Santa Barbara’s Suite Spots

Visitors have been falling in love with Santa Barbara’s many charms since the late 1800’s, after a writer praised Santa Barbara as “the pleasantest” spot in California and touted its health benefits. Solidifying the town’s identity as a resort destination, our lodging line-up reflects the evolution of the destination and our clientele over the decades, with an eclectic mix of historic resorts, boutique hotels, charming family-owned inns and hip hot spots. One of our accommodations category sweet spots is the “Upper Upscale” hotel, where you can enjoy some of the perks of a luxury resort at a more affordable price point. These 14 properties fit that bill and each offers something unique, between the settings, size, décor and guest amenities.

El Capitan Canyon

Santa Barbara’s leading glamping hot spot, El Capitan Canyon, is nestled in a picturesque canyon that opens to El Capitan State Beach. The 300-acre nature lodging property offers all the creature comforts of a hotel in a camping type of environment. Choose from cedar cabins and canvas safari tents—all outfitted with willow beds, cozy down comforters and western blankets. A variety of cabin types and sizes are available, and all have their own bathrooms, decks and kitchenettes. Safari tents are perched on raised wooden decks and come with heaters and lights, and tent guests have their own designated communal bathroom facilities nearby. The Canyon Market & Deli serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and carries a stellar selection of supplies for grilling and snacking at your site—complete with local beers and wines. Guests also get complimentary access to bikes. Learn more

Harbor View Inn

Harbor View Inn couldn’t be in a better location at the intersection of lower State Street and waterfront Cabrillo Boulevard, steps away from Stearns Wharf, West Beach and the Funk Zone. A recent expansion added a few dozen more rooms to the family-friendly resort-style hotel, bringing the total to nearly 150 rooms and suites spread across multiple buildings. Every room has a private patio or balcony and guests have access to the palm-lined pool area complete with a Jacuzzi, bar and ocean views. The hotel’s Spa Beaumontia is open daily and features a well-rounded menu of pampering facials and massages. In addition to the Pool Bar restaurant, guests can order room service and visit Harbor View Inn’s State Street Coffee shop for a morning perk me up. Learn more

Hilton Garden Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta

A new contemporary hotel near the University of California Santa Barbara in Goleta, the Hilton Garden Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta is one of the most competitively priced full-service hotels in town. The bright and cheerful 142-room property caters to business and leisure travelers with a 24-hour business center, complimentary wi-fi, fitness center, swimming pool and The Garden Grille restaurant. The Rooftop Bistro & Bar is an inviting gathering spot to relax and watch the sunset with cocktails and bites, while The Shop is a convenient 24-hour option for grab-and-go fare. The Hilton Garden Inn is a short drive to the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport and an approximately 10-minute drive to downtown Santa Barbara. Learn more 

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

The sprawling, Mediterranean-style Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort has been a fixture of Santa Barbara’s waterfront along Cabrillo Boulevard since the late Fess Parker opened it 1986 (Parker was an actor known for his roles as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone in the 1950s and 60s). The 360-room property recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation that made it even more inviting—from the serene guest rooms and sunlit lobby to the ultra-modern Wine Tasting Room—all reflecting a beachy, earthy palette. The resort features five restaurants in all, including The Set, where you can enjoy fresh ocean breezes while sitting around fire pits. The pet-friendly resort comes with many perks, including its own Hertz rental car desk and free airport and Amtrak transportation. Learn more 

Hotel Milo Santa Barbara

Hotel Milo was named in honor of Santa Barbara’s most prolific hotelier, Milo Potter, whose magnificent Potter Hotel helped put Santa Barbara on the map back in the early 1900’s. Location is everything at the contemporary Hotel Milo, perfectly situated between Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor on the West Beach stretch of Cabrillo Boulevard. The 2.5-acre Spanish-style property features its own park, gardens and two glorious swimming pools. The 122 bright, airy guest rooms have a Mediterranean vibe with a white and blue palette and light organic touches like rattan, wicker and bamboo. A fleet of specially designed Dutch-inspired Republic Bikes are available for guest use, as is the bocce ball court. For sustenance, continental breakfast is provided daily and the Milo Market carries snacks and local wines. Plus, the daily wine tasting showcasing local vintages is offered from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every evening. Learn more

Mar Monte Hotel

Another Cabrillo Boulevard favorite for family-friendly accommodations, Mar Monte Hotel sits right across from East Beach and the waterfront, palm-lined Cabrillo Bike Path. The Spanish Colonial hotel offers 200 spacious, breezy guest rooms and suites—several with balconies and ocean views. The relaxed Marbella Restaurant serves breakfast and a menu of Spanish cuisine and tapas for dinner. The indoor-outdoor Mar Vista lounge overlooks the hotel’s pool and the beach and serves cocktails and light bites from 11:00 a.m. until late night. Mar Monte is pet friendly so furry friends are welcome. Other amenities include bike rentals, a fitness center and concierge equipped to book excursions and off-property dining reservations. Learn More

