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El Encanto Santa Barbara Soft Opening

El Encanto Santa Barbara Soft Opening

Old Nov 30, 12, 10:01 am
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El Encanto Santa Barbara Soft Opening

Today's Montecito Journal is reporting that Jim and Shirley Sherwood (founders of Orient Express) were in Santa Barbara to inspect the long closed El Encanto. The article (not available online yet) provides an interesting biography of the Sherwoods as well as mentioning that when complete the total cost will have been $1.0 million USD per room for the 92 key property (other sources have said in the past that it was a bit more). In terms of room count it is quite a bit larger than the nearby San Ysidro Ranch but I would assume they would compete. It was previously reported that "Laura McIver" has been hired as the general manager. The article that gave that information provided virtually no resume for her, only stating that she was hired away from Kimpton's Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara. Apparently they wanted someone with local experience. That said, the operations and service goals of the El Encanto I would hope would be many levels higher than The Canary. Soft opening is targeted for March with a grand opening in "May or June". I have not heard who is heading up the dining operations. The view from the enlarged dining room and deck are wonderful. Hopefully the food and service will match.

Last edited by peter11; Nov 30, 12 at 10:06 am Reason: 92 rooms...not 97
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Old Dec 1, 12, 11:40 am
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Interesting to be sure.

F&B will be what to watch.
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Old Jan 11, 13, 9:48 am
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EL ENCANTO NAMES EXECUTIVE CHEF PATRICE MARTINEAU

Highly Anticipated Opening Will Unveil a Culinary Icon on the West Coast

SANTA BARBARA, CA (January 9, 2013) – Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. announced the appointment of Executive Chef Patrice Martineau for El Encanto. Originally from Troyes, France, Martineau brings international and national award-winning experience to the iconic Santa Barbara property, scheduled to re-open in March 2013 as the only West Coast hotel under the luxurious Orient-Express portfolio. Set to become a culinary destination, El Encanto will incorporate the produce and seafood of the Santa Barbara region into the wonderfully inventive French and Asian inspired “California Coastal Cuisine,” highlighting Chef Martineau’s experience in Tokyo, London and New York City....

...Prior to joining El Encanto, Chef Martineau was the Chef De Cuisine at PETER at THE PENINSULA TOKYO....

Here's the link to the full article/press release: http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/n...to-names-chef/

(Apparently from a hotel press release, which I have edited to better conform to FT terms of service. RichardInSF, moderator, luxury hotels.)

Last edited by peter11; Jan 16, 13 at 1:07 am Reason: Shortened to conform to FT TOS restricting full quotes of press releases/news items
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Old Jan 11, 13, 10:52 am
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There have been some packages available on Luxurylink.com for at least the last month they start at $882 for 2 nights, but with available coupons your net should be around $800
http://www.luxurylink.com/fivestar/h...nia/el-encanto
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Old Mar 19, 13, 12:28 pm
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Now open (soft opening)! However, driving around the neighborhood last week there were so many contractor's trucks that my guess is that they are still going to be working on it for another few weeks. It does look fantastic and as a local I think the location and appeal of the property is very competative with Four Seasons Biltmore and the San Ysidro Ranch. The Bacara (which was sold again a couple of weeks ago), is not really even in Santa Barbara.....strange location and looks like a condo to my eye.
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Old Mar 19, 13, 12:33 pm
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The picture in this LA Times article suggests the dining table was sourced from Pier 1 Imports! Awful!


By Mary ForgioneLos Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
March 19, 2013, 8:15 a.m.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/...,7129254.story

El Encanto is back -- with a new spa, new ballroom and its own Holstein cow.

The historic hideaway in the Santa Barbara hills hasn't gone Farmville but it has undergone a "meticulous restoration" by Orient-Express Hotels, marking the luxury brand's first property in the West. The hotel reopened Monday to guests with 92 bungalows that overlook the city and the ocean. The official public opening isn't until Friday. (Sneak a peek with this El Encanto photo gallery.)

Orient-Express spent $134 million and seven years restoring the hotel in keeping with its California Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival styles, according to a company spokeswoman. The hotel, which opened its doors in 1918, sits on 7 acres in the city's Riviera neighborhood and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"Orient-Express has worked to refurbish the bungalows and main building in accordance to stringent historical regulations as well as in an environmentally sensitive way," a spokeswoman says in an email.

"It's a gorgeous, historic property ... its going to be our Chateau Marmont," Michelle Rodriguez of Santa Barbara's tourism agency says, referring to the West Hollywood hotel. Rodriguez says people from all over, even a journalist from Beijing, have been asking about the launch of the new El Encanto.

