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January 12, 2013updated Jul 14, 2015

El Encanto Resoration Brings Glamour Back to California’s Once Star-Studded American Riviera

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Santa Barbara, California—Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

Located 90 minutes from Los Angeles on California’s American Riviera, Santa Barbara’s meticulously restored El Encanto will reopen in March 2013 as part of the luxurious and iconic Orient-Express portfolio. The early 20th-century property will recapture all the romance and glamour that once made it the favored getaway of Hollywood’s elite.

Nestled on seven acres of gloriously landscaped gardens with a historic trellised lined arbour and lily pond, El Encanto enjoys sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from its commanding hilltop perch. Following its reopening, the secluded retreat will feature 92 California-style bungalows, a beautifully appointed full service spa, a signature restaurant by Chef Patrice Martineau, a Santa Barbara-dedicated wine list, a sumptuous outdoor infinity edge swimming pool, a window-lined ballroom with private terrace and an array of outdoor event venues.

El Encanto’s 92 bungalows will consist of 70 rooms and 22 suites, with many offering individual design aspects such as cozy fireplaces and private patios or gardens for enjoying quiet afternoons and unspoiled reverie. Accommodations with sofa beds and interconnecting bungalows are available for families and larger parties. For a romantic getaway, The Hummingbird Suite transports guests to a world of their own, boasting 800 square feet of absolute privacy, replete with two patios and an outdoor shower.

Serving Californian coastal cuisine, indoor and outdoor dining will be available at El Encanto accompanied by stunning ocean views. The Dining Room will feature elegant yet relaxed indoor seating, while on warm evenings delicious fare can be enjoyed al fresco on The Terrace. Set within The Dining Room, The Wine Room is a private enclave for intimate celebrations and gatherings. Delicate Afternoon Tea and light bites will be served in The Lounge and a wide selection of drinks available to imbibe in The Bar.

Taking Californian cuisine to new levels, El Encanto will keep its own cow called Ellie. Housed on a farm in central California, Ellie’s milk will be used solely to make a special cheese for El Encanto. The cheese will be complemented by El Encanto’s own unpasteurized beer brewed nearby. The property’s own freshly roasted coffee and an on-site herb and vegetable garden will further strengthen El Encanto’s commitment to offering fresh locally sourced produce.

The Spa at El Encanto will feature seven spacious treatment rooms, including a couple’s room and a wet treatment room. Guests can revive with an assortment of seasonal, organic and specialty body and facial treatments that enchant as thoroughly as the hotel’s lush setting. Following treatments or workout in the Fitness Center, guests can take the short trip to Downtown Santa Barbara for an array of leisure activities, cultural pursuits and historic landmarks, including the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the El Presidio De Santa Barbara State Historic Park (an important archaeological site).

Sports and outdoor adventure activities are also available, including hiking, horseback riding, scuba diving and golf. Both wine connoisseurs and wine novices will delight in the surrounding wine country and many vineyards, to which El Encanto will be able to arrange tailored tours and tastings.

With its latest restoration, El Encanto is sure to leave you feeling like one of the many stars and starlets that once roamed its historic halls.

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