Santa Barbara's Bacara Resort Feels Like Spain in California

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara sits right on the bluff overlooking the ocean
The Ritz-Carlton Bacara sits right on the bluff overlooking the ocean | © The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
With its Spanish-style architecture and ocean views, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, in Santa Barbara, brings a bit of the Mediterranean to Southern California.

Located on 78 acres of beachfront property, the Bacara Resort has been a luxury retreat since it first opened in 2000. In the Fall of 2017, it was rebranded as a Ritz-Carlton property, following a multi-million dollar renovation. The renovations preserved the red tile roofs and the white stucco walls that characterize the Spanish colonial design of the resort’s villas while providing some much-needed upgrades.

The resort at sunrise © The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

The hotel’s 358 rooms each have a wrought-iron balcony that overlooks either the ocean or the gardens. The rooms are also outfitted with Mediterranean-style décor, complete with terracotta floors and blue accents.

Room with an ocean view © The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Nestled between the Santa Ynez mountains and the ocean, the resort is minutes away from downtown Santa Barbara, and boasts two of its own private beaches. Despite its proximity to the city, it’s seemingly designed to make you never want to leave. There are three saltwater pools, a 42,000-square-foot spa, a private hiking trail, and five on-site restaurants.

Two of the resort's three saltwater pools © The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

The restaurants range from the more casual Blend coffee shop to Angel Oak, a steakhouse with an ocean view (naturally). Given its proximity to the area’s wine region—and in keeping with the Mediterranean vibes—the resort has its own extensive wine cellar, which holds more than 12,000 bottles. There is also an on-site tasting room.

The 42,000-square-foot spa © The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

The spa includes a redwood sauna, eucalyptus steam room, rooftop terrace, and an adult-only pool. In line with the Mediterranean theme yet again, the spa uses products by Barcelona brand Natura Bisse for their facials. For guests looking to maximize their time inhaling the fresh ocean air, the Pacific Breeze massage is done on the rooftop terrace. Sparkling wine is included.