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Montecito Club, San Ysidro Ranch Reopen After Renovation, Disaster

Owner Ty Warner Breathes New Life and Big Bucks into the World-Famous Golf Course and the Historic Resort

The Montecito Club’s Great Room | Credit: ©Peter Malinowski/InSite 2019

Two landmarks of Montecito luxury have recently reopened: the Montecito Club — which received a three-and-a-half-year, $75 million makeover ​— ​and the San Ysidro Ranch, which was heavily damaged in the 2018 debris flow. Both are owned by Beanie Baby billionaire and part-time Montecito resident Ty Warner. 

Originally built 101 years ago, the Montecito Club now features more 21st-century amenities, including a movie theater with a 16-foot Cinescope screen, as well as a bowling alley that offers a Zodo’s-like blacklight and disco experience. The club house’s Great Room is more traditional but equally extravagant. “My goal was to create the best country club in the world,” said Warner in a press statement.

Inside the African mahogany doors, custom-designed Swarovski crystal chandeliers throw light onto gold-leaf ceilings. Hand-woven Persian carpets run along old-growth oak floors under a two-story window overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Nearby is the ballroom, a Mediterranean restaurant, California’s largest pool complex, wine rooms, separate men’s and women’s lounges, tennis courts, gym, and a kids’ club. Club representatives would not disclose membership prices.

But it’s the club’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that takes center stage. The 18-hole, par-71 course was redesigned to incorporate more natural elevation changes and is planted with the best grass money can buy. The bunkers are all filled with fluffy Augusta white sand. The Golden Bear himself celebrated the opening last month with a ceremonial tee shot.

In the foothills a few miles away, the San Ysidro Ranch has undergone a complete renovation since the debris flow ruined half of the 500-acre resort. Of its 41 cottages, 21 were heavily damaged, including three that were totally destroyed. Mud rose four feet up the walls of the historic adobe, but experts from Chicago were called in to save it. “We all have worked diligently to restore it to be better than ever,” said Warner. 

Photo: ©Peter Malinowski/InSite 2019San Ysidro Ranch

New furniture and decor include antiques Warner’s people say he hand-selected during his global travels. Each cottage has a stone fireplace, a handmade four-poster canopy bed with Rivolta Italian linen, and a private outdoor patio with a rain shower and a candlelit sunken hot tub. They’re set among 400-year-old olive trees surrounded by French lavender. “It is a slice of heaven unlike anywhere else in the world,” said Warner. Summer room rates start at $1,045 per night.

Guests unwind at the spa where there’s an exclusive Swiss skincare line or at a heated pool up on a hilltop. The Ranch’s multimillion-dollar wine collection was lost in the disaster but has been restocked with 12,000 of the best wines and Champagnes from around the world. 

Ty Warner’s other resort and hotel properties include The Biltmore, Coral Casino, Sandpiper Golf Course, Rancho San Marcos Golf Course, Four Seasons Hotel New York, and Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Mexico.

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