The Hotel Guide: San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara

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Everything you need to know about staying at San Ysidro Ranch, in Santa Barbara (Montecito), California.


A quick rundown

If you fancy a top notch and secluded getaway in Santa Barbara, this is your place. It is nestled in the hills of Montecito and has ocean views from the upper part of its grounds. The property is beautifully landscaped with vegetable gardens, fountains, orchards, and flowers. The interiors are designed seamlessly to create a cozy ranch feel with an abundant use of stone and wood.




What to do

HIKE: The San Ysidro Ranch is situated right at the beginning of some of Santa Barbara’s most splendid hiking trails.

SWIM & SUNBATHE: The pool is surrounded with lush flower gardens and is heated year-round.

BEACHES: Butterfly Beach is about a five minute drive down the road from the hotel. It is my personal favorite beach in Santa Barbara and it offers magnificent sunset views.

WINE TASTING: Santa Barbara has a small wine tasting scene which is about a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Or opt for a larger scale (45 minute drive) day trip to the Santa Ynez Valley where the movie Sideways was filmed- and choose from the many wineries and charming villages in Los Olivos, Solvang, Santa Ynez, and Buellton.

SHOPPING: Coast Village Road in Montecito has multiple boutiques, restaurants, and retail shops. State Street in downtown Santa Barbara has an even larger selection. But if you are looking for high-end designer merchandise you may not find what you are looking for.

SPA SERVICES: The ranch offers in-room spa services but does not have a spa.

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Breakfast is only served as in-room dining except for on Sundays when they have a champagne brunch starting at 10am. If you prefer to go out to breakfast please see my off property suggestions below.

Lunch is served at the Stonehouse Wed-Sat from  11-2. For other lunch options see my off property suggestions below.

Dinner: In my opinion, the Plow and Angel restaurant at the San Ysidro Ranch has the most romantic patio setting in all of California. The plethora of ambient lights strung through the trees and hanging all over the patio create an atmosphere second to none. The inside area of the Plow and Angel is rustic and cozy with a small bar area, fireplace, and stone walls. Plow and Angel is the more casual and less pricey dining option at the ranch. It is the restaurant located on the lower portion of the structure. The Stonehouse restaurant  is located on the upper portion and is the more upscale version of the two restaurants. It features a cozy lounge and a wonderful rustic indoor dining area complete with wood beamed ceilings and a wood burning fireplace. The patio of the Stonehouse is also extremely romantic with very dimmed lights, candles, ocean views, and more. The food at both restaurants is fabulous. If you are planning a stay at the San Ysidro Ranch, both restaurants really should not be missed. But make sure you make a reservation in advance, especially on weekends.



Breakfast:  The Four Seasons Santa Barbara (Just a 5 minute drive from San Ysidro) has a great breakfast at their Bella Vista Restaurant. Ask for a table on the patio for great views of Butterfly Beach. Another wonderful little breakfast spot is Jeannine’s on Coast Village Road. It fills up quickly so be prepared to wait if you are going at a prime time on the weekend.

Lunch: Cava Restaurant and Bar is a wonderful Spanish/Mexican restaurant with a delicious menu. Request a table on the patio or in the back of the restaurant in one of their cozy booths. Tre Lune is also one my personal favorites for lunch. They offer a large and tasty Italian menu and extensive wine list. If you want to venture out of Montecito and into downtown Santa Barbara for the day, then lunch at Zaytoon on the patio is a must.  Zaytoon offers wonderful Lebanese cuisine and a beautiful atmosphere complete with fountains, lemon trees, and flowers galore. Zaytoon is also a great option for dinner.

Dinner: This is a hard one because Santa Barbara has many great dining options for dinner. Starting with Montecito, Lucky’s Steakhouse (5 minute drive from San Ysidro Ranch) is one of my favorite spots because the atmosphere is lively and the food is great. For a quieter and more romantic evening try  Stella Mare’s, which is an old house-turned-restaurant serving up French country cuisine. Be sure to have a pre-dinner cocktail in the greenhouse area. If you want to venture downtown, I recommend the following: Cadiz has a great atmosphere and is centrally located on State Street. The food is “Italian and Spanish seaside cuisine”. Cadiz is almost always full with a lively Santa Barbara crowd. Zaytoon, which I mentioned earlier, is a great choice as well. For a very lively, yet upscale spot, Cielito has great Latin American food and a full bar. The Wine Cask, a swanky and stylish spot, is great choice for an upscale dinner with a more refined crowd.  And of course, if sushi is your thing, Arigato is the legendary spot in downtown Santa Barbara.







If you are thinking about staying at the quiet and peaceful San Ysidro Ranch, my guess is that you are not looking for a noisy or overcrowded nightclub. I am going to leave those out and stick with the upscale and classy spots in this post. The Plow and Angel Restaurant at the San Ysidro Ranch has a great little bar and should be a starting point to your evening. To enjoy a cocktail and a wonderful sunset view, head over to the Four Seasons patio lounge. Lucky’s Steakhouse also has a full bar which stays packed on weekends. In downtown Santa Barbara, Intermezzo is a great place for an appetizer and glass of wine. The Rooftop Perch at the Canary Hotel offers stunning views of the city and comfy chairs, sofas, and a fireplace. Drinks at the El Encanto also offer magnificent views if that’s what you’re after.





 Have questions about this post or the San Ysidro Ranch? Leave them in the comment section and I will always respond.



    Your Luxury Travel Expert

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