Weekend Getaway: El Encanto

Even though it’s just a couple of hours up the coast, it had been at least a year since I’d been to Santa Barbara. So my fiance and I packed our bags and headed north for some rest and relaxation in one of the most gloriously lush, peaceful and secluded places in this historic town … El Encanto.

At first I thought it was gonna be another one of those big resorts near the water, but it’s actually tucked away on seven acres of beautifully preserved landscaped gardens way up in the hills. Once we arrived I knew this was going to be a different kind of place.

The entrance at El Encanto

The entrance at El Encanto

No hotel elevators. No heavy foot traffic. Maybe it’s slower in the fall, but the property just feels very private, more like a bed & breakfast. Very luxe but not pretentious.

The koi pond is a popular wedding spot (we even saw one during our visit!)

The koi pond is a popular wedding spot (we even saw one during our visit!)

The lounge area leads out to the dining terrace, which is one of the best places to overlook the hills and see out to the ocean. Every Friday and Saturday night LA crooner Luca Ellis performs. Coincidentally, I’ve done a couple of segments with Luca on “Good Day LA,” so it was pretty funny running into him during my visit.

No big corporate conferences here: The laidback lobby area leading to the outdoor terrace

No big corporate conferences here: The laidback lounge area

I just love all the private bungalows and architecture throughout. The property has been around for almost 100 years, but it was closed for the past 8 years when Orient-Express took ownership and restored and revitalized it to what it is now. They worked closely with Santa Barbara’s Historic Landmarks Commission to ensure the hotel remained true to its original design.

One of the Spanish-tiled, villa-style bungalows

One of the Spanish-tiled, villa-style bungalows

It was such a glorious getaway. Wish I could go back every weekend. You truly do feel bathed by the warm Pacific breeze and lifted by the cool crisp air at night. Love, love, love!

A perfect Saturday afternoon

A perfect Saturday afternoon

More info: www.elencanto.com

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