In 1941, opera singer and socialite Ganna Walska purchased 37 acres nearby and created Lotusland
, now a nonprofit public garden open by appointment only, featuring 3,000 species in 25 distinct gardens devoted to bromeliads, cactus, ferns, and topiary, as well as plants from countries such Japan and Australia. In contrast to Santa Barbara’s popular beaches, Lotusland and the area’s other mountain attractions offer a bit of away-from-it-all tranquility. The historic San Ysidro Ranch occupies 500 acres with access to 17 miles of hiking trails. Its 41 wood-and-stone bungalows, each decorated with fireplaces or stoves and outdoor hot tubs, cloister guests in style.
“San Ysidro has a relaxed, romantic atmosphere,” says Virtuoso advisor Alexandra Erdman. With its vast grounds, spa, and acclaimed Stonehouse restaurant
, located in a nineteenth-century fruit-packing house, “you literally never have to leave,” she adds. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily at Stonehouse and a $100 hotel food-and-beverage credit.