T+L Reports: Santa Barbara Secret
Published: May 2009
By Niloufar Motamed
Fig trees and rubber duckies: not your standard B&B fodder. Yet the Inn of the Spanish Garden (915 Garden St.; 805/564-4700; www.spanishgardeninn.com; doubles from $185) is anything but ordinary. The 23 guest rooms are decorated in Spanish Mission style—warm ocher walls, dark wood furnishings, fireplaces. Beyond the obligatory Frette linens, Molton Brown bath products, and oversized tubs, downtown Santa Barbara's only luxury inn delivers the best kind of access. After morning laps in the pool and breakfast on your private terrace overlooking a blooming courtyard of wisteria and bougainvillea, you can easily walk to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (the permanent collection is one of California's finest), then to State Street for some low-impact shopping. Later, retreat to Ca' Dario (37 E. Victoria St.; 805/884-9419; dinner for two $60), a shoe box-sized trattoria off the main drag, for Italian home-cooking and plenty of local gossip.