Situated in the centre of California’s idyllic coastline, Santa Barbara is a Mediterranean-style city nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Known as the American Riviera, the city’s Spanish colonial heritage flows from the white stucco buildings and local wineries to the farm-to-table restaurants and Franciscan friars.
With more than 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve uncovered the very best of Santa Barbara’s neighbourhoods and hotels. From the upscale boutiques of Santa Barbara Downtown to the exotic plants and animals at Montecito, these areas reveal effortless entertainment and adventure. Need a place to stay? We’ve got you covered with the best hotels and resorts on offer in each neighbourhood.
Why You Should Stay in Santa Barbara Downtown
Santa Barbara Downtown stands out with its beautiful Mediterranean architecture, cosmopolitan shopping and global dining. The palm-lined State Street offers high-street shopping and fine dining, while the city’s rich culture and history are showcased in enthralling museums, storied theatres and world-class art galleries. Downtown also leads you to Santa Barbara’s picturesque waterfront with Stearns Wharf and sandy beaches.
Must-Do Santa Barbara Downtown Experiences
- Browse more than 80,000 artefacts showcasing the city’s history in the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
- Explore the jewellers, fashion retailers, art galleries and restaurants in La Arcada Court.
- Watch a live music concert, play or musical at Santa Barbara’s oldest continuously-operating theatre, Lobero Theatre.
Top Hotels in Santa Barbara Downtown
Kimpton Canary Hotel offers a tropical retreat amid the Mediterranean-style architecture of Santa Barbara Downtown. This luxe hotel showcases Spanish sophistication with its rooftop swimming pool overlooking the city. The on-site Finch and Fork restaurant is known for its impressive wine menu and sumptuous desserts, while the rooftop makes for a unique event space.
Every room comes with a yoga mat, Atelier Bloem bathroom products and pet-friendly options. The Guest Rooms feature chic Mediterranean furnishings, including four-poster king-size beds, while the Specialty Suites have added luxuries, such as wraparound balconies or spacious living rooms. Groups can book the three Nesting Suites, connected via a private hallway.
- State Street shopping and dining (250 metres)
- Santa Barbara Museum Of Art (400 metres)
- Lobero Theatre (400 metres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 299 – USD 615
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 31 West Carrillo Street, Santa Barbara Downtown, Santa Barbara, United States
It’s easy to see why HotelsCombined visitors have given Spanish Garden Inn an almost perfect rating. This opulent haven lets you escape to old-world Spain while retaining modern comforts. The decadent accommodations include Deluxe Rooms and Superior Rooms with HDTVs, high-speed internet, gas fireplaces and private balconies or garden patios. The suites offer additional space in separate living rooms and deep-soaking baths.
You’ll find it easy to relax here, whether you’re swimming in the sun-drenched pool, sitting in the on-site gardens or getting an in-room massage. The complimentary breakfast showcases local fruit and produce, while the evening Wine Bar is the perfect spot to relax after a big day of sightseeing.
- Santa Barbara Bowl live music venue (1.4 kilometres)
- Santa Barbara Historical Museum (400 metres)
- Casa de la Guerra (600 metres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 336 – USD 477
Guest Rating: 9.9
Address: 915 Garden Street, Santa Barbara Downtown, Santa Barbara, United States
Why You Should Stay in Goleta
Just west of Santa Barbara, Goleta showcases a more laid-back and local appeal to Santa Barbara County, boasting three major shopping centres, fascinating wildlife off Goleta Beach and a coastal cycling trail. Hang out with locals at West Wind Drive-In Theatre, ice skate at Ice in Paradise or dine at family-friendly restaurants along Hollister Avenue.
Must-Do Goleta Experiences
- Stand-up paddleboard at Goleta Beach or surf the popular Campus Point break.
- Hike along The Playgrounds trails in the mountains or cycle along the Coast Route bike path through Isla Vista.
- Browse the boutiques, restaurants and local brewery at the open-air Camino Real Marketplace.