So what's new? The hardwood floors, plantation-style shutters and private patios for each bungalow and bungalow suite, for starters. The existing pool was repositioned, and a gym and ballroom were added too. A new spa was also added with seven treatment rooms.

What's not so new? The gardens and the Lily Pond, a centerpiece of a quiet refuge at the site, have been carefully kept faithful to the original. The restaurant with knockout views re-creates the hotel's signature Floating Island dessert (a meringue and creme anglaise affair) that dates to 1920.

There are also electric bikes for guests to go tooling around Santa Barbara. And then there's the cow, Ellie, who will provide fresh milk for homemade cheeses at the hotel.

Rates start at $525 a night including tax. As an introductory package, guests who reserve the Enchanted Upgrade package available through May 31 (except Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27) will receive an upgrade.

Contact: El Encanto, 800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara; (805) 845-5800.

Last edited by peter11; Mar 19, 13 at 1:23 pm Reason: I can spell, but I can't type!
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Old Mar 20, 13, 8:09 pm
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We will be staying in SB in December for a week and I was in the process of re-booking FS SB, but am now looking at this hotel. Which would you choose? Is this one Virtuoso?

Thanks
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Old Mar 23, 13, 8:04 pm
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Originally Posted by carls888 View Post
We will be staying in SB in December for a week and I was in the process of re-booking FS SB, but am now looking at this hotel. Which would you choose? Is this one Virtuoso?

Thanks
I believe that both Four Seasons and SY Ranch are Virtuoso. Four Seasons can, of course, be booked through a FS Preferred Parntner (DavidO for example) for some good perks. It does not seem that El Encanto has joined Virtuoso yet. FS is by the beach and includes the use of the beachside Coral Casino (a beach club with nice facilities). The rooms, in my opinion, can be a bit dark because the landscaping is so heavy (especially on the ground floor). That said, the beach locaiton, easy biking distance to Coast village Road as well as the beach areas along Cabrillo Boulevard make it very attractive. The property is stunning too.

I have not been up to El Encanto yet. It sits on a hill overlooking the city. It is well located in my opinion but is, of course, not a beach property. They reportedly have electric bikes available to tour the city on. It is quite close to the old mission as well as downtown. The beach is probably 3 miles.

As someone mentioned above there were (are?) some good deals to be hand on Luxury Link. All that said it remains to be seen if the service levels and the quality of the property live up to the expectation. If you want a sure thing I'd say FS is the way to go. If you're willing to take a chance El Encanto I think looks very attractive and romantic.
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Old Mar 23, 13, 8:41 pm
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I love the views from the El Encanto. I hope the refurbished cottages will finally bring this property to it's full potential.
I stayed in the Mariposa Suite at the FS in Nov. The suite was lovely but had several issues with lights, steam shower and espresso maker not working. The service was friendly but really slow and a bit clueless The restaurants at the Coral Casino have abbreviated hours on mon and tues of which I was not apprised.
The grounds are beautiful and it's nice to be so close to the beach (across the street) and to sleep to the sound of the pounding surf.
I enjoyed my FS stay but felt a little short changed in value. I might return to the FS but
think I'll give the El Encanto a try first.
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Old Apr 6, 13, 12:46 pm
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They really did a fantastic job and it's nice to have it back after so many years.

Before and after pics: http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?nid=111682
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Old Jul 22, 13, 10:16 am
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Any recent stays?

This hotel is now in the Centurion FHR list.

I have one night booked next week, just wondering if it's worth the price. They are charging me $35 for each of my dogs, which seems ridiculous when I'm paying $600+ per night. Amenity is $100 property credit.

The FS doesn't charge for the dogs, and I've always had good experiences there, but they had to upsell me for a dog friendly room, so the price was comparable.
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Old Jul 22, 13, 9:06 pm
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I would be surprised if the service levels are comparable with FS... However, the room product looks similar. The FS SB is one of my favorite California hotels...

The location of the FS is also better... I enjoy the walk down the path to the beach below the hotel ..

I have always found Orient Express to be a mixed bag...
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Old Jul 24, 13, 6:52 am
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Originally Posted by Blackbook View Post
I would be surprised if the service levels are comparable with FS... However, the room product looks similar. The FS SB is one of my favorite California hotels...

The location of the FS is also better... I enjoy the walk down the path to the beach below the hotel ..

I have always found Orient Express to be a mixed bag...
Not much of a challenge to beat service levels at FS Santa Barbara - it is hardly true FS standard, IMHO. I love the location and the gardens, but the food is awful!
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Old Sep 9, 13, 10:40 pm
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Hi
has anyone stayed here yet? We are booked again at the FS SB, but I have been eyeing this and wondering how it is.
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Old Sep 11, 13, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
but the food is awful!
Really? Itīs wasnīt over the top at our stay but at least pretty good.
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