El Capitan Canyon
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Historical Traveler Reviews El Capitan Canyon Santa Barbara
If you want a 5 star hotel, then go get one! This is a CABIN
People, Relax alittle.
This place is not supposed to be an IN TOWN luxury hotel. As for being over priced: compared to what? You can stay at the Fess Parker Double Tree with 1000 other people, all next door to you for a LITTLE LESS, but maybe 30 dollars or so. El Capitan Canyon is a wonderful retreat. Yes, it's family friendly, but you don't have to talk to those people. My cabin, whether it's a trailer covered in wood or not, was CLEAN, RESTFUL. The bed was AWESOME. I SLEPT LIKE A LOG. There is no AC, so summer months can be difficult, but it always cools down at night. I found the store to be filled with useful items, and HEY, NO HOTEL'S SELF CONTAINED MARKET is a BARGAIN. I love thsi place. And I hate kids and I hate noise, and yet, I found peace and quiet, and a sense of being seperate. Plus, the staff are ubelievably helpful. I agree that it IS overpriced. I think they could stand to knock at least 10% off their prices. But, I love the place, have been twice, and loved it both times.
Really, really wonderful!!
For our 1 year anniversary my boyfriend planned a surprise trip to El Capitan Canyon. He had checked out tripadvisor and was a little nervous about the place after reading all the reviews. However I must say that we had a fabulous time. Yes you can hear the freeway but that is only if your up at the front of the resort, the resort itself goes back into the canyon for another mile and a half so just ask for a cabin farther back. Actually you can hear the ocean at night which is absolutly wonderful. The bed was comfortable and the jacuzzi tub was great, although the water pressure wasnt the best, but hey you are quasi-camping so what do you expect. So if anyone is planning a trip out to Santa Barbara and wants the feeling of camping without actually camping I think that El Capitan Canyon is great!
This place is awesome. Do not listen to these complainers ...
I planned this trip for 7 of my friends and I (all btwn the ages of 28-32) for August 2004. A few days before the trip, I read some of the awful reviews and almost cancelled. Luckily, I called the resort instead. Paul was great and made me feel a lot better so we decided to go. The place is such a nice getaway if you are from a city like LA. The cabins are small, but clean and well appointed. Beds are comfy. Bathroom is clean with no toilet / sewer problems and a big soaker tub. The small kitchenette area had enough space to store food for 4 ppl for one wknd. We spent our days hiking, playing frisbee on the lawn, BBQ-ing, playing cards out in the back. The beach is a ten minute walk. The 101 is close by but the noise is only audible at the front drive area. There are families and plenty of people but most are respectful and it is not too crowded. We spent the night grilling our dinner and sitting around the fire. EVERY single person in our group had a great time and would do it again. This is not camping and it is not cheap but a great place for city folk to unwind and feel like you are in nature. I would recommend it to anyone.
Smell of Sewer
My mom invited me for a three nights at El Capitan. The internet pictures are deceiving! Three nights turned into less than a half day. The area surrounding the cabins is very dry and bare. We had a cabin with no surrounding trees and the inside of the cabin was unbearable. Very hot during the daytime and cools off somewhat at night. Water does not exist in the "Creekside Cabin." We noticed a foul smell coming from the bathroom when we first arrived, but thought it would eventuallly get better.
I ended up leaving the cabin in the middle of the night due to the odor and driving into downtown Santa Barbara. We checked out the next day. The cabin is very small, the towels need to be replaced and the screens were torn on the windows, therefore the inside of the cabin was invaded by bugs. Take your money and stay at a luxury resort!
Know What You're Getting Into
El Capitan Canyon's mistake is billing itself as something it is not -- a semi-luxury wilderness retreat. The canvas tents and "cabins" (they're actually trailers with wood siding that makes them look like cabins) are very nicely decorated, hence the pretty pictures on the web site. But they are crunched together in crowded villages that give them a slight refugee camp feel. Don't come here seeking solitude.
If you do visit, bring a bike (or rent one) -- it's a 10-minute ride from the back of the canyon to the store, and a five-minute ride to the shower building. No cars allowed, except to drop off your bags. Mountain bikers and hikers will find a few decent trails, though most of the riding is steep and technical (lots of hike-a-bike). The cruisers that are available for rent are great for pedaling under the freeway to the beach bike path that runs for three or four miles to Refugio State Beach.
The store stocks everything from logo fleece to baby oil (for removing beach tar from your legs). The grill serves hearty, reasonably priced breakfasts and snacks, and the weekend barbecues aren't bad.
Be sure to pack some ear plugs since quite a few visitors disregard the quiet hours. Bug spray is a good idea, too. Bottom line: this is camping with a comfy bed and an inflated price tag.
I read an article on El Capitan Canyon in Travel and Leisure and it
looked like a different, interesting place to stay and get away and
relax. I booked a king cabin for one night for a very quite get away
for my boyfriend. The day before we went I found this website and read
some negative reviews... and got a little apprehensive.
After staying there, I have to say it is a wonderful place. If someone has complaints about it, they went there wanting it to be a 5 star hotel. It is in the woods, there are campfires, and you are pretty close to other cabins. But it is beautiful, different, well designed, very clean and comfortable and the people that work there are very nice. I would say to book a tent or cabin as far away from the entrance as possible... from the first 10-20 cabins you can probably hear the freeway. Also we went in the winter, and it may be noisy during high season if people bring their kids. I travel for a living and am happy to say I was very satisfied and had a memorable and relaxing weekend.