Kimpton Canary Hotel

The Kimpton Canary Hotel is a deluxe boutique gem in the heart of downtown. You definitely don’t need a car while staying here, as you can walk or bike to nearly every attraction. The five-story, 97-room hotel is among the taller structures in town, which means the rooftop pool and deck feature stunning views of Santa Barbara’s signature “sea” of red tile roofs. The rooms are contemporary with Old World flair—including divine four poster canopy beds and hard wood floors. Finch & Fork serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and many locals pop in for their farm-fresh fare. The restaurant’s bar just off the lobby is also popular for craft cocktails and lively ambiance. With yoga mats in every room, complimentary access to neighboring Gold’s Gym and free guest bikes, wellness is always within reach. Learn more

The Leta Hotel

When The Leta Hotel opened in 2014, the Goleta hotel quickly became a go-to hot spot for locals and visitors alike. The laid-back “Boutique Surf Hotel” centers around its communal spaces—The Leta Restaurant, Good Bar and VNYL Record Shop. The swimming pool is quite a gem and social scene, too. In summer months, live entertainment keeps the pool hopping, and fun and games flow courtesy of The Leta’s Adult Summer Camp program. Think surf lessons, mixology classes and classic camp games. The 158 surf-chic rooms are stocked with yoga mats and record players. And guests can take advantage of free weekly perks like S’mores kits (Monday), trivia (Wednesday) and yoga on the pool deck (weekends). Check their calendar of events for other happenings including local bands and DJs. Learn more

Pacifica Suites

Another Goleta property in close proximity to UCSB is the Pacifica Suites, built on the grounds of a pioneering nursery established in the 1850s by Joseph Sexton. He is credited with introducing many of the trees and ornamentals Santa Barbara landscaping is known for today. His legacy remains evident on the property, which is home to one of California’s oldest Bird of Paradise plants and Chilean wine palms as well as heritage trees like Australian bunya, redwoods, cork oak, a Sexton Flame tree and more. The historic Sexton House is still standing, too. Each of the 87 guest rooms surrounding the landmark home are spacious suites with a separate living room and bedroom, making it ideal for families. Adding to the homey atmosphere, complimentary breakfast is made to order at the Garden Café and a hosted wine and beer reception is offered to guests on weekday evenings. Learn more

Santa Barbara Inn

Newly renovated Santa Barbara Inn anchors the Milpas Street and Cabrillo Boulevard intersection by East Beach. The stately four-level property embodies Santa Barbara’s white stucco and red terra cotta tile roof aesthetic with hand-tiled accents. Guests and locals alike congregate at the delectable Convivo Restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Recently mentioned in New York Times “52 Places to Travel in 2019”, Convivo offers upmarket Italian fare and ocean views. Breakfast is complimentary for guests and an Italian influenced lunch and dinner menu are available daily—as is happy hour. The oceanfront terrace is just as enticing after dark, thanks to a fire pit and lanterns. The heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi area beckons with ocean views, while the 70 rooms all have private balconies looking out to the ocean or Santa Ynez Mountains. Learn more

Simpson House Inn

An adult-only boutique hotel, the Simpson House Inn is a serene hideaway tucked in a residential neighborhood a couple of blocks away from downtown State Street. Nestled on an acre of award-winning gardens, the 15 elegant and plush guest rooms are spread out between the main Victorian Manor house (built in 1874), the Carriage Barn and English Cottages. Known for its incredibly tasty cuisine, every guest stay includes a gourmet breakfast served in the main house or in-room. The evening wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres reception and dessert bites are not to be missed. Other amenities include complimentary guest bikes and a library. The menu of in-room spa treatments includes massages and facials. Learn more

Palihouse Santa Barbara 

The Palihouse Santa Barbara is another intimate property in downtown Santa Barbara. Surrounded by lush gardens in the Presidio District, the inn was built on the grounds of the former Santa Barbara School of the Arts which was active in the early 1900s. The boutique property was transformed into an urban oasis, offering 23 spacious rooms and suites with private gardens, balconies, and fireplaces. The public spaces include a lap pool and inviting courtyards, a delightful garden café, cocktail bar, and lobby lounge. Take a spin through the neighborhood on complimentary Linus bikes before booking on-demand spa and massage services. Learn more

The Upham

The oldest continually operating hotel in all of California, The Upham hotel opened its doors in 1871 and has been a fixture of the community ever since. The historic landmark boutique 50-room inn spans the original hotel and surrounding garden cottages. The guest experience blends the intimacy of a traditional bed and breakfast with the amenities of a modern full-service hotel—Hollywood star George Clooney is among the property’s legions of fans. Guests are always well fed here, between the continental breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese hour(s) and milk and cookies in the evening. The onsite restaurant, Louie’s California Bistro, is also beloved by locals for leisurely lunches and fine dining dinners. And the location is ideal, in easy walking distance to downtown’s Historic Theatre District and State Street shopping. Learn more

The Waterman

The Waterman is no ordinary hotel. A unique blend of hotel and elevated hostel, the Funk Zone property opened in 2014 offering 27 private hotel rooms and four shared rooms. The male and female designated “dorm” rooms are perfect for solo travelers as well as groups. The bunkbed set-ups can sleep up to five people, the in-room bathrooms are semi-private and lockers give solo travelers peace of mind when leaving their belongings. The private hotel rooms are compact but all about comfort—and stylishly-appointed, to boot. The common spaces are central to the hotel experience, with a community kitchen, dining room and games like Jenga, ping-pong and cornhole. There’s also a heated pool, complimentary breakfast daily and bike rentals. The price is right and the likelihood of making new friends adds even more value here! Learn more