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Santa Barbara is one of Central California’s most picturesque coastal towns. Often called the “American Riveria”, this destination is beloved for its gorgeous Pacific Ocean views, picture-perfect Spanish-style architecture, and historic landmarks that lure in outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers, and foodies from across the country. If you want to make the most of your time there, be sure to book one of these top hotels.
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One of the best beachfront hotels in California, The Ritz Carlton Bacara Resort & Spa sits perched atop a bluff overlooking the glistening expanse of the Pacific. The Mediterranean-inspired resort offers private balconies in every suite as well as a 42,000-square-foot spa. This relaxation haven serves up more than 60 treatment options and includes an adults-only pool, a redwood sauna, and a eucalyptus steam room. If that’s not enough, you can get even more relaxed by heading to the resort’s Foley Wine Tasting room. Not only can you sample and purchase great wines, but the personalized concierge service offers reserve tastings, cooking classes and wine outings.
If you’re looking for a beachfront resort with high-end amenities, the chance for celebrity sightings, and extraordinary hospitality, be sure to book the historic Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. Set across the street from one of the most stunning white-sand beaches in the region, Butterfly Beach, you’ll be ideally situated for catching glorious ocean sunsets. When it’s time for rest, return to one of the rooms, suites, or cottages that are spread among Spanish colonial revival-style buildings and surrounded by lush gardens.
Considered one of the world’s best wine country resorts, San Ysidro Ranch is a treasured romantic destination that has drawn the likes of many a celebrity, including John F. Kennedy and Jackie Onassis who honeymooned here. Nestled in the foothills of Montecito, just minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, it’s made up of suites and cottages, and is so family-friendly it even provides babysitting service for parents so they can enjoy a night out. Dining is impressive too, with its two restaurants, The Stonehouse and Plow and Angel popular for locals who come to celebrate special occasions.
Palihouse Santa Barbara is a romantic boutique hotel that sits just a few blocks from the liveliest promenade in downtown Santa Barbara, State Street. Here you can immerse yourself in the town’s quintessential Spanish colonial revival style, with white adobe walls, red tile roofs, and fountain courtyards when you aren’t out and about. The extra-spacious rooms are so large, you’ll feel as if you’re staying in a private apartment. Look forward to its sparkling pool area and delightful garden cafe, cocktail bar, and lobby lounge.
The Kimpton Canary Hotel is a decadent boutique hotel where you can look forward to sipping cocktails on the rooftop pool deck near a roaring fire while marveling at the 360-degree views that include the glistening expanse of the Pacific, rolling hills, and downtown Santa Barbara. When you can tear yourself away from the view, head to your comfy room that includes four-poster canopy beds with pillow-top mattresses and spa bath amenities. The property offers loaner bikes for getting out and exploring, as well as an evening wine social hour and an excellent onsite restaurant, Finch & Fork.
The Belmond El Encanto is considered one of Santa Barbara’s most legendary properties. It sits in a secluded area of town, providing the ultimate in both tranquility and romantic views. Guests enjoy numerous luxuries, including being treated like a true VIP – in fact, even the bed you sleep in will include appropriately monogrammed linens. Enjoy quiet contemplation among the lush surroundings, indulging in treatments at the spa, and dining on incredibly delicious meals at the Dining Room and Terrace, one of Southern California’s top restaurants.
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is just a half-mile from downtown and sits directly across from a beautiful beach. In addition to a tree-lined pool and tennis courts, you can take advantage of the on-site spa and bike rentals. Start with Starbucks coffee in the cafe or enjoy breakfast at the Roundhouse, the no-plastic buffet restaurant. There’s also a terrace restaurant with sea views and fire pits. You’ll have tons of attractions at your fingertips, as it’s also just one mile fro the Funk Zone district with its art galleries and wine trails.
Hotel Indigo is just steps away from happening State Street, the beach and the artsy “Funk Zone” in a particularly hip part of town. A stylish boutique hotel, it features contemporary art displayed throughout, derived from the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, and there is even a library filled with cool books on internationally-renowned contemporary artists. Rooms have an edgy design, with sleek modern furnishings and pop art, some include a private patio with sun chairs. You’ll also be able to take advantage of recreational opportunities at the fitness center and beautiful vistas from the rooftop terrace and garden.
Across the street from the beach and just a short walk from downtown’s hopping restaurant and bar scene, Hotel Milo is a hit with those who want to enjoy both easy access to the beach and partying on State Street without the worry of getting behind the wheel. It boasts lush tropical greenery, a Jacuzzi, and two swimming pools that are popular with the young, hip crowd, and it even provides complimentary two-hour beach cruiser rentals.