Santa Barbara

Hotels in Santa Barbara

While there are a small number of budget-minded hotels in Santa Barbara, the overall theme of Santa Barbara's accommodations is luxury, from the B&Bs to the boutique hotels and bigger resorts. In general, the closer you are to the beach, the higher the prices. This is especially true of the downtown area, where the beach is never too far away. For a quieter—and even more plush—ambience, stay in Montecito, a village-like area. To save money without sacrificing an easy drive to the sights, stay in Carpinteria, the next major town down the coast. Here are some of the best hotels in Santa Barbara:

The Biltmore Santa Barbara. This 207-room grande dame on Butterfly Beach in Montecito is the crown jewel of Santa Barbara hotels. It's a Spanish-style Four Seasons so civilized that it transcends any stuffiness: You'll feel like you're relaxing at the compound of a very gracious host. If hate getting sand in your sandals, the pool complex overlooks the ocean.
The Hotel Milo. Formerly the Hotel Oceana, this boutique Santa Barbara hotel is right across the street from the beach and offers easy access to downtown.
Bacara. This upscale resort is outside of the city—it's closer to Goleta, home of UC Santa Barbara—but it offers a more sprawling-resort atmosphere, with a full-service spa and excellent on-site restaurants.

Seven years and $134 million in the making, Orient Express Hotels' takeover of the storied El Encanto (the brand's first West Coast resort) is reinventing a genteel slice of California history.

No wonder this was JFK's honeymoon spot: The 500-acre property, which got a $150 million re-investment in 2011-2012, gives the impression of stretching on forever (even if a few neighboring mansions creep into the picture), and when you arrive at the long driveway lined with olive trees and laven

This hip and trendy boutique in downtown Santa Barbara uses colorful customized vinyl decals of peacocks, chandeliers, grandfather clocks, giraffes with parachutes, and other playful images to create a modern and individual style for each of its 16 guest rooms.

This Spanish-style inn, located in the Presidio District, is only three blocks from Santa Barbara’s main drag, State Street. Each of the 23 rooms has a sitting area with a fireplace, and all reservations include a daily complimentary continental breakfast with quiche and espresso drinks.

A 207-room property on Butterfly Beach with the area’s signature 1920’s-style tiles and gardens. 

Mediterranean-style oceanfront villas sprawled over 78 lush acres between the Pacific and the Santa Ynez Mountains, offering a laundry list of activities.

Despite the name, which references a "bear" (oso) in Spanish, it’s all about horses at Rancho Oso. Join a guided trail ride in the nearby Santa Ynez Mountains, or set off on foot if you’re horse averse.

These comfortable cedar cabins—outfitted with Wi-Fi and other 21st-century amenities—are near El Capitan State Beach, a 17-mile drive from Santa Barbara. This elegant camping spot is set in a 2,500-acre nature preserve.

The sun is setting and you’ve got a front-row seat on the 1,800-square-foot terrace—plus a pool, two fireplaces, a quietly trickling fountain, and panoramic views of the Santa Ynez Mountains and Santa Cruz Island, 26 miles offshore.