What’s New in Santa Barbara: Fall 2017

A major waterfront resort, Goleta hotel, and restaurants from a “Top Chef” alumnus arrive in the Santa Barbara South Coast


Karna Hughes, Director of Communications
Visit Santa Barbara
(805) 966-9222, ext. 112, [email protected]  


What’s New in Santa Barbara: Fall 2017

A major waterfront resort, Goleta hotel, and restaurants from a “Top Chef” alumnus arrive in the Santa Barbara South Coast

Santa Barbara, Calif. (September 2017) — Fall 2017 marks the beginning of one of the most transformational periods in Santa Barbara’s recent history. The highly anticipated opening of Hotel Californian, a stunning luxury resort spanning three city blocks, will enhance lower State Street near the waterfront. Located between Santa Barbara’s most popular tourist areas—the beaches and downtown shopping corridor—the hotel brings an elegant new look to the area while preserving the Spanish architectural style and sweeping coastal views that make The American Riviera® so unique.

In Goleta, opening of Residence Inn Santa Barbara Goleta by Marriott brings a tech-savvy, 118-suite hotel with 1,100-square feet of meeting and event space to an area near the University of California Santa Barbara.

Other recent and upcoming developments include new eateries like Scratch|Restaurants at Montecito Inn, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (MOXI), a new fleet of electric shuttles—and even a cat café. This expansive period continues into 2018, with the openings of the new Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito resort, other major resort renovations, and more on the horizon.


Hotel Californian, major resort complex, will transform Santa Barbara waterfront

Featuring Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and modern Moorish interior décor from celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Hotel Californian, which opened Sept. 17, brings a welcoming new gateway to Santa Barbara’s waterfront. This 121-room coastal destination features a rooftop pool and event deck providing panoramic views of the coastline and the mountains. Located steps from the beach, one block from Amtrak station and adjacent to Santa Barbara’s vibrant Funk Zone, Hotel Californian includes a luxurious Moroccan-inspired spa, a high-end boutique, three distinctive dining venues, a best-in-class ballroom and stunning al fresco settings. http://www.thehotelcalifornian.com/

Residence Inn by Marriott to open in Goleta

New all-suite, extended-stay hotel, Residence Inn Santa Barbara Goleta by Marriott, will open in November 2017. Conveniently located near Santa Barbara Airport, the Amtrak station and U.C. Santa Barbara, this new hotel will offer a stylish and tech-savvy retreat. The 118 suites will feature fully equipped kitchens, spacious bedrooms and separate workspaces. Relax in outdoor spaces featuring a pool, fire pit and sports court. Or take advantage of a state-of-the-art fitness center, free daily breakfast and Wi-Fi, and The Residence Inn Mix™ evening social. Guests can explore and enjoy nearby world-class beaches, golf courses and the booming craft beer scene in Goleta. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sbago-residence-inn-santa-barbara-goleta/

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Science + Exploration offers family fun

Santa Barbara’s new science and technology museum opened earlier this year on lower State Street near the train station, adjacent to the Funk Zone and beach. The three-story, 17,000 square-foot museum features 70 hands-on, interactive exhibits, including a strummable, 8-foot Giant Guitar; a Foley studio where visitors learn to create their own soundtracks to Fox Studios film clips; the Innovation Workshop, a makerspace with 3-D printers; and the rooftop Towbes Family Lookout Tower, where kids can look around the city through five scopes—a kaleidoscope, telescope and periscope, heat-sensing thermal imaging lens and speed-detecting device. The museum is named after Dick Wolf (creator of “Law & Order”) and his wife Noelle, major benefactors. www.moxi.org  

Luna Terrace adds Moroccan flair to Four Seasons Resort

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara pays homage to its Mediterranean heritage with the new Luna Terrace at recently renovated Ty Lounge. Seating up to six guests, this exclusive, eclectic outdoor event space evokes the essence of Tangier with Moroccan furnishings and a rich color palette of red, blue and gold. Chef Marco Fossati has created menus for several Elite Experiences, including Tangier Bottle Service, private brunch with a Bloody Mary bar, Casablanca Romance with champagnes and desserts, and a Moroccan Feast offering traditional mezze (small dishes). http://bit.ly/2ruyBty

