Bacara Resort & Spa
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Historical Traveler Reviews Riad Lapis-Lazuli Marrakech
Doesn't live up to the hype
I visited Bacara on Labor Day weekend 2001, even though a friend warned me that the service was terrible. She was absolutely correct. To its credit, the food at the main restaurant, Miro, was quite good, and my massage was professional and excellent (albeit very expensive). On the downside, which dominated my stay, the service was terrible. We waited over half an hour to be seated for dinner, despite having a reservation. A leaking shower in our room made the floor slippery, and repeated calls to management yielded no help at all. Room-service trays were left for days in front of rooms, and waiters were alternately too informal ("dudes") and too stuffy. The beach was also strewn with black muck, and sand flies were everywhere. Don't believe the hype, and don't pay the outrageous prices! (The resort continues to send me letters offering "bargains," which I immediately toss.)
If you've got the cash.......
If you've got the cash to stay at the best rooms in the resort, maybe......stayed here a couple of years ago - paid $450 for a room and got stuck in the dark at the bottom of the hill. Not very pleasant.
Furnishings nice, but this room should have been a storage room. Staff can be young and inexperienced - local college kids. Restaurants good, but overall, for the prices they charge, I'd go somewhere else. Some said it best, 5 star prices, but not over a 3 star resort, if that.
I've traveled thoughout Europe and have stayed at some exquisite hotels, and this one just doesn't have "it". I'm going back to SB in a week for the weekend, could afford to stay at this resort ($500) but will it seems they truly want the $1500 a nite guest, although how they justify that price is beyond me. Simply folks with more money than sense.
Beer Income vs. Champagne Taste
I feel compelled to present what I would consider an objective opinion of Bacara Resort and Spa. Most often comments are either extremely favorable or right out disgusting. I would like to report to anyone interested in this resort that there is a happy medium between these two extremes. The fundamental question is CAN YOU AFFORD tTO RESIDE AT A RESORT? You must be prepared to spend money and expect uncompromised service. This is the essential exchange at any resort. For instance, you must be prepared to have $500.00 in incidental charges held on your credit card each night of your stay--keep in mind that this is aside of the daily room rate. I am so tired of inexperienced travelers who are only able to get away once, maybe even twice, to give so little and expect so much.When traveling to a place like Bacara you must be prepared to pay for the glitz and glamour that entails resort living. This hotel is no stranger to money-is-no-object patrons. Most of us travel to Bacara so frequently to get away from our crazy hustle and bustle everyday livestyles; Bacara becomes our reward for working so very hard. If you have beer income, modify your taste and expectations to anything besides champagne. For those of you who can afford at least a glass of Dom P--so to speak--...then read on.Bacara is hidden, quant, familiar, exclusive, prestigious, unique, and most importantly Santa Barbara--the American Riviera. Bacara's staff work desperately to accomodate the whims and idiosyncracies of every single one of its guest. As someone who has stayed at the resort for well over thirty or so nights I must inform you of what you are to expect.Bacara is huge--eighty acres to be exact. Bacara is built on an incline which makes for difficult transport to and from the front desk. Wait for golf cart ride are purely dependent upon activities and occupancy. Far too often people come and take the relaxation credo too seriously. The resort is absolutetly stunning, it behooves you to walk at some point during your stay to remi. The psuedo health conscious travelers are at times the biggest complainers at resorts that I visit. You know the type, augmented features, a timed tan, a targeted exec. as a husband or sponsor, and a mouth that knows only negativity. Back to the resort...Room service takes at least thirty minutes to be delivered, the staff is young but considerate, the Spa is huge but massage appt. times can be limited on certain days--it is best to make appointments prior to arrival, the front desk managers are the absolute best--they try their best to accomodate every patron. If you intend to visit Bacara please know that you are paying for a lifestyle. Do not walk into the rooms inspecting the furniture, decor, and tile in an attempt to justify the costs. Your costs cover the moviestar that you reside next door to, your costs cover the DKNY uniforms your bellman deliver your tons of luggage in, your costs cover the classy managers in italian suits greeting you by name, your costs cover being secluded in paradise--this is in extreme opposition to the only other "exclusive" small, old, and mildew-smelling Four Seasons Biltmore which is located smack dab in the middle of a resedential neighborhood in the heart of Monteicto.Contrary to popular belief, there are not many premiere hotels in SB. There are a handful of so-called hotels/resorts. There is the 4 Seasons BM--old and in terrible need of a fresh attitude (both in staff and decor); Fess Parker Doubletree--good hotel if you are a fan of The Shining; San Ysidro Ranch--needs to be torn down so that custom homes can be built on the prime location; Ojai Valley Inn--wonderful place, but do not confuse Ojai with Santa Barbara (roughly 30 miles apart); El Encanto--not even a consideration; Simpson House--wonderful place! I highly recommend this B&B (the only 5 star B&B in America); and Hotel Santa Barbara--modest place if you'd like to be near the notorious State Street. Keep in mind bacara is located in Goleta, this is roughly 15 north of Downtown and $30.00 by rt. Sandpiper Gold course is virtually next door to the resort also. When booking request to be away from building 32.Enjoy and have a safe trip.Perfom a quick cost benefit analysis prior to visiting Bacara. Ask yourself can you afford to spend the average $1500.00 a night to stay at a place where the networks are limitless on the course, the people you'll meet in the Spa you may only see on TV, and the service you'll receive is right out of The Young and the Restless soap notes.
