Famous for its Spanish-style architecture and its historic landmarks, Santa Barbara is a city on the coast of California overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Known as The American Riviera, this is a popular tourist destination for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, and art lovers. Both how you spend your time and your choice of accommodation will make a huge difference to your overall enjoyment of this fabulous city. Regardless of whether you are on a budget and simply want somewhere to lay your head after sightseeing or whether you want to enjoy a memorable experience in luxurious accommodation, there is the perfect hotel for everyone in this city. So that you can get some idea of the options, the following are the 20 best hotels in Santa Barbara.
20. Harbor View Inn
The main selling point of Harbor View Inn is its location at the entry to Stearns Wharf, which is just a short walk from downtown Santa Barbara. Another feature of this hotel that guests enjoy is that all the rooms have either balconies or private patios, which means that they can enjoy excellent views. Guests have also praised the attentiveness and helpfulness of the staff. There is a pool where the guests can relax, and guests can dine at Eladio’s Restaurant & Bar.
19. Hotel Santa Barbara
Guests at the Santa Barbara hotel can enjoy the historic charm of the property and its perfect location in the heart of Santa Barbara. The rooms have a contemporary design that is complemented by modern amenities. All guests receive passes to a local gym, and room service is provided by a neighboring hotel. Guests receive a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, which is served in the hotel’s lobby. Although there is no on-site restaurant, there are plenty of dining options nearby.
18. The Wayfarer
This is a hybrid hotel and hostel that differs from the other accommodation options in Santa Barbara. It is a fun and funky place to stay that will probably suit a younger crowd. It is located in the downtown Santa Barbara Funk Zone, which makes it an ideal place to stay for accessing the local attractions and amenities. The rooms range from 27 private hotel guest rooms to four same-sex shared hostel rooms. There is a pool, Wi-Fi throughout the property and guest parking. Guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, and there is a complimentary coffee bar.
17. Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara
An affordable option for those visiting Santa Barbara on a budget is the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara. Although the room rates are lower than many of the competitors, the rooms are comfortable, the hotel overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and the staff is attentive. There are some excellent dining options at the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara, including breakfast and lunch in the Marbella, and Californian cuisine for dinner at the Mar Vista. Some of the guest facilities include a pool, meeting rooms, a bar, room service, beach access, and parking.
16. The Eagle Inn
A family-owned and managed boutique hotel, The Eagle Inn is equally suitable for those who are enjoying a romantic getaway as it is for business travelers passing through Santa Barbara. Included in the room rate, guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast that is cooked to order and then snack on baked goods in the afternoon. For lunch and dinner, there is the Order Inn. Other facilities at this boutique hotel include bike loans, free Wi-Fi, parking, room service, and beach access.
15. Hilton Garden Inn Santa Barbara/ Goleta
Despite having many positive features, this is one of the most affordable options in Santa Barbara. It is in a fantastic location that gives guests easy access to the amenities and attractions of both Santa Barbara and Goleta. Guests have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center and a swimming pool. There are several dining options at this hotel, including The Garden Grille, Channel Island Terrace, and Spyglass Bistro and Bar.
14. The Kimpton Goodland
Surfing culture and California cool are themes that run throughout The Kimpton Goodland. There is some interesting décor throughout the hotel, such as longboards suspended from the ceilings. This hotel straddles Santa Barbara and neighboring Goleta, so you have convenient access to all the amenities and attractions that are available in both cities. Some of the facilities include a fitness center, a pool, and a bar. One of the highlights of staying at this hotel is the food served in The Outpost restaurant. This restaurant serves California cuisine made using local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients.
13. Hotel Californian
Forbes has listed Hotel Californian as one of the best hotels in Santa Barbara. It is one of the newer hotels in the center of the waterfront, although its façade dates to 1925. There are 121 guest rooms, all of which boast custom furnishings, Spanish architectural features, and Moroccan-inspired décor. One of the best features of the hotel is the rooftop pool and events deck where guests can enjoy views of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the stunning coastline. Guests can also book spa treatments in the Majorelle. There is a top-class restaurant called Blackbird that is L’Assiette Michelin-recommended.
12. The Upham Hotel
Those who enjoy staying in hotels with historical charm should consider booking a room at The Upham Hotel, which is known for its gracious hospitality and making you feel at home. There are 50 guest rooms, including four suites, and all have modern amenities and some special touches to make your stay comfortable. There is Wi-Fi throughout the property, and guests have access to a fitness center. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast and wine with nibbles in the afternoons. Louie’s California Bistro is located on the premises, although it is a separate business to the hotel.
11. Bacara Resort & Spa
The direct beach access from its oceanfront location means that Bacara Resort & Spa is a popular option for those visiting Santa Barbara. Accommodation options vary from guest rooms to large villas that are dotted around the beautiful grounds of the hotel. No matter which you choose, you can expect to find all the modern amenities you will need for your stay. There is an impressive list of facilities to enjoy at this hotel, including several pools, a spa, tennis courts, a sauna. A steam room, a fitness center, a bar, and a kids’ beach. There are several dining options to choose between at this hotel, ranging from a casual bistro to the Angel Oak, which is an upscale restaurant.
