After a thorough restoration process, El Encanto reopens its doors to guests today as Orient-Express’ first West Coast property. Built in 1918, the Santa Barbara hotel underwent a massive seven-year, $134 million renovation. You’ll still see some similarities to the hotel that drew guests like Clark Gable and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The exterior of the 92 bungalows retains the Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival look, but inside the rooms is a different story.
Many of the guest rooms set themselves apart with individual details like a cozy fireplace, or gardens and a patio. They also come updated with LCD HD televisions and marble bathrooms with a rainforest shower and separate bath. For the ultimate romantic stay, the 800-square-foot Hummingbird Suite offers total privacy, two patios and an outdoor shower — an appropriate amenity in Southern California.
While the rooms are one of the renovated hotel’s best aspects, the grand vista here just may trump them. El Encanto makes its home on a hill, and the top spot grants mesmerizing views of the Pacific Ocean. The hotel’s grounds are gorgeous as well, with seven secluded acres of gardens and a lily pond.
For more grand vistas, head to the dining room or terrace. You’ll see the ocean while enjoying chef Patrice Martineau’s French- and Asian-influenced coastal fare. Some of the ingredients will come straight from Martineau’s onsite chef’s garden, and the milk from the hotel’s own cow, Ellie, will be used to make cheese.
The Spa at El Encanto may not offer the picture-perfect views of the terrace (though enjoying post-treatment tea on the outdoor patio’s surroundings should suffice), but you won’t need them when indulging in one of the specialty treatments or relaxing in the lounges complete with steam rooms and showers.
Photos Courtesy of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.