Last week I ventured off on my newest journey. Off to sunny California, once again, but this time to a city I’ve never had the pleasure of going to before – Santa Barbara.
It’s mid-year and summer vacation is in full swing. My mom-brain is a little foggy, and things have gone from fun to “go play on the iPad just a little longer.” I’m sure my kids don’t mind more screen time, but I hate to be that mom. The trip comes at the perfect time in the year. It was a little 4-day break from the chaos at home. It was work, but it didn’t feel like work. I was given moments to recharge, to relax, to remember the good things and when I got back, I was a better mom.
Kia invited myself and about 20 other influencers (or the #KiaFamily as we refer to ourselves as) on this one-of-a-kind trip and believe me, it was almost like summer camp for adults. Disclosure: This was an all expense pad trip by Kia. No other monetary compensation was receieved.
We arrived in Los Angeles which is more than a hop away from Santa Barbara, so a scenic drive was in order. At Baggage Claim 2 in LAX I found my driving partner and friend, Clarissa (ClarissaExplainsItAll.net), steadily trying to get some work in while she waited for me to arrive. We exchanged the most sincere hugs and pleasantries about our flights in, before finding ourselves in the front seat of a Snow White Pearl 2017 Kia Cadenza. We drove this baby up the PCH along the coast of California making stops along the way in Malibu, Point Mugu National Park, and Ventura to name a few. We followed the highway all the way to Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara. It took us a total of around 4 hours, but that was the fastest 4 hours of my life. Talking, laughing and catching up with a person you met online and formed a close relationship with does wonders for the soul when you finally see each other in person. Making a stop at Starbucks was necessary too. Kia was kind enough to outfit each of us with a gift card so we could fuel up and honestly, who can resist that?
photo by: ClarissaExplainsItAll.net
Belmond El Encanto
Imagine following a GPS, not knowing where exactly you’re going except “to the resort.” We followed step-by-step but began to think we’re definitely lost. We’re going through a quiet community. Homes nestled on cliff sides with large trees and the most beautiful of outdoor spaces surrounding them. Nothing like I see at home in Central Florida. There’s no way our resort is in the middle of this residential neighborhood. The Voice-Command Navigation dings to alert us that we’ve reached our destination. The 8″ vivid color touch screen stops updating, but we are still wondering where we are supposed to be. After a few quick glances, we see the Belmond El Encanto stone-covered entry.
We are greeted by an enchanting Five-Star hideaway that sits high in the hills amid lush gardens with views of the town and ocean, right smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. We weren’t in the wrong place. We found our home away from home for a little privacy and serenity for the following three nights. We said our hellos to friends new and old then made our way to our rooms.
I was speechless upon arrival, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that laid my head down on the comfiest of pillows, atop a mattress made of unicorn tears. No really, it was that incredible. Their private bungalows offer a personal sanctuary in an indulgent setting. The patio off of my 2nd story oasis gave way to panoramic views of the valley and the Pacific Ocean.
To end the night and welcome everyone to Santa Barbara we headed into town to a little Spanish restaurant in the Waterfront district of Santa Barbara called Loquita. But first, photos in this beautiful spot at the resort.
photo by: ClarissaExplainsItAll.net
Loquita showcases the flavors and traditional cooking methods of Spain with hot and cold tapas, wood-fired seafood, grilled meats and three types of paella. Our menu for the night consisted of locally sourced produce, meats, and seafood.
photo by: TheNaptimeReviewer.com
This was only day and night one. We knew the schedule, but we didn’t know what emotions would follow. Follow along as I bring you more of this wild #KiaSBExp experience over the next few weeks. I’ll link up below once posts go live so you can easily find the next adventurous tale.