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Santa Barbara’s Iconic 20th Century Luxury Hotel Set To Reopen In March 2013.

London (31 July 2012) - Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. announces the appointment of Laura McIver as General Manager, El Encanto, the iconic Santa Barbara luxury hotel due to reopen in March 2013. Beginning on August 6 as General Manager, McIver will oversee all day-to-day operations, ensuring optimal product quality and service standards.

“Laura’s vast experience in the hospitality industry makes her the ideal choice for El Encanto,” said Ali Kasikci, Regional Managing Director for Orient-Express North America, Mexico and Caribbean. “Beyond her proven expertise to successfully run and manage luxury properties, her intimate knowledge of Santa Barbara positions her to be a strategic force behind the reopening of this community icon.”

Most recently, McIver served as General Manager of Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara and she has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry.  In addition, she held senior positions with ETC Hotels including Hotel Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach.  McIver is an avid supporter of local businesses and non-profit organisations and she is presently the Board Chair for the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitor’s Bureau, Board Secretary of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce, on the Executive Leadership Committee for the American Heart Association and a member of the Dream Foundation’s Advisory Board.

Part of the Orient-Express portfolio since its purchase in 2004, El Encanto has been closed since June 2006, undergoing an extensive and meticulous restoration to recapture the romance and glamour that made it a favourite getaway of Hollywood’s elite.  Nestled on seven-acres of gloriously landscaped and historic gardens, El Encanto enjoys sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from its commanding hilltop perch.

The property’s 92 quintessential California-styled bungalows will offer guests the ultimate secluded retreat for romance and rediscovery.  Guests will also enjoy a beautifully appointed boutique spa, signature restaurant featuring California coastal cuisine and a Santa Barbara dedicated wine list, a sumptuous outdoor swimming pool, a window-lined ballroom with private terrace, three meeting rooms with panoramic ocean views, and an array of outdoor event venues.

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About Orient-Express: Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. is a luxury hotel company and sophisticated adventure travel operator which seeks to deliver memorable experiences that are the ultimate expression of each destination's authentic culture. The Company has offered exceptional luxury travel experiences since 1976, when it purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and then shortly thereafter recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice, along with other European cities. Today the Orient-Express brand embraces 46 hotel, cruise and luxury rail businesses in 23 countries, including distinctive properties such as Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg, Hotel Ritz Madrid, Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Maroma Resort and Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.  The Company also operates six luxury tourist trains, two river cruise operations and the ‘21’ Club, one of New York’s most iconic restaurants and watering holes.  www.orient-express.com

For further information, please contact Sara Mirza or Emily Wilson at Orient-Express on 0203 117 1376 or sara.mirza@orient-express.com, Emily.wilson@orient-express.com 

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