Belmond El Encanto
Seven years and $134 million in the making, Belmond's takeover of the storied El Encanto (the brand's first West Coast resort) is reinventing a genteel slice of California history. The once quaint hillside hotel (a favorite of A-listers such as Clark Gable in the 1960's) has been reimagined to include 92 California Craftsman and Spanish-colonial-revival bungalows spread over seven lushly landscaped acres. In the guest rooms, century-old charms were preserved (we loved the plantation-style shutters and wide patios) while luxe updates were added (mohair loveseats; pillows monogrammed with guests' initials). It's tempting to hang up a Do Not Disturb sign and stay put. We suggest making time for the farm-to-fork restaurant: the bounty of vegetables and herbs from the on-site garden did not disappoint, nor did the aged white cheddar made with milk from its very own Holstein cow, Ellie.