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“Felt like a very nice European hostel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara

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Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   121 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101   |  
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Ranked #23 of 53 Hotels in Santa Barbara
GreenLeadersGold level
San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Felt like a very nice European hostel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2014

Full disclosure: waited too long to book a hotel in Santa Barbara so our choices were limited... However, I had walked by this property a few times and knew it to be fairly centrally located (close to State Street, Cabrillo Blvd and the beach, and also to the new Funk Zone where the wine tasting rooms and pubs are popping up), somewhat hip looking and very nice. It was indeed a nicely decorated and very clean property and the staff (particularly Calen & Alexis at reception) there were so very friendly. The room that we got, given how late we booked, was a handicap-accessible room, so the shower was literally part of the bathroom, separated only by a curtain and a glass door that swung away from the wall to cover the toilet area, and the room itself was teeny tiny, but it did have a nice attached patio. The room was toward the front of the hotel though so it was located next to the stairs and the backside of the attached restaurant so it could be a little loud at times. The bed was very comfortable and, despite its small size, the room used its space well in terms of its layout.

The Blue Tavern restaurant was delightful. I only ate breakfast there, but I did so on all three mornings because the waitstaff was so friendly and the food so tasty. The breakfast menu is somewhat limited but it has all that you need for a good breakfast. The fruit were delicious, the coffee was good and the omelets were excellent.

A word (or two) of caution: this is a busy area with lots of restaurants and bars nearby; there also are railroad tracks that run almost literally next to the hotel, so you WILL routinely hear the train's whistle / horn blowing. The Amtrak station is next door. Despite all of my warnings, if you are alone or a couple, you really should consider this property if you don't need a large footprint in your room. I'm not sure I would recommend bringing kids here, except that it is close to the beach.

Room Tip: Rooms toward the back of the hotel on the south (beach) side are sunnier and quieter.
See more room tips
Green Features: The hotel provides recycle bins in each room to encourage environmentally-conscious travelers to recycle.
  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda L, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, responded to this review, June 8, 2014
Deat Matthew,
Thank you for the review of Hotel Indigo’s prime location, friendly staff, tasty restaurant, and compact designed rooms. We enjoyed reading your detailed feedback and appreciate the information you’ve left for future guests as well. Please give us a call before your next visit to Santa Barbara, we would be happy to assign a quiet room and welcome you as our return guest!
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304 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (87)
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wigan
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2014

We had dinner here on the off chance, as all was busy for the weekend. What a joy we ate from the happy hour menu steak, prawns and cant remember the rest. The food was prepared and cooked well ,up there with the best and I have eaten in the very best over the years of travelling.
Very well executed plates of food for the palate and wine to boot. Really cant stand Californian wine but they serve a good house wine. The servers were exremely attentive, ours was Arvin I think compared to down the road at Toma who are budding sreen stars .Good hosting would definately recommend. you lost one star for the loud music but hey Im getting old.!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda L, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, responded to this review, June 8, 2014
Dear hallij,
Thank you for the wonderdul comments on the unique flavors of Blue Tavern’s Cali-Peruvian cuisine; we are very lucky to have one of Chef Zarate’s amazing restaurants right here in Santa Barbara at Hotel Indigo! Arvin is a great asset to the restaurant and was pleased to be mentioned. We hope to see you on your next visit!
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Corydon IN
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2014

I had reservations when booking this hotel due to negative reviews about the small rooms and the train, but I can say that neither were a problem. The room was very quaint, well laid out, and spotlessly clean. The design and layout of the furniture allowed adequate space to move about the room, store luggage, etc. We enjoyed the private patio the most. We sat out there and had a glass of wine each evening and coffee each morning, talk about a great way to start and end the day. The European shower allowed the bathroom to have adequate space. Our room was on the train side and I only heard it one time on one evening, so it was never a problem.
Location is great; walking distance to the pier, beach, several great restaurants and shops, the historic courthouse, and multiple wine tasting rooms.
The hotel service was 5 star quality. For work I travel to most of the major cities in the US and I can honestly say I have never received this level of service at a chain hotel. Upon checking in we met Frank, who quickly became our go to guy for everything. He made the extra effort to learn our names and always greeted us as such. When we would ask him for dinner recommendations, he typically made two or three, gave directions, and printed the menus so we could see what each restaurant offered. The entire staff was as friendly and helpful as Frank.
Extras: iced tea available in the lobby all day, wine and cheese in the evenings, bicycles (at no cost), a gym with treadmill and elliptical and 3 lounge areas to relax with a group.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda L, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, responded to this review, May 26, 2014
Dear Russ,
Thank you for taking time to leave wonderful feedback, we appreciate your eye for design and details! We agree, the patio is a great place to enjoy coffee and wine and plan or reflect on a perfect Santa Barbara day! Your compliments to our staff are highly motivating and inspiring; Frank enjoyed using his local Santa Barbara knowledge to give recommendations for the best spots. Thanks again for the comprehensive review; we look forward to your next getaway!
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Santa Barbara, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2014

