When opportunity came and I was asked by The Telegraph London to write a review of the Spanish Garden Inn here in Santa Barbara, I was immediately delighted! And, this review would require an overnight stay (oh, darn!)…
The General Manager, Denis Volic, and Front Office Manager, Chris Redden, were more than gracious and accommodating. My overnight stay, scheduled for the end of June, was going to be a real treat for me. After all, I have lived in Santa Barbara for 14 years but I have never taken a real “stay-cation”!
Santa Barbara happens to be a a major vacation destination, which can be easy to forget when you live here. In other words, it’s easy to take it for granted. And although I’m very familiar with Santa Barbara, having visited it many times before moving here, I welcomed the chance to once again experience it through a visitor’s eyes.
♦ Location, Location, Location…
Spanish Garden Inn is an unexpected haven in the very heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Although you feel like you’re in a remote hideaway in fact its cozy location in the historic Presidio district makes it the perfect place to park, walk and explore on foot. Ah, no muss, no fuss, no driving necessary! (And trust me, this is a huge plus in a town with challenging parking.)Walking distance from State Street, Santa Barbara’s main drag, you are just minutes from many of Santa Barbara’s sensational cafes and eateries, the Urban Wine Trail, and, of course, local historical sites and museums. You can even catch a show or performance at the local theaters.
♦ Be Our Guest…
No hustle and bustle, no crowded parking lots, no hassling with valet parking, no reception desk lines, no crowded lobbies or elevators. No, none of that. Instead, when you enter Spanish Garden Inn, you immediately feel at home. And, in fact, that was the intention of the owners when they conceived and built the property on the site of a former art school.Committed to respecting Santa Barbara’s classic architecture – authentic Spanish Mediterranean – every detail reflects the taste and dedication of the owners. It happens to be a style that I’m very fond of – with its terra cotta tile roofs, white stucco walls, saltillo floors, graceful arched doorways, and rich dark wood accents – and find very comfortable and inviting.
The Inn has a lovely, tastefully appointed ambiance. Colors blending harmoniously with the colors of nature – blues, greens, neutrals – create an atmosphere of casual elegance…a style that personifies the essence of Santa Barbara.
I would be remiss to not mention the artwork hanging throughout the property. In fact, they are charming watercolors, many of local Santa Barbara sites, by the artist/owner who still comes and paints here.
Entering my wonderful, spacious room, I was immediately delighted.
A personal welcome note, a bottle of local Pinot Noir and a yummy charcuterie tray…classical music playing, and a plush robe and comfy slippers…well, what more does a gal need? Oh, wait, there’s a soaking tub with fluffy plush towels and simply divine bath amenities! Now, this is a stay-cation! (Being a little spoiled is a good thing, don’t you agree?)
It was too lovely to stay inside – even inside my lovely room. I could see the pool from my balcony and decided to take a leisurely stroll and explore the grounds with its charming pathways, lush greenery and appealing nooks and niches offering invitations to stop and smell the flowers. Good advice!
A lounge chair by the pool had my name on it and offered the opportunity to just “be”…to revel in the serene and peaceful surroundings.
Although my original intention was to explore the familiar ‘hood on foot (in other words, do as a visitor would do), once I was escorted to my room and stepped inside, the temptation to just relax and enjoy the ambiance and amenities was just too tempting.On my deck, a glass of wine in hand, the soft light of sunset, the moon peeking between the branches of the palm tree, and the twittering of contented birds…I am pretty content, too!
I had everything I needed to unplug. And, I was reminded that you don’t have to travel far and wide to escape your daily routine and “get away from it all”. Sometimes it’s literally in your own backyard. I was able to escape in the luxury of this sweet, serene “oasis”. After all, being a little spoiled is a good thing and I repeat, don’t you agree?
♦ All Good Things Must Come to an End…
Relaxing in the morning with my freshly French pressed brew and book before heading to a leisurely breakfast was a lovely luxury.
And now, a few words about their Continental breakfast! Santa Barbara is known for its healthy, organic lifestyle and the Spanish Garden Inn breakfast embodies that philosophy.
Even though I’m usually not much of a breakfast person early in the morning, this morning I made an exception. After all, I was here to review everything, right?
Along with my freshly brewed cappuccino and a gorgeous fresh fruit bowl with all of my favorites (blueberries, blackberries, papaya, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and grapes), I had a variety of locally sourced, organic, and gluten-free pastries. Choosing among the tempting sweet rolls, muffins, bagels, yogurt, granola, and cereals wasn’t easy. And then there’s the special order quiche ((I tried the spinach and it was yum)…
It’s always the little things – those special thoughtful details – that personal touch – that makes a place/stay and experience truly memorable-and Spanish Garden Inn does that exceptionally well.Reluctantly I had to check out and return to my routine but I was returning refreshed, recharged and very grateful for this opportunity to experience and enjoy local hospitality.
♦ Thank you to The Telegraph London and to the management and staff of the Spanish Garden Inn. ♦
I am beyond pleased to highlight this Santa Barbara gem.
Won’t you Send Me a Postcard?
Have you taken a stay-cation? Where? If not, would you consider it now?
Please comment below, I love to hear from you!