The Santa Barbara Inn has been recognized by AAA as one of the most luxurious hotels in the state.
General Manager Ed Galsterer said the historic 70-room inn, which underwent an extensive three-year renovation from late 2013 to July 2016, was notified that it retained its Four Diamond Award in January.
The Santa Barbara Inn has received the Four Diamond Award since 2017, its first year of eligibility after the renovation.
The American Automobile Association provides automotive services for members including roadside including insurance and roadside assistance. It reviews hotels on a scale of one to five.
Perhaps the inn’s most impressive amenity is its indoor-outdoor dining area equipped with a full restaurant and bar with 70 indoor seats, with framed large windows that look out onto Cabrillo Boulevard and the ocean beyond, and 70 outdoor seats.
The restaurant is appropriately named Convivo, Latin for “to come together and feast,” and offers fresh seafood and Italian-inspired fare courtesy of restaurateur Larry Mindel and Owner/Chef Peter McNee.
“The restaurant was a really key component in coming back as a full service hotel. Having a restaurant that is popular with the locals required this curb appeal, this “wow” factor. Weather is perfect most all of the years so its very popular for outdoor dining for lunch, happy hour and dinner,” said Mr. Galsterer.
The most significant part of the renovation moved the inn’s food and beverage offerings from the third floor to the ground floor so they would be accessible toCabrillo Boulevard’s foot traffic, he said.
Just outside the outdoor restaurant seating is the 25-meter pool and spa area that offers an even closer view of the beach, pool-side restaurant service, and a view of the inn’s mosaic tile tower.
All rooms include complimentary wireless internet, movie channels and no resort fees.
Around 40 of the 70 rooms overlook the ocean, but each room has a deck for outdoor room-service dining.
Mr. Galsterer said owners Mimi and Richard Gunnar are committed to offering guests as much value for their dollar as possible
Nightly rages range from $250 during the week in the off season to around $400 on weekends during the high season from mid May to mid September.
“Booking patters have really changed over the years and its a shorter booking window now but it would be safe to book 4 to 6 weeks in advance for weekend reservations in high season,” said Mr. Galsterer.
The inn’s 12 suites have poster beds, Jacuzzi tubs and panoramic ocean views. They each sleep a family of four.
The “Anacapa” suite decor and cucumber green color scheme is a calming mix of luxury and Polynesian home comfort.
“We call our guest room interior decor “residential.” We want it to feel like you’re in your home. You can see there’s Tommy Bahama casualness about it,” said Mr. Galsterer of the room’s Asian screens, artwork and wicker furniture.
Mr. Galsterer has spent more than 30 years in the hotel business, the last 10 at the Santa Barbara Inn. He guided the inn through the renovation process and said the decisions were made with the AAA diamond criteria in mind.
“We knew when we started the renovation that when we came back we would have met all the criteria for four diamonds. That was the appointment of the guest rooms, size of the bathrooms, public space, food and beverage. But then you have to produce, you have to provide the service. We fully intend that for a long time.”
Also receiving the Four Diamond Award for 2019 in Santa Barbara are The Harbor View Inn, Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront, Simpson House Inn and Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara.
The Chumash Casino Resort & Spa and Santa Ynez Inn in Santa Ynez, and Hotel Corque The Ballard Inn in Solvang, also received the award.