An upscale getaway in Santa Barbara: the pristine Santa Barbara Inn

Santa Barbara is blessed to have a new boutique hotel of quality and it’s right across from the ocean on the waterfront close to Downtown. The Santa Barbara Inn has opened to rave reviews after a major head-to-toe two year renovation and we are all the beneficiaries.

Framed by deep, red terra cotta roofs, luminous white stucco, gracefully arched windows and a duo of handcrafted tile domes, the Santa Barbara Inn perfectly embodies the spirit and architecture of its Santa Barbara. This is Spanish Mediterranean at its best: a sunny, tiled lobby with massive fireplace and stunning chandelier greets guests. We found the feeling totally residential and personal. Cars are politely valet parked.

The Inn has just 70 spacious and quiet guest rooms and suites, all with patios or balconies. Most enjoy dramatic views of the Pacific while others look over the majestic Santa Ynez Mountains. All have complimentary access to the hotel’s very cool, modern fitness center, pool and whirlpool spa. They also have hi-def flat screens with movie channel and free wireless Internet access. The warm calming color scheme mixes either cucumber and Devonshire cream furnishings or honey and tobacco tones. The beds were deliriously comfortable and the lighting superb. The grounds and landscaping were superbly looked after.

The Inn is home to a top notch restaurant, Convivo, where talented chef Peter McNee prepares excellent seafood, wood-fired pizza and flat breads, and a host of other dishes derived from fresh, local Santa Barbara bounty. A lively happy hours buzzes nightly with nibbles, specialty cocktails and wines and microbrews on tap.

We credit owners Mimi and Richard Gunner for their vision to stunning architecture and the most attractive details. As an example, all of the beautiful brick pavers seen at the entrance, around the heated pool and the restaurant’s outdoor deck have been recycled from a 100-year-old street recently unearthed in Iowa. There are flickering gas lanterns and a fire pit to relax by. Eagle–eyed gentleman General Manager, Ed Galsterer, maintains the highest standards here. Housekeeping is immaculate; the staff is young, eager and always smiling. To their credit, the Inn is committed to very eco-friendly practices.

Santa Barbara Inn guests have miles of white-sand beach at their door step and Stearns Wharf, the Funk Zone and State Street shopping is within comfortable walking distance. Wine tastings, whale watching, water sports and a multitude of other activities for the whole family are close by. Santa Barbara Inn is also a member of Car Free Santa Barbara, offering extra savings for guests who wish to go carless during their visit.

Here is a sanctuary that merges classic elegance and coastal luxury on picturesque “America’s Riviera” where they seem to have thought of everything. Rooms start around $300 and include Continental breakfast, a true bargain in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara Inn, 901 East Cabrillo Boulevard,, (800) 231-0431.

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