Living the Californian dream sums up the polished-to-perfection vibe of coastal town Santa Barbara. Drive up the tree-dotted chi-chi main street away from the beach, and the views get as big the residences.

El Encanto is a slick five-star resort (wear flip-flops and cut-offs at your own risk!) perched in seven acres of gardens, overlooking the Pacific. The hotel is made up of a series of 92 bungalows and suites, most with private outdoor space, and has seclusion at its heart. From a romantic walk around the tree-lined lily pond (a great spot to say 'I do') to a dip in the newly renovated pool, with views of the Pacific, serenity is key.

The interiors are luxurious without being garish, while service is frighteningly good. After a day of spa-ing, shopping and sipping local wine (a glass of Californian Merlot, anyone?), retreat to your king-sized bed adorned with bolster cushions embroidered with your initials.

WOW FACTOR Visit between October and March and watch the great butterfly migration, as thousands of Monarch butterflies take flight. The gorgeous Damien Hirst artwork in reception pays homage to this annual natural phenomenon.

GO Rooms from £316 www.elencanto.com; Mr & Mrs Smith www.mrandmrssmith.com offers money back with every booking and a free extra on arrival. BA www.ba.com flights to LA start at £662 

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