If the idea of ocean waves and a majestic sunset outside your window sounds good, this compound of glistening white villas on a bluff west of Santa Barbara might be your piece of vacation heaven. Situated on 78 acres along the Gaviota Coast, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara takes advantage of its oceanfront setting to deliver “we’ll take care of everything” indulgence—ranging from cushy banquettes around fire pits to bespoke treatments offered at the onsite spa.
Bacara has all the amenities you’d expect at a five-star resort. Wake up in your guest room and have coffee on your private balcony. Stay in one of Bacara’s Signature Suites and shake or stir a martini at your own wet bar, then sink into a plush chair on your private terrace to watch dolphins swim by.
If there’s anything that will tempt you out of your room, it’s great food and wine in a beautiful setting. Options range from flip-flops-are-fine cafés to Angel Oak, a traditional steakhouse with ocean views. The menu, overseen by Chef Alexander Bollinger, features delicious filets as well as elaborate seafood appetizers, like the Market Seafood Tower—an indulgent collection of Maine lobster, oysters, crab legs, shrimp, and caviar.
Bacara has an outstanding—and enormous—wine cellar, with more than 12,000 bottles representing 1,200 labels from 75 international appellations and 13 countries. Local wines get big play here, plus there’s an onsite tasting room (open to day-trippers as well as resort guests) for Foley Family Wines, featuring vintages from Kuleto, Lancaster, Sebastiani, and Chalk Hill Estate.
After all this decadence, consider booking a private tennis lesson, painting class, or sailing excursion. Or consider taking a yoga or spin class at the 24-hour fitness center. Sandpiper Golf Club is next door, and of course there’s the beach, where you can take a surfing lesson or just grab a boogie board and jump in (be forewarned—ocean temps are chilly here, even in summer).
To round out your stay, why not end with a massage on the rooftop terrace, followed by a Bacara Bar Lemonade (cucumber vodka, lemonade, and soda). It is vacation, after all.