We Love California too
The guest experience at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort just got a little swankier. Thanks to Nathan Turner. The designer whose style is synonymous with “the easy glam of California living” has designed the interiors of a set of guest cottages at this iconic guest ranch into everything we love about California. We got on our swanky cowboy and cowgirl (California-style) duds and drove the half hour north of Santa Barbara to spend a few days with the designer and his latest curation. Everything about the weekend was low-key amazing and high-key fabulous.
The ranch is always stunning upon entrance at the tree-lined drive welcomes guests, bit Nathan added to the expected splendor. As I made my way across the grass to the twinkling bistro lights hung near a roaring fire pit, the clinking of glasses warmed the crisp California air. As soon as I approached, it was clear that our host for the weekend at the ranch was going to show us a good time. Within seconds of arriving, I had the signature cocktail of the event placed in my hands. Nathan’s Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail went down so easily, the second one was in hand in short order.
Cheers turned into cheers as we drifted from the ranch’s patio setting to a private dining room where a bountiful table of locally-sourced roses that looked like peonies overflowed their vases to touch deer antlers and persimmons. The care that Natah took to intertwine the rustic with the softness of this land was as obvious as the meal was delicious.Course after course, we dined and sipped wines as though turning the pages of his “I Love California” book that is the grail of designing and entertaining the West Coast way.
Which just so happens to be my favorite way. The come as you are attitude coupled with an air of sophistication and joy is one of the ways I describe the feelings evoked by Nathan’s style. He’s a son of the soil not far from this ranch so his ability to transform what is first nature to him into an experience that highlights the very best of the land and its surroundings to others is second nature and second to none.
The pleasure of staying at this secluded jewel tucked into California’s famed Santa Ynez Valley and explore some of its 10,000-acres, as it effortlessly melds the spirit of the Old West with the seductive charms of today’s most relaxing resorts, while being hosted by Nathan was a treat. He shared with us tips and tricks on decorating a table and hosting friends. Then he gave us the first look at his newly designed cottages at Alisal. Here again, he outdid himself. Effortlessly maneuvering between the great outdoors that were just a step away and the cozy warmth of a fire-warmed cabin experience replete with up-to-date wood paneled walls. I was obsessed and wanted to stay in the cottage but there were hayrides to margaritas and horseback rides o breakfast to be taken. We have been to Alisal before, but experiencing it through the gracious lens of a shared experience gave this classic California getaway a new level of enjoyment. We love Nathan’s book as a perfect reminder of how to enjoy life, even when not at Alisal.
The ranch has a full calendar of events for the year ahead and we may just pop back up for their Unbridled Retreat which is being held for the first time on May3-6, 2020. It is slated to be an intimate 4-day, 3-night itinerary full of hands-on interactions with horses, facilitated by globally recognized Equine Gestalt Coach, Devon Combs, Founder of Unbridled Retreats. Guests will experience Alisal’s luxury accommodations with scheduled daily activities designed to help them find the clarity, confidence and courage to move from the path they “should” be on, to the one their hearts crave, all while meeting a supportive group of like-minded women. Combs has a unique synergy with horses and her expert intuitive coaching provides profound breakthroughs to women who seek to unlock their unlimited potential. “I’m excited to offer the Unbridled Retreat in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Alisal is the perfect setting for the Unbridled Retreat – an idyllic place to unplug, reconnect, and gain clarity. The magic of this 10,500-acre ranch and the healing power of horses will provide profound breakthroughs for women seeking positive change.” says Combs. After checking-in to a luxe ranch suite where a welcome gift awaits, the retreat officially begins with an opening ceremony and the first look at what is sure to be a life-changing experience. Over the course of four days, Devon will guide participants through two personalized equine gestalt coaching sessions. No visit to Alisal is complete without sampling the local cuisine. Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner is included in the retreat with food that captures the essence of California cooking paired with the depth of flavor and heartiness of Western ranch cooking.
Guests will also participate in one of Alisal’s Signature Breakfast Rides to the historic AlisalAdobe on horseback or by hay wagon. Guests can also partake in complimentary wine tastings at a host of nearby Santa Ynez Valley wineries. The retreat closes with another ceremony to reflect on the learnings, leaving guests with a renewed focus. Space is limited to 12 guests and no horse experience is necessary to attend. The Unbridled Retreat includes accommodation in one of Alisal’s suites featuring a king bed, spacious living area, and wood-burning fireplace complete with authentic Western décor, exquisite linens, coffee makers, and refrigerators. Meals, all activities and welcome amenity also included. Guests can book their Unbridled Retreat experience online or by calling (800) 425-4725. Check the website to see when Nathan may be hosting another event at Alisal. You’ll want to book that!
Subscribe to Swanky Retreats Magazine’s DIGITAL version. Read the latest issue online or download it to your computer.