We came here for a business trip and we were greated by Hao, he was extremely helpful and accomodating. He really makes this place feel welcome and I will be back for a vacation as well. The room was extremely clean and it is close to everything

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda L, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, responded to this review, May 26, 2014
Dear Edvero,
Thank you for the positive review; Hao was especially happy to be mentioned and we’re very proud of our amazing staff! We look forward to seeing you on your next vacation in Santa Barbara!
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San Antonio, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2014

Very small but well appointed rooms. Staff are friendly, helpful and the location is perfect if you want to be near Stearns Wharf, nice beaches, the Funk Zone (especially for wine tasting) and a slew of various types of restaurants. Yes, the Amtrak train can be noisy so light sleepers may want reconsider but the train usually makes 1 or 2 stops nightly. (not all night) We stayed in room 118 which is near the front of the hotel, on the first floor, and on the left side of the hallway which seemed to provide "insulation" from most noise.

The adjoining restaurant, Blue Tavern, is solid for all meals but has a fairly limited menu. Coffee is FREE for hotel guests, just bring your room key. It also provides hotel room service and hours are from 7 am - 10 pm Mon - Thur and 7 am - 11 pm on Fri & Sat.

Also, you may want to familiarize yourself with the electric "bus" schedule if your local destination is beyond walking distance. The drivers are friendly and helpful. Did I mention the fare is $.50 per person? This mode is a pleasant ride and has stops near several tourist attractions and may save a few coins versus using a cab or another car service, such as Uber. (which is cool too)

Bottom line, as long as you don't expect posh appointments and 5 star treatment (plenty of other hotels for this), you shouldn't be disappointed, especially if you're staying for several days and this isn't your dream vacation/stay.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda L, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, responded to this review, May 14, 2014
Dear ChazzDee,
We appreciate you taking the time to leave detailed feedback regarding your recent stay at Hotel Indigo. Exploring Santa Barbara car-free is a fun and easy way to get around our beautiful city; we’re glad you enjoyed the surrounding areas and thank you for recommending the electric trolley to guests! Thank you again for the review.
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Los Angeles
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2014

My brother has worked for in the hotel industry for years so I am extremely critical! I came across Hotel indigo because I started a job in Santa Barbara and needed some where to stay on a regular basis. The level of customer service at this hotel has really amazed me! Every single person goes out of their way to make me feel at home and add a personal touch you rarely see at hotels these days. You can tell the difference between people zoned out just going through the motions and people want to come to work because they enjoy talking to people. The location couldn't be better, just a block from the pier and beach in the Funk zone! So many fun wine bars, local breweries, art galleries and FOOD. The 101 is easily accessible and you can WALK up State street to lots of different restaurants and shops and theaters.

This hotel is non-smoking and has a lot of windows so you don't get this stale air in the hallway and rooms. The rooms have very nice patios on the ground floor and community patios on the top floor. The whole hotel is an art gallery! Everywhere there are interactive art pieces, paintings, sculptures, a vertical garden, library, NICE business center/conference rooms. The rooms vary in size and some are smaller than others, but for me it depends on what I am going to the hotel for. If I plan on spending a lot of time in my room, going to the pool or spa, and never leaving my hotel... this is not the place. I prefer the layout of the rooms because they have utility. When you don't have a lot of luggage, plan to go sightseeing during the day and then go out at night, you don't need all the extra fluff. I looked into other hotels which had more amenities but cost significantly more. The rooms could be considered "small" but for an old hotel, and the price... I'm amazed they really make it work. The shower is big enough for 1 person but it is VERY nice and cleverly situated to maximize the space. You are provided a kruerig with complimentary coffee or tea. There is not a mini fridge but I am okay with that. All snacks and beverages are available in the lobby, which keeps me from running up a $30 munchie charge per night.

My biggest problem is the train! The train station/track is NEXT door. If you are traveling on the Amtrak this is extremely convenient because you wouldn't have to lug your luggage very far. Its really loud for 45 seconds and then it goes away but it's still startling. If you are a light sleeper, they provide complimentary ear plugs but I keep the window closed and wake up reasonably early anyways so it doesn't bother me. There is nothing the hotel can do other than try to accommodate a room with as little noise as possible if you request it.

There is a delicious upscale peruvian restaurant downstairs which attracts a lot of locals and the proprietor owns 3 other highly rated peruvian restaurants in Los Angeles. All the food is from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen! Its not "cheap" but it is for the quality and taste of the food. They deliver room service which I love! The convenience of eating a quality meal in your room for a reasonable price is really important at a hotel. Happy hour is awesome because it starts back up at 9-close! Lots of reasonably priced tapas style dishes and drinks. The specialty drinks are really creative and each one is worth trying. I like the Pisco Sour, a traditional peruvian cocktail with egg whites and cinnamon. The servers and bartenders are very social and friendly while remaining efficient and staying focused on their job.

