A Spanish-colonial style resort, featuring an impressive spa, dazzling ocean views, great restaurants and an array of activities to suit every traveller
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Activity adventure | Beach | Food & wine | Spa
The historic 22-acre property sits between Butterfly Beach and the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara, about 100 miles north of LA. Built originally around an 18th century Spanish mission, laidback Santa Barbara is as close to the California of old as you’re likely to find. Its fabulous wineries are often compared to those of Napa 20 years ago, while its dining options range from the fresh local produce found at its enviable farmers’ market, to the divine tacos of La Super Rica Taqueria, the unassuming Mexican restaurant that legendary American chef Julia Child said was her favourite place to eat in Santa Barbara. Lunchtime queues still spill out the door and down the street.
There are 207 oceanfront guest rooms and suites in the main buildings, 152 of which were remodelled in 2014, as well as 12 private cottages surrounded by lush greenery at the rear of the property, each with its own private entrance and comprising three to five guest rooms. There’s a Spanish colonial air to much of the décor, with red-tiled roofs, ivory-coloured walls, hues of green and gold, dark wood furniture and ornamental ironwork found throughout the property. This is mixed with the respectability of an English country house, with thick rugs, deep sofas, leather chairs, patterned cushions on every surface, no shortage of vases or ornamental tables, and dinner plates hanging on the walls.
Enjoy amazing ocean views and organic, Italian-inspired Californian cuisine at Bella Vista, the Four Seasons’ highly acclaimed al fresco restaurant. Aside form the view, it’s renowned for two things: its fresh pasta and seafood, and its incredible Sunday brunches, said to be among the best in the US. An alternative option is Tydes, which offers indoor and outdoor seating overlooking Butterfly Beach. Sustainably sourced seafood is the order of the day, and the restaurant is open to both hotel guests and members of the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, adjacent to the resort. Ty Lounge offers tapas, wines and cocktails with an indoor fireplace and an outdoor terrace. While made-to-order juices as well as vegan and vegetarian options are available at Fins, the hotel’s organic juice bar.
There’s certainly no shortage of facilities here. The sumptuous 10,000-sqaure-foot spa is near the resort’s pool and gardens and features 11 treatment rooms, including four day suites, each with a fireplace. In addition to massages and beauty treatments, the hotel offers personal training, private and group yoga classes, tennis lessons, Pilates, Tai Chi, core conditioning, stand-up paddle boarding, scenic hikes in the local area, nutritional consultations and much, much more. You can even book a private beach volleyball session with Olympic gold medallist Todd Rogers, or a surf session with three-time world champion and Santa Barbara local, Tom Curren. Both extraordinary experiences include a gourmet beach picnic.
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