 Cat Therapy introduces a purr-fect way to unwind in downtown Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s very first cat café, Cat Therapy, has opened in downtown Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District. What’s a cat café? It’s a place where animal lovers get to gently pet and play with well-cared-for, adoptable shelter cats in a chic coffee-house-like setting. Take some purr-sonal time to chill out and play with the cats (toys like feathers and balls supplied) or celebrate a special occasion, like a birthday or bachelorette party. Enjoy menu items from nearby Brasil Arts Café, including a selection of coffee and tea drinks (how about a Cattuccino?), organic Brazilian smoothies, fresh juices and açai bowls. Cat Therapy sessions are 75 minutes each and require reservations to ensure optimal cat-to-human ratios. On Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, all-level 60-minute Cat Yoga classes are offered, followed by 30 minutes of cat cuddling. https://www.cattherapysb.com/

Four new eateries from “Top Chef” competitor and Scratch|Restaurants to open at Montecito Inn

“Top Chef” competitor and chef Phillip Frankland Lee of LA’s Scratch|Restaurants and his wife, pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee, will launch four eateries in the family-run Montecito Inn this fall through winter. Planned concepts include Frankland’s Crab & Co., a fast seafood shack to open in October, followed in the winter by The Monarch, which pays tribute to Central Coast cuisine with a wood-burning oven and bar; Silver Bough, a “modern approach to the grand fine dining tradition”; and Margarita’s Homemade Ice Cream, which will include ice cream flavors inspired by pastries, Kallas-Lee’s specialty. (Camembert ice cream topped with sourdough breadcrumbs, anyone?) https://www.montecitoinn.com/dining–lounge.htm

The Bear and Star serves up refined ranch cuisine in Los Olivos

Parker Hospitality opened its new restaurant, The Bear and Star, in Los Olivos, just north of Santa Barbara. Led by celebrated Chef/Partner John Cox (formerly of Post Ranch Inn), it features refined ranch cuisine inspired by the nearby 714-acre Fess Parker Home Ranch, with its 75 wagyu cattle (finished with spent brewery grains) and other livestock, bees, heirloom fruits and organic vegetables. A blend of rustic elegance, it draws on the legacy of the family of late Hollywood film star Fess Parker, whose properties include Fess Parker Winery, Third Window Brewing Co. and The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara. http://www.thebearandstar.com/

Santo Mezcal reimagines Mexican cuisine near the Funk Zone

The Luna family from Guadalajara, creators of Santa Barbara’s crowd-pleasing Los Agaves Restaurants, has launched an elevated take on Mexican cuisine adjacent to the popular Funk Zone. Santo Mezcal features a contemporary menu by Executive Chef Ricardo Garcia that’s rooted in traditional flavors. With a focus on seafood and a mixology program drawing on a coveted mezcal and tequila collection, it also celebrates local and seasonal ingredients from the Santa Barbara region. Located next to Hotel Indigo and across from the new Hotel Californian complex, the eatery is primed to be a stylish oasis for travelers and locals alike. https://www.instagram.com/santomezcal_sb/

Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio

Family-owned and operated Shalhoob Meat Company, a longtime local purveyor of custom-cut meats and poultry, celebrated its 44th anniversary in 2017 and has opened a 10,000-square foot, casual outdoor dining area in the Funk Zone. A stop for visitors to refuel while roaming the Urban Wine Trail, Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio is open for lunch and dinner. The menu features protein options, including tri-tip and burgers, as well as salads and falafel, local craft brews and wines. On warm fall afternoons, try the house-made frosé—a favorite adult slushy. Even better? This spot is dog-friendly and has popular games for families like Cornhole and Jenga GIANT blocks. http://shalhoob.com/patio/

Urban Wine Trail Membership Card

Access to every tasting room on Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail… Wine not? With the purchase of an Urban Wine Trail membership card ($150, plus tax), visitors can partake in complimentary one-time tastings at nearly 30 tasting rooms and receive a 10 percent purchase discount. Need an excuse to return to The American Riviera®? Members get priority access and discounts on select UWT events throughout the year. The membership card, valid for one year, can be purchased in advance or in one of the tasting rooms. http://bit.ly/2sofRvG

