American Riviera Rising

Casey Hatfield-Chiotti | November 2, 2018 | Feature Features

Last winter's natural disasters left Santa Barbara and Montecito a shadow of what stood before, but the cities have re-emerged and are more luxurious than ever.
The artfully-designed Biltmore lobby

In April 2018, downtown Santa Barbara’s luxurious Hotel Californian, a 121-room hotel with Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture and modern Moroccan interiors by designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, celebrated its grand opening, a lavish affair complete with a concert by John Mayer. “It was a celebration of getting the hotel built, becoming part of the community and everything we weathered,” recalls Hotel Californian General Manager Warren Nocon. The new incarnation of the historic hotel that originally opened to the public in 1925 is one of a number of hotels in Santa Barbara and Montecito that saw its winter season impacted by the December 2017 Thomas Fire and the January mudslides.

After months of repair and healing, America’s Riviera, so-called for its white washed Mediterranean architecture, bougainvillea and mountain and sea vistas, has regained its footing. The much-anticipated Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, a 16-acre resort on the site of the former Miramar Beach Hotel, is scheduled to open in late 2018. When it debuts, guests will enjoy oceanfront suites with direct access to one of Santa Barbara’s most secluded beaches, two swimming pools and a ballroom with bespoke Baccarat crystal chandeliers. The glamorous Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, home to the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, reopened June 1st. This fall, the hotel will unveil the Anacapa Suite, a 2,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor suite with views of Butterfly Beach and a private plunge pool. In other luxury hotel news, Ritz-Carlton brought its sophisticated brand of luxury to the region last year when it took over the Bacara Resort, a 358-room hotel comprised of low rise villas with wrought iron balconies on 78 sparkly oceanfront acres while from its secluded hillside perch, the Belmond El Encanto is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a year of festivities including a vintage cocktail menu harkening back to the hotel’s early days.


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