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Santa Barbara

The ridiculously pretty queen of America’s ‘Riviera’

Sheltered by mountains and smugly wallowing in year-round temperatures in the low 70s, it looks like a place airlifted from southern Spain, its buildings complete with red tiled roofs, stucco walls, wrought iron balconies and brilliant flowers everywhere. ‘If everyone knew what we had out here,’ a local waiter once said, ‘we’d be stampeded.’

There’s a broad sweep of a sandy beach which curves gently around a bay, backed by a prom shaded by palm trees. Be sure to take a walk on the wooden pier, known as Stearns Wharf, timing your stroll to a meal time spent at the no-frills Santa Barbara Shellfish Company (baked clams for shrimp ceviche for starters maybe, followed by crab cakes or lobster tacos?). Santa Barbara has lots of places to eat and drink, interesting shops and, top of the sightseeing, the Mission dedicated to Santa Barbara in the hills.

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Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara

Walk along the palm-lined boulevards, saunter out onto the pier towards the seafood restaurant – pelicans wheeling above your head – or jog along the two miles of natural beach with the Pacific Ocean lapping at your …

El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara

This hotel has been one of the landmark features of Santa Barbara since the ultimately stylish era of the 1920s, and today it is still as glamorous as ever. It stands aloof from the town, …

Kimpton Canary Hotel Santa Barbara Santa Barbara

At the stylish Kimpton Canary Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara, you’ll be perfectly placed to explore the city’s numerous attractions. Colourful State Street is right on your doorstep, with its pavement cafes, vintage …


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