El Encanto

  • Photo by Macduff Everton
    El Encanto’s Craftsman-style main building Photo by Macduff Everton
  • Photo by Macduff Everton
    A Spanish Colonial Revival–style cottage Photo by Macduff Everton
  • Photo by Macduff Everton
    The new ocean-view pool Photo by Macduff Everton
  • Photo by Macduff Everton
  • Photo by Macduff Everton
  • Photo by Macduff Everton
<< Back to Robb Report, July 2013

El Encanto opened in 1918 with a collection of Craftsman-style cottages set on a hilltop overlooking the city and coast of Santa Barbara, Calif. Soon fashionable with Hollywood stars and other Angelenos, the hotel expanded to an adjacent parcel the following year and added several new bungalows in the then-popular Spanish Colonial Revival style. The property’s latest reinvention—a seven-year, $134 million undertaking by Orient-Express Hotels—has preserved its distinct architectural elements while bringing new life to this quintessential California retreat.

Reopened in March, El Encanto today features 92 respectfully restored and newly built bungalows that coexist peacefully on the 7-acre estate. Hardwood floors and plantation-style shutters adorn the Craftsman units, while braided-leather headboards and wrought-iron details accent the Spanish Colonial Revival accommodations.

The hotel is located above a Spanish Colonial original, the Santa Barbara Mission, in the city’s Riviera neighborhood, which guests can explore on complimentary electric bicycles equipped with picnic-toting baskets. The grounds themselves are also ripe for discovery, with brick paths meandering through gardens, past a lily pond, and out to the property’s new infinity-edge pool. In the Craftsman-style main building, which includes a spa with seven treatment rooms, guests and locals enjoy cuisine by the French chef Patrice Martineau accompanied by eucalyptus-top views to the city and sea below. El Encanto, 805.845.5800, www.orient-express.com

From Around the Web...
From Hawaii to Virginia to New York, here’s where to go during this year’s U.S. holiday weekends…
Yellowstone Club in Montana features over 2,200 acres of private ski terrain just for homeowners…
Photo by Wildestanimal/Getty Images
A biology professor at Brown University finally makes it to Darwin’s paradise…
Photo by Andrew Plumptre/Getty Images;
Adventurers can go on their own safari in Rwanda through Abercrombie & Kent tour company…
When traveling to Chicago for America’ Cup this June, stay in one of these four exceptional hotels…
Photo by Jennifer Cawley
The famed surfer’s signature line will be available exclusively at One&Only Resorts…
Photo by Mila Bridger
The first Dawn off the line commanded $750,000 at Florida’s famed charity wine auction…
Five classic New York City hotels for a perfect stay during the races…
From Whistler to the Alps, reach new heights with these superlative heli-ski programs…
Photo by Evan Joseph
Guests can customize the color palette and request their favorite linens…