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Donna Polizzi

Here & There

Donna Polizzi: Goleta’s Ritz-Carlton Bacara Is Seaside Luxury at Its Finest

You can’t beat the views in any direction, but the resort’s attention to its amazing details leaves nothing to chance

 

If you’re looking to stay at the best beachfront property on the Central Coast, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara is a truly magnificent experience that will not disappoint.

Herve Humler, co-founder, president and chief operations officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., has built a premier brand of more than 100 hotels, providing jobs in glorious places for 41,000 employees. Those who frequently travel in luxury, agree that The Ritz-Carlton is, undeniably, one of the most renowned brands in the world, and the reasons are plenty.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, at 8301 Hollister Ave. in Goleta, is one of the newest members of The Ritz-Carlton family. With its graceful, Italian-style Mediterranean villas, the beauty of this place is jaw-dropping.

From the moment you enter the grand lobby, you’ll be entranced. Massive displays of fresh flowers reach for the ceiling. The staff is exceptional, and it doesn’t hurt that you’re greeted with a flute of sparkling wine or Sangria at sunset. Golf carts wait just outside to take you to your villa.

There are three pools on the property; two are family-friendly and next to each other and one adult pool is set away in a quiet area, in front of The Spa. The main pools are multiple levels, tiered toward the Pacific Ocean sparkling in the distance.

At the pool, the signature cocktail menu has everything from classic Moscow Mules, to specialty drinks like the Frozen Creamsicle, which is made with Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Disaranno Amaretto, mango purée and vanilla ice cream. Local bass ceviche, crispy shrimp with lemon and chipotle aioli and chorizo are among my favorite items on the snack menu.

The hotel is dog-friendly, and I’m impressed at how it expertly and warmly accommodates romantic getaways and corporate retreats. The giggles and laughter of children punctuate the point that it’s also a perfect destination for young families.

As you wind your way down to the beach, you’ll be mesmerized by the pristine landscaping, beautiful outdoor restaurants, nice bar and the clean ocean breeze. Walking past the majestic, multistory villas, you’ll appreciate the towering palm trees, birds of paradise with giant black and orange blooms, and stunning displays of tropical plants. Jacaranda trees leave a carpet of purple petals across the lawns.

At the beach, you can bronze your skin or simply take a stroll with your cherished companions, down the long stretch of sandy paradise.

The blufftop Angel Oak restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, with amazing panoramic views of the crystal-blue Pacific. It’s a casual, yet elegant restaurant, offering remarkable food and an impressive wine collection.

Steaming, fresh-baked, gluten-free brioche was brought to our table along with softened butter. The Coconut Thai Bisque with Lobster was a taste bud sensation. I picked the 2014 Justin Isosceles to pair with a dry-aged, New York steak that was beyond flavorful.

Is it just me or do you find that when you eat a lot the night before, you’re even hungrier than normal the next morning? That’s not a problem at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, which features an incredible brunch, seven days a week. The brunch is offered indoors or on the beautiful, spacious outdoor patio with ocean, garden and villa views.

Even dining inside offers excellent ocean and beautiful fountain views. The breakfast buffet includes sensational pastries, lox, fresh meats and more types of cheese than I could count, eggs, made-to-order omelets, pancakes, French toast and waffles, apple-smoked bacon and even turkey sausage. The fruit selection is immense, with many types of sweet berries, multiple types of dried fruits, nuts and melons, and beautiful displays of yogurts.

Enough already! I’m hungry again just thinking about it.

Guests are treated like royalty at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, and I must have stayed too long since I want to be addressed now as Your Highness!

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys 2 the Coast, a free Central Coast travel resource providing honest recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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