10. Spanish Garden Inn
Located in the Presidio District, Spanish Garden Inn is a boutique hotel with just 24 guest rooms. Therefore, it is ideal for those who want to stay somewhere that has a pleasant ambiance and can offer exceptional personal service. Compared to many of the other boutique hotels in the area, the Spanish Garden Inn is not lacking in facilities. There is a pool, free parking, a bar, room service, a fitness center, and in-room spa treatments. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the dining room.
9. The Cheshire Cat Inn
If large, chain hotels are not your thing and you prefer to stay in a bed and breakfast with a homey environment, then The Cheshire Cat Inn is a good option. Although it is in the heart of Santa Barbara, there is a sense of seclusion as it is set in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Included in the room rate is a hearty, European breakfast. In the evenings, guests are invited to the social hours to snack on tasty hors d’oeuvres and sample the local wines.
8. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara
Everything at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara is about the waterside setting. The hotel is set on 78-acres of beautiful land that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It has access to two beaches, boasts three infinity pools, and a huge spa that offers unique treatments. Each of the guest rooms features a huge soaking tub, continuing the water theme. There are six excellent restaurants that all have ocean views.
7. Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
Located just east of downtown Santa Barbara, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. This hotel has received praise from former guests for its range of facilities, which include an outdoor pool, a spa that offers an extensive list of treatments and therapies, kids’ activities, a business center, and Wi-Fi throughout the property. There are two dining options at this hotel. Seafood enthusiasts should head to Tydes, while fans of Californian and Italian cuisine should opt for Bella Vista.
6. Kimpton Canary Santa Barbara
A pretty boutique hotel in the heart of Santa Barbara, the Kimpton Canary Santa Barbara is ideally located for enjoying the shops and restaurants in Santa Barbara. One of the best features of the hotel is its rooftop terrace, which offers impressive views of the ocean and the mountains. The terrace also boasts a heated swimming pool, a hot tub, and fireplaces. In the evenings, guests can enjoy complimentary appetizers and local wines in the lobby. There is an outstanding on-site restaurant, Finch & Fork.
5. Santa Barbara Inn
Somewhere that you can enjoy the perfect fusion of a tropical paradise with casual Californian elegance is the Santa Barbara Inn. Guests can enjoy ocean and mountain views from their deck or patio, and the beach is almost on the doorstep of the hotel. To keep guests entertained during their stay, there is a pool, a fitness center, and a bar. The hotel’s restaurant is Convivo, which has become popular among the locals as well as the hotel guests. It serves Italian nomad cuisine, and guests can enjoy views of the Pacific from the dining rooms while they eat.
4. Belmond El Encanto
The gorgeous setting of Belmond El Encanto overlooking Santa Barbara is one feature that appeals to travelers, says US News. The homey accommodation consists of large suites with marble bathrooms, hardwood floors, and patios or terraces. There is an infinity pool, seven acres of gardens, and the Spa at El Encanto. Guests can enjoy light American fare at The Lounge or upscale Californian cuisine at the Dining Room.
3. Simpson House Inn
If you prefer a boutique hotel to one of the larger properties in the area, then the best boutique hotel in Santa Barbara is Simpson House Inn. It is a Victorian-style property that gives you all the creature comforts you need, and the owners pride themselves on delivering top-class customer service. Although the hotel does not have many facilities, it makes up for this with the personalized service that will make you feel like you have been pampered. There is a full concierge service, a turn-down service, and special touches that create a memorable stay. All the food is prepared in-house, and it is complimentary. Guess can enjoy a vegetarian gourmet breakfast, and evening hors d’oeuvres buffet, and local wines with tasty nibbles at the wine tastings.
2. Rosewood Miramar Beach
Set on the Miramar Beach, this oceanfront property has a beach-chic vibe. There is a multitude of facilities at this hotel, including direct beach access, an adults-only outdoor pool, a family-friendly outdoor pool, sports courts, an outdoor gym with treadmills overlooking the gardens, a golf course, a kids’ club, and a bar. There are also several dining options at this hotel including a refined southern Italian restaurant called Caruso’s. Another excellent restaurant is Malibu Farm, which is a farm-to-fork eatery.
1. San Ysidro Ranch
According to The Telegraph, the best hotel in Santa Barbara is San Ysidro Ranch. Dating back to 1893, this magical property sits at the foot of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The accommodation consist of individually designed private cottages that contain spacious living areas, four-poster beds, polished oak floors, Persian rugs, and antique artwork. They also have private patios, some of which have plunge pools or hot tubs. There two restaurants at this hotel. The Plow and Angel has a cozy, pub-style dining room with a fireplace. Stonehouse is a smart restaurant with a pretty outdoor terrace. Guests have access to a pool, a spa, a fitness center, and a bar.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson