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Concierge.com

Santa Barbara Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Bacara Resort & Spa
8301 Hollister Avenue
Santa Barbara , California
93117
Tel: 805 968 0100
info@bacararesort.com
www.bacararesort.com

Just a few miles up the coast from Santa Barbara, on 78 beachfront acres, the whitewashed collection of buildings known as the Bacara Resort & Spa—think ritzy Spanish Colonial—is the kind of status-y getaway that attracts new money, old money, wannabe money, and everyone in between. Room rates aren't cheap ($550 is the starting rate in high season), but the doting service makes it worth every penny. All the rooms are designed with a clean and comfortable beach-chic vibe, but the ocean-view suites hold the key to Bacara's secret weapon: dramatic sea cliff vistas that open onto a wild stretch of beach. With three swimming pools, a 220-seat screening room, the nearby Sandpiper golf course, and hiking trails galore in the nearby Santa Ynez Mountains, it's tempting to stay put rather than head into town. Good thing, then, that the campus dining options run the gamut from top-notch Basque-Catalonian cuisine at Miró to calorie-conscious fare at the Spa Café. However, even dinner at the resort's more casual option, The Bistro, will run you around $70 a head. At 42,000 square feet, the spa and exercise center is impressive in size but can feel somewhat factorylike, and the massages (the treatment of choice for most guests) are nothing to write home about.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
The Canary
31 West Carillo Street
Santa Barbara , California
93101
Tel: 805 884 0300
reservations@canarysantabarbara.com
www.canarysantabarbara.com

The Canary (formerly the Hotel Andalucia) is the sister hotel to Shutters and Santa Barbara's newest downtown luxury hotel after reopening in 2008 following an extensive renovation. The secret weapon here is the location, a user-friendly spot just blocks from the beach and steps from the town's main drag, State Street. Like the name, the hotel's decor (nicely handled by designer-to-the-stars Michael Smith) is a riff on the Canary Islands. Think ethnic and eclectic—hand-painted Spanish tiles, Indonesian ikat-upholstered chairs, and regal four-poster beds of spiral-carved walnut. For the price ($400 and up a night), the standard rooms seem a little snug, and the service could use a little finessing, but there are plenty of thoughtful and unexpected touches, from the yoga DVDs and mat in the closet to the electrolyte-enhanced jelly beans in the minibar. Just don't expect any breezy ocean views: This 97-room property is more city than seaside, and chances are your room will offer restricted vistas of one of the nearby parking lots. For a peek at the Pacific, you'll have to head up to the rooftop pool.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons The Biltmore
1260 Channel Drive
Santa Barbara , California
Tel: 888 424 5866 (toll-free)
Tel: 805 969 2261
Fax: 805 565 8323
www.fourseasons.com/santabarbara/index.html

In privileged Montecito, this exclusive Spanish colonial–style 207-room resort is more than a beachfront Four Seasons—it's been a glamorous Santa Barbara institution since opening as the Biltmore in 1927. A place where Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, Bing Crosby, and other Golden Age movie stars once played croquet on the front lawn, the hotel is now a gathering spot for locals (the Sunday brunch, oceanfront dining, and bar with live entertainment are big draws) and the resort of choice for visitors who want Santa Barbara's toniest beach getaway. Sweeping archways, heavy carved entry doors, colorful imported Spanish tile, and carved woodwork are renovated features of the original hacienda, but modern amenities abound, too, including a 10,000-square-foot spa. Only a sprawling green lawn and a road separate the hotel from Butterfly Beach. Revamped rooms feature Mission-style antiques, local art, more Spanish tile, decorative ironwork, rain showers and deep soaking tubs, 42-inch plasma-screen TVs with surround sound, DVD players, and broadband Internet. A botanical guide to the 44 exotic and rare plants in the resort's 22 acres of tropical and subtropical gardens is available at the concierge desk. Normally, guests are also allowed access to the private Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club next door, but the club is closed for renovations until summer 2007.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Oceana
202 W. Cabrillo Blvd.
Santa Barbara , California
Tel: 805 965 9776
Fax: 805 965 9937
info_sb@hoteloceana.com
www.hoteloceanasantabarbara.com