Top Hotels in Goleta
Separated from Haskell’s Beach by a sandy walking path and native shrubbery, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara complements its prime location with 5-star service. The low-rise villas boast a distinct Mediterranean vibe and house inviting rooms and suites with timber furnishings, private balconies or patios and large soaking baths.
The Ritz-Carlton Villa is particularly opulent with its spacious living areas, two ocean-facing terraces and gourmet kitchenette. Treat yourself to The Hollywood Facial or Holiday Body Polish at the on-site spa or indulge in fine dining at one of the five on-site restaurants, including the Angel Oak steakhouse and Foley Tasting Room. There’s also a diving pool with private cabanas and bar service.
- Sandpiper Golf Club (1.1 kilometres)
- Haskell’s Beach (450 metres)
- Naples State Marine Conservation Area (3 kilometres)
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 599 – USD 1,312
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: 8301 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, California, United States
Located on Hollister Avenue minutes from the centre of Goleta, Pacifica Suites Santa Barbara offers a natural retreat with Heritage-listed trees, lush gardens and the circa-1880 Sexton House. The Garden Cafe serves a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast every morning, while the heated outdoor pool and spa provide year-round leisure.
The all-suite accommodations include pet-friendly and accessible options, with every suite also offering a separate living room, pull-out sleeper sofa, bathrobes and mini fridges. The Deluxe Poolside King Suite also has a private terrace or balcony with pool or garden views. Don’t forget to take advantage of the complimentary coffee, tea, fruit and cookies in the lobby each day.
- Twin Lakes Golf Course (2 kilometres)
- Magnolia Shopping Center (1.3 kilometres)
- Goleta Valley Community Center (750 metres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 147 – USD 343
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: 5490 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, California, United States
Why You Should Stay in Montecito
Montecito is one of Santa Barbara’s most affluent areas where celebrities and wealthy holidaymakers make a beeline for its mountainside mansions, tree-lined shopping boulevards and alfresco restaurants and cafes. Montecito is also an outdoor lover’s paradise, thanks to its hiking trails, coastal vistas, swimmable waters at Miramar Beach and renowned surf breaks at Hammonds Point.
Must-Do Montecito Experiences
- Sunbathe, swim and stand-up paddleboard at the dog-friendly Butterfly Beach.
- Explore the fine-dining restaurants, chic cafes and locally-owned boutiques on Coast Village Road and in the Upper Village.
- Venture through the mountains behind Montecito on enthralling trails, such as Saddle Rock, San Ysidro and Old Pueblo.
Top Hotels in Montecito
Nestled between Butterfly Beach and Hammond’s Beach, the 5-star Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is an ideal retreat for a summer holiday in California. Almost all of the resort’s luxe bungalows, suites and rooms overlook the ocean, including the Ortega Bungalow that also has a private patio, heated plunge pool and fireplace.
The Honeymoon Suite’s antiques, soaking bath and floor-to-ceiling windows are perfect for couples, while Riviera Room boasts Spanish Colonial luxury with mosaic antiques and hand-woven fabrics. Relax by the two outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs, indulge in a body treatment at the day spa, play tennis or croquet or dine on the ocean-facing terrace at Bella Vista.
- Coast Village Road shopping and dining (1 kilometre)
- Butterfly Beach (350 metres)
- Music Academy Of The West (800 metres)
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 685 – USD 8,950
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 1260 Channel Drive, Montecito, California, United States
The 5-star San Ysidro Ranch Hotel Santa Barbara transports you to a secluded oasis high above Montecito at the base of the mountains. This quaint hotel has a cosy lounge with a brick fireplace and two on-site restaurants, including The Stonehouse for organic food and Plow & Angel for award-winning ribs. The on-site spa offers rejuvenating massages, facials and nail services.
