A Visit to the Montecito Tea Gardens

••• A big thank you to agents Chris Harrington and Holly McKenna for letting me tag along on the brokers’ caravan to the Mar Y Ciel property (which you probably know better as the Montecito Tea Gardens), 331 acres of which recently came on the market for $78 million. I’m not sure there’s anything quite as satisfying (real estate–wise) as seeing a place up close that you’ve only seen from afar. The road to the arches is a bit hairy, but once you get there, the views are insane. I was also fascinated by the aqueduct infrastructure that previous owners built to carry water to their other property on Cold Spring Road. And the amphitheater overlooking a swimming pool, where synchronized swimmers would perform as a backdrop to plays. And the curtain rods that have somehow survived on the arches….

••• The Harlem Globetrotters will be at the UCSB Events Center on February 25. Maybe the act has changed a lot in the past few decades—although I doubt it—but when I was 10, I thought it was one of the most entertaining things I had ever seen.

••• Two worthwhile jazz shows are coming up at the Lobero Theater: The Derek Douget Band, a quintet that plays New Orleans–style jazz, on March 11, and the Marcus Roberts Trio on May 18.

••• Alt-J and Portugal. The Man added a second show at the Santa Barbara Bowl; it’s on April 2 and tickets go on sale Friday.

••• The Kimpton Canary hotel at Carrillo and Chapala will soon begin a rolling renovation. From the company:

The hotel will start with the transformation of all of its public spaces, including the living room lobby, private event and meeting spaces, rooftop, and its on-site restaurant Finch & Fork. This will be followed by a complete renovation of the hotel’s 97 guest rooms and suites. The Canary will remain open throughout the process.

Upon completion, expected by January 2023, guests can anticipate its design to channel an elegant California estate, yet with an approachable and relaxed feel. The design will retain the hand-painted tiles, wrought iron details, and Spanish-style charm guests have come to love from the hotel with an updated take on the look.

A staffer at the property told me that the Finch & Fork restaurant might be temporarily relocated into the meeting space downstairs while the current space gets redone.


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Lucky you! The Tea Gardens are such an interesting property, would make a fascinating public park (wishful thinking..)

Maryanne Brillhart

What an amazingly beautiful day to land at the arches overlooking 331 acres of fascinating landscapes and breathtaking ocean views (yes the narrow steep road lent a certain thrill of its own). For me as a RE estate Broker … questions of usage and value but really for me were the memories of a number of hikes to the arches with picnics in our backpacks and lazy days in a wonderland over 50 years ago. It is a most special piece of property that I hope continues to be honored and I wish the agents a great sale to someone special.