California: El Encanto, Rancho Valencia Resort join Forbes 5-star list

Rancho Santa Fe's Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa.
Rancho Santa Fe’s Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa.
(Rancho Valencia)

Santa Barbara’s El Encanto and Rancho Santa Fe’s Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa have joined 15 other California hotels on Forbes Travel Guide’s list of five-star accommodations released Wednesday.

El Encanto reopened in March after a $134-million-renovation. In an April 28 article, Los Angeles Times staff writer Christopher Reynolds said of the hotel: “Modern luxury, historic preservation: Most awkward bedfellows since Rock Hudson and Doris Day.” Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe opened in 1989 and has recently completed at $30-million renovation.

Those hotels join the Hotel Bel Air, Montage Laguna Beach and Montage Beverly Hills and the Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Coast, among others, on the five-star list.

California has more five-star hotels than any other state.


Two California properties joined the four-star list for the first time in 2014: Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes and the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto. A total of 22 Golden State hotels were awarded four stars.

Other new California additions to the just-announced 2014 guide, which includes restaurants and spas:

Aubergine restaurant, a five-star restaurant, at L’Auberge Carmel;

CUT Restaurant Beverly Hills, a four-star restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire;


The Spa at Mandarin Oriental San Francisco, a five-star spa;

The Spa at Rancho Valencia, a four-star spa in Rancho Santa Fe.

Las Vegas doesn’t boast any new additions to the list this year, but Aria, Mandarin Oriental, the Skylofts at MGM Grand and encore tower and Wynn return for 2014.

Steve Wynn’s resorts in Macau – Wynn Macau and the Encore Tower – earn the coveted “Triple Five-Star” for top rankings in the hotel, restaurant and spa categories.


China now has 19 Forbes Five-Star hotels in the cities ranked by the travel guide.