There are plenty of reasons to love Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Bacara Resort & Spa. From its unbeatable location on the Pacific Ocean to its enormous Four-Star spa and the treasure trove of perks (three infinity-edge pools, three 18-hole championship golf courses and one unusual wine tasting room), you’ve got a winning combination at this spacious Santa Barbara resort.
Bacara isn’t your typical towering hotel. Instead of one or two large buildings with hundreds of rooms stacked on top of one another, these 350 rooms are spread out among several villas, offering the feel of a small town, giving you just one more reason to adore this laid-back California getaway.
Saying this campus is as pretty as a picture doesn’t begin to cover it. Located between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, on what’s called the “American Riviera,” Bacara occupies prime real estate.
The luxurious property sits on 78 beachfront acres, including two miles of natural beach, and is a mere 10-minute car ride from sunny Santa Barbara and just 90 minutes from Los Angeles.
World-class The Spa at Bacara offers a serene and luxurious spot for pampering and relaxation. At 42,000 square feet, the spa can accommodate a long list of amenities, including a zero-edge, heated saline pool for adult-use only; separate women’s and men’s hydrotherapy whirlpool spas; and fireside lounge areas. There is also a redwood sauna, eucalyptus steam room and rooftop terrace.
The Bacara Body Melt by ESPA, an almost two-hour treatment, is arguably the spa’s most luxurious body-mind ritual, with a body exfoliation, wrap, aromatherapy massage and scalp massage.
Before or after it (or any other service, for that matter), sunbathe and soak in the stunning views of the Pacific and the mountains.
Angel Oak Restaurant
The hotel’s new modern steak and seafood restaurant is helmed by Vincent Lesage, a classically trained French chef whose impressive resume includes stints at esteemed properties such as the Five-Star Ritz Paris and Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach.
With the ocean as the perfect backdrop, dine on appetizers like locally sourced uni (sea urchin), hamachi crudo and pan-seared foie gras. Entrées include certified Kobe, T-bone steaks and racks of lamb accompanied by béarnaise, red wine or horseradish crème fraîche sauce. “Enhancements” (see: lobster tail, foie gras, shaved black truffle and Alaskan king crab) take dishes to an added level of indulgence.
The Foley Food & Wine Society Wine Tasting Room
You can sample the bounty of Santa Barbara’s wine region without ever getting behind the wheel. Located on property, the Foley Food & Wine Society Wine Tasting Room presents more than 70 wines from the Foley Family portfolio of wineries, including Kuleto, Chalk Hill, Sebastiani, Lancaster Estate, Firestone Vineyard, Foley Johnson and Merus, to name just a few.
In addition, personalized concierge service is available to arrange exclusive tours and tastings at nearby wineries. The concierge can also schedule private tastings, food-and-wine pairing sessions and cooking classes.
Water sports fans will love the opportunity to surf, kayak and swim right off the resort’s beach, but there is plenty to do on land, too.
A trio of 18-hole championship greens — the Sandpiper Golf Club, Glen Annie and Rancho San Marcos — beckons golfers with their rolling fairways and panoramic views.
Bacara also boasts four Har-Tru clay composition tennis courts, complete with a resident pro, with whom you can arrange private and semi-private lessons.
There are plenty of places to hike or stroll on the grounds, too, but one of the most fascinating is the Chumash Nature Trail. The resort partnered with local Chumash artisans and herbalists to create a self-guided trail that’s dotted with descriptive signs that explain the use of specific plants in this indigenous group’s culture.