Beautiful Pool but
The upsides of this resort are the pool and the architecture. I didn't try the Spa or Restraunts so perhaps that's where I missed the value of the resort.The service was overwhelming. Valet parking is mandatory. If you wish to go anywhere, you need to stand and wait for your car, smile and chat with the valet, and share a tip.I found that I had forgot a razor. Rather than hike back up to valet area (the whole resort is on a steep incline with employee carts dodging back and forth on the paved pathways), I thought I'd call the front desk. They seemed to have never had a guest forget a razor. After some prodding the bell person was sent to bring a razor. 2 hours and several calls to the front desk later, a bell guy brought a disposable razor to the room. I gave him a $5.00 tip opened the bag and realized I had been billed $22.00 to my room for a $2.00 razor. That was the epitome of the stay. 5 star prices, 1 star service, 2 star location (foggy tar infested beach), 3 star accomodations (nice rooms but laid out on a hillside).I recommend San Ysidro Inn or the Biltmore for S.B. vacationing.
Don't book if it might rain!!
This is a gorgeous property... even if it takes a while to get used to the smell of tar and raw oil. The refinery or plant or whatever it is on the way in is somewhat alarming. Perhaps they should plant some very large trees around it ? However yet: it's ironic -- this coastline is as pristine as it is because the oil production kept development away. The old eroded wooden sea wall was quite photogenic! And the tar on the beach didn't bother me at all -- tar has always been on So Cal beaches (at least in the old days) and it reminded me of being a kid. Still, they should provide some little solvent packages in the bathrooms to help you get it off your feet. (Fingernail polish remover also works.) THE WORST THING about our stay... it was pouring down rain, and this hotel was designed for sunshine ONLY! The Lobby, Spa, & restaurants, as well as guest rooms, are all in separate buildings, with no covered walkways between. Even the main entrance doesn't provide so much as an eave. The doormen met us with great big umbrellas, so we left ours in the car - big mistake! We got zipped into a very wet golf cart to be taken to the spa -- and then we had to dash across a pool courtyard to get to the door. After our spa, we waited at least 30 minutes before more umbrellas could be delivered to those of us wanting to get to their rooms. Our first room was not satisfactory, they got us a new room, but then they misplaced our luggage. Further, for a room going at $625 a night, I would assume the bathroom would have a separate toilet area with a door that closes. (It did not.) We barely had time to change & make our reservation for dinner (the food was pretty good). Non-Californians... don't believe that it never rains here! It does! and when it does, it rains hard! This was May, 2003.
The smells of bacara
As we arrived in the courtyard, after passing the interesting deadly gas plant facility on our left, a quarter mile before the resort, we were greeted promptly by the doormen. Everything was smooth so far until we were notified that are room wasnt ready due to a mix up with housekeeping. After a complementery cocktail and an appetizer, (45 min) the bellman had our stuff loaded up away we went down the hill to our room on the other side of the resort. The landscape is beuatiful but fading in some areas, the aroma of the resort smells like tar-gas sewer which we experienced in many different areas and on our private balcony (which was unfortunate during our wine and crackers during sunset). The room was nice, comfortable beds, floor tile looked pretty bad,(problem with ants in the corners coming through the tile grout).The louvered sliding bathroom door came off track twice during our two night stay. Room service was excellent,food ok. No local channels = no Laker game, room overpriced, drinks overpriced. Wont be back again the ocean view of a oil tanker wharf, the sound of a train at night, and rocky tar filled beaches isnt my ideal of a hassle free getaway.
