A San Ysidro Ranch cottage where the newlyweds stayed in 1953 is renewed and reopened.
It's neither the biggest cottage nor the only one with an ocean view. But it commands at least $1,000 more a night than other lodgings at the historic San Ysidro Ranch in the Montecito hills.
That's because John and Jackie Kennedy slept in it during their extended 1953 honeymoon, which, biographers say, took them first to Acapulco, Mexico, and later up the California coast.
The future first couple probably paid $27 a night, the going rate then. But today you'll pay more than 100 times that — $2,990 a night — to sleep in the 1,621-square-foot Kennedy Cottage, which reopened last weekend after a yearlong restoration.
Gone is the plain wood deck in the rear, replaced by a 480-square-foot stone terrace sporting an outdoor shower and a six-person hot tub. A gated front entrance, with a private courtyard, is also new. Baths off the twin master suites have been redone with white tile, polished-nickel fixtures, glass-door showers and classic claw-foot tubs. White gauze graces the canopied king beds.
Don't look for original furnishings. The eclectic décor, with Asian-style chests, animal paintings and pig and rooster figurines, was gleaned from antiques stores and the world travels of the resort's owner, Beanie Babies tycoon Ty Warner.
No matter. The Kennedys slept here, starting Sept. 28, 1953, for one or more nights, according to the hotel's staff and guest register. And because the cottage is historic, the basic layout and structure, built from locally quarried Santa Barbara sandstone, are unchanged, said architect Marc Appleton.
The Kennedy Cottage redo is just one piece of a $150-million restoration that is nearly complete at the 40-unit complex, which opened in 1893 and is now managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.
In an e-mail, Warner said he wanted "to provide a fresh, new look for this beloved old soul" and add amenities "that discriminating travelers are seeking" while retaining the ranch's "unique character."
To that end, cottages now have heated bathroom floors, flat-screen TVs and decks with hot tubs and showers. But the interior design, as before, is country casual.
"We wanted the furnishings to look like heirlooms," Appleton said.
The resort's two restaurants, the Stonehouse and the Plow & Angel, reopened late last year with new stone terraces, a private dining room and a wine cellar. The biggest guest unit, Ty Warner Cottage, is to reopen in May. The price tag: $3,990 a night, besting even the Kennedys.