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Santa Barbara

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About Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is less than 100 miles from Los Angeles, but with its great swathes of sandy beach, lush wineries and gorgeous Spanish colonial-style architecture, it has a totally different vibe. Glitzy and glamorous, this stretch of the American Riviera has long been popular with elegant holidaymakers, and many of the best places to stay of the best places to stay in Santa Barbara are super-chic and wonderfully indulgent. Our recommendations also include some charming inns, perfect for hiding away in tranquil surroundings after exploring the city.

If you're eager to be in the heart of the action, base yourself in downtown Santa Barbara, with the city's top sights right on your doorstep. Highlights include the Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum, the County Courthouse and Stearns Wharf — the oldest continuously operating wharf on the West Coast. Most famous, however, is the fascinating Santa Barbara Mission, a parish church founded in 1786, which features striking architecture and an intriguing insight into the region's past.

Head to The Waterfront for sweeping ocean views and gorgeous beaches, or to the laid-back residential Riviera neighbourhood, where the buzzy centre remains within easy reach. Outdoor adventurers, on the other hand, can pick a spot to stay in Eastside, close to the stunning Los Padres National Forest, brilliant for hiking and exploring. The Botanical Gardens, benefitting from the city's sub-tropical climate, are also well worth visiting, whilst family days out at the Santa Barbara Zoo come highly recommended.

There is excellent food and wine to be enjoyed in the city's trendy bars and spectacular seafood restaurants, too, as well as ample opportunities for terrific shopping. Don't forget to look out for the city's annual culture and history festivals — Santa Barbara celebrates its heritage in epic style. Much of the city's appeal lies in its wonderful climate, which makes it hugely popular with both local and international visitors. The best places in Santa Barbara fill up fast, so book your stay well in advance to avoid missing out!

The best places to stay in Santa Barbara

For Families at the Seaside

  • Rosewood Miramar Beach is a striking, family-friendly hotel set right on the beach. With a specially-tailored kids' programme, kids' menus, games and specific spa treatments, this is an absolute family favourite. Expect luxurious contemporary design, innovative cocktails at three bars, an excellent spa and lots of beach activities. Glorious.
  • Santa Barbara Inn is a chic, Mediterranean-style gem just moments from the beach. Interiors are spacious and elegant, with a restful white-and-cream palette. Family suites are ideal for those travelling with little ones, who will adore the two pools. The Italian food is top-notch, and the sea views breathtaking.
  • Hotel Milo is a vibrant beach hotel with heaps of activities for the whole family. The vibe is lovely and laid-back, and the decor fresh and nautical, with splashes of bright blue. A fun pick for active family holidays, with attractive cabanas, two pools and a hot tub. There's a great choice of nearby eateries.

For Romance

  • Kimpton Canary Hotel offers lavish suites in a historic downtown property. Generously-proportioned rooms feature chic, classic decor, as well as stunning sea views. Highlights include the rooftop pool and the fantastic Finch & Fork restaurant, specialising in local produce. A sophisticated city centre choice for grown-up glamour.
  • Hideaway Santa Barbara is a chic, blue-painted boutique bolthole with nine impeccably-appointed rooms. Pick this place for its fresh feel, soothing blue-and-white palette, and spacious marble bathrooms. Little balconies are a wonderful addition, as are the homemade cookies. West Beach is within walking distance. Very romantic!
  • Hotel Californian is an opulent designer bolthole, showcasing swish Riviera style through monochrome patterns and appealing attention to detail in sumptuous bedrooms, as well as Moroccan tiles in luxe bathrooms. Moments from the beach and boasting a celebrated spa, this is a super exclusive coastal choice for refined, romantic travellers.

