Hotel Californian

Modern Moroccan elegance in Santa Barbara

Occupying three prime blocks of Santa Barbara real estate just a stone’s throw from the beach, the refreshed Hotel Californian has been more than two decades in the making. Styled in part on the original Hotel Californian built in 1925, the new iteration is composed of three separate buildings, resulting in a charming village-like feel.

Featuring a modern riff on the traditional Spanish Colonial Revival architecture that defines Santa Barbara, the hotel’s design goes a step further, differentiating itself with distinct modern Moorish and Moroccan embellishments and interiors, anchoring the revitalization of the beachfront area.

And the place isn’t just gorgeous to look at, it’s also enviably walkable, with access to nearby wine tasting rooms, clubs, restaurants and, of course, the soft sands of both East and West Beach.

With two restaurants on the property surrounded by serene passageways, fountains, a rooftop pool and the town’s quintessential red-tiled roofs capping white stucco walls, Hotel Californian feels like an escape to another country.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • The Santa Barbara hotel’s exquisite Spanish-meets-Moroccan style was imagined by celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators fame.
  • Don't miss a chance to lounge on the fourth-floor El Mirador deck. Offering a heated rooftop pool, a Jacuzzi and plush chaise lounges, this perch features 360-degree vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the mountains, including views of the Santa Barbara Mission.
  • Though you may be entranced by the hundreds of works of art that line the walls of this property, don’t forget to look up. Each public space has an elaborate design emblazoned on the ceiling. Plus, nearly 1 million tiles encompassing 27 different patterns were used throughout the rooms, public spaces and restaurants.
  • Visit stylish Blackbird restaurant for Mediterranean-flavored fare using local ingredients. Chef Travis Watson was an apprentice to respected chef Georges Paccard of La Ciboulette in Annecy, France, and most recently served as executive chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.
  • The blue-tiled Moroccan-inspired Majorelle spa is worth a visit. Housing just four treatment rooms, this serene spot feels like your own private retreat.

Things to Know

  • You can arrive to the luxury hotel by Amtrak train (the station is just a block away) and abandon your car for the weekend.
  • Sitting on Santa Barbara’s busy State Street and just a block from the beach, the property boasts a prime locale, but that can also mean traffic and some late-night noise.
  • Pets are welcome here, but if you have allergies, just request a room that doesn't allow four-legged friends so you can avoid a reaction.
  • With a grand ballroom, a rooftop event space and five different meeting rooms — each with its own private patio — Hotel Californian is well-suited to host any size gathering.
  • There isn’t an overabundance of in-room technology here. The hotel prefers to foster a traditional convivial, family environment.

The Rooms

  • Possessing a black-and-white palette and accented by original artwork and small bursts of color from art, chairs and headboards, the 121 guest rooms and suites have a clean, contemporary look.
  • The Santa Barbara hotel does not stock its minibar with the ubiquitous and tedious tiny bottles of liquor, but rather half-size versions (350 ml) of local wines and distilled spirits.
  • Italian linens, custom-made headboards, cobra sconces (a symbol of power in ancient Egypt) and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures accent the eclectic room décor.
  • Laser-cut closet sliding doors reflect the Moroccan vibe, while cutting down on hard surfaces and allowing for a more open feel in the rooms.

Nearby Attractions

  • Hotel Californian resides on State Street, Santa Barbara’s main shopping and dining thoroughfare, which means you can walk most anywhere in town.
  • The luxury property is just one block away from the beach and Stearns Wharf, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Santa Barbara.
  • The hotel is right next to the trendy Funk Zone, home to nearly 20 wine tasting rooms, myriad restaurants, breweries and a distillery, along with a handful of art galleries.
  • Santa Barbara’s quirky zoo is a short bike ride away. Home to more than 500 animals on 30 acres of a former private estate, the attraction has a running joke that it's the only facility where the lions have a view of the beach.

24-hour room service
Fitness classes
House car
Meeting rooms
Outdoor pool
Pet friendly
Getting There
36 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
SBA (14 min)   LAX (1 hr 25 min-1 hr 50 min)   BUR (1 h 20 min-1 h 40 min)  
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