Cristal's Blog


December 2, 2022

Back to Articles

Montecito Hotels take luxury lodging to a whole new level. Coveted by the well-known and well-heeled, they serve movers and shakers from around the globe, who have been vacationing in Montecito since the 1800s. That is not surprising since the enclave itself -- along with its surrounding communities including Santa Barbara, Hope Ranch, Summerland and Carpinteria -- is about as idyllic as you can get; often compared to the South of France and Tuscany. Approximately 10,000 residents live inside the 93108 zip code, including numerous A-list celebrities like Prince Harry and Meghan Markel, Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Barrymore, and many more.

Escape to a world of luxury and refinement

Night view of the front of the Montecito Inn bathed in floodlights
Dale Cruse,

Montecito is a must-stop for travelers cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, Los Angeles weekenders, and, well, anyone who desires to live out their California fantasy. So, for those planning—or just daydreaming—about a trip, here are my favorite luxury hotels in Montecito.

1) Montecito Inn
The history of the Montecito Inn pictured above dates back to 1928. It was built by Charlie Chaplin and a group of investors who wanted to create an upscale getaway. But the history isn't all that attracts guests. This iconic hotel is located within walking distance of Santa Barbara's top beaches, with boutique shopping and fine dining options just steps away along Coast Village Road. If you've got a taste for the finer things, take a drive to Santa Barbara wine country. If collegiate endeavors are on the syllabus, you've come to the right spot. From whale watching to art galleries to live theater, there's a lot to explore near the Montecito Inn.

Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort on the beach at sunset

2) Rosewood Miramar
Set on the American Riviera along one of Southern California’s most beautiful and exclusive coastlines, Forbes Five-Star Hotel & Spa, Rosewood Miramar Beach, offers a captivating estate-style atmosphere and the finest leisure amenities. Situated on an exclusive oceanfront stretch of Montecito, which is known for its stunning landscape, pleasant year-round climate and spectacular architecture, the resort offers amenities with a personal touch designed to make your stay seamless from the very beginning. The Miramar Club is a private social club for guests and there is a special pet program for four-legged guests, including a custom pet menu and exclusive pet products and amenities.

Front of the main building of Belmond El Encanto Hotel, showing a portion of the motor court, and the entrance portico

3) El Encanto
In the hills of the American Riviera is the peaceful oasis that is El Encanto, a Belmond hotel with greenery-covered walkways, ivy-adorned trellises, and a calming infinity pool that seemingly stretches into the horizon. Spacious rooms are adorned in a Spanish-colonial-meets-California-cool aesthetic (think terra cotta and painted tilework complemented with crisp white accents), and most feature balconies or patios perfect for a morning coffee—although you may want to enjoy that (or an afternoon tea service) on the property’s idyllic terrace, with its Pacific Ocean views.

Hacienda at the San Ysidro Ranch, with lush landscaping in the foreground.
Wikimedia Commons

4) San Ysidro Ranch
Tucked away in the leafy foothills of Montecito, San Ysidro Ranch offers a unique blend of privacy, peace, and tranquility in an idyllic setting. Thirty-eight vine-covered cottages surrounded by incredibly landscaped gardens embellished with flowers always in bloom, under a canopy of stately sycamores and gnarled oaks, make this exclusive property destination unplugged from the rest of the world. Citrus groves, olive trees, brilliantly colored lantanas, lily pond, and the sweet smell of orange blossoms, fragrant magnolias, and jasmine make you think you have just discovered a slice of paradise.

Luxury Amenities

Besides providing guests with world-class service and luxurious amenities in a beautiful setting, the above-mentioned Montecito properties come with a list of luxury amenities. Think full-service concierge, open 24/7, luxury spa services, state-of-the-art gyms, event and meeting spaces, some of the best dining experiences in the area, gardens, infinity pools, flower arrangement delivery service, complimentary safety deposit boxes, valet service, pet amenities, complimentary use of bicycle cruisers, and more.

No other town does luxury or exudes an effortlessly chic vibe like Montecito. The area itself could be viewed as the ultimate amenity. Montecito is home to some of the area's most stunning stretches of coastline, from Fernald Point, past the calm waters of Miramar Beach and renowned surf break at Hammonds Point, to sparkling Butterfly Beach. Stand-up paddlers and surfers vie for waves, and sailboats sleepily bob against their moorings offshore.

Looking for a land adventure? Lace up your hiking boots and head outdoors to the hills of Montecito to be wowed by epic views from the city of Santa Barbara to the Channel Islands and beyond. With more than 15 different trails and a plethora of flora and fauna, the hiking in Montecito and Santa Barbara ranges from easy nature walks to challenging climbs.

If you fall in love with our exclusive seaside town when you stay at any of the Montecito hotels mentioned above, who could blame you? If your stay has inspired you to buy in the 93108 zip code, give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@Montecito-Estate. You can trust me, the #1 Ranked Individual Agent in the entire Santa Barbara MLS. Let me put my magic to work on your behalf!

More resources:

Back to Articles

Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch