It’s always fun to imagine living full-time in a destination you’re only visiting, no matter how realistic or far-fetched the idea might be. The fantasy feels especially real when you find a place to stay that evokes the feeling of a home – somewhere like the Beach House Inn in Santa Barbara.
This boutique hotel on a quiet residential street in West Beach offers a dozen rooms, suites and apartments with full kitchens and fireplaces. They’re so spacious and well-appointed that the inn offers long-term bookings as well as welcoming guests on short overnight jaunts. Apartment-like rooms open to a flower-filled garden in the central courtyard, a charming and peaceful space ideal for enjoying the sunshine. With the beach, pier, State Street and many other local attractions just a walk away, it’s ideally located too. Stay for a just few nights or even longer, and you’ll feel right at home in this family-friendly, pet-friendly hotel in Santa Barbara.
The Beach House Inn hosted my family of four (two adults, two children) on a recent (pre-lockdown) visit to Santa Barbara. Getting there was straightforward as the inn is easy to find, approximately midway between the coast and 101 freeway. On-site parking at the hotel is free and plentiful, and you might not need to get back in the car until it’s time to go home. The very-walkable West Beach neighborhood has a pleasing balance of residences and businesses, among them plenty of shops and restaurants.
Heading to the lobby from the parking lot, the first feature to take in is the central courtyard and garden. It’s a striking spot, with Adirondack chairs on a green lawn with bright flowering plants all around. There are numerous bird feeders and a bird baths arranged on the lawn, all well-used by flittering flocks. At some time during your stay, make a point to sit for a while, be still and watch the birds come and go in this lovely space.
During the pandemic, the check-in desk is outside and partitioned off from staff members. The process is seamless, though, with an exceptional level of helpful and friendly service. Be assured that among comprehensive Covid-19 precautions, the Beach House Inn uses high-tech UV sanitizing machines in its guest rooms. The property retains a certain vintage charm while being immaculately maintained, modernized and very clean.
We stayed in Unit 12, one of the larger units at the Beach House Inn. Located upstairs on the second story, it has a private deck with a large table and chairs. With potted plants and views over the rooftops of the neighborhood, it’s an attractive outdoor space. The large, one-bedroom apartment sleeps four, with a king-size bed in the master bedroom and a pull-down queen-size bed off the living room. The extra-large kitchen and dining room are fully equipped with a gas oven and stovetop, microwave, large refrigerator and freezer, and coffee maker along with all the dishware, pots and pans you’d need to prepare a grand feast. It’s so handy to have a kitchen when you travel with children, even if you plan to eat out for some meals.
The unit also features a work desk in the entranceway, a sofa and plush armchair with a big flat-screen TV in the living room, and an oversized shower in the bathroom down the hallway. There’s another comfy armchair and flat-screen TV in the bedroom, and all the rooms get lots of natural light. The décor and overall vibe are cheerful and home-like, making you feel that you could live happily in the space for quite a while. The inn’s amiable owner, Pam, told us she often has guests stay for a month or more, as well as couples and families who return year after year and request the same room every time.
All the units are well-appointed. Every room has at least one flat-screen television, most have a kitchenette or full kitchen, and many feature at least one fireplace for extra coziness. Options include king and queen studios on the ground floor, one-bedroom suites, a family room, an upstairs king room with a private deck and retro pink bathroom, and “the cozy queen” for two.
The Beach House Inn is in the West Beach neighborhood, a safe and desirable location close to the beach, pier, wineries and countless restaurants. If you’re familiar with Santa Barbara, picture yourself standing at the start of the pier, facing the ocean. The wide stretch of sand to your right is West Beach. Beyond the sand, a few blocks inland tucked in among houses, is the Beach House Inn.
Many of the top attractions in Santa Barbara are within walking distance of the hotel. Among them are the lower stretch of State Street, the iconic Santa Barbara Pier, and the harbor where you can depart on kayaking, sailing and whale-watching excursions. The Santa Barbara Zoo is a 7-minute drive away. It’s about a 10-minute drive to the old Mission, and 15 minutes to the wonderful Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Also check out the city’s Urban Wine Trail, the Museum of Natural History and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Beach House Inn, 320 W. Yanonali Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101