Rosewood Miramar Beach
1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito
There’s no way to sound cool about it: The opening of the Rosewood Miramar Beach has made us giddy. And it’s not just because we have a new store in the hotel—although to be honest, that’s a pretty big part of it. The hotel itself is stunning—a bright, airy refresh of a property that dates back to 1876. There’s history here (it was formerly the storied Miramar by the Sea), and so much beauty and comfort you won’t want to leave the property. Guest rooms are done up in easy-on-the-eyes shades of cream and blue, and each has a private terrace with comfy deck chairs made for lounging and ocean-gazing. If you’re coming with kids, go for a bungalow suite—the sunny-striped interiors are warm and inviting. Two pools and a beach concierge make staying put with a book and a cocktail all too easy. Once you’ve had your fun at the goop Sundries shop, there’s a thorough roster of activities, like whale watching, and a secret local surf spot to make use of the hotel’s second greatest asset: the ocean.
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
1260 Channel Dr., Montecito
There's not a lot to hate about this Four Seasons hotel: It's sited along Montecito's best beach, and it occupies a rambling set of Spanish Colonial bungalows and buildings that are lushly landscaped in a way that makes every room feel a bit like a hideaway. Though the on-site pool is lovely, hotel guests can pay a bit extra for access to the members-only Coral Casino Club right across the street, which boasts an Olympic-size swimming pool that's great for kids.
San Ysidro Ranch
900 San Ysidro Ln., Montecito
Inarguably, this is one of our favorite hotels in the world—we're not alone, either, as John and Jackie spent their honeymoon at SYR, and Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh tied the knot in the gardens. Set against the Santa Ynez Mountains, on an olive and lavender tree studded estate that was originally built as a citrus farm in the 19th century, you’ll find 41 secluded bungalows. Each cottage comes equipped with a fireplace, private patio (many have outdoor hot tubs and rain showers), and wonderful extras, like heated bathroom floors. Though it’s big with honeymooners, we never need a big reason to come, as it’s the type of place where the occasion is the stay. Among many other things, the ranch is famous for its $130 “Montecito Margarita” made with Don Julio Real Añejo Tequila and Grand Marnier 150th Anniversary—mixed with agave and lime. Situated in the farm’s former citrus packing house, the stone-walled restaurant offers either creek or ocean views. The menu focuses on fancy comfort food—and revolves around the offerings from the ranch’s gardens. Extra-Credit: The wineries of Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys are less…
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