For a Downtown Stay

  • Spanish Garden Inn is a characterful boutique choice, with 23 spacious rooms and a fabulous blue lap-pool ensconced in leafy gardens. Just three blocks from Slate Street, you're well-placed to explore the museums, shops and eateries of downtown Santa Barbara. Pick this place for its Spanish Revival architecture and great location.
  • The Upham is the oldest operating hotel in Southern California. It now offers elegant, well-priced rooms in a pretty Victorian building and collection of cottages. Cosy and ideally location for discovering the downtown area on foot. A charming, historic choice with great family suite options.
  • Haley Hotel offers 17 nautically-themed rooms in a lovely downtown B&B. Stay here for the relaxed, sociable vibe — great for meeting other guests in communal areas. Rooms are simple and stylish, and there are fun board games — including giant chess — to play on the terrace. Very chilled!
  • The Wayfarer is a trendy, modern spot in the city's central Funk Zone. Industrial-style interiors are bold and quirky, there's a lively games room, great communal areas, and adaptable spaces for groups or families. A laid-back, youthful choice for creative-minded travellers.

For a Charming Inn

  • Simpson House Inn is a Victorian mansion-turned-B&B, set in an acre of glorious English gardens. Accommodation is elegant and classic in style, breakfasts are gourmet and every evening there's wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres for all. An intimate choice for tranquil travellers.
  • Inn on Summerhill promises sixteen comfortable rooms in a quirky, Craftsman property. Think distinctive wooden ceilings, four-poster beds and roaring fireplaces. Contemporary decor in a traditional building. An intimate pick for couples, with sea or garden views.
  • Cheshire Cat is a Victorian B&B with tastefully-decorated rooms — some of which feature whirlpool baths! Cosy beds are topped with patterned quilts, and there are armchairs aplenty for curling up in front of the fire. A charming spot for exploring the city and the coast, both of which are within easy reach.
  • The Eagle Inn is an attractive, family-run base featuring period furnishings in 37 comfortable rooms. Children are welcome, there are stacks of nearby activities, and both the harbour and the city centre are within walking distance. A relaxed inn, tucked inside a gorgeous building. Great for families!

For a luxury resort

  • Four Seasons The Biltmore promises historic glamour in a collection of Spanish Colonial villas and bungalows, set across 22 acres of lush gardens bordering the Pacific. An indulgent American Riviera resort, the hotel features three superb restaurants, a fabulous spa and loads of activities for the whole family. An opulent seafront pick.
  • Bacara Resort & Spa boasts a beautiful oceanfront setting, 15 minutes along the coast from Santa Barbara. Expect wooden beams and stylish blue-and-white interiors in whitewashed buildings, a superb spa, as well as tennis, golf, kayakng and a lovely kids' club. A luxurious family choice, with wellness and style at its heart. The Catalonian restaurant is a highlight!
  • San Ysidro Ranch is nestled amidst 500 acres in the Montecito foothills, with dramatic views over the Pacific. Join a growing list of illustrious past guests — including the likes of JFK and Laurence Olivier — as you unwind in gorgeous rooms with muslin-draped four poster beds, feast on gourmet cuisine and try myriad activities — from golf to trekking, yoga or cycling. The cottages are brilliant for families, and kids will love the range of things to do. An old-school ranch retreat.
  • Belmond El Encanto is an iconic Santa Barbara resort, with elegant suites and bungalows dotted around seven acres of verdant gardens, minutes from the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Live out your swish Riviera dreams in the gorgeous infinity pool, enjoy rejuvenating treaments at the soothing spa, and savour sublime fare at the resort's restaurants. A glittering Hollywood hideaway, perfect for a dream honeymoon.

For An Apartment or Holiday Villa

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Fly to Santa Barbara Airport, just seven miles west of the city centre and easily accessible by bus or taxi. For international arrivals, travel to Los Angeles International Airport, hopping aboard the Airbus shuttle to Santa Barbara.
  • California is brilliant for a road trip! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • A year-round destination, Santa Barbara is especially busy during the summer months. Time your trip for the spring (March - May) or autumn (September - November) for fewer crowds, cooler temperatures and great hotel offers.

