Orient-Express retain sustainability measures through glamorous Californian refurb

 

El Encanto, Santa Barbara

El Encanto, Santa Barbara

Reopened in March 2013 after an extensive refurbishment, the iconic El Encanto hotel in Santa Barbara, California, reopened after being meticulously restored to capture the location and ambience that endeared it to Santa Barbara locals and visitors alike. The hotel takes maximum advantage of its hilltop setting to offer the ultimate secluded retreat.

El Encanto is a recent addition to the Orient-Express collection, and the company’s first foray into the west coast of America.

Using good sustainability measures, Orient-Express carried out the construction work in accordance with a strict waste management programme; controlling run-off from the site to preserve city streets, sewers and ultimately the ocean. The work incorporated the reuse of salvaged timber and roof tiles, the installation of energy saving air conditioning systems, use of low VOC adhesives, sealants and paints, and excluded all CFC based refrigerants. The bungalows and main building have been refurbished in accordance with stringent historical regulations.

Original architectural features were carefully restored including the historic, trellis-lined arbour and lily pond. Embellishments were given to the outdoor swimming pool and a boutique spa was added. The restaurant uses organic and locally sourced ingredients.

The hotel now comprises 92 California-styled bungalows set in terraced grounds featuring seven-acres of landscaped gardens with sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s how Orient-Express managed to balance the needs of the environment with the glamour of the location, and brought sustainability into play to minimise the impact of their refurbishments.

Was the restoration project carried out in an environmentally sensitive way?

Construction work was carried out in accordance with a strict waste management programme controlling run-off from the site to preserve city streets, sewers and ultimately the ocean.  The work incorporated the reuse of salvaged timber and roof tiles, the installation of energy saving air conditioning systems, use of low VOC adhesives, sealants and paints, and excluded all CFC based refrigerants. 

Have any of the original features of the hotel been kept?

The bungalows and the main building were refurbished in accordance to stringent historical regulations. When El Encanto opened in March, the heralded gardens were well matured and established.

Haven’t some of the original constructions been demolished?  How much of El Encanto is original?

In order to comply with building standards regulations and also to deliver a hotel efficiently designed for the 21st century, it has been necessary to demolish some of the structures on the site, but these have all been recreated to resemble the old El Encanto architecturally and in context.

El Encanto's famous gardens

El Encanto's famous gardens

 

El Encanto was famous for its gardens and the lily pond.  How much of this area has been preserved?

A horticultural team was permanently employed on site for the duration of the closure, to preserve many of the significant indigenous trees and shrubs that grow within El Encanto’s grounds.  Gardens form a very important aspect of any Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. property and many of our hotels, such as Reid’s Palace, Madeira and Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, have beautiful gardens for our guests to enjoy.  It was important to us that when the hotel reopened, the gardens around the cottages were already mature and well established, recreating the enchanted gardens of El Encanto’s history.

 

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