Carr Winery opens new patio in SoCo neighborhood

For oenophiles: Santa Barbara County winemaker Ryan Carr and his wife Jessica recently expanded their downtown Santa Barbara winery and tasting room, located in an industrial chic 1940s Quonset hut, to offer guests outdoor space to “wine” down. The new patio is a venue for live music and Thursday night flamenco performances. It’s complete with a tasting bar, comfortable seating and a fire pit—perfect for cooler autumn nights. The winery is also putting the finishing touches on a new VIP lounge and fingerprint-sealed, climate-controlled space for wine storage lockers.  http://carrwinery.com/


New electric MTD shuttles

Metropolitan Transportation District’s entire electric shuttle fleet will be replaced with new, state-of-the-art shuttles in fall 2017. A bargain at only 50 cents per ride (25 cents for seniors), the popular shuttles run along Santa Barbara’s ocean-facing Cabrillo Boulevard and State Street shopping corridor, with stops at landmarks such as Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Zoo, making car-free travel even easier in this pedestrian-friendly city. In the fall through spring, the shuttles run every 15 minutes downtown from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional shuttle schedules, including waterfront and summer schedules, visit http://bit.ly/2rOPMsP

 New Santa Barbara Coastal Trail Map and podcasts

The City of Santa Barbara’s Parks and Recreation Department has released a printable, pocket-sized Santa Barbara Coastal Trail map, which covers six miles of paved multi-use paths and 11 points of interest, from Arroyo Burro Estuary to the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge. Companion podcasts and video about points of interest along Santa Barbara’s scenic coastline are also available. Combined, these materials provide visitors with all the tools needed for a self-guided, audiovisual tour.

To download the free map and audio files and view the video, visit: http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/parksrec/parks/explore.asp.

La Cumbre Plaza Visitor Savings

La Cumbre Plaza, an upscale shopping center in the heart of The American Riviera®, has launched a new Visitor Savings incentive program. Visitors who show their out-of-town driver’s license, passport or hotel room key to La Cumbre Plaza Guest Services can receive complimentary discounts valued at $250 in special savings and offers at participating stores and restaurants. La Cumbre Plaza is the exclusive Santa Barbara home to such popular retailers and restaurants as Macy’s, Tiffany & Co., Lure Fish House, Panera Bread, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, and J. Jill. www.shoplacumbre.com/Visitors#visitorincentives.


Winter 2017-18:

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara 90th anniversary

Oliver’s vegan restaurant in Montecito

Night Lizard Brewing Co. in downtown Santa Barbara

Spring 2018:

Fess Parker resort renovation and Hilton rebrand

Hilton Garden Inn in Goleta

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s permanent Butterfly Pavilion

Summer 2018:

Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito resort

Harbor View Inn expansion

Hyatt Place in Santa Barbara




High-res photos available for use by professional media only through links below. Please include complete credit information for photographers, as well as “courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara.” To access the credit line, hover over the image in Barberstock or refer to the file name in Dropbox. Photos are for use by media for editorial purposes only.

Contact [email protected] for additional images.


Hotel Californian: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/hotel-californian

Residence Inn by Marriott Santa Barbara: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/residence-inn-santa-barbara-goleta

MOXI: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/moxi-the-wolf-museum-of-exploration-innovation

Luna Terrace at Four Seasons: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/luna-terrace-in-ty-lounge


Cat Therapy: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/cat-therapy

Cat Therapy yoga classes: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/cat-therapy-yoga


Scratch|Restaurants at Montecito Inn: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/scratch-restaurants

The Bear and Star: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/the-bear-and-star-restaurant

Santo Mezcal: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/santo-mezcal

Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/shalhoob-meat-co-funk-zone-patio


Urban Wine Trail Membership Card: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/urban-wine-trail

Carr Winery new patio: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/carr-winery-patio

Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio: No photos available


New electric MTD shuttles: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/mtd-new-electric-shuttles  

Santa Barbara Coastal Trail Map: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/arroyo-burro-beach-2

La Cumbre Plaza Visitor Savings: http://barberstock.com/collection/santabarbara/la-cumbre-plaza

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