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Where to Stay in Santa Barbara – a neighborhood guide

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The sunny city of Santa Barbara has a Spanish influence – think white buildings with colorful ceramic tiles and red roofs – and the Mediterranean vibe extends to the celebrated sandy beaches. As you'd expect from such a popular location, Santa Barbara offers a wide choice of hotels for visitors, whether you are seeking a chic city break or will be spending most of your time by the coast, and there's accommodation to suit all budgets.
Hotels in Downtown

 

 

Downtown is a great spot for affordable hotels, with big chain properties, as well as some boutique inns for those who like to stay somewhere with quaint decor and antique fittings. You'll find plenty of 3 star hotels, with clean, comfortable rooms, and perks like free WiFi and parking.

 

West Beach

 

 

West Beach is one of the livelier beaches in Santa Barbara, with long flat sands, a pleasant promenade lined with palm trees, and a wharf area with restaurants, an ice cream parlor, and souvenir shops selling colorful trinkets. Most people who stay in West Beach are here to soak up some sunshine, and it's a popular spot with family groups who want to get away from the city and enjoy the view.

 

Hotels in West Beach

 

 

If you are looking for a West Beach hotel, then proximity to the wide and smooth sands will no doubt be a factor. Luckily there are plenty of properties that are just a short stroll away. You can often upgrade to a sea view room, and if you don't actually like swimming in the sea you'll also find plenty of properties with sun-dappled outdoor pools.

 

East Beach

 

 

East Beach occupies a long and picturesque stretch of coast, and this busy beach is surrounded by tall palm trees, and conveniently close to a play park, bike path, and plenty of local facilities for a perfect beach vacation. You'll often find special events on at the beach, from drum circles to soccer games. Staying here will put you close to attractions such as the Santa Barbara Zoo, as well as areas of natural beauty.

 

Hotels in East Beach

 

 

Hotels along the East Beach seafront tend to be large and full of excellent facilities, with 3 to 4 star accommodation, balconies, and vast outdoor pools which will let you enjoy as much sunshine as possible. There are also some cheaper, motel style properties where you'll get all the basics you need, and still be within strolling distance of the sandy coastline.

 

Montecito

 

 

Santa Barbara's exclusive Montecito area offers a truly upmarket experience. You'll often see celebrities wandering the streets, with many household names living or owning vacation homes here, and the area has a village-like feel, with designer boutiques and world-class restaurants. Stay here and you'll also enjoy be close to the peaceful Butterfly Beach, with its rugged cliffs and excellent surfing.

 

Hotels in Montecito

 

 

If you're staying in such an upmarket address, then a luxury hotel is essential, and there's a small, exclusive selection of properties in this area. Choose a 5-star hotel close to the beach, and you can enjoy the full resort experience, from spas to restaurants. There are also some spectacular hotels up in the mountains for those who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.