Ritz-Carlton Bacara – Seaside Luxury in Santa Barbara
Are you up for an adventure on the California Coast? If you want to stay at the best beach property on the Central Coast, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara is a truly magnificent property that will not disappoint.
Herve Humler, the co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton, has built a premier brand of over 100 hotels, providing jobs in glorious places for 41,000 employees. Those who frequently travel in luxury, agree that the Ritz-Carlton is, undeniably, one of the most renowned brands in the world and the reasons are plenty.
It is located at 8301 Hollister Avenue in Santa Barbara but is reminiscent of Tuscany. Italian-style, Mediterranean villas grace this beautiful beachfront property.
You will be in awe, the moment you enter the lobby at the top of the hill. It is grand, in every sense of the word. The beauty of this place is jaw-dropping. Massive displays of fresh flowers that reach for the sky are as big as my first car.
The staff is exceptional and it doesn’t hurt that you are greeted with a flute of sparkling wine or Sangria at sunset. When you exit the lobby, golf carts are available to take you to your villa.
There are three pools on the property, two are family-friendly and next to each other and one adult pool is set away in a quiet area, in front of the Spa. The main pools are multiple levels, slanted downward, facing towards the Pacific Ocean.
At the pool, the signature cocktail menu has everything from classic Moscow Mule’s, to Specialty drinks, like the Frozen Creamsicle, which is made with Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Disaranno Amaretto, Mango Puree, and vanilla ice cream. Local bass ceviche, crispy shrimp with lemon and chipotle aioli and chorizo, are a couple of my favorite items on the snack menu.
The hotel is dog-friendly and I’m impressed by how this property expertly and warmly accommodates romantic getaways, corporate retreats, and the giggles and laughter of children, punctuate the point that it’s a perfect destination for young families.
As you wind your way down to the beach, you’ll be mesmerized by the pristine landscape, beautiful outdoor restaurants, nice bar, and smell the clean ocean breeze. Walking past the magnificent, multi-story villas, you’ll appreciate the towering palm trees, bird of paradise, with giant black and orange blooms and stunning displays of tropical plants and purple jacaranda trees, leaving a carpet of purple petals across the landscape and flowers.
When you reach the beach, you can bronze your skin or simply take a stroll with your cherished companions, down the long stretch of sandy white beach in paradise.
At the top of the hill, the Angel Oak Restaurant, has indoor and outdoor seating, with amazing panoramic views of the crystal blue Pacific Ocean. It’s a casual, yet elegant restaurant, offering remarkable food and an impressive wine collection. Elegantly understated. Steaming, fresh-baked, gluten-free brioche was brought to our table, along with softened butter. Coconut Thai Bisque Soup with Lobster was a taste bud sensation. I picked the 2014 Justin Isosceles, to pair with a dry-aged, New York Steak that was beyond flavorful.
Is it just me, or do you find that when you eat a lot the night before, you’re even hungrier than normal the next morning? That’s not a problem at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. They offer an incredible brunch, seven days a week. The brunch is offered indoors or on the beautiful, spacious, outdoor patio with ocean, garden, and villa views.
Even dining inside offers excellent ocean and beautiful mountain views. The breakfast buffet includes sensational pastries, lox, fresh meats, and more types of cheese than I could count, eggs, made-to-order omelets, pancakes, French Toast and waffles, Apple-smoked bacon, and even turkey sausage. The fruit selection is immense, with many types of sweet berries, multiple types of dried fruits, nuts and melons, and beautiful displays of yogurts. Enough already. I’m hungry again, just thinking about it.
Guests are treated like royalty. I must have stayed too long because I want to be addressed as “your Highness.”
(Donna Polizzi is a travel writer and founder of Keys 2 The Coast. Keys 2 The Coast is a trusted travel resource for the California Central Coast and Beyond. We share our favorite places to “Wine, Dine, and Explore.” Visit Keys2theCoast.Com or Facebook Keys2TheCoast.)