A great place to get- away
A great oeanfront setting for one of the best resorts I've stayed at. I lucked out and got upgraded to a view suite, but all the rooms there are great. The staff is very attentive without the hovering sometimes mistaken for service. Before going to my room I was taken on a tour of the grounds via Bacara cart, and all questions were expertly answered by my tour guide/ bell person.They have 3 dining spots and the two I went to [Spa Bistro and the Bistro] had excellent food and superior service. At one place, the staff had to deal with a loud and unhappy guest [no it wasn't me] and defused the situation with style. The setting with gardens, pools and ocean views are just incredible. The rooms have all the amenities you'd want, a super bed, great entertainment center, and that robe, which when I put it on, never looked like it does on the folks from the web site. The fitness center is huge and has whatever you need from powerlifting, personal trainers, pilates, yoga, and all the buff and polish services you'd expect. I personally enjoyed the jogging/running courses they had mapped out [on the beautiful beach] and a hike on their farm [which supplies fresh produce to the resort]. I didn't participate in the available horseback riding, tennis or golf, but it seem to have SOMETHING for everyone. Believe me, I hate everything, and I LOVED this place. [it killed me to have NO complaints] I also missed their fancy eatery Miro, I liked the place but NO TIE for me, but I hear its very nice. Please miss the other resorts in this area, and take yourself, a loved one, and some cash to Bacara, its a 'deal closer' for those of us that need that help.
Should be a 5 star property. Beautiful, outstanding service, luxurious rooms, terrific food! Would absolutley go back!
A Visit Worth Remembering...
We checked in to this stunning resort and Spas and requested the English receptionist to please assign us a lower room with a patio. She rudely (ala Weakest Link)informed me and my wife that all rooms have patios. I politely pointed to their colored brochure which indicated that the lower rooms have patios and higher rooms with balconies.
The scenic and sprawling property with lush surroundings is Oceanfront facing the SoCal oil rigs.
The Bellman, who toured us around the property, proudly announced that they anticipate guest needs by providing a shower and baby oil 30 feet from the beach to wash off "natural tar" from the ocean- wink, wink.
This same day, we relaxed by the main swimming pool were they hold a barbeque between 11:00 am and 1 PM. Ummm the sweet smell of kerosene on a relaxing day pool side.
We requested to move to a more comfortable room the same day. My wife picked out the new room and was told to wait by the pool. One hour and twenty minutes later, we were still waiting.
That night, we were serenaded by sweet sound of a rock and roll band (amplifiers included of course)playing at a wedding reception till 1 am at the top and open function room at the hotel.
This is after all is a spas and retreat where they emphasize serenity and relaxation.
Ahhh Bacara... A two star resort with five star prices!!!
A beautiful hotel, in a gorgeous spot. The rooms were lovely, as are the grounds. The hotel hasn't worked out all of its bugs yet, although the staff was friendly, it was one of the slowest checkins ever! We waited 20 minutes for a bellman to bring us to our room! Our room service also often took than promised, and frequently there were omissions. Given how pricey this hotel is, we expected better . . .
TripAdvisor Reviews Riad Lapis-Lazuli Marrakech
Travel Blogs from Goleta
... exit) going 70 mph! I had hoped to take the Pacific coast up to San Francisco & in planning had allowed a day to do this. However, after sleeping in, saying goodbyes, touring the winery & all the rig moral with the GPS, we lost too much time. The days are short here, and depending where about you are (in relation to the hills), sundown is around 5:30-6:00 pm and doesn't take long before its black with night. The coastal route from Santa Ynez takes about 7-8 ...
... a good thing, made even worse when Angela utters the priceless line that this was the first time she's really had any assistance from the wind. A few yards later, the road direction had changed and so had the tone of the conversation. It was deeply unpleasant riding with very strong side gusts combined with big trucks whistling close by. The only tiny crumb of comfort being that if we were blown off, it would be to the right and over ...
... Even turning the ipad off did not seem to work... Then I realised it was not coming from the ipad at all but from the hotel's alarm clock, which was not even plugged in and I certainly had not programmed it to take part in any games at all. I grabbed it and went to the loo, and eventually got it to stop by plugging it in. Phew. Not a good start to any morning, but it was just about to get even worse, when I started ...
... Angeles half an hour early, which was soon gobbled up by having to wait for the very soulless customs man. It took over half an hour, but luckily we were in no rush. Had a gingerbread latte, at Starbucks, which is our first and last. We chucked most of it out, what a waste of $5.94. Very funny using one cents again. Then went and found out where to catch the bus to Santa Barbara, really easy to find. Early again and had to wait over half an hour for the bus. ...
... able to do that. We all got chatting and then somehow got invited by them to go to Isla Vista, a university town just outside Santa Barbara where 90% of the towns population are students! It was here I managed to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams... drinking from a red plastic cup at a college party! The Americans all thought I was crazy making a big deal out of the red cup thing but come on, it's such a cliche! Before we headed out onto the streets to search for house parties ...