Four Seasons
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Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara

Four Seasons
The historic Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara may be celebrating its 80th birthday this year, but it looks as fresh as the day it first opened back in 1927. That’s because the Spanish Colonial-style hotel just underwent a $240-million lavish makeover. And what will a quarter-billion-dollars buy these days? Try hand-painted tile, fine textiles, rare marble, exotic landscaping, uncommon antiques and comfortable but not lavish guest rooms. (Peter Vitale / Four Seasons)
Biltmore
Throw in an odd juxtaposition of decorating styles — a little Asian and a lot of classic early California — and you have the lobby entrance to the Biltmore in Santa Barbara. The new owner’s touch is in nearly every corner of the refurbished inn. (Peter Vitale / Four Seasons)
Biltmore
Pick a plush seat and do a little people-watching in the well-appointed lobby at the hotel. The sitting area resembles that of a well-traveled eccentric great-aunt — a little of this, a little of that. The hotel’s owner — Beanie Baby tycoon Ty Warner — traveled the globe collecting items for the Biltmore. It shows. (Peter Vitale / Four Seasons)
Biltmore
The deluxe cottage room is spacious, airy and bright at the Biltmore Santa Barbara. The décor delivers the promise of a world both elegant and historic, albeit oddly original. The hotel’s 13 cottages — which start at $2,250 a night — are tucked into outlying areas of the grounds, and accessible via a leisurely stroll along a shady pathway. (Peter Vitale / Four Seasons)
Biltmore
Pull up a chair before the fire in the Specialty Room. Each room in the hotel feels unique and indulgent because of the high-quality sheets, curtains, fixtures and tile. And to minimize clutter, the drawers, mini-bar and closet are hidden in a dressing room. This is luxury that is minimally stated. Still, the rooms could stand better lighting and furniture that’s a little less hefty. (Peter Vitale / Four Seasons)
Biltmore
The tile work and the setting give the fountain at the hotel’s spa an old-world look. The spa itself is less than overwhelming. Where its designer, Peter Marino, does shine, however, is in the spa’s four suites. Book a couples treatment and you’ll get ocean views, a two-person whirlpool, a fireplace, a private bathroom and a balcony where you can order dinner. (Barbara Kraft / Four Seasons)
Biltmore
Drinks come with a view of the Pacific in the hotel’s Ty Lounge. And, yes, it is named after the hotel’s owner, Ty Warner. And for some reason, the ritual of afternoon tea now takes place in the bar, with blenders whirring and speakers squawking bad jazz. Add to that misery a sad lack of staff knowledge on the appropriate amount of leaves required to brew a pot of tea. (Peter Vitale / Four Seasons)
Biltmore
At the Biltmore, they did promise guests a rose garden, and they deliver handsomely. With a lovely view of the Pacific thrown in too. For no cost, you can get a sense of the hidden wonders by taking a self-guided tour of the grounds. An illustrated botanical guide steers visitors past the tennis courts, the croquet lawn and putting green, through the Red Abyssinian banana trees and the exotic palms, and into the rose gardens. (Peter Vitale / Four Seasons)
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