The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara has long held the ranking as the number one resort in North America amongst parent company Marriott’s esteemed collection of nationwide hotels and resorts. To stay at this California coastal wonderland is to fully understand and appreciate this remarkable distinction. 

 The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Angel Oak Entry

A desired oceanfront destination since its 2000 opening, the Mediterranean-influenced resort, with its 358 guest rooms and suites of varying sizes and views, situated amongst 19 ‘villas,’ continues to offer the ultimate in casual, beachfront luxury. Cloaked for the past three years in The Ritz-Carlton’s aura of understated elegance, Bacara takes full advantage of its stunning natural setting while offering impeccable hospitality and innumerable activities. Here are five top reasons to make it your next vacation destination:

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara

1. Location, location, location…

Located on 78 stunning acres of California coastline, the resort is one of very few in the area that offers direct access to the beach. Be it winter or summer, the coastal views and the melodic sound of crashing waves permeate the bucolic Bacara property, where an expansive stretch of sand changes with every low and high tide; no two days are the same as waves deliver driftwood and rock to the shoreline, based on the moon’s attraction to the sun. 

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Pool

2. Swimmers’ paradise.

Aquanauts have their choice of three saltwater swimming pools. Rent a decked-out upper or lower cabana overlooking the Cabana Pool with television, refrigerator, dining table, and fresh fruit and water service. Recline at the larger Resort Pool and its two whirlpools, with the ocean as your backdrop, or luxuriate at the peaceful, adults-only Spa Pool. And of course, the largest pool of all, the great Pacific, is just steps away. 

The Ritz Carlton Bacara Hotel Spa

3. Spahhhhh…

Bacara’s 42,000 square foot Spa offers a number of soothing treatments such as the Bacara Signature Massage with its use of hot stones and heated herbal compresses to restore and regenerate muscles and joints, or the Bespoke Facial that utilizes cutting-edge Natura Bisse products. Cap-off your chosen spa indulgence with a glass of bubbly high atop the Spa’s rooftop terrace, and then visit the Spa gift shop where you’ll find a treasure trove of resort wear, gifts, and self-care products.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Restaurant

4. Food, glorious food.

When hunger calls, Barbara answers with a variety of dining options. The lobby’s circular ‘O’ Bar and Kitchen is a convivial gathering spot serving wine, craft cocktails, and shareable plates including flatbreads and sliders. The Bistro offers a casually elegant patio option serving local produce, sustainable seafood, and brick-oven pizza, with an ocean view. The resort’s elegant signature restaurant Angel Oak, with its Channel Islands vistas, is a destination unto itself, featuring the culinary artistry of Charlie Palmer-trained chef de cuisine Alex Bollinger who executes refined classics alongside a rotating seasonal menu of ingredients like A5 Japanese Wagyu, local abalone, and bone marrow. Start your meal with a craft cocktail before making your wine selection from their more than 12,000 labels. 

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara

5. No shortage of activities.

Hike the on-property nature trail. Enjoy sunrise yoga on the bluff. Receive one-on-one instruction from the resident tennis pro. Take part in the new Ambassadors of the Environment program, which invites guests to explore Santa Barbara’s diverse ecosystems and cultural traditions native to Santa Barbara. In partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, the resort is just the fourth Ritz-Carlton property to offer this exclusive program. Let the concierge schedule for you a mountain-to-shore bike expedition, an open ocean kayaking session, or a tour of the region’s most popular wineries. And join the nightly sup to yet another brilliant sunset with a complimentary glass of signature sangria created by Bacara’s sommelier in honor of the resort’s Spanish heritage and wine region locale. Tote your glass to the Bacara bluff for the ultimate vantage point, and toast to your good fortune for having made The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara your vacation destination.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Angel Oak restaurant

| All photos courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara