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Four Seasons The Biltmore, Santa Barbara 
$$$$

1260 Channel Drive
Santa Barbara , California
Tel: 888 424 5866 (toll-free)
Tel: 805 969 2261
Fax: 805 565 8323
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Concierge.com's insider take:

In privileged Montecito, this exclusive Spanish colonial–style 207-room resort is more than a beachfront Four Seasons—it's been a glamorous Santa Barbara institution since opening as the Biltmore in 1927. A place where Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, Bing Crosby, and other Golden Age movie stars once played croquet on the front lawn, the hotel is now a gathering spot for locals (the Sunday brunch, oceanfront dining, and bar with live entertainment are big draws) and the resort of choice for visitors who want Santa Barbara's toniest beach getaway. Sweeping archways, heavy carved entry doors, colorful imported Spanish tile, and carved woodwork are renovated features of the original hacienda, but modern amenities abound, too, including a 10,000-square-foot spa. Only a sprawling green lawn and a road separate the hotel from Butterfly Beach. Revamped rooms feature Mission-style antiques, local art, more Spanish tile, decorative ironwork, rain showers and deep soaking tubs, 42-inch plasma-screen TVs with surround sound, DVD players, and broadband Internet. A botanical guide to the 44 exotic and rare plants in the resort's 22 acres of tropical and subtropical gardens is available at the concierge desk. Normally, guests are also allowed access to the private Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club next door, but the club is closed for renovations until summer 2007.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Surrounded by "lush vegetation," this resort built in Spanish Mission style consists of "rambling low buildings" with red-tile roofs and archways. All rooms have iron details and "beautiful tile work" in the spacious bathrooms, which also have radiant floor heating and steam showers. Get a lavender cornmeal exfoliation at the spa. Art Deco interiors and Mediterranean dishes at Tydes come with "gracious service and smiles" as well as "unbeatable panoramic coastline views."

(207 rooms)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 89.5
  • Activities: 82.7
  • Design: 92.2
  • Food: 87.1
  • Location: 91.6
  • Rooms: 92.2
  • Service: 91.0

Also appeared in the Gold List in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

Amenities: Beach, Golf, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

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