Looking for a legendary hideaway that is the go-to spot for Hollywood A-listers and those looking for a private getaway? Look no further than San Ysidro Ranch.
Nestled in Santa Barbara, Calif., on the edge of the Santa Ynez Mountains, San Ysidro Ranch sits on an olive and lavender tree-studded estate originally built as a citrus farm in the 19th century.
This serene getaway has drawn in some of the most famous names in the world. JFK and Jackie O spent their honeymoon at the Ranch, and Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh tied the knot in the gardens.
Private and Secluded Cottages
You’ll find 38 secluded cottages with cozy fireplaces and private patios. Many bungalows have oversized sunken spas and outdoor rain showers overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. I highly recommend popping open a bottle of wine at the end of the night and getting in the jacuzzi while you look up at the stars.
Arriving at SYR, I immediately understood why people choose this spot to escape. The Ranch has the credentials to back it up too. SYR is the only Forbes 5-star hotel in Santa Barbara, and it was also named one of Travel + Leisure’s 2021 Top 500 Hotels in the world.
While it’s a big spot for honeymooners and celebs looking to escape the hustle of Los Angeles, you don’t need a big reason to come. The occasion is the stay.
Wine and Dine
While you should leave SYR and explore the city of Santa Barbara, you don’t really need to. The ranch has everything you could ever want. While some activities at the Ranch cost extra, the Ranch offers complimentary in-room and outdoor dining at its award-winning Stonehouse Restaurant. If you’re a wine enthusiast, choose to do a private wine tasting in the 12,000-bottle wine cellar. The Stonehouse has been a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner every year since 2014. (That’s impressive!)
There is also the option to simply chill at SYR. If that’s your plan, head to the newly renovated salon and spa. It’s a storybook cottage featuring Yon-Ka® Paris luxury skincare, Intraceuticals oxygen therapy, world-renowned Shu Uemura® hair care products, and Yume® Spa Dream chairs exquisitely crafted in Japan.
Exploring Santa Barbara
For my Texans wanting to make the trip out, American Airlines now offers a direct flight from Dallas to Santa Barbara. There are no excuses not to head out too sunny CA for a dreamy getaway.
If you choose to leave SYR during your stay (you should leave, but I won’t blame you if you don’t), Santa Barbara has so much to offer for everyone and is rich in history. During my stay in Santa Barbara, I did a walking tour of Downtown Santa Barbara and The Funk Zone with Total Cali Tours. I got a rundown of the rich history that lies within this upscale coastal town, went to an olive oil tasting at Viva Oliva then headed to the Funk Zone for a wine tasting at Riverbench’s tasting room. This part of town is a super artsy up-and-coming area of Santa Barbara with wine tasting rooms, great restaurants and breweries.
If you’re like me, when you think of California, you immediately think of wine. The region around Santa Barbara is known for its chardonnay and pinot noir. If you have the time while you’re visiting, you can head about an hour up into the Santa Ynez Mountains and go to a winery. If you don’t have time or don’t want to make the trip, many wineries, like Riverbench, have satellite locations which is a tasting room in the city where you can go and enjoy a bottle or a flight.
The area is fast becoming a serious wine destination. With new farm-to-table restaurants, up-and-coming neighborhoods like the Funk Zone, and resorts like San Ysidro Ranch, the town is more exciting than ever. I understand why people have been visiting for decades.
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Cover photo courtesy San Ysidro Ranch
Sarah Memmer is a freelance Digital Marketing Strategist. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and currently lives in Los Angeles.