El Encanto, located in the hills above Santa Barbara, CA has been a favorite resort of ours, and a celebrity hideaway, before it shut down several years ago. It has just reopened a limited number of rooms as an Orient-Express property after extensive renovations.
The history of this iconic resort goes back almost 100 years. The property, which comprises seven acres of lush gardens, has now been completely transformed in a multi-million renovation. The intimate new resort has only 70 spacious rooms and 22 suites in various configurations. As befitting an Orient-Express resort, El Encanto features great dining options (reserve in advance!), and a spa featuring 7 treatment rooms and 4,500 sq ft of space, and either marine-based or wine-related treatments.
Orient-Express, focused on service, wants to make 100% certain everything is working perfectly, which is why only a limited number of rooms are currently available. Every week, more will open, until every room is open by the week of 22 April. This is great getaway for Southern Californians to consider and book now, and weekends in spring and thru summer are extremely popular and will be hard to get. (Weekend rates are higher than mid-week.)
(In the interest of transparency, the El Encanto sales office is based in the same building as our headquarters office.) What is the 'inside track' on rooms and suites?: The starting category are the superior rooms, at 350 square feet, followed by Deluxe and Premier.
The varying suites are very popular and in high demand. Superior suites offer a separate living room with a queen-sized sofa bed (perfect for up to 2 small children). Within the suites, the most sought-after room type seems to be the "premier suite" category, at 650 sq ft of indoor space + patio. Note - not all patios are created equal. One of the suites has a patio with a lot of natural light, another is completely covered and in the shade. Make sure you make your wishes known at time of booking, so we can find the suite that is right for you. At the top of the room category list are the Specialty suites, with 800-1,000 square feet of space, each one unique.
If you have kids along, while you're enjoying the spa perhaps, we might suggest the cooking class for children with one of the chefs on property. How fun is that? Contact your TravelStore expert for reservations and VIP treatment.