Santa Barbara

Drive-3.5 hrs   July Temp-73°/58°

El Encanto
El Encanto

This clean coastal town never fails to charm with its rolling hills, canopied equestrian trails, and wine country backyard. The iconic El Encanto once again welcomes travelers, after being shuttered for seven years and receiving a $134 mill restoration by Orient-Express. The rarefied hotel with its 92 California-style bungalows sprawls over a series of lush gardens. A Hollywood-studded past, Damien Hirst diamond art, Frank Sintara-esque crooner in the lobby, and oceanview patio dining add to the allure. Up the road at Bacara, look for new ocean-themed spa treatments and wine offerings. Its 12,000-bottle cellar will inspire oenophiles, as will its new tasting room, featuring the diverse portfolio of Foley Family Wines. A secret wine tour exclusive to resort guests delivers “soil-to-bottle” experiences, barrel tastings, and rock star access to private estates like Firestone, Foley, and Lincourt vineyards. Downtown in the artsy “Funk Zone,” a new collaborative space is set to open this summer, filling the former warehouses and historic buildings with Lucky Penny, an artisan bakery and wood-fired pizza eatery; gourmet resto The Lark; a beer garden by Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company; two new wine tasting rooms; and the Caveau Wine Bar & Merchant, helmed by Brian McClintic, the Master Sommelier featured in the documentary SOMM.

—Ann Wycoff

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