Where to eat, sleep and sunbathe on the American Riviera
Words by JAKE HEDDAEUS
There’s a good reason why Montecito is dubbed the American Riviera. Located in Santa Barbara County, the town has welcomed tourism for over 150 years, popular for its stunning sedimentary mountains, rolling hills and scenic shorelines. But there’s more to Montecito than nature’s offering alone — the lifestyle is further elevated by its long-standing wine culture, bustling culinary scene, elevated retail concepts and world-leading hotels. No wonder Oprah and, more recently, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have taken up residence here.
A two-day getaway can be as relaxing or exploratory as you wish. The hiking ranges from scenic ambles to challenging ascents. The gardens of Lotusland are a must at any time of the year, and the historic Mission town of Santa Barbara is a mere 10-minute drive away. For an unforgettable 48 hours, we’ve curated a list of where to stay, eat, shop and explore in Montecito and the surrounding areas. To be a Montecitan is a treat, even if only for a weekend.
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Beach House Terrace Suite at ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH.
Rosewood Miramar Beach
Upon arriving at the palatial Rosewood Miramar Beach, you may question whether it’s necessary to leave the property at all during your trip. Home to three restaurants and three bars, luxury retail offerings like Goop and James Perse, a pool for families and another for adults, and beach access with full lounger service, you could ostensibly have all your shopping, leisure and gastronomy needs met without ever stepping foot off the grounds.
The recently renovated resort sits on 16 acres of storied land: The property has been host to hospitality outposts since the late 1800s until 1998, where it sat vacant for a decade when it was acquired by real estate developer extraordinaire Rick Caruso. Under Caruso’s leadership, no detail went unnoticed, from the Manor Bar’s regal wood panel walls and worn leather club chairs to the pastel-hued Fiats with wicker seats for guest transport. The resort opened in 2019, quickly establishing itself as the area’s premier property to stay, swim, savor and sip. Accommodations include bungalows in the garden that feel more like a cozy cottage than a hotel room, and serene beachfront studios for waking up to crashing waves in lieu of an alarm clock. 1759 S. Jameson Lane, Montecito, 805-900-8388.
The brand-new STUDIO C pop-up at Montecito Country Mart. Photo by Studio Arna.
Curated by the editors C Magazine, Studio C is a concept store that brings together the very best of style, design and beauty from California makers. Now open seven days a week at Montecito Country Mart, the space is home to Golden State darlings — uncover fashion by Rodarte and Brock Collection, hats by Nick Fouquet and Teressa Foglia, and beauty by Vintner’s Daughter and Jillian Dempsey. Discovering new favorites is inevitable with every visit as new products arrive weekly. Studio C, Montecito Country Mart, 1016 Coast Village Rd., Unit 1014D, Montecito.
THE WELL. Photo by Sam Frost.
The Well Summerland
A vintage decor lover’s dream land, The Well is the latest retail outpost in Summerland opened by Shane Brown, the founder of Big Daddy’s antiques based in Los Angeles. The indoor-outdoor space occupies an entire block, offering up large-scale and custom furniture pieces sourced from Europe, rustic garden planters and a myriad of home decor and vintage art pieces. 2350 Lillie Ave., Santa Barbara.
Small but mighty, the Mate Gallery concept brings the best of New England to The Golden State. Vintage treasures, such as out-of-print books, nautical flags, oil paintings and maritime trinkets allow Californians to bring a bit of East Coast preppy style into their SoCal homes. 1024 Coast Village Road, Santa Barbara, 805-895-6283.
K. Frank interior. Photo by Azaria Chavira.
Luxury men’s and women’s boutique K. Frank in Montecito’s Coast Village showcases a California-friendly edit of clothing, accessories and shoes, from sneakers by Golden Goose and Common projects] to sunglasses by Garrett Leight, and ready-to-wear by A.L.C, Jonathan Simkhai and Veronica Beard. 1150 Coast Village Road, Santa Barbara, 805-560-7424.
Avocado Toast at MALIBU FARM.
