HBA Los Angeles’ mindful renovation of The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara’s public areas is a masterclass in weaving layers of inspiration into a fabric of memorable experiences.

Approximately 150 kilometers north of Los Angeles lies a peaceful paradise where the coastal waters meet the towering Santa Ynez Mountains. The metropolitan rush of the city fades somewhere along the scenic highway drive and gives way to foothills dotted with vineyards, meandering shoreline and Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings topped with red-tiled roofs. Here, in the seaside community of Santa Barbara, is situated one of Southern California’s most iconic resorts: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara.

“Layered” might possibly be the best way to describe how HBA Los Angeles approached creating a new chapter in the public spaces of the storied Santa Barbara resort. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara’s new look synthesizes influences from the natural environment and each chapter of the region’s history, from the first Chumash settlers to the early movie industry.

“Elements of natural treasures, cultural heritage, the California coast, and unrivaled glamour were used by our team to carefully weave the story of Bacara and pull the experience through the lens of The Ritz-Carlton’s brand of luxury,” says Kathleen Dauber, partner, HBA Los Angeles.

“We derived inspiration from Santa Barbara’s bountiful coastline to form our palette. Vibrant blues from cascading waves of the surrounding ocean meet with the soft tones of sand and the rolling hills of nearby valleys,” adds Ashley Bright, associate, HBA Los Angeles. “A combination of organic natural textures interplays with polished surfaces and metals to exemplify the smooth gleams of water and rich minerals of earth.”

That careful blend is evident from the moment guests enter the resort. Driving through the building’s arched portals, guests are greeted by a brick-lined courtyard where a flowing fountain, potted greenery and vines cascading over balconies establish a welcoming atmosphere. Once guests enter the lobby lounge, the blend of natural elements and impeccably chosen, luxe textures mesh the physical and cultural worlds of Santa Barbara into the easy chic that makes the destination the “American Riviera.” Italian hand-carved stone reception desks, undulating patterns on area rugs and coastal tones bring the outdoors into the lobby. A feature art installation, curated by Canvas Art Consultants, is comprised of a series of photographs depicting the property’s story, laid out to resemble the cresting motion of waves. Plush upholstery, washed woods and finely tailored detailing pay homage to the glittering history of the area.

Moving into the bar area, the region’s history of woven basket art is celebrated with a large sculptural woven form. The circular space provides illuminated niches that house artifacts illustrating the property’s story. Pivoting doors reinforce the connection to the outdoors.

The spa lobby and spa lounge draw upon the serenity of the coast for their main inspiration, demonstrating a subtle shift in the mix of influences to fit the purpose of the spaces. Natural organic elements, large cascading sheers and water-washed pebbles all reinforce the deep calm of a world-class spa.

The club lounge takes the energy back up as befits a space designed for interaction. Organic and geometric forms along with structures provide a sophisticated interplay. Screens evoke coral patterns. Built-in millwork cabinets elegantly house both beverages and objets d’art. A library area features built-in shelving with grasscloth backing, surrounded by plush lounge seating. Sculptural wooden stools provide a contrast. Floating sculptures overhead add another layer of detail.

Meeting spaces use rich, warm wood tones juxtaposed with contemporary lighting and ombre sheers to make even work feel like an effortless part of this refined, relaxing experience.

Project: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Design Studio: HBA
Photo Credits: Will Pryce
Website: hba.com