This beachfront hotel may only be a motel makeover, but it's a good one, with perky, beachy decor by model-turned-furnishings-maven Kathy Ireland. Created from four vintage motor inns, Hotel Oceana has 122 airy rooms with whitewashed walls and furnishings tastefully decorated in cheery red, yellow, green, and robin's egg blue. It's not without its perks—two pools, a Jacuzzi, a small spa—but all said, it's a place where you sacrifice a bit of luxury for a good rate and a prime spot facing the waterfront.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Inn of the Spanish Garden
915 Garden Street
Santa Barbara , California
93101
Tel: 866 564 4700 (toll-free)
Tel: 805 564 4700
info@spanishgardeninn.com
www.SpanishGardenInn.com

Hidden in a quiet residential neighborhood three blocks from State Street, this white adobe boutique hotel with a red-tile roof has a plain exterior that doesn't quite prepare you for what's inside—a charming fountain courtyard surrounded by 23 luxurious rooms and one- and two-bedroom suites with private balconies or garden patios. Rooms have gas fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, those ubiquitous but always welcome Frette linens, deep soaking tubs, and Wi-Fi. Within the courtyard, there's a heated pool and sundeck for lounging during the day and a fire pit to warm up beside at night while having an evening cocktail. Leave your car in the hotel's free underground parking and get around by foot, trolley, electric shuttle, or bicycle.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
San Ysidro Ranch
900 San Ysidro Lane
Santa Barbara , California
Tel: 800 368 6788
Tel: 805 565 1700
Fax: 805 565 1995
www.sanysidroranch.com

Welcoming guests since 1893, San Ysidro Ranch has long been an elite hideaway: John and Jacqueline Kennedy honeymooned here, and it was the wedding site for Vivien Leigh and Sir Lawrence Olivier, and (more recently) Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. Owned by Ty Warner, the founder of Beanie Babies, who also owns the local Four Seasons, San Ysidro Ranch has just completed an extreme makeover—a full renovation of its 40 white clapboard cottages at a cost of $150 million. Changes include hand-cut stone fireplaces, a mix of antiques and contemporary furnishings, four-poster beds, Frette linens, Wi-Fi, plasma-screen TVs, and private gardens with hot tubs. The Stonehouse Restaurant has emerged anew, with chef John Trotta using fresh produce from the resort's organic garden. He also has a hotline to a local fisherman to check on the catch of the day, before he decides on his daily menu.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Simpson House Inn
121 E. Arrellaga
Santa Barbara , California
Tel: 805 963 7067
Tel: 800 676 1280
Fax: 805 564 4811
info@simpsonhouseinn.com
www.simpsonhouseinn.com

More than 20 years ago, Linda Sue and Glyn Davies turned their 1870s Italianate Victorian home into a B&B, raising the bar for inns everywhere. While the Simpson is pretty grand, with French antique armoires, wood-burning fireplaces, and an acre of flowering gardens, it still feels like a home. There are 15 rooms and suites—spread out among the main house, four garden cottages, and four rooms in the original carriage house—featuring private patios, stone fireplaces, and English country decor. Every day, they serve a gourmet vegetarian breakfast, an afternoon tea buffet, and wine and appetizers from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. There is Wi-Fi throughout the property and bicycles to borrow for a quick zip into downtown Santa Barbara, only a short ride or walk away.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Upham Hotel
1404 De la Vina Street
Santa Barbara , California
93101
Tel: 805 962 0058
innkeeper@uphamhotel.com
www.uphamhotel.com

A fixture in Santa Barbara history books, this downtown Victorian hotel has been operating continuously since 1871. No doilies, frills, or flowered wallpaper here: The beautifully restored Upham has a stylish vibe, with antiques and contemporary furniture, flowering gardens, and a charming wraparound porch with outdoor seating. While the original hotel advertised "hygienic food for invalids," today's guests eat very well at Louie's, known for its tuna Caesar salad and halibut with wild-mushroom risotto. There are 50 rooms and suites, including five garden cottages that have working fireplaces. Choose the master suite, which comes with a private yard and whirlpool tub. Nightly wine and hors d'oeuvres are served between 4 and 7 p.m., followed by bedtime milk and Oreo cookies for the kids.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.