A playground for the posh awaits in Montecito, Calif. Welcome to the historic San Ysidro Ranch.
The relaxing pool oasis
In a town that A-listers Oprah Winfrey, Ariana Grande and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, call home, it’s only fitting that Montecito, Calif., is also the site of one of Hollywood’s most beloved hideaways. Tucked against the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, San Ysidro Ranch is a 550-acre haven that opened in 1893, was once owned by film star Ronald Colman and was most recently acquired by American business mogul Ty Warner in 2000. Marked by its incredibly lush grounds, where thousands of wildflowers spring to life each year, the property boasts a guest list ranging from historical figures to acting royalty. Winston Churchill and his family retreated to the ranch during the winter months; Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh said “I do” in its lush garden; John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis enjoyed their honeymoon in one of its charming cottages; and John Huston completed the script for the 1951 film The African Queen, starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, at San Ysidro during a three-month stay.
Clocking in at 6,000 square feet, the Warner cottage is the largest of San Ysidro Ranch’s accommodations.
Further, today’s celebrities equally adore the award-winning property— Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt, Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson, and supermodel Lily Aldridge and Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill all started their forever with nuptials at San Ysidro. And while the star-studded guest list is impressive, it’s the property’s impeccable service and intentionally private accommodations that make it equally spectacular for mere mortals seeking the ultimate romantic getaway.
A peek at the Eucalyptus cottage’s elegant bathroom, which features heated floors and Italian linens.
First, begin by booking one of San Ysidro’s 38 bungalow-style cottages that are nestled among its blooming gardens and sheltered beneath towering eucalyptus and sycamore trees. Each abode boasts a name inspired by nature—we stayed in the idyllic 1,350-square-foot Lavender cottage—or its elite visitors. The 1,450-square-foot Churchill cottage allows guests to stay where the political titan wrote one of his many tomes, while the sought-after Kennedy cottage, where the famous couple honeymooned in 1953, includes the ranch’s largest outdoor terrace, highlighted by ocean views, an outdoor rain shower and a sunken hot tub.
Hand selected antiques and a stone fireplace punctuate the European stylings of the Warner cottage’s grand entrance.
From there, retreat to a lounge chair at the heated swimming pool, where the sound of French music fills the air. Order the popular blood orange margarita—or the Warner Margarita featuring Ty Warner’s secret Mexican margarita mix—from the new Plunge Pool Bar as you wonder whether you’re in California or the French Riviera. Private yoga sessions among fragrant lemon trees, beauty and wellness treatments at the on-site salon and spa, or wine tasting with the resort’s sommelier Tristan Pitre also entice. Th e nearby members-only Montecito Club, a partner property by Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, also gives guests the opportunity to hit the fairway at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course with advanced reservations.
A look at San Ysidro Ranch’s lush grounds, where its 38 cottages are hidden among the foliage
When the sun begins to set, head to the award-winning Stonehouse restaurant to enjoy a classic steak Diane, flambéed tableside, and exceptional wine. Situated in a 19th century citrus packing house, its 12,000-bottle cellar is home to some of the rarest vintage varietals in the world, including a new 70-vintage vertical collection of Château Pétrus, the most extensive restaurant offering of Pétrus in the United States. Now that’s toastworthy—as is everything at Hollywood’s best-kept secret. Cottages from $1,595 per night
Dine under the twinkling lights at the award-winning Stonehouse, one of only 100 restaurants across 17 countries worldwide to hold a place on the annual Wine Spectator Grand Award list.