The cottages and hideaways boast complimentary breakfast, a furnished patio, deck or veranda as well as a fireplace, Persian rugs, antique furnishings and Bulgari bathroom products. The Romantic Ocean View Hideaway is perfect for couples with its French doors, curtained bed and ocean vistas, while Kennedy Cottage features Italian linens, crystal chandeliers, claw-foot baths and four-poster king-sized beds.
- San Ysidro Trail Head (210 metres)
- “Scarface” movie mansion (1 kilometre)
- Francoise & James Park (1.1 kilometres)
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 1,047 – USD 1,269
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 900 San Ysidro Lane, Montecito, California, United States
Why You Should Stay in West Beach
West Beach sits to one side of the city’s main drag, State Street, and features most of the city’s beachfront properties. This palm-filled neighbourhood is the perfect summer holiday destination thanks to the soft sand of Leadbetter Beach, outdoor recreation in Pershing Park and water activities around the Santa Barbara Harbor.
Must-Do West Beach Experiences
- Discover a wealth of history and centuries-old traditions in Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
- Watch or join locals playing basketball, softball or tennis at Pershing Park.
- Kick back on the beach by Steams Wharf or stroll down the pier for waterfront dining.
Top Hotels in West Beach
Families and couples love Harbor View Inn Santa Barbara, as it sits on the beach and features a range of resort-style facilities, including an ocean-facing pool, fitness centre, gift shop and the pampering Spa Beaumontia. On-site dining includes espresso and fresh pastries at State Creek Coffee, cocktails and light snacks at the poolside bar and in-room dining service.
The contemporary guest rooms come with Keurig coffee makers, HDTVs, bathrobes, private balconies or patios and mini bars. Stay in the Ocean View Balcony Room for Pacific Ocean views from your private balcony. Alternatively, splurge on a spacious suite, such as Ocean View Suite with a sunken bath, wet bar and spacious living room.
- Stearn Wharf Pier (80 metres)
- MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (350 metres)
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center (500 metres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 295 – USD 310
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: 28 West Cabrillo Boulevard, West Beach, California, Santa Barbara, United States
One block back from the beach, Harbor House Inn Santa Barbara offers affordable, modern and comfortable accommodation. The naturally-lit rooms and studios include plush bedding, contemporary in-room entertainment and high-speed Wi-Fi. The Deluxe Spa Bedroom features a hydrotherapy bath and wet bar, while the Deluxe King Studio has a king-size bed and sitting area.
Along with complimentary parking and a business centre, the hotel offers a free welcome breakfast basket and use of the bicycles. You can also grab towels, chairs, umbrellas and body boards for the beach from the front desk.
- Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Art Museum (700 metres)
- Toma Restaurant & Bar (220 metres)
- Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (750 metres)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 209 – USD 344
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 104 Bath Street, West Beach, California, Santa Barbara, United States
Why You Should Stay in Santa Ynez Valley
Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and San Rafael Mountains, Santa Ynez Valley is a naturally resplendent area blessed with sprawling vineyards, enticing mountain hiking trails and the Santa Ynez River. Wine tourism is a huge draw thanks to the award-winning wineries that sit alongside art galleries and antique shops.
Must-Do Santa Ynez Valley Experiences
- Taste locally-crafted wine at the renowned Sunstone Vineyards & Winery.
- Check out a range of American, Japanese and European vintage motorcycles at the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum.
- Tee off at the championship-quality Ranch Course At the Alisal.
Top Hotels in Santa Ynez Valley
Nestled in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley, the 4-star Santa Ynez Inn offers convenience, comfort and luxury. The on-site day spa is particularly indulgent with its soothing massages and treatments, while the hotel’s Tasting Passport offers complimentary wine tastings at more than 12 local wineries. Cosy up by the fire pits, start your day with a made-to-order breakfast and enjoy whiskey tastings in the Library.
All the rooms and suites feature heavenly beds, antique-style furnishings and HDTVs. The Classic Two Queen has a fireplace and jetted bath, while the Premium King has an over-sized marble bathroom, a private balcony or patio, fireplace, jetted bath and heated floors.
- Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House (95 metres)
- Gainey Vineyard (1.8 kilometres)
- Santa Ynez Park (600 metres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 467 – USD 831
Guest Rating: 9.6
Address: 3627 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez, California, United States
Located slightly north of Santa Ynez, Fess Parker Wine Country Inn is the perfect gateway to some of Santa Barbara’s best wineries and countryside. The rooms and suites include complimentary breakfast and wine tastings for two, along with gas fireplaces and king-size beds. The Parker Suite, Crockett Suite and Marcella Suite also have a Jacuzzi and living room.
On-site dining is highlighted by the refined farm-to-table ranch cuisine at The Bear and Star, while the on-site spa offers yoga classes, beauty treatments and massages. Don’t forget to explore the Fess Parker Winery, which offers wine tasting and bottles for purchase.
- Sky’s the Limit Ballooning (270 metres)
- Los Olivos Dance Gallery (300 metres)
- Saarloos And Sons (270 metres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 295 – USD 815
Guest Rating: 9.4
Address: 2860 Grand Ave PO BOX 849, Los Olivos, California, United States
Why You Should Stay in East Beach
As you enter Santa Barbara along the US-101, you’ll often spot East Beach first, an idyllic waterfront neighbourhood with more than six kilometres of beachfront parks, picnic tables, volleyball courts and playgrounds. Located on the eastern side of Steams Wharf, East Beach offers kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, along with exceptional seafood restaurants and wildlife experiences.
Must-Do East Beach Experiences
- Get up close to hundreds of native and exotic animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
- Head down to East Beach for swimming, kayaking, sunbathing and beach volleyball.
- Stroll or cycle through the beachfront Chase Palm Park, where you can picnic and relax on grassy lawns.
Top Hotels in East Beach
Hotel Californian has amazed HotelsCombined visitors with its excellent location near Downtown and the beaches and its luxe swimming pool, which has plush umbrellaed loungers. This opulent retreat also has the Majorelle day spa, which transports you to Marrakesh with its decor and treatments, along with Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in Blackbird.
Spanish Colonial architecture meets Moroccan influences in the extravagant rooms and suites, all of which have cocktail carts. The Tangerinn Guestroom has a fireplace and a Juliet balcony overlooking the Santa Ynez Mountains, while the Magellan Suite also has a sitting room. The opulent Alcazar Suite is the only room in the State Building and features a bath, dining area and romantic nook for sunset beach views.
- Santa Barbara Urban Wine Tours (250 metres)
- Stearns Wharf (550 metres)
- Chase Palm Park (850 metres)
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 454 – USD 682
Guest Rating: 9.4
Address: 36 State Street, East Beach, Santa Barbara, United States
Enjoy a stunning Santa Barbara oasis at the popular Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, which is separated from the beach only by East Cabrillo Boulevard. The newly renovated rooms feature furnished private patios or balconies, complimentary Wi-Fi and desks. The suites offer added luxuries, such as wet bars, Bose stereos, rain showers and whirlpool tubs.
Leisure comes naturally here thanks to the sun-drenched pool encircled by loungers, the tennis court, fitness room and pampering Spa Del Mar. You can also enjoy poolside lunch and bar service, prime American beef in Rodney’s Grill and specialty cocktails overlooking the beach at The Set.
- Chase Palm Park (500 metres)
- East Beach Volleyball Courts (1.1 kilometres)
- Santa Barbara Zoo (1.1 kilometres)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 269 – USD 602
Guest Rating: 7.9
Address: 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, East Beach, Santa Barbara, United States
Experience the Best of Santa Barbara
Enjoy a holiday of utter indulgence in Santa Barbara, where the allures range from lazy beach days and mountain adventures to gourmet winery tours and oceanfront parks. These popular areas are ideal for a relaxing break and offer unique attractions and holiday vibes. The most popular hotels and resorts that typically boast on-site dining, beach-inspired lodgings and luxe swimming pools.
Where do you want to stay in Santa Barbara? Let us know in the comments below.