Malibu Farm at Miramar
Helene Henderson’s Malibu Farm (23000 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, 310-456-1112) has made its way up the coast and landed at the Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel. Staying true to its original form, this outpost’s menu is filled with breakfast options with a farm-to-table spin, such as French toast topped with cherry compote and seasonal berries to the fried egg sandwich, which includes an unexpected pop of flavor via lettuce, tomato and pickles. 1759 S. Jameson Lane, Montecito, 805-900-8388.
Clockwise from top: Banana pecan butter with honey; yogurt and seasonal fruit; over-easy egg with lardon; California shakshuka; and a Jerusalem board by LEELA CYD at FIELD + FORT. Photo by Leela Cyd.
Cafe Feast at Field + Fort
A go-to spot for a casual breakfast or lunch in Summerland, a town just south of Montecito, the cafe, called Feast, at Field + Fort offers familiar favorites with a twist, like citrusy avocado toast with hazelnut dukkah and daikon radish. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with the ham and cheese on a baguette served with potato chips. While you wait for your food, make your way into the retail section with its chic edit of antique, vintage and bespoke home and garden items. You’ll come in for a sandwich but you’ll probably leave with an antique stool or a copper watering can. 2580 Lillie Ave., Summerland, 805-770-7897.
Spaghetti able Polpette at TRE LUNE RISTORANTE AND BAR. Photo by Studio Arna.
Tre Lune Ristorante and Bar
This quaint trattoria located in Montecito’s Coast Village serves up honest Italian food that will transport you straight to the Med. With outdoor seating expanded down the sidewalk, the dining experience at Tre Lune is reminiscent of alfresco dining in Europe. Start with the grilled calamari served with potatoes and sauteed spinach before enjoying a plate of beef and pork ragu lasagna. 1151 Coast Village Road, Montecito, 805-969-2646.
The dining room at CARUSO’S.
The signature restaurant of the Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel, Caruso’s sits on a beachfront deck and almost makes you feel like you’re eating on a yacht. Chef Massimo Falsini offers a Southern Italian-inspired menu of local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, with options ranging from cacio e pepe and tagliatelle al ragu to mesquite grilled filet and potato-crusted halibut. The wine list has an extensive selection of local and international wines. 1759 S. Jameson Lane, Montecito, 805-900-8388.
FOLDED HILLS wines. Photo by Melissa Gidney.
Folded Hills Tasting Room
No trip to Montecito would be complete without a spot of wine tasting. Stop by the Folded Hills tasting room on Coast Village for sips of their delightfully fragrant Estate Lilly Rose, among other tasty options, like a grenache, syrah or G.S.M. blend. A family-owned wine company founded in 1998, Folded Hills harvests its grapes from its vineyards located in Gaviota along the central coast of California. 1294 Coast Village Road, 805-694-8086.
The Japanese Garden at GANNA WALSKA LOTUSLAND. Photo by Christy Gutzeit.
Ganna Walska Lotusland
Once the residence of Ganna Walska, the opera singer developed the 37-acre property into the majestic botanical gardens of Lotusland that are home to over 3,000 plants from around the world, from sun-loving cacti and succulents to lush ferns. Open to the public since 1993, the local treasure is a must visit for anyone passing through Santa Barbara, plant lover or otherwise. 695 Ashley Road, Santa Barbara, 805-969-3767.
A runner on Saddle Rock Trail. Photo by Montecito Trails Association.
Toro Canyon Park
When you’re needing a light workout and some fresh air, head to Toro Canyon to hike the milelong Gazebo Trail. Short and sweet, this satisfying hike leads to a gazebo perched atop the hill, which proves a serene place for a breezy meditation and to take in the views of nearby vineyards with a Pacific Ocean backdrop. 576 Toro Canyon Park, Santa Barbara, 805-969-3315.
A hiker pauses at an overlook along Rocky Pine Ridge Trail. Photo by Brianne Limani.
At 3.4 miles, this hike is more a workout than a leisurely stroll. The out-and-back trail located above Mission Canyon in Santa Barbara is dog-friendly and has some of the best panoramic views of abundant mountains, hillside homes and the open sea.
Feature image: The Cabana Pool at ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH.
This story was originally published July 2, 2020, and has been updated as of Aug. 18, 2020.
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