Redefining Luxury In Santa Barbara

Everyone pictures something a little different when they hear the word “luxury.” For some, luxury means white tablecloth dining, curated shopping and all the finer things life has to offer. Others find luxury in taking the time to lose oneself in a new location’s culture and energy. But no matter how you define it, there’s plenty of ways to redefine luxury on your own terms and find common ground while enjoying an extended vacation in Santa Barbara.

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Posh & Polished

World-class service, luxurious experiences and an iconic setting along the California coast sets Santa Barbara apart from other luxury travel destinations. For those looking to experience a new standard of pampered luxury, there are no shortage of options. In Santa Barbara it all starts with a trip to the pool. The meticulously manicured grounds of Rosewood Miramar Beach offer an iconic southern California beach-side escape, complete with shaded private lounges. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, beckons with three Mediterranean-inspired terraced pools that lead down to Goleta’s golden beaches. A more secluded experience awaits at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, tucked away in the picturesque Riviera hillside north of downtown. Here, guests can look out over the Pacific Ocean from the comfort of the gorgeous infinity pool.

A midday picnic can be a classic slice of luxury, especially when enlisting the help of Santa Barbara Picnic Company. So much more than sandwiches in a wicker basket, these curated experiences let travelers take luxury dining just about anywhere in the city. Whether it’s simply enjoying the shade in one of Santa Barbara’s parks and gardens or a surprise proposal overlooking the ocean, all guests need to do is show up and enjoy, they’ll handle the rest. Both Rosewood Miramar Beach and Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort let guests take their meals beachside with curated picnics as well. For even more upscale dining, Santa Barbara is home to a handful of Michelin-approved restaurants offering unforgettable dishes and unparalleled service to those looking for the best of the best.

Fun & Funky

Santa Barbara is home to an eclectic collection of artists, artisans, restaurateurs and curators, each adding a unique thread to the city’s rich tapestry. Exploring the creative side of Santa Barbara yields unexpected treasures that are as luxurious as any spa day, and that’s no more apparent than in the Funk Zone neighborhood. Get the lay of the land in quirky style by driving through the neighborhood in an adorable SB Buggie, or explore via pedal power with the help of Wheel Fun Rentals. Along the ride, stop in at one of Santa Barbara’s unique boutiques. For a dose of California cool, pop by Loveworn and pick up a pair of bespoke denim. For additional eclectic offerings, swing by The Shopkeepers and The Blue Door for timeless treasures. 

It doesn’t take a refined palate to appreciate the culinary craftsmanship of restaurants in the Funk Zone, but going with a guide can help uncover the best the neighborhood has to offer. Join a walking tour with Eat This, Shoot That! Funk Zone Tour and sample bites, sips and shots from a handful of local eateries, wineries and even a distillery. For a more self-guided experience, take a walk along Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail to enjoy tastings from some of the region’s wineries like Municipal Winemakers, Pali Wine Co. and Margerum Wine Company

The Best of Both Worlds

No vacation to Santa Barbara is complete without experiencing the classics along the iconic waterfront. From sailboat outings to serene strolls along the coastline, the most luxurious part of being on vacation is simply spending time together. Hop aboard a classic sailing yacht with these premiere sailing charters, Santa Barbara Sailing Center, SunSwept Sailing and Sunset Kidd. All three can help you spend a golden hour watching the sun dip below the horizon at sea on a perfect day. 

If you’re not quite ready to test out your sea legs, a walk along the harbor lets visitors watch the boats sail past from the comfort of shore. While there, swing by Brophy Bros. and enjoy fresh-caught seafood in the warm glow of the setting sun, or dress up one last time and treat yourself to an unforgettable Italian dinner at Toma, just a few blocks away.