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“Good but not great. . . .” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort

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The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara, CA 93103   |  
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Ranked #29 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
142 reviews 142 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
“Good but not great. . . .”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2007

My wife and I stayed at the Fess Parker for 2 days in early May 2007.

The Ugly

We had a Deluxe Ocean View King Room and unfortunately the balconies all connect so there is very little privacy. There is also a fair amount of families here, so if looking for a romantic getaway, there are alot of kids there.

The restaurant service was horrible. The person could not spell my name after 5 tries when "checking in" at the front. The food was "ok". There was a bird flying around inside the restaurant and the staff didn't seem to care.

The Good

The rooms are recently remodeled and my room was huge. It had very high ceilings and a huge sitting area. The rooms themselves are very quiet and soundproofed (unlike the balconies).

This resort has a TON of acreage right on the Santa Barbara East Beach within walking distance to Stearns Wharf. You have to drive to the State Street shops, but it is a short drive.

You can rent bikes and ride up and down the beach sidewalks. Very cool setting.

In all, this is a VERY expensive hotel and is worth it in some ways (room, location, etc.) but not in others (food, service, etc.). I'm not sure I'd stay here again unless I bring my kids, in which case it might be the best bet in the area given its location. Mixed bag overall.

  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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nipomo, ca
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2007

So after reading all the reviews on different hotels we picked the Fess Parker for 3 nights for my birthday weekend. We have 2 small children ages 4 and 1 1/2 and wanted somewhere with a heated pool and LARGE rooms. We booked their "Dream" package which for 25 $ more a day gives you breakfast for all the people in your room. You can't beat it and can have it delivered, a nice feature with kids for sure. So I requested 2 queens, ground floor near the pool.
We checked in at 4 pm and were taken straight to our room after getting our 4 cookies. So that was great. Our room was huge. Nice big seating area with a couch and table, writing desk and overstuffed chair. We were in the Fuschia building which is only 1 level and was on the ocean side so we only heard the train when our door was opened and my son loved it so it was actually entertaining for us. The patio was huge with a chase lounge and table with 2 chairs.
Room service was fast and enormous. Huge salads and there is a kids menu you just have to ask for it. The cooked to order breakfast of anything you wanted was amazing. Huge Huge portions so much leftover food!
The pool is great and heated so that is a plus. Not crowded on Thur and Fri but on Sat I felt like it was Spring Break. Really crazy people everywhere so we went to the zoo and it was great.
Overall great hotel, little pricy but nice big rooms and helpful staff. My kids cried when we had to go!

  • Liked — Large rooms
  • Disliked — small bathroom
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan Beach, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2007

Booked this via their website. Stayed there from 4/20-4/23/07
to attend the Vintner's Food/Wine Festival held in Lompoc.
My husband & I stayed at their Jr Suite/romantic package
w/mountain view ($355/night). Here are the pros/cons:

Pros:

good location, across the Pier
walking distance to State State-main drag for boutiques,restaurants
comfortable bed (could use better pillows)
clean bathroom, soaps/shampoo from Crabree & Evelyn
has patio
daily breakfast included in our package-good buffet on
Sat/Sunday, menu on weekdays
can't comment on their on-site restaurants..as we did not
eat there. We went to Bouchon restaurant (will review that
separately, along with Harbor Inn restaurant at the pier).

Cons:

We were sent to one of their buildings - Bougainvillea--our
view from the patio: although you can see the mountain, you
are also looking right down at the parking lot

Very noisy trains AMTRAK passes by regularly-particularly
at 10:30Pm & 2:30am DAILY (their resort is a stone's throw
from the railroad tracks). Had I known this, I would have booked
somewhere else.

They did renovations to their rooms--but looks like they tried
to save $ by not scraping off the cottage cheese ceilings-
did not go well with all the improvements they did in the room.
Nothing special on their room for a junion suite.

Did I say dog? they allow dogs in the rooms--thank goodness
we are on the 3rd floor--I did not hear any barking dogs on
our floor--saw dogs being walked around the area --I think
they book them on 1st levels--so beware. I like animals--but
not when they are noisy and I'm on vacation and wants peace
and quiet...did not get it here..due to trains.

Musty smelling carpets. Also, the door when you enter the
building is supposed to be secured (enter only with your
card--well, it never worked--door never shuts completely..
so, anyone can enter the building.

Advice to future patrons: If you want to stay at this resort,
you must ensure that the room you are going to have
will be at their main building--else, you will be assigned
to the one by the railroad tracks and will not sleep! worth
the extra $--for ocean view-if available at the main building only

  • Liked — close to shopping areas and pier
  • Disliked — noisy trains
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orangevale, California
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2007

Stayed for just one night the beginning of April 07. Booked and received a garden view room. It was located towards the back near the tracks, but faced the ocean and I could barely hear the train whistle. If noise bothers you, definitely don't book a mountain view. Room was luxurious, bed was super comfortable, lots of pillow, down comforter, etc. Room was clean, large, with a nice patio. Pool was busy with children, and there is no adult pool. Beach is across a busy street, but not a big deal. Very tranquil and relaxing stay. We had spa treatments in the afternoon. The spa and suites are being renovated, and the treatment was in a regular room, but very nice with candles, etc. Excellent massage and facial. Renovations should be done by summer. Didn't eat in the restaurants as we were wiped out after massages. Had room service for dinner and breakfast. They were prompt and food was above average. This is an upscale place, not for cheapies. I would definitely come back again!

  • Liked — Beds
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2007

Clean, comfortable, ideally situated across the street from the ocean and only 10 minutes away from downtown Santa Barbara, this 3 star hotel is good for an OK stay. But it's nothing to write home about especially considering the weighty $350/night room rate we paid.