I really appreciate every person who works here. I can't go through and name a specific employee because everyone goes above and beyond to help me and make me feel at home. They help me find a room with minimal noise and maximum space when they can and check in with me to make sure I have everything I need. If I bring food back to the room, someone at the front desk always offers to put it in the large fridge they have downstairs. When I forgot some drinks in the fridge the guest services manager, Amanda, placed them in my room for me when I returned with a welcome back note!

You can really tell someone put thought into giving a personal experience to the guest. I've been invited to enjoy free wine and cheese several times when I checked in but I have also been invited to free wine/cheese tastings from local vineyards for all the guests at the hotel The restaurant downstairs has a lovely patio on the sidewalk to catch sun while enjoying happy hour and people watching. They have bikes you can ride and the wonderful people at the front desk are very knowledgable of the area if you need recommendations. I've also noticed they speak multiple languages and attract a very diverse clientele.

So I would rather save the money if I don't plan on lounging around my hotel all day but spend the little bit extra to stay at an extremely fun and CLEAN hotel. Ultimately, you get what you pay for! Spending more will get you the amenities but that can come with rich snobs, spoiled children, old drunks and mindless zombies. Ive never seen someone like that here, although I go to the Fess parker doubletree down the street to rent a car and that is all I ever see there! Big hotels in this area are packed, overpriced, and not walking distance to many things. I get a ride back to my hotel every time I return my rental because its a trek back to State street and the pier. So for the price, the hotel is a steal and guaranteed success!

I'm looking forward to using my IHG points I have accumulated here to stay at other Hotel Indigos!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda L, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, responded to this review, May 11, 2014
Dear Claire G,
Thank you for the amazing, comprehensive review, you definitely made our day! Our wonderful guests are what really inspire us and your feedback is highly motivating to everyone at Indigo. I greatly appreciate the informative not-to-miss details you have left for our future guests to read, including specific travel style and needs. Being a small boutique hotel in a fabulous area of town allows us a service culture that tailors a unique Santa Barbara experience to each guest. Thank you for going above and beyond to give your thoughtful opinion and tips; we look forward to your next visit!
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Boston
Top Contributor
176 reviews 176 reviews
84 hotel reviews
Reviews in 112 cities Reviews in 112 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2014

We stayed here on our latest vacation. We found the room to be on the smaller side. The staff were excellent. The room was super clean. The bathroom is a bit of an oddity and I am sure it is because of the space. The shower is poorly designed in the fact the you swing a glass door open and pull a shower curtain on the other side to enclose yourself in. Now that is not the bad part. The bad part is that whoever designed it, did not pitch the floor or sink the shower portion below the main part of the floor enough for water to drain properly. This causes the shower water to go all over the rest of the floor in the bathroom. We also had trouble with the toilet flushing properly and was told by the front desk upon checkout, that it happens from time to time.

I do have to mention the trains. If the train passing by bothers you, you must use earplugs to soften the noise. To me it did not bother me as I work for the Railroad and I am used to it but it is something to keep in mind. You will hear the train horn blowing for the grade crossing.

We are Priority members in the IHG program and thought we would give the Indigo a try since we never had been to one before. We are uncertain if we will go to one again mainly because the of the shower setup.

The location is great if you are looking at heading down to the Wharf. It is only a few blocks away.

The parking is a bit different here. For $14 you can have valet park your car in a lot right next to the hotel. For $14 you can self park your car in a lot 15 feet away from the valet lot. I don't see the difference.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amanda L, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, responded to this review, May 11, 2014
Dear 63impala,
Thank you for taking the time to leave us valuable feedback and suggestions in your review. Our historical building is from the early 1900s and contributes to the many unique quirks of the modernly designed boutique hotel, one of them being the compact room size. This has conveniently allowed us a smaller ecological footprint and to be a certified ‘Green Engage’ hotel with IHG. Each European wet style bathroom has been or is in the process of being retiled and designed which has greatly improved the slope efficiency of the showers. As an IHG Rewards member I would still recommend you to try out Hotel Indigos; currently there are 55 and each hotel is individually designed (including the shower setup) in historical/repurposed buildings unique to their communities. I was happy to hear you enjoyed the great location and wonderful staff. Thank you again for your review.
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Additional Information about Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara

Address: 121 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 53 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara 3*
Number of rooms: 41
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara blends historic splendor with sophisticated design and offers eco friendly, artful lodging steps from the Funk Zone, Stearns Wharf, and Urban Wine Trail. Contemporary art, colorful murals, and a plant-filled living wall grace this 41-room boutique hotel. Guest rooms feature spa-inspired showers with Aveda products and the smaller footprint characteristic of environmentally friendly lodging. Select rooms have private outdoor gardens and mountain views. Facilities include a business center, fitness room, boardroom, and MCASB Satellite art gallery. Stay in the heart of art at Santa Barbara’s hottest new address! ... more   less 
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