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Four Seasons Biltmore Resort - Santa Barbara, California

Five Star Luxury, Five Star Suite

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Four Seasons Biltmore Resort - Santa Barbara, California: Another gorgeous property by the Four Seasons, this resort and spa is located in the exclusive Montecito, southeast of downtown Santa Barbara in southern California. Originally built in 1927 as a mansion for a rich railroad tycoon, it was renovated by the Four Seasons in 1996, its Spanish Colonial Architecture still well-preserved. Right across the hotel is Butterfly Beach and in the surrounding area, some of the most spectacular upscale residences in California. This hotel resort succeeds in taking you to an earlier era, to the historic California.

First Impression/Lobby: The lobby, as like most of the Four Seasons lobbies, was simply stunning. The interior had a 19th century romantic theme, faithful to its Spanish architecture. It's no wonder a lot of people choose this place for their wedding or honeymoon, it takes you to another world. From the moment I stepped in, it was not so hard to imagine the privileged life of industrialist tycoon millionaires in California during the 1920's.

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Reception: The check-in process was quick and easy. The reception was fast, efficient and genuinely warm. Right away, I felt at home. There are few hotel chains that consistently welcome you like the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

The Suite: We had a suite and it was GORGEOUS! The large bedroom was spotless, tasteful, comfortable, and luxurious--all that you would expect from a first class hotel.

The huge bathroom, tiled in blue and white had dual basin sinks, a deep soaking tub and a stand alone shower, complete with its own steam-room function. There was nothing better than taking a hot steam and then a long, refreshing soak after a long day.

The oversized living room had a couch, two end chairs, a dining room table much larger than any two people could ever fill, and of course to make you feel right at home, a big, flat-screen TV place right about the operational gas fireplace. The d├ęcor's attention to detail was simply amazing. This was easily one of the best Four Seasons rooms I have ever had stayed in. The suite was fantastic bombastic!

The suite also had two patios, one small off the bedroom and a much larger one off the living room. While we didn't have ocean views, the view of the surrounding lawns, gardens and neighboring residences was still very impressive. I was tucked away in my own private villa, surrounded by nothing but beauty and elegance.

Concierge: The days I stayed at the Four Seasons Biltmore, the concierge staff was very young and as it turned out, inexperienced. We asked for suggestions for lunch in Santa Barbara one day, and lunch suggestions and other tips for our drive up Highway 1 from Santa Barbara to Carmel the following day, and on both counts, she was simply clueless. A concierge that cannot recommend a good lunch spot in her own city is not what I expect from the Four Seasons.

As for the valet service, they called for the car all right, but when we went down 15 minutes later, we still had to wait another ten minutes. Compared to other Four Seasons' staff, their staff generally needs more training.

Pool: The pool was nice enough, but quite small for the hotel's class and stature. What I didn't like about the pool was that the chairs that were stacked right on top of each other. It did not entice me to go sit down and relax, and it subtracted from the area's over-all attractiveness. It was just too small and too crowded.

Room Service: I have no complaints regarding the room service, it was great. They had a great selection and an even better presentation when delivered. They did a fantastic job setting up our order and took care of us as they would a VIP.

Housekeeping: While the room service was great, it was a puzzle to me why their housekeeping was not so great. I found their turn down service to be lacking; clothes left laying, dirty glasses not removed, curtains not drawn shut, just an overall lack of consistency compared to other Four Season properties.

Restaurant: They have one Italian restaurant, Bella Vista, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. While were not able to try it, I checked out their menu and found the prices pretty reasonable for a luxury resort. Their selections were also substantial. In addition to the restaurant, the also have one lounge, the chic and trendy, Ty Lounge.

Overall Impression I rate the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort as bombastic, based mainly on our gorgeous suite, the stunning Spanish colonial property, the room service's attention to detail and reception's warm welcome. While the hotel's overall spotty service can be improved, I would still go back to this lovely sanctuary just minutes from downtown Santa Barbara.

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