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Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, California - Hotel Review

Old World, New World
Modern Luxury in a Spanish Colonial Setting

The lush gardens of Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara
This milky white adobe property with its red tile roofs makes the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara the grande dame of hotels on what is known as the "American Riviera"

To stay at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore is to experience Santa Barbara at its finest. This is the grand dame of hotels on the “American Riviera,” a seaside fantasy of red tile roofs and milky white adobe. Well-heeled guests meander blissfully through lush gardens on their way to the Peter Marino-designed spa, or to Bella Vista restaurant with its crackling fireplaces and heated Italian marble floors. And while the hotel’s Spanish Colonial architecture speaks of the old world, its suites and guestrooms boast all the de rigueur five-star amenities and modern conveniences we’ve come to appreciate.

Built in 1927, the property is yet another feather in the cap of owner Ty Warner. Known for his ever-expanding portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts, the billionaire has several trophy properties in Santa Barbara. At this one, his influence is prevalent: from “Tyles” (his custom-made iridescent pool tiles) to the Ty Lounge and the new Tydes restaurant at the adjoining Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club.

As you would expect at a Four Seasons resort, service is superb. Employees treat guests with a restrained courtesy, availing themselves 24-hours a day yet rarely intruding. Flowering plants and towering old-growth trees lend an aura of Shangri-La that stands out even here, in this utopian city by the sea. Indeed, an on-site horticulturist keeps the gardens in peak form year-round, attracting visitors who come just to take a guided walking tour.

A luxury suite at Four Seasons The Biltmore in Santa Barbara, California
Sun-filled bedroom
Dining room at Bella Vista restaurant at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore in Santa Barbara, California
Bella Vista outdoor dining

The Biltmore mostly succeeds in capturing Santa Barbara’s spirit of place. In the lobby, murals represent the city and the local Channel Islands. Hand-painted details on the ceiling play on the Mediterranean theme, and ocean breezes waft across the grounds, a constant reminder of the stellar location. There are, however, instances of stylistic discord---incongruous touches such as Victorian elements and Asian antiques, which seem strikingly out of place amidst the Spanish-style architecture. 

While the hotel’s 207 guest accommodations—rooms, suites and a small collection of private one-story cottages—have all been enhanced as part of the restoration, they retain much of their historical integrity. Tastefully decorated with custom Spanish tile, ornamental ironwork and mission-style furniture, guestrooms feature supremely comfortable bedding and plasma screen televisions. In the bathrooms, old-world style masonry complements modern luxuries such as rain showers, fogless mirrors and deep soaking tubs. Renovated suites provide radiant floor heating and steam showers.

To be sure, this is a first-rate example of Santa Barbara hospitality: a hotel rich in character but not crumbling with age. Like the city itself, The Biltmore is casual yet elegant, a refined coastal Eden for the moneyed jet set or uptown locals in need of a recharge.

Going to California? Check out our guide

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
1260 Channel Dr.
Santa Barbara
CA, 9310

Visit the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara official website


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