Truly a restfull retreat
Although I've moved away from my hometown, I often return for visits.
I've stayed at quite a few places and this is my favorite so far. The people at this fantastic locale are helpful and friendly. We felt like we had come home. We recommend you bring your own bicycle if you have one because they are surrounded by trails and even provide trail maps with ratings for the adventurous to the easy-goers. They have cruiser bicycles available to guests as well. This is a fantastic place to go if you want to "rough it in style". They have lots at the front of the locale for your car, so a bicycle comes in handy if you are interested in a more private & remote cabin. They also have courtesy vans to pick you up and drop you off at your cabin. This fantastic retreat is only about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara, Solvang, & minutes from the beach.
Considering the expense of a nice hotel & resort nowadays, this place was, although not somewhere I could afford all the time, a fantastic place to get away for a special occasion. Their packages are "icing on the cake".
Overpriced and Overrated
We saw El Capitan Canyon's website and were swayed by the photos of what appeared to be romantic, luxurious, rustic cabins in a peaceful, remote canyon. Well, don't be misled.
We had been promised a "secluded cabin at the top of the canyon" when we made the reservation.. We were surprised to find that the luxurious cabins are little more than trailers with bare-bones amenities and uncomfortable beds - and the cabin we got was right near the entrance in what honestly felt like a trailer park. Many of the "cabins" are placed about 20 feet from each other, so there's not much in the way of privacy (your neighbors can see right in) and on a busy holiday weekend, don't expect any peace and quiet - try screaming kids and firepit smoke wafting straight in your window if you leave it open. We woke up in the morning with sore throats, smelling like smoke.. If I wanted to smell like a campfire, I would have actually camped and saved myself $500.
The prices for everything at the store were exorbitant -they sold very expensive "s'mores kits" and bland, overpriced prepackaged dinners.
Most of the campground is close enough to the freeway you can hear the traffic at night. The cabins are also literally right next to the dirt or paved road that goes up the hill.. On our visit, we got to listen to work trucks driving up and down the hill all day as they were doing some construction further up the canyon. I'm glad I didn't stay in any of the "safari tents" - they were dirty and even closer together than the cabins. Like a previous person said, the "creek" is just a trickle in the summer and doesn't exactly live up to the description.
The only complimentary thing I can say about this place is they sure got a good photographer to do their publicity photos.. It sure looks great in the pictures!
Something a little different
I visited El Capitan Canyon in August, and really enjoyed my stay.
The setting is very peaceful, and they do not allow cars into the canyon, so it is pretty quiet if you get a cabin further back in the canyon. If you are up closer to the front, as we were, you can here the 101 freeway.
The cabin was very charming. There were three adults (a couple and one other person), and we were very comfortable in the Creekside Queen.
Although it is a bit pricey, it is different from your typical hotel experience. I would stay there again.
Not worth the $$
We recently spent a weekend here and left feeling somewhat disappointed. We decided that we didn't feel like roughing it, and since it was really going to be our only family vacation for the summer we opted to splurge and try "resort" camping. We had a creekside queen cabin ("creek" is a generous word for the water that trickled down the ravine from us) and the price ($225/night for CAMPING) suggested it would be quite luxurious. The cabin was OKAY, but that's it ...
definitely not worth the price tag. Perhaps the mouse in the cabin was a bit of a turn-off! I was surprised too that they charged for silly stuff that seemed like it should have been included in the room rate ... like renting a board game for $5/day. In retrospect, I would have rather roughed it in a tent somewhere in the equally pretty Laguna Mountains for $15/night. Bottom line: save your $$ or put the $$ toward a resort that's really worth it.
TripAdvisor Reviews El Capitan Canyon Santa Barbara
Travel Blogs from Santa Barbara
... heading to our final spot of Santa Barbara. On our way down we came across Piedras Blancas Beach. Just south of here, the beaches are famous for being home to hundreds of elephant seals. We hoped to see some, but as we were out of season I wasn't holding out much hope. We then turned the corner and then we started spitting then! Fortunately, this is a fairly popular spot and so as we turned the next corner There was a car park ready for us to park up and take some piccies! ...
... beach. One of the amazing things about Santa Barbara was it was relatively quiet. I thought the place would be packed in August but there was ************e about. We went all the way down to the end of the pier again to show Becky the pelicans, then hit the restaurant for our evening meal. We were right by a window looking over the sea and watch the sun set turning the place orange the almost blood red as the tip of the sun went behind the hills above the town. We ...
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... including the Governor's suite and the Presidential suite complete with a secret room. The suites were unbelievably old west and looked great - the door to the secret room was a library case which sprang open with a flick of something! We really wanted to stay here but will certainly do so in the future because it was so unusual. Back to the saloon and we pinned a 20 Turkish Lira Note to the ceiling with our names on to ...
... hawk maybe, wonder what got it - there are mountain lions here! Eventually reached the top & a great ride down, then as wiz zing along suddenly a herd of deer in the road, we were actually at a state park & the deer didn't seem at all frightened of us. Then we reach Highway 101 so turn left towards Santa Barbara, what a difference now we're in traffic but the shoulder is really wide, still some long hills though. It's really confusing ...