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Best Hotels in Santa Barbara

  • The Eagle Inn Santa Barbara (West Beach) 37 rooms from £113

    Local exploring  -  The inn’s proximity to both the harbour and downtown make it perfect for discovering the sights of Santa Barbara
    Honeymoons  -  There are various romantic getaway specials for honeymoon couples
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the historic Santa Barbara Missions, the oldest Mission in California
    Sailing  -  Enjoy a coastal Cruise and sunset cruise from Santa Barbara harbour
    Air conditioningDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    A charming family-owned hotel set in a quiet residential area but only a moments walk from downtown, the harbour and the beach. Romantic and cosy rooms feature Spanish style decor, whirlpool spa tubs, fireplaces and balconies. Delicious homemade breakfasts are served on the patio. A convivial stay. See More

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  • The Wayfarer Santa Barbara (West Beach) 31 rooms from £148

    Beach Life  -  Enjoy activities from beach volleyball, kite flying, swimming, fishing, biking, picnicking, and whale-watching on the beaches
    Local exploring  -  Nestled in the Funk Zone, just off Lower State Street, this is the perfect spot for checking out the best of Santa Barbara
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor swimming pool
    Full of character
    Air conditioningSwimming PoolParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A modern and creative hotel located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, in the trendy Funk Zone. Rooms have a fun, eclectic vibe with faux fur throws and mermaid wallpaper. Bask under the sun beside the outdoor pool. Perfectly located for exploring downtown Santa Babara. A laidback stay. See More

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  • Cheshire Cat Santa Barbara (California) 18 rooms from £156

    Sights nearby  -  Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a great place to hear more about the area and nature.
    Fishing  -  Head to the pier and let out a line.
    Great walks  -  Along the ocean front.
    Full of character
    GardenParkingNo pets

    Victorian B&B welcomes guests with crackling fireplaces, a flower filled garden and private terraces. Natural light floods the comfortable rooms, some have whirlpool tubs. Breakfast in bed, on the terrace or in the garden. A fantastic find in the heart of Santa Barbara. Sea or spa, be sure to visit. See More

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  • The Upham Santa Barbara 50 rooms from £171

    Great walks  -  5-minute drive to the beach and Stearns Wharf.
    Barefoot Luxury  -  For total relaxation.
    Outstanding location
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenParkingNo pets

    Built in 1871, the Upham is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California. This downtown Santa Barbara hotel comes with every modern convenience - while staying true to its historic roots. Rooms are simple, extremely comfortable and elegant. A timeless hotel, in a vibrant city. See More

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  • Haley Hotel Santa Barbara 17 rooms from £186

    Local exploring  -  The centrally-located downtown property is walking distance from the city's restaurants, art galleries, markets and beaches
    House party feel  -  Be prepared to meet people.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Air conditioningPet friendlyDisabled accessParking

    Nautical-themed 3* hotel located in downtown Santa Barbara, walking distance from the city's beaches and attractions. 17 spacious but simple rooms all face onto a communal yard with outdoor furniture and a relaxed sociable vibe. There is no restaurant but many great options in the neighbourhood. See More

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  • Hotel Milo Santa Barbara (West Beach) 122 rooms from £187

    Total relaxation  -  Hit the beach, curl up on a poolside cabana with a good book, relax in the hot tub or enjoy some local wine by the firepit
    Beach Life  -  As well as sea views the property is 40m from West Beach and 350m to East Beach, both stretches of beautiful white sand
    Local markets  -  Pick up locally sourced food and great wine at one of the city's fantastic farmer's markets
    Birdwatching  -  Explore the 42 acre Andree Clark Bird Refuge for birdwatching, hiking and biking
    Air conditioningTennisSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Boutique beach hotel perfection located in Santa Barbara's West Beach. Many of the beautifully decorated and elegant rooms have sea views and there are two swimming pools, a hot tub and cabanas. The neighbourhood is vibrant; sample local wine, explore the local art scene or shop till you drop. See More

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  • Santa Barbara Inn Santa Barbara (East Beach) 70 rooms from £195

