Spanish Colonial wonder with a view

181 Rooms / 26 Suites

At Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, it’s hard to say which is more beautiful: the gorgeous hotel or the view looking out of it. Situated just yards from Montecito’s Butterfly Beach with consummate panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and four of the Channel Islands lining the horizon, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel sits in a picturesque locale. Though the hotel itself is just as stunning. Built in 1927, the original coffered ceilings and saltillo floor tile in the lobby reflect the Spanish Colonial Revival design, red bougainvillea vines grow up white walls in a gracious Spanish hacienda, and red-tiled roofs and colorful Mexican tiles are everywhere.

The Amenities

As you would expect, there are a plethora of amenities, including three lighted tennis courts (a pro can be provided, too). If volleyball is your game, let the Four Seasons arrange a private lesson with two-time Olympian Todd Rogers at a nearby beach. The luxury hotel’s Four-Star spa includes a state-of-the-art workout room. But perhaps the best perk is the next-door Coral Casino, which isn't a casino at all but a private cabana and beach club with an Olympic-sized pool within yards of the beach and one of Santa Barbara’s best restaurants, Tydes, serving modern California cuisine. Exclusive access to the pool and cabanas is available to those who book Premier and Executive rooms. However, dinner at Tydes is open to all guests of the Four Seasons. Otherwise, if you reserve Superior or Deluxe accommodations, entry to the Coral Casino is $200 a day. Be sure to visit the Ty Lounge, located adjacent to the hotel lobby, which opens at 3 p.m. daily with live music on Fridays and Saturdays and a Spanish guitar player on Wednesdays (a great mood-setter for the menu of tapas and Spanish wines). The onyx back bar is lit like butterscotch, and the low-key gathering spot has a nice patio overlooking the ocean.

The Rooms

Ranging from 350 to 2,000 square feet, all of the rooms have hand stenciling around the entrance. Of the 207 rooms and suites, 11 give you an ocean vista. Each is different in terms of décor and color, but thematically stays true to simple, elegant furnishings; a subdued color palette of golds, greens and white; and open floor plans. Rooms also have deep soaking tubs, while suites come with self-heating floors. (Tip: All of the beds were made specifically for the Four Seasons, and the tops are interchangeable; you can request plush or firm.)

For the most spacious accommodations, opt for one of the 12 cottages, which all have wood floors. This includes the Ty Warner Cottage — the presidential suite — which was once the home of the former owner. A huge living area is its most impressive space, second only to the back patio with a newly built plunge pool, capable of holding 12 people.

The Grounds

The Santa Barbara hotel’s 22 acres are filled with 2,000 different species of lush tropical plants and palms, including diverse trees like the pigmy date palm, Australian coral tree, Mexican weeping bamboo and African tulip tree. Learn more about the jasmine-filled greenery during an hour-long garden tour offered on Tuesdays. The Monte Vista lawn located in the back of the property provides a small putting green and separate croquet lawn, and it was the setting for a wedding on The Bachelor TV show in early 2014.