Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
In affluent Montecito, a short drive from downtown Santa Barbara
The San Ysidro Ranch is located in Montecito, an affluent community of the rich and famous known for its gorgeous landscapes. The town's famous Upper Village sports its own high-end boutiques, upscale dining, and top-tier spas, so there's very little reason to venture back to downtown Santa Barbara (which is only a 15-minute drive away). The town provides easy access to miles of hiking trails in the Santa Ynez Mountains and world-famous golfing, and is a short drive to beaches.
Romantic and charming luxury retreat for couples
San Ysidro Ranch was built on 500 sprawling acres of Montecito's wine country. The garden grounds are pristinely kept and lovingly landscaped with winding paths, fragrant gardens, and organic herb beds. This is where JFK and Jackie spent part of their honeymoon and current Hollywood royalty can be spotted here regularly as well. Standalone bungalow-style cottages dot the property, as do hiking trails. Regular renovations keep the property looking up-to-date and manicured. There's nothing over-the-top opulent or splashy here, but the luxury is evident in terms of stylish design and low-key charm. The lobby includes hardwood floors, leather sofas and chairs, and Oriental rugs. Kids are welcome here, but they're a rare sight.
Italian linens, Nespresso coffeemakers, fireplaces, and Persian rugs -- some with private whirlpools
It would be easy to check into San Ysidro Ranch and never leave the room. Each of the 41 individually decorated and lovingly designed rooms, suites, and cottages are built into charming bungalows and complete with working stone or brick fireplaces; some have stoves. King-size canopy beds are covered in soft Italian linens. Antique furniture and Persian rugs look lovely, even with modern touches like Nespresso coffeemakers and flat-screen TVs. Some units have private yards with whirlpool tubs. The Oak Grove-San Ysidro Creek Cottage has a beautiful all-white bathroom with a deep soaking tub, light wooden beam ceilings, plush bathrobes, and matching pedestal sinks. Bvlgari toiletries are a nice touch. Wi-Fi is free in all of the units. Room service is available, adding to the overall private feeling of a romantic hideaway.
The Stonehouse, Plow & Angel, in-room spa services, and heated swimming pool
Features at San Ysidro Ranch have almost everything a luxury traveler would except on a romantic getaway. One niggling exception is the lack of a proper spa on the property, though in-room spa services are available. Breakfast isn't included in the room price, but there are two on-site dining options: The Stonehouse and Plow & Angel. The former offers lunch (closed on Monday and Tuesday), Sunday Champagne brunch, and daily dinner. Plow & Angel serves dinner and a nightly bar service, with later hours on weekends. California-style cuisine includes tapas, steaks, and gourmet comfort food -- usually with seasonal ingredients and herbs grown on-site. The year-round, heated outdoor swimming pool isn't enormous, but it is chic and provides comfy sun loungers. A renovated fitness center is bright-and-airy and provides indoor and outdoor cardio machines, along with strength-training equipment and yoga classes. Pets are welcome, with limitations, and there's a steep daily fee of $100 that includes a welcome bone and a beanie-baby toy. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.
San Ysidro Ranch is one of the most exclusive, romantic luxury options in not just California, but the entire country. The grounds are stunningly beautiful, with mountain views, fresh air, and a secluded location in a well-heeled neighborhood. The cottage-style units are individually furnished with stone fireplaces and pour-poster canopy beds; some have private outdoor whirlpool tubs. A chic swimming pool and charming Californian cuisine restaurant set in a flowering garden have attracted everyone from JFK and Jackie to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. Some guests argue the experience doesn't justify the high price tags, but for honeymooners or couples, it's undeniably a first-class option.