    Families  -  Spacious suites, family-friendly activites nearby, a pool and the beach on the doorstep- there is something for all the family
    Local exploring  -  Perfectly located for discovering the city and the surrounding area from the beach and museums to the vineyards
    Sights nearby  -  Santa Barbara Zoo, Stearns Wharf and the Ty Warner Sea Center are all less than two miles away
    Views  -  Enjoy views of the Pacific ocean or the Santa Ynez mountains
    RestaurantSwimming PoolDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    An elegant Mediterranean style boutique hotel situated just two minutes from the beach. Rooms are light and spacious with tropical/floral themes and balconies with stunning views of the Pacific or Santa Ynez mountains. Enjoy innovative cocktails and delicious Italian fare on the oceanfront terrace. See More

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  • Simpson House Inn Santa Barbara (California) 15 rooms from £199

    Great walks  -  Check out the extensive gardens of the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens.
    Fishing  -  Go out and do some deep sea fishing with some local experts.
    Hideaway  -  A truly quiet and intimate stay.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    GardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    1874 Victorian Mansion turned B&B amid lush gardens and daily wine hour. Rooms are Victorian, with fireplace, four poster bed, hardwood floors and classic bathtubs. Location is perfect for beach life or relaxing in the garden with a book. Restaurants and galleries are walking distance. See More

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  • Belmond El Encanto Santa Barbara 92 rooms from £270

    Local exploring  -  Only 5 minutes' drive from central Santa Barbara, with the Mission, Botanical Gardens and Municipal Golf Course all featuring
    Beach Life  -  The hotel has a free shuttle service and electric bikes to reach the Pacific beaches of Santa Barbara
    Spa breaks
    Swimming Pool  -  The hotel has a heated outdoor saltwater infinity-pool with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean
    Air conditioningTennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith

    Serene hotel with stylish bungalows dotted around the lush 7-acre gardens, minutes from Santa Barbara and the Pacific beaches. The refined rooms are furnished with rich fabrics, and all feature a private balcony or patio. The infinity-pool, spa, and restaurant all boast spectacular ocean views See More

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  • Inn on Summerhill Santa Barbara (Summerland) 16 rooms from £238

    Active Holiday  -  Santa Barbara offers an enormous amount of activites; surfing, kiteboarding, scuba diving, hang-gliding and mountain biking
    Local exploring  -  The area has endless things to do for everyone; whale-watch, shop, wine-taste, explore museums, hike or hit the beach
    Romantic Break  -  With fireplaces, four poster beds, cosy throws and flat-screen TVs, it may be very difficult to leave the room
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Solvang, a quaint Danish village with cobbled streets, indmills, brick sidewalks, and thatched rooftops
    Air conditioningSpaGardenDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    A charming B&B near the beach in Santa Barbara. Craftsman-style architecture makes the property feel unique and homely; relax in the welcoming fireside living room with books and games. 16 beautiful and cosy rooms and suites have distinct wooden ceilings, fireplaces and either sea or garden views. See More

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  • Spanish Garden Inn Santa Barbara (California) 23 rooms from £238

    Great walks  -  Douglas Family Preserve is a great spot for a walk along the seashore.
    Surfing  -  Beaches all around for surfing and other water based activities.
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Full of character
    Air conditioningSpaSwimming PoolGardenParking

    Mediterranean in style and atmosphere this boutique hotel offers all the mod-cons as well as in-room spa treatments and a fabulous blue lap pool. Rooms are spacious, contemporary and luxurious. Three blocks away is State Street, famous for its many choices of restaurants and shops. Great stay. See More

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  • Kimpton Canary Hotel Santa Barbara (California) 97 rooms from £246

    Great walks  -  All roads end at State Street and it is worth the stroll through town to get there.
    Surfing  -  A popular past time in LA.
    Fishing  -  When by the sea.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Sun drenched and perfect beachfront site with stunning views, rooftop pool and generously sized rooms. Finch & Fork is all about farmer's market produce, seafood and local wines. Rooftop Perch is ideal for sundowners and light bites. Location is on point with Pacific a bike ride away! See More

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  • Bacara Resort & Spa Santa Barbara (California) 358 rooms from £273

