Following years of extensive renovations by Orient-Express, this Santa Barbara icon lives on to thrill a new generation of guests with its relaxed-luxe bungalow rooms, lush gardens, and personalized service. Built in 1915, the landmark-preserved, Mediterranean-style complex has hosted many luminaries over the years, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and privacy-seeking stars from Hollywood's golden years. After the original hotel fell into decline, Orient-Express purchased the 7-acre site and spent more than $100 million to revitalize the whole place. Rooms and suites come in two styles of bungalows—Craftsman and Mission—nestled among lush gardens, courtyards, and pathways. Because of the landmark status, many of the original architectural details have been preserved, but interiors have been refreshed to feature top-of-the-line furnishings, plush beds, heated floors, and free Wi-Fi; many rooms also have fireplaces, private terraces, or oversized tubs. The grounds also include
a serene lily pond (a favorite spot for weddings), an outdoor pool with ocean views, and a top-notch spa incorporating locally sourced products. Chef Leo Ayala's menus at the on-site restaurant ($$$$) focus on California coastal cuisine. The clubby lobby and bar hosts afternoon tea and live music at night, but the heart of the place is the dining terrace, which has panoramic views of city and ocean.