Ask The Concierge

Posted online: March 2015

For an insider’s tips on enjoying a Santa Barbara sojourn

By Joan Tapper



The Belmond El Encanto.

Ryan Perez Carrillo, concierge at BACARA RESORT & SPA, 855-968-0100,, suggests getting a taste of wine country in the comfort of the hotel with the Foley Food + Wine Society Tasting Room. Sample 50 wines from the Foley family of wineries in an elegant rustic setting. His favorite? The Altvs Cabernet Sauvignon. Then learn the art of sabrage—using a saber to slice open a champagne bottle—with an appointment at Coast 2 Coast Collection, 805-845-7888, And don’t miss the live music with drinks and light bites at the Piano Riviera Lounge, 805-882-0050,

For top things to do at BELMOND EL ENCANTO, 805-845-5800,, the concierge recommends a romantic meal inside the resort’s intimate Wine Room, with a custom menu of California coastal cuisine by executive chef Leo Andres Ayala. Beyond the grounds, guests can also enjoy a horseback ride on Santa Barbara’s beaches or on a stunning local trail with Los Padres Outfitters, 805-331-5252, To soothe any sore muscles, or just get rid of day-to-day tension, there are Lotus Wei-infused spa treatments, notably the Bamboo Charcoal Wheatgrass Body Wrap, followed by a scrub and relaxing massage.


The Four Seasons Resort Biltmore.

At the FOUR SEASONS RESORT BILTMORE, 805-969-2261,, concierge Elyse Gensolin says it’s fun to rent a beach cruiser from the resort and take a scenic ride along Channel Drive and Cabrillo Boulevard all the way to the Funk Zone. You can begin your day with a private yoga or personal training session at the Four Seasons Spa. Guests can also sharpen their sports skills with great local athletes: hone volleyball moves with two-time Olympian gold medalist Todd Rogers or learn to catch a wave with surfing legend Tom Curren.


The Canary Hotel.

SantaBarbara2014-1889 The downtown location of the CANARY HOTEL, 805-884-0300,, adds an extra dimension to great things to do, says the hotel’s concierge, beginning with taking in the unrivaled Santa Barbara panorama from the rooftop deck and pool. In warm weather months, it’s also a place to enjoy a drink or a nibble. Inside, at the Finch & Fork restaurant, the signature Manhattan adds an urban vibe and perfectly complements chef James Siao’s salt and pepper chicken wings. Only steps away are the entertainment offerings of the Cultural District’s historic theaters—the Granada, 805-899-2222,, the Arlington, 805-963-4408,, the Lobero, 805-966-4946,, and the New Vic, 805-965-5400,


Ojai Valley Spa and Inn.

The concierge at the OJAI VALLEY INN & SPA, 855-591-1802,, points to the town’s long connection to mental, physical, and spiritual wellness and notes that intuitive and healer Renata Hume provides personal Mandala sessions for guests, a process meant to illuminate one’s purpose and direction. For inspiration from nature, you can explore Ojai’s history, native plants, wildlife and environment with Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours, 805-646-3200, The inn’s own greens are just the right spot for night golf, with a special tribute to the legendary flamboyant pro golfer Jimmy Demaret.

Vanessa Kolk of guest services at SAN YSIDRO RANCH, 805-565-1700,, suggests a round of golf at Sandpiper Golf Club, 805-968-1541, sandpipergolf.comSantaBarbara2014-1889, a championship 18-hole, 72-par course, where ocean-front fairways vie with views of the Santa Ynez range for spectacular panoramas. Follow that with the Ranch Signature Massage, one of the in-cottage spa treatments for the ultimate in stress relief. Then cap off the day with dinner at The Stonehouse restaurant, where executive chef Matthew Johnson’s classic American cuisine is complimented by organic produce from the ranch’s own garden.


San Ysidro Ranch.

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