I’ve been thinking a lot about my travel wish list lately, and California keeps popping up on it. I’ve been to California several times, but, apart from a couple of trips to visit friends in college, never purely for pleasure. I’d love to go back and just soak up its golden sunshine, take in mountain views, and go winery hopping. For a long time, Belmond El Encanto, in Santa Barbara, has been on my hotel wish list, and if I were heading back to California sometime soon, that’s where I’d stay. There’s something about its footprint and its setting that I find really romantic—it’s tucked away amid lush trees and greens between mountains and the sea, with beautiful views over Santa Barbara. What I think I love most about it, though, is the charming white siding of its main house, which reminds me of the home in Father of the Bride—cozy, warm, loved-in, and lived-in. And the way its bungalows are tucked amid winding, palm-shaded paths is a little reminiscent of one of my favorite hotels, the Peninsula Beverly Hills. I picture a stay at Belmond El Encanto to be filled with long breakfasts and dinners on its terrace, lazy afternoons by its hilltop pool, and burrowing into a big fluffy bed at night with a fire crackling away in the fireplace.
Have you stayed at Belmond El Encanto? What did you think?
All images via Belmond El Encanto