    Kayaking  -  Kayaking and Paddle boards are both avaliable to rent.
    Great walks  -  Along the coast or through the Med-vibe town Gelato.
    Tennis  -  Four clay courts to be used by all guests.
    Kids Club  -  Fully staffed.
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Ocean views, Spanish style white washed walls give a village feel - a stunning resort 15 minutes from Santa Barbara. European menu, Catalan specialties and live music at the bar are all fantastic. Comfort and views describe the rooms, with balconies and sitting rooms. Brilliant spa and activities. See More

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  • Hideaway Santa Barbara Santa Barbara (West Beach) 9 rooms from £308

    Local exploring  -  Despite feeling wonderful secluded, the excellent location means that all to see and do in Santa Barbara is on your doorstep
    City Style  -  The extensive renovation in 2019 means that suites and public areas feel fresh and chic, with the latest technology
    Sights nearby  -  Santa Barbara's Funk Zone is known for its vibrant art scene, galleries and cafes; walk just 6 blocks from the property
    Great walks  -  Stroll to the harbour to catch a scenic sunset
    Air conditioningTennisGardenDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    Stylish B&B located walking distance from Santa Barbara's West Beach. 9 elegant rooms have been designed with impeccable taste; nautical hues, working fireplaces, spacious marble bathrooms and plenty of light. Home-made cookies are served daily, as well as breakfast in this home-away-from-home. See More

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  • Hotel Californian Santa Barbara 121 rooms from £318

    Hideaway  -  With a chic pool, spa and restaurant within the hotel, there is no need to leave this refined beach hideaway
    Beach Life  -  Set on one of the most exclusive stretches of seaside in America, this hotel makes a luxury beach break
    Foodies  -  Foodies flock to this hotel for its acclaimed Mediterranean-influenced restaurant, Blackbird
    Surfing  -  Surf Rincon, one of California's most famous waves; get started with surf lessons, available from a range of local providers
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    This exclusive bolt-hole sits on the Santa Barbara coast, a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean. The hotel's interiors ooze American Riviera style, with monochrome textiles and Mediterranean-style tiles in the urban seaside rooms. A celebrated spa and restaurant complete this VIP escape. See More

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  • Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara (California) 207 rooms from £503

    Sailing  -  Santa Barbara Harbour and Waterfront has a lot of sailing opportunities.
    Great walks  -  Along Butterfly Beach, or even East Beach just a bit up the coast.
    Sights nearby  -  Stearns Wharf nearby for art galleries, restaurants and bars.
    Fishing  -  Readily avaliable at the local harbour or ask at reception.
    Air conditioningTennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    The 20 acres of lush garden on the oceanfront give a Mediterranean feel and beautiful Pacific views. The spacious are Spanish-esqe, with fabulous views of garden, sea or pool. Bella Vista offers organic Italian food or seafood at Tydes, with cocktails at Ty Lounge. Loads to do and a brilliant spa. See More

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  • San Ysidro Ranch Santa Barbara (California) 41 rooms from £542

    Great walks  -  Explore the grounds.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Outstanding location
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking

    This romantic ranch sits in 500 acres with Pacific Ocean views, a pool and private hot tubs. Cottages and suites are luxurious, intimate and with outdoor rain showers. The Stonehouse uses locally sourced produce. Family and pets are welcome to this adventure haven. See More

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  • Rosewood Miramar Beach Santa Barbara (Montecito) 161 rooms from £559

    Beach Life  -  Take advantage of the hotel's complimentary chairs & umbrellas, beach butler, beach toys and sports activity equipment
    Families  -  From children's spa services, beach games, kids menus and a special tailored program, children will not be kept busy!
    Total relaxation  -  Relax in the spa, by the pool or on the beach
    Spa  -  Sense spa the only Forbes Five-Star spa in Santa Barbara. Treatments focus on healing traditions and using native plants
    SpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyParking

    A luxury family-friendly hotel situated right on Miramar beach. Rooms are elegant and light with incredible marble bathrooms. Spend a day relaxing by the beach, spa or pool. A choice of three bars serve innovative cocktails and the cuisine is farm-to-table. Beach perfection. See More

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