Local hotel now part of global Unbound Collection
With the opening of costa Kitchen & Bar, the new Mar Monte Hotel on East Cabrillo Boulevard has completed the final phase of its multimillion dollar reimagination.
“As Santa Barbara’s newest lifestyle boutique hotel, Mar Monte welcomes guests back to all new guest rooms and programming that reflect the distinct rhythm of the California coast,” said Ingrid Braun, general manager. “We are especially proud to be part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, which is an exclusive portfolio of upper-upscale and luxury properties around the world. Being a member of Unbound allows us to maintain our individuality and provide a distinctive local experience.
“The Unbound Collection retreats provide thought-provoking environments for guests seeking a sophisticated yet unscripted experience when they travel,” said Ms. Braun.
Other locations are Parisi Udvar Hotel in Budapest, Carmel Valley Ranch in California, The Lost Stone Villas and Spa in China, The Confidante in Miami Beach, Great Scotland Yard in London and Holston House in Nashville.
Executive Chef Nathan Lingle is in charge at the costa Kitchen & Bar (“costa” isn’t capitalized), where the focus is on “Cal-Mediterranean” cuisine, a melding of influences from coastal Italy and the eastern Mediterranean.
“When creating the menu at costa Kitchen & Bar, it was important to me to incorporate the bounty of the Central Coast, emphasizing local and regional purveyors whenever possible,” Chef Lingle said. “I let the local offerings — from seafood to produce — inspire and guide all of our dishes, which center around fresh, regionally-sourced, high-quality food with flavors that are both distinctive and comforting.”
Signature dishes include whole roasted branzino with green olive salsa verde and brown butter kale; roasted market carrots with garlic chips, Meyer lemon yogurt and coriander pistou; and lamb scallopini with zucchini mint salad, charred feta and smoked chile aioli.
Chef Lingle began his career as chef de cuisine at Sagamore Resort and Spa in New York before joining the Ritz-Carlton in Naples and Philadelphia. He also served as executive chef at Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont before heading to the West Coast and joining L’Auberge Del Mar in California as executive chef.
In his leisure time, Chef Lingle, who studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, enjoys surfing, skating, bouldering, hiking and cruising the coast in his self-restored 1982 VW Wagon Camper.
At the reimagined Maramonte, Pastry Chef Alex Loretto showcases crafted fresh bread, Viennoiserie and seasonal plated desserts currently featuring creme fraiche cheesecake with texture of strawberry and Santa Barbara pistachio.
Winemakers from the Central Coast play a starring role in the wine menu housed in an 800-bottle display.
“We are beyond thrilled to complete the final phase of Mar Monte Hotel’s reimagination with the opening of costa Kitchen & Bar. It gives us great pleasure to welcome back the local community and our guests to a beautiful space that sparks joy and invites celebration,” said Ms.Braun. “Costa is a pivotal part of completing Mar Monte’s transformation. We’ve not only created an inspiring hotel and thought-provoking experiences for the spirited lifestyle traveler but now also a culinary destination that invites wanderlust and celebrates the bounty of California.”
A whitewashed barrel vault brick ceiling frames the costa Kitchen & Bar space, along with floor-to-ceiling windows. The interiors were designed to reflect the bright textures of the menu with vibrant and eclectic wall art, lemon-hued velvet chairs and comfortable leather banquettes.
Sister restaurant, Café Lido by the pool, offers a variety of salads and snacks such as charred shishito peppers, salmon niçoise salad and prosciutto with arugula pesto baguette. The drink menu features local Spearhead Coffee, teas, fresh smoothies and cocktails.
A reincarnation of the historic 1930s Vista Mar Monte, the 200-room Mar Monte Hotel has been transformed with modern amenities and design following an extensive renovation project to establish a style of contemporary Santa Barbara.
With interior design led by Los Angeles-based Beleco, bright white walls create an airy atmosphere in the lobby and living room. Exposed beam ceilings and arches are complemented by chandeliers, terracotta-tiled flooring and a large-scale ceramic tile art installation behind the reception desk, bringing Spanish-style elements into the space in a muted earthy color palette.
“The library, which opens out onto the courtyard, is the heartbeat of the hotel, and the space where locals and guests can interact through a variety of programming featuring local artists, winemakers and interesting personalities from around the region,” said Ms. Braun.
Guests are welcomed to their rooms with signature cheery orange flip flops and robes.
“From restoration to exploration, Mar Monte Hotel emphasizes connection with the local culture and community through its guest programming and amenities. Included are a variety of yoga classes, open to guests and locals, in-room yoga mats and custom maps for running or walking,” said Ms. Braun, who has spent the majority of her 18-year hospitality career in luxury lifestyle hotels in Southern California overseeing several hotel renovations and openings.
Before joining the Mar Monte Hotel, she was the opening hotel manager of the Santa Monica Proper Hotel, where she oversaw all hotel operations and guest relations for the 271-room property.
Among other programming at the hotel are rosé and oyster brunch; Mar Monte Moments featuring live music poolside on Saturdays; access to local tours and activities with the Santa Barbara Sailing Center, Coastal Concierge, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and more; and rotating chef dinners at costa, which will launch later this year.