Why Santa Barbara Keeps Getting Better

A storied grand hotel, a Parisian-inspired café and one lushly appointed garden



Bustling neighborhoods, openings and reopenings, and friendly faces out and about — there’s never been a better time to visit the American Riviera. “It’s our special place and becoming known to the world,” says Jim Rosenfield, owner of the Montecito Country Mart.



In July, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara debuted the 4,000-square-foot Ty Warner Villa, complete with a 180-degree view of Butterfly Beach and the Channel Islands. And while no guest would ever want or need a reason to leave the villa, posting up at the resort’s neighboring Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club for an evening is always an option. Meanwhile, Belmond El Encanto, which has a rich history as a retreat for Hollywood elite, marked its centennial last year; the famed San Ysidro Ranch has reopened following the destruction ravaged by the Thomas Fire and mudslides; and Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito is a picture-perfect, newly minted retreat for those who want to stay seaside.



The rustic-luxe Mart boasts farm-to-table Bettina, European-style coffee shop Caffe Luxxe, and Merci, a spot to enjoy Parisian eats and sip rosé alfresco. On State Street, things are hot and spicy at Bibi Ji, where partners Alejandro Medina and Rajat Parr put a creative spin on Indian cuisine in a cool, urban setting. And the Funk Zone’s Hotel Californian recently unveiled Djinn, its Morrocan-inspired library bar and hideaway lounge serving up craft cocktails and evening entertainment.



Take home a striped Santa Barbara towel at Riviera Towel Company, peruse more than 100 brands of children’s clothing at Poppy Store and take your time meandering, State Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, which boasts a wealth of upscale and trendy boutiques.



Wander the sprawling Ganna Walska Lotusland, which just recently unveiled its newly renovated — and exquisite — Japanese garden.


Feature image: The poolside bar at FOUR SEASONS RESORT THE BILTMORE SANTA BARBARA. Photo courtesy of Four Seasons.


This story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of C Magazine and has been updated as of Aug. 30, 2019.

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