Originally opened in 1917, El Encanto (“The Charm”), was a favorite getaway of SoCal’s elite, including Old Hollywood stars who loved the privacy of the bungalow suites and the hilltop location overlooking Santa Barbara. Following its purchase by the Orient-Express brand, El Encanto underwent years of renovation before re-emerging this past spring. Much attention was paid to preservation (many of the Craftsman- and Mission-style bungalows are landmarked), and past guests will still find original architectural details and iconic elements like an original wishing well, lily pond with 100-year-old wisteria trees, and ocean views from the outdoor pool. New additions range from poshed-up interiors to dining options from Chef Patrice Martineau, whose signature French-Japanese-Californian menus rely on local produce and wines and herbs from the on-site hydroponic tower garden.
Also new is the 4,500 square-foot Spa, with seven treatment rooms and pedicure “thrones” with garden views. The spa’s theme is “ocean and vine,” and guests enjoy facials and body treatments with sea-mineral rich OSEA products, organic lines like Amala and Lotus Wei and a detoxifying Pinot and Cabernet Scrub from Santa Barbara-based Grapeseed Company, which has also been enlisted to create potions using ingredients found on the property—like citrus-basil and chamomile—for special seasonal treatments. elencanto.com