I spent a weekend in Santa Barbara and Solvang cashing in on some rewards and points. The first night in Santa Barbara, I utilized a free night at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. This hotel was nice and close to the water, but after seeing the Ritz Bacara, it seemed to pale in comparison. That being said, and to be fair to the Hilton, the rooms were clean, modern, and they had just undergone a renovation. The next night, I redeemed Marriott points for an evening stay at the Ritz Santa Barbara. It was 60,000 points for our one night stay. Since it was my favorite, I want to spend the remainder of this post discussing the highlights.
This property is quite the oasis on the California coast. They had a number of activities going on during our stay. One of the first we enjoyed after check in was evening Sangria in the lobby. The lobby is stunning, and there is plenty of seating for relaxing. Following this and during sunset, they served refreshments along the beach. Once darkness set in, they had telescopes set up for evening stargazing over the ocean. Not only were their telescopes, but they had experts available to help you locate different galaxies. These were all well thought out touches. Over holiday weekends, they do provide seasonal activities. During Easter, they had a small petting zoo and an egg hunt for the little ones. It was nice to see these additions that went above and beyond for the guests.
The property is massive and the views are incredible. It sits on an impressive 78 acres of coastline!! You cannot miss taking in sunset views along the beach trail. This is one of the best photo opportunities. There are also three sat water pools on the property. The centerpiece is a huge pool right in the middle with ocean views. Another pool is a little more quiet and directly next to the gym and spa. Normally, I don’t take too much interest in going to the gym on vacation. However, this gym was quite impressive. I thought that the equipment was top of the line and up-to-date. It was compelling enough for me to do a 20 minute cardio workout. They had plenty of everything in a large space, so there was no need to wait on equipment use. If you would prefer a workout outside, there are a number of trails that run around the property with one taking you out to the beach. You will see from my photos taken from the beach trail just how much space the resort takes up. If you enjoy tennis, there are four courts for use.
Our room was on the second floor and rather spacious. The design of the bathroom allowed for an open concept with the bathtub adjacent to the bed. If you desire more privacy, the area could be closed off. I enjoyed having a balcony with some patio chairs to enjoy a bottle of wine. We did not have a view per se. Some of the buildings were oceanfront with unparalleled views. I am not sure the cost escalation for this perk. The design of the room was updated, as the property underwent a renovation and rebranding when it was acquired a few years back.
The hotel is slightly isolated from the actual main downtown area in Santa Barbara. I would say this is really the only disadvantage. We had this come into play when we were going to dinner Saturday evening. We had a car rental, but we both intended to have drinks at dinner. It cost us about $25 each way to our dinner reservation in an Uber. Now, you could easily just stay on the property without leaving. They do have five restaurants. In the future, I would opt for this.
Oftentimes, I stay at a hotel and enjoy the experience but don’t necessarily see a need to return. This hotel I would definitely stay at for a future visit in Santa Barbara.