1. Can you tell us about your experience visiting the Belmond El Encanto resort in Santa Barbara, California, and what made this destination stand out to you for weddings?
We intentionally travel often to understand new destinations and properties so that we can give a first hand account to our clients when they are considering locations for their wedding. The Belmond El Encanto was on our radar because of our relationship with the Belmond brand as a whole and that this is (currently) the only domestic property for our US based clients. We’ve loved every experience we’ve had with Belmond, so being able to list their Santa Barbara property in our knowledge base was an easy decision.
2. What was your first impression of the Belmond El Encanto resort, and how did it meet or exceed your expectations?
This was my first visit to Santa Barbara all together and I loved how the property felt like it was tucked away and yet so centrally located to the sights of area. It felt unassuming and completely welcoming. Everything is perfectly presented while not being pretentious in the slightest.
3. Can you describe some of the unique amenities or services offered by the Belmond El Encanto resort that could be particularly appealing to wedding couples?
Being a smaller property, this is a perfect option for a buyout where only your guests would be on property. I loved every space they had to offer for different styles of events. Whether a bridesmaids yoga session on the lawn, a pool-side afternoon cocktail hour or a rehearsal dinner on a private villa terrace, everything can be private just for your guests. The grounds are immaculate and each room I saw was slightly different which only adds to the sense that every guest has a personal experience.
4. How did the Belmond El Encanto team welcome you and the other wedding planners during your visit, and what did you appreciate most about their hospitality?
We arrived a bit earlier than the rest of the group and we were welcomed to their restaurant patio to enjoy an afternoon drink and appetizers. It was a wonderful way to recoup from a long flight before meeting friends for dinner later. I noticed there was a true ease to the hospitality at El Encanto. Every staff member I encountered was naturally friendly and helpful.
5. Did you have a chance to explore the Santa Barbara area during your visit, and if so, what were some of the highlights of your experience?
Yes! We got an entire day of taking in Santa Barbara including visiting the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara – which is still an operating church and available for weddings, shopping in Montecito, visiting City Hall and enjoying the food scene downtown from the Acme Hospitality group including The LARK and Lucky Penny. I think my favorite was our visit to City Hall with its architecture and amazing artwork.
6. What makes the Belmond El Encanto resort stand out from other wedding destinations you have visited or worked with in the past?
Like every other Belmond property I’ve visited, El Encanto gives that perfect “sense of place” as the team there described it. Not quite a city property and not exactly a remote destination, it allows you to experience the location along with the property itself. So often, a resort is the only thing you experience and with El Encanto, it’s the best of both worlds.
7. Finally, what advice would you give to couples who are considering a destination wedding at the Belmond El Encanto resort, and why do you think this could be an ideal choice for them?
My only piece of advice is to take advantage of the small and easy Santa Barbara airport when traveling in. It’s completely worth being so close to the hotel so that you can call your travel day done and enjoy everything El Encanto has to offer as soon as possible! The property is well designed for a smaller group and gives such personal attention to every piece of your experience. It doesn’t require your guests to break out their passports, but provides a full change of pace while you celebrate together.
Property: El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel
Video: Megan Pettus Films