Bliss Out at Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara

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If I were a dog, I’d want to stay at The Ritz Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Haskell’s Beach is steps from the hotel. There’s plenty of green grass for strolling and rolling on the 78 acre property and a plush pet bed awaits, alongside a cute dog dish and water bowl. But I’m not a dog and I wasn’t traveling with my four-legged friend. However, I was thrilled to be staying at this upscale Santa Barbara resort.

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Technically, The Ritz Carlton Bacara is located outside of Santa Barbara in Goleta, California, but hotel guests are a stones throw away from the beachside city. I didn’t spot Oprah Winfrey out and about during my weekend stay, but there were plenty of guests, like me, who were happy to be kicking back in the sunshine in January. Yes, January! It was the ideal time to visit this coastal paradise. No crowds, warm water in your choice of three swimming pools and an award-winning spa that is open to all hotel guests.

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Our village garden king room was on the third floor of villa 6. While it was listed as a garden view, it did offer a nice peek of the ocean with sunrise and sunset views enjoyed from our balcony. Our room came with a fireplace, but I don’t see this room benefit getting a lot of use. Instead, hang out by the adult-only pool or join in on a water aerobics class at the pool. There are many fitness classes offered (for an additional fee.) While there is a resort fee of $27 (check the website for current prices) that charge includes a bottle of Santa Barbara wine, access to the fitness center and spa, as well as wifi.

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The staff couldn’t be more welcoming at this Southern California hotel. I noticed a lot of repeat guests and when I mentioned on Facebook that I was headed down here, a lot of my friends chimed in with high marks for the privately-owned hotel. I loved the Spanish colonial architecture design of the resort, yet appreciated the high tech touches in the hotel rooms. All 300+ rooms, villas and suites feature iPad minis, climate controlled rooms and plenty of electrical outlets.

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We didn’t dine on property, but there were plenty of restaurant options from champagne at Bacara Bar or drinks at Foley Wine Tasting Room, to the Bistro, Spa Cafe and Ocean House (which was being renovated during our visit.) Ours was a quick trip, so no time for a spa service except a soak in the indoor Jacuzzi. Guests also have access to the redwood sauna, eucalyptus steam room, whirlpool, lounge areas and some complimentary fitness classes.

Rates range from $400-$700 for superior room rates. You’ll need to check the website for current pricing, depending on the season and room type selected. If you opt to travel with your dog, there is a one-time $150 pet fee. Make reservations online with the hotel or use an online booking site such as Priceline  to make your reservation.

Review and photos by Nancy D. Brown, who was hosted at the resort as a result of winning a prize from Visit Santa Barbara

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