Set on a 500-acre estate in the foothills of the Los Padres National Forest, 6 miles northeast of Santa Barbara, San Ysidro Ranch is one of the most legendary retreats in the United States (with a current Hideaway Report rating of 98). Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were married at the ranch, John Huston completed the script for “The African Queen” while staying at the property, and John and Jackie Kennedy spent part of their honeymoon there in 1953. (The 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom Kennedy Cottage, with its private deck overlooking the Channel Islands, remains one of the resort’s most sought-after accommodations.)
Then, in January 2018, a flash flood caused by heavy rainfall in areas deforested by recent fires broke the banks of the San Ysidro Creek, and an ensuing mudslide badly damaged 21 of the 41 cottages and destroyed 3 entirely. In places, the mud reached 4 feet up the walls. Now, after an extensive renovation, San Ysidro Ranch is open for business once more, complete with a new wine cellar.
Every effort was made to return San Ysidro to its original appearance, and mature trees and vines were planted to replace those that were felled by the storm. Despite the devastation, returning guests are unlikely to notice any significant change.