Road trip Santa Barbara: even grandparents couldn’t lure my girl from the resort

Road trip Santa Barbara: even grandparents couldn’t lure my girl from the resort

By on January 3rd, 2012

When it came time to plan a short mother-daughter getaway with my four year old, I decided on a road trip to Santa Barbara, California. We had a slightly bumpy start. While on the freeway, at a point too far away from home (La Jolla, California) to turn back, I asked “La Jolla Girl” if she remembered putting her little suitcase in the car. She said, yes, but I wasn’t so sure. Normally, this would stress me out, but since we were headed to a Four Seasons resort and I knew exactly what to expect, our lack of preparedness didn’t bother me. To top it off, La Jolla Girl had broken her wrist two weeks prior. I almost cancelled the trip, but am so glad I didn’t.

I warned my parents (who live in Santa Barbara) that once we set foot in the lobby of Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, there was no way La Jolla Girl was going to leave the property. They laughed it off until they realized via her behavior that I was totally serious. “Would you like to get in the car to go to a restaurant?” would be met with a flat “No. We’ll just eat in the hotel.” No one objected because the food was incredible.

Speaking of food, a girl’s trip isn’t complete without frequently indulging in desserts. We did.

Before we’d left, several people had rightfully mentioned the baked-to-order apple pie in the Ty Lounge as a must-try. Equally fabulous was the “It’s It” at the Coral Cafe and Bar. Picture two moist oatmeal cookies with vanilla ice cream in the middle, dunked in caramel.

And, of course, we headed to the spa: A manicure for me and a pedicure for her. La Jolla Girl enjoyed snacking on goodies and drinking pomegranate lemonade in the lounging area. She nearly fell asleep during her foot massage. She declared it the nicest spa she’d ever been to, though I hesitated to remind her it’s the only one she’d ever been to.

At a beachfront property, with two pool areas to choose from, swimming was definitely on the agenda. Because of her cast, the only off-limits activity was the beach, due to the sand. We had so much to do, that La Jolla Girl never complained about it once. The pool on the resort grounds has a retro-style drinks cart in action for adults and sugar-free popsicles as special treats for the kids. I appreciated that the two smaller pools in this area were heated, because I was forced to go swimming there at 9 am.

We enjoyed the ocean breezes at the Coral Casino, an exclusive private club across the street that resort guests can use. There was an enormous heated pool for swimming laps and a private beach. But the kids’ pool happens to be beachfront with the best view in the house. Relaxation is guaranteed.

My favorite part of our suite was the bathroom, complete with radiant floor heating, steam shower and gorgeous Spanish tile. La Jolla Girl was constantly asking to take baths because of the bathtub spout. Her other favorite pastime was lounging on our giant balcony overlooking a courtyard. The entire property is gorgeously landscaped with a mix of California native and tropical plants. As La Jolla Girl points out, why leave?

Katie Dillon blogs at

Post Author
Katie Dillon

Katie Dillon is a freelance lifestyle and luxury travel writer who loves mother-daughter trips, Pinterest, her husband's sense of humor, a nice glass of wine and one very needy pitbull mix. Living at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong spoiled her for life so she does her best to regularly check in to FS properties around the globe. When not on the road, Katie's family is at home in seaside La Jolla, CA. Her work can also be seen on USA TODAY Travel, Taste by Four Seasons, Four Seasons Magazine and her personal site, La Jolla Mom.

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4 Response(s) to "Road trip Santa Barbara: even grandparents couldn’t lure my girl from the resort"
Danielle says:
March 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

That looks like one happy little girl and I am so very jealous, this used to be me! When I was younger my parents and I always used to go to the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara for fabulous vacations. I’m amazed at how much fun I used to have just playing on the beach all day long across the street and having yummy breakfasts like that! Santa Barbara will forever be a one of my favorite places to go to. Though I’m not staying at the Four Seasons (I will one day!) I still enjoy going and making the most out of my vacation spent there. The South Coast Inn ( is excellent as well and right by the beach as well as a bike path which is wonderful to bike right into town!

Sharlene says:
March 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I LOVE this resort. Four Seasons really are the best.

Gemma says:
January 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Reading this post has brought back loads of memories for me. Me and my sister had the same kind of feelings as your daughter does when we went to the Four Seasons! We used to play princesses in the rooms that felt so huge when we were little!

Good times and a lovely post :)

Sonya says:
January 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm

That little girl knows exactly how to take advantage of a vacation in a resort! La Jolla is so nice, it really reminds me of Santa Barbara-so I bet vacationing there wasn’t much difference from home! The Coral Casino is so exclusive and nice, bet that was a great time for all of you. Butterfly beach is also one of the best beaches in town so that is also an added bonus. I spend so much time in SB but not in this area! I wish. Not everyone can afford this kind of stuff (I wish!) I have to recommend the Sandman Inn ( Inexpensive and in the perfect area.

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