Best Places To Stay in Santa Barbara

  • Jul 27, 2020
  • By Rebekah Stoltz Weeman

Summer is here and Santa Barbara is calling your name. Find out the best places to stay for a sun kissed glow and easy access to wine, food and fun!

We heard you were looking for the perfect place to stay in Santa Barbara. Lucky you! It's been a crazy year and it's high time to take a break and reset. We couldn't imagine a better place than sunny Santa Barbara. With world class dining, incredible wineries, seaside activities and smiling, beautiful people, Santa Barbara is the ideal place to recharge your batteries.

Essentially, Santa Barbara is defined by five distinct areas - Montecito, West Beach, Funk Zone, Upper East and Goleta. You may hear about other neighborhoods, but with regard to the best places to stay in Santa Barbara, we will stick to the five areas mentioned. While there are numerous places to choose from, we have selected a couple of our favorites from each area. Trust us, you can’t go wrong with any of the hotels on our list. Now, go pack your bags already! Santa Barbara is waiting for you.

Montecito Inn (Montecito) has a very special history. It was built by the legendary filmmaker and actor, Charlie Chaplin. For that reason alone, the iconic establishment is worthy of your stay. Originally built in 1928, the Montecito Inn has been renovated and guests can enjoy a vintage feel with modern amenities. The rooms are luxurious, the staff are attentive and the outdoor pool and hot tub are top notch. We especially love the architecture of this stunner, not to mention the perfect locale. The beach is a short ten minute walk away! Ideal for couples, the Montecito Inn is not to be missed.

If living in the lap of luxury is your thing, we recommend the iconic Four Seasons Resort, the Biltmore Santa Barbara (Montecito). Beachside and on 20 acres, the Biltmore Santa Barbara leaves nothing to be desired. Onsite, there are three restaurants, two sprawling pools, tennis courts, a spa and much more. In the very best Spanish style and architecture the hotel is a world all to itself. Especially nice, are the seasonal packages and deals, which will no doubt inspire you to splurge. You will be sure to feel right at home here and have the best time of your life. 

Probably the most popular area to stay in Santa Barbara, is West Beach.  Loved by locals and visitors alike, Stern’s Wharf boasts seafood restaurants galore and outstanding fireworks for the 4th of July and New Years Eve. Did I mention that many of the restaurants overlook the shore and that the area has some of the best ice cream around? In the hot summer sun, plotting a proper ice cream stop is vital!

West Beach Inn, a Coast Hotel (West Beach) has our vote as the beds are incredibly comfortable, breakfast is included, as well as nightly wine and cheese tastings by the pool. Affordable, yet not lacking in comfort, the West Beach Inn is all you need to go exploring the nearby museums and beaches by complimentary bicycle. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. We felt right at home here and had everything we needed to make our stay just right. Close to shops and restaurants, the facility is clean and well cared for. If you have a car, parking is free. We love the West Beach Inn! Such a great value!

If you want to be one minute from the beach, you should consider a stay at the Harbor View Inn (West Beach).  Palm tree-lined, this comfortable inn is a fun place to enjoy. The outdoor pool and hot tub are relaxing and quiet. With an onsite restaurant, it's easy to get poolside food and drinks. We love the whimsical decor and colorful Spanish tiles throughout. We were able to come and go with ease and felt right at home at the Harbor View Inn. Be sure to check out the nearby  Santa Barbara Mission and Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, which are only a ten minute drive away.

Should potentially rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite be of interest while you are in Santa Barbara, you will likely be looking at the famed Hotel Californian (Funk Zone). This brilliant gem was designed by the wildly talented, Martyn Lawrence Bullard. The concept called “California Riviera,” was born of this multi-talented designer. Morroccan inspired, the 121 room palatial structure is filled with color, imagination and dazzling spaces. Situated by the sea and inviting in every way, the Hotel Californian will redefine the term, “get lost in paradise.” Try the Get Out & Play Package (includes complimentary valet parking and breakfast for two) and simply sit back, relax and let the secrets of life unveil their magic. Not any two of the rooms or suites are alike, so visit again and again, to discover your favorite. We hope to see you here one day! It’s definitely a place at the top of our list.

Of course we couldn't provide you with a CellarPass-worthy list of places to stay and not mention the super indulgent Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara (Goleta). Oh my!  What a place of all places! It’s a given that a stay here will be pricey, however if you are ready for that ultimate vacay or even staycay, it's worth every penny. Life is short and there comes a time when you just have to say, “what the heck!” No matter your budget, you can't put a price on an ultra luxurious experience. With 70+ acres to explore, you may just decide that the Ritz-Carlton Bacara perspective of Santa Barbara is the only one that you want to see. There are two private beaches, a 48,000 sq ft spa and three infinity pools. Also onsite are six world-class restaurants, representing cuisine from California to Japan (and many things inbetween). Foley Family wines has a glorious tasting room and there is even a pool bar, with food and cocktails delivered directly to you all day long. Need I say more? What are you waiting for?  Make a reservation right away. OMG!  The Ritz-Carlton Bacara at Santa Barbara, is nothing short of extraordinary.

If you are a member of the Hilton or the Hyatt groups, you will want to stay at their properties. Both are fabulous and full of the expected and standard amenities. The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort also happens to be, well on the beach, which is a real bonus. The Hyatt Place Santa Barbara property even has 24/7 dining. Family friendly and filled with goodness of every kind, a stay at either one of these locations won't break the bank and will offer warm hospitality with a smile. Check both sites to find out seasonal packages. Often towards the end of the summer, there are several options that may entice you to book immediately. With the savings here, you can easily go out and do some shopping or wine tasting with ease.

No matter where you decide to stay in Santa Barbara this time, it's likely that you will return again soon.  Just imagine all those places you can explore! There is something about the sunshine and sea air that always makes you feel healthy and calm. A Santa Barbara getaway will surely be just what you needed to soothe the body, mind and soul and make memories to last a lifetime. 

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