A Garden Paradise


Set alongside Southern California’s picturesque coast, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is well known for the blue of Pacific Ocean, and as one of the most iconic beach resorts in America. What many people don’t know is that the Resort also offers an oasis of green – featuring expansive gardens fitting of a royal estate.

The legendary Resort’s 22-acre (9-hectare) grounds are a fantasy of meticulously maintained gardens, greeting visitors arriving via its sweeping drive facing the Pacific, surrounding its Spanish Colonial-style buildings, and dotted with a dozen private cottages.

Originally designed by Lockwood de Forrest, the gardens are kept flourishing today by a full-time team of 15 gardeners, led by Landscape Manager Ezequiel “Zeke” Gil. Zeke, a fixture at the Resort for more than 30 years, leads his talented team in overseeing more than 3,000 plant species. Some highlights include:

  • 200 species of palm (more than 3,000 trees), including the kentia palm (the Resort has the most extensive collection of these outside of Australia's Lord Howe Island); Mexican fan palm (these are the tallest trees at the Resort); trithrinax palm (extremely rare, the Resort is the only hotel to have these); sugar palm (these have a sweet scent and the fruit from them is very sweet)
  • Buddha fig – this is the only one in all of Santa Barbara
  • Moreton Bay fig - dating back to the 1800s, this is Santa Barbara’s second largest tree
  • Schefflera – the Resort has the largest collection of this species outside of Hawaii

Guests are invited to an up-close look with a self-guided botanical walking tour using the map provided in each room or on seasonal guided tours, where Zeke introduces guests to 48 of the Resort's rarest specimens (including the mountain bush cabbage cussonia, yellow birds of paradise and the bird catcher personia).