By Sandra Ramani / September 24, 2013

escapes 1

Bungalow Charm
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.

Sandra Ramani

Sandra Ramani

Senior Contributing Editor at Organic Spa Magazine
In addition to serving as OSM’s Senior Contributing Editor, writer/editor Sandra Ramani covers travel, wellness, and lifestyle topics for such publications as Travel + Leisure, Robb Report, Premier Traveler, AFAR, Bridal Guide, Elite Traveler, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also the author of “Day Trips from Dallas / Fort Worth,” now in its second edition. Recent assignments have found her sleeping in the Sahara, hopping helicopters in New Zealand, and making this new friend in Bali.
Sandra Ramani

Latest posts by Sandra Ramani (see all)