March 11 - 13, 1988
is no stranger to enchanted weekends
comic craves the 'mind-boggling quiet' of a Santa Barbara retreat
By Stu Schrieberg
Only three years
ago, Bronson Pinchot's weekend plans had obvious limitations. He was
mostly an unemployed actor who lived from bit part to bit part in a dingy
one-bedroom Hollywood apartment.
weekend was when this girl and I used the $20 we each had to rent a car and
drive up the (California) coast," he recalls. "We got lost
around Santa Barbara and stumbled on this hotel. We said, 'If we ever
could afford it, we'd love to come back as a guest of that place.'"
That place was the
El Encanto Hotel and Garden Villas. And today, Pinchot can well afford any
suite now that he's starring as Balki Bartokomous, the Mediterranean immigrant
who moves in with his distant American cousin in ABC-TV's top-rated Perfect
The El Encanto,
which fittingly means "the enchanted," is Pinchot's favorite weekend
retreat. "I don't know what they do to make those gardens grow, but
they have lush, subtropical gardens with lily ponds, sloping lawns with
old-fashioned lawn swings," he says.
The cost of rooms or
suites in the country-French style cottages, which are picturesque white with
red roofs, range from $100 to $300 a night.
The El Encanto also
boasts a gourmet French restaurant. Don't ask Pinchot about it. He
opts for room service. "First, I would never be caught dead in a
jacket and tie. Secondly, I don't eat red meat or any sauces. It's
easier to tell room service to make me a dish of vegetables and a piece of plain
grilled chicken than to fight with the waiter for disobeying the menu."
parlayed a tiny two-scene role as Serge, the gay art gallery assistant in Beverly
Hills Cop, into an unforgettable cameo, goes to El Encanto "for
perfect, mind-boggling quiet. In fact, sometimes I leave with a huge
headache because I get too much sleep and it throws me off."
At the resort,
Pinchot maintains a low profile. He prefers to "buy about a hundred
books on photography and ancient Greece" and read in bed.
"I take turns
reading, ordering food, and watching TV, which is something I never do when I'm
home. At night, I'll go to whatever (movie) is playing on State
Street." He sometimes visits the Santa Monica Museum to view its
impressive Greco-Roman collection.
He realizes things
have changed immensely since he first discovered El Encanto. "A
million times a day, I get a little private giggle," says Pinchot of his
new star status. In fact, he has signed to play his first starring role in
a feature film, Second Sight, for release at Christmas 1989.
He hasn't been to El
Encanto recently. "The last time, I went with this terrific
girl," he laments. "We've since broken up, and I don't feel like
looking at anything we did together. But, this (feeling) will pass.
If I stay away from Santa Barbara too long, I go through withdrawal."