Santa Barbara, Sweet Stay-Overs, and Monarch Butterflies

El Encanto is offering a stay-over package for lovers of winged beauties.


BUTTERFLIES AND COCKTAILS: You have to be someone a little special to have a cocktail invented in your honor. Perhaps a visiting dignitary -- dignitaries are always "visiting," aren't they? -- or a movie star or an author or the chef who has her name on the restaurant. There are a few exceptions, though, and they fall within the natural world. Many fine nature-set lodges and hotels pay tribute to the flora and fauna in their immediate vicinity via fancy beverages. And when the animalia is more of a seasonal thing? Then a seasonal cocktail becomes a bit more special. Such is the case with the "Diamond Dusted Monarch" cocktails, which are now on the pour at El Encanto in Santa Barbara. The butterfly-homaging libations are actually part of El Encanto's larger Monarch Butterfly Migration Package, a stay-over plan that includes a posh room, the aforementioned sip, a breakfast credit, and a "Healing Cocoon" spa treatment. The package kicked off on Oct. 15, which happens to be juuuust about the exact day, give or take a week, when the Monarchs start to flit at preserves up and down the Central Coast.

INCLUDING... the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. The Goleta-based nature expanse is a favorite for the small winged stars, and they show in droves. What do we mean by "droves," exactly? "(T)ens of thousands" of butterflies will call up on the preserve from mid-October through mid-March. Meaning you can swing by the preserve, admire a few hundred butterflies during a ramble, and return to El Encanto for that Healing Cocoon. The price starts at $570 a night (and that breakfast credit is $60, we should mention, too). Is this your year to find a few flutterbies -- er, butterflies -- and do so with a bit of style? Finding a pretty spot of your own to alight upon for the night is keeping in theme.

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