guest rooms and 49 specialty suites at this member of the prestigious Meritage Collection are fashioned to evoke a Mediterranean-style village, lush with palm trees and flowering birds of paradise. The Penthouse boasts Viking appliances, an open floor plan and expansive windows looking onto the shimmering Pacific below. Some rooms surround the courtyard and, as such, are less appealing, subject to noise from weddings and other events. The country-chic style is attractive, with terracotta tile floors, tasteful rugs, coastal artwork and splashes of blue that reflect the sea outside.
The signature house restaurant, Angel Oak, serves a modern take on classic steak and seafood dishes under the direction of Parisian executive chef Vincent Lesage. Floor-to-ceiling windows gaze onto ocean views, and there is a terrace for dining outdoors. In addition, the small bar is a pleasant spot for cocktails, with its Amazonite quartz top and leather chairs. Guests can also enjoy shared plates and entrées at the clubby Bacara Bar, off the lobby. Nearby, located at the hotel's entrance, is the Foley Food + Wine tasting room, where hotel guests and wine society members can sample and purchase wines. It also provides a personalized concierge service to organize wine outings and cooking classes, as well reserve tastings and other luxury experiences.
The resort's three saline-filled swimming pools (one is reserved for adults) offer the same great views as the restaurant and coveted guest rooms. Their private poolside cabanas are perfect for lounging the day away. Further along on the activity spectrum, guests can enjoy a round of golf at the Sandpiper Golf Club, which is located right next to the resort. Additional activities include on-site yoga, Pilates and aqua fitness classes, kayaking and surfing lessons, and excursions to explore the Chumash Nature Trail.
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