A few things to consider before going:

[1] Overall Illusions of Grandeur
The hotel is sprawling. You actually have to drive to your room. There are lots of palm trees, winding walkways, lofty named bungalows and a high-ceilinged lobby that gives the illusion of grandeur. But really, the place is a bit shabby, color-less and in need of a face-lift. It needs more personality.

[2] Good Room
Our room was quite spacious and fairly up-to-date with a small balcony, heavy wood furniture, down comforters and cushy pillows. The bathroom had a cute little sink in the toilet area and another one outside the door. It's a room that you feel good coming back to after a long day.

[3] Dining - Eat Out
Eat out if you are looking for atmosphere and a memorable Santa Barbara culinary experience. The restaurant in the lobby is oddly situated and looks like it was built as an after-thought. The food is average and served in lack-luster surroundings.

[4] Spa and Gym Under Construction...Now you tell us
During our stay the spa and gym were under construction and had been moved into hotel rooms. Very odd and not the least bit attractive. Would have been nice to know before-hand especially since I was looking forward to a fantastic spa experience.

[5] The Uninformed Concierge
The concierge was very hesitant and seemed unsure of himself when asked about site seeing opportunities. He hadn't even visited most of the places featured on the pamphlets at the desk. Shouldn't that be a pre-requisite for concierges?

[6] The Train
Yes, there is a train that barrels down the tracks in back of the hotel and we heard it loud and clear from our mountain view room. I actually didn't mind because I like the sound of trains, but it will awaken you in the middle of the night if you are not a heavy sleeper.

  • Liked — Spacious rooms, comfortable beds, great location.
  • Disliked — Overall shabbiness and illusion of grandeur.
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County, CA
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2007

First thing you need to know about this property is that aside from the vast, poorly landscaped asphalt parking lot which surrounds most this class B- hotels "mountain view" rooms, you then have to look beyond the very active Amtrak line which appears to run adjacent to and all along most of the property's eastern boundary. But then you also have to overlook the industrial rock mining facility right on the other side of the rail line! To the staffs general credit they were indeed pleasant and responsive in relocating my guest and I to a garden view room. I suppose I could have been fairly well placated except that I immediately noticed this new room (121) happened to be located directly across the hall from a stank little circa 1970 workout room with a single closet turned "massage room". Yup, what should have been one of the most active areas of the building was indeed just as quiet as could be at least until the boisterous yakking of morning housekeeping detail got started in the interior hallways, but I’m quite astonished that Hilton/Doubletree has the audacity to include either “resort” or “spa” in the name of this property. Don’t be fooled by the pictures on Expedia or the hotel website either! Granted, the recently refurbished rooms are indeed large, attractive and comfortable (definitely avoid the mountain view rooms though) but the public spaces are all very, very tired, poorly lit and truly in need of a major renovation. Overall, even at $150/night this place would have been highly disappointing.

Stayed January 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento Valley
Top Contributor
279 reviews 279 reviews
118 hotel reviews
Reviews in 92 cities Reviews in 92 cities
803 helpful votes 803 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2007

My girlfriend and I stayed one night in early July. My girlfriend had business at UC Santa Barbara in Goleta. We flew up from LAX via United Express Turbo Prop to the local airport in Goleta.
Rented a car and drove to the Hotel. About 10 -12 minute drive from the airport to the Hotel which is just south of downtown Santa Barbara. The Hotel is large self contained complex and is right across from the beach and a major road separating the hotel and the beach. You can walk from the Hotel to the Beach crossing the road. The weather in early July was a bit cool and a bit foggy. The front desk person was okay, not really friendly. Our room was roomy, with comfortable bed. There is a refrigerator stocked with refreshments in the room but you can make room for your own refreshments. Our Bathroom had some wet towels but one call to the front desk and a cleaning staff came by with some dry towels. The room had a small loveseat and lounge chair too.
The room did not have too much light but you could open the drapes and have a view of the gardens and the beach and ocean in a distance. We crossed the major road between the Hotel and the Beach and walked a bit up and down the beach. The hotel is a bit of walk to downtown State Street, where all the restaurants and shops are. But there is ample parking at the Doubletree and parking lots off of State Street too. The drive is just a few minutes. We tried a Thai resturant and Japanese restaurant on State street and both were not very good. The Our best meal during this trip was in Santa Barbara/Goleta at the chain - El Pollo Loco. The next day we drove to UC Santa Barbara which is about ten minute drive north on 101. UC Santa Barbara is one of nicest UC campuses because it sits right next to the Pacific Ocean. After my girlfriend's business we were able to drive back to downtown Santa Barbara for some shopping and then back to Goleta for some beach time. Then back to airport for our flight to LAX. The Doubletree is nice place, a bit removed from downtown Santa Barbara. If your looking for a quiet place, away from the action, with comfortable beds then this might be the place for you. Plus you get the Doubleree's famed cookies!! But if you want to be a few steps from the action, you might consider a hotel closer to downtown.

  • Liked — Comfortable Beds & Quiet Room
  • Disliked — A Bit Removed from Downtown State Street, Beach was across a main road
  • Tips/Secrets — Ask for a quiet room away from public areas
  • Stayed July 2006
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort

Address: 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Santa Barbara
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Barbara
#8 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#9 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#27 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 360
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort is steps from the beach and convenient to Santa Barbara's waterfront and downtown. Oversized rooms all feature balconies or patios; families and pets are warmly welcomed. Amenities include a year round heated Olympic sized pool, Spa, fitness center, salon, tennis courts, bike rentals, putting green, shuffle board, weekend wine tasting, 2 restaurants, ocean-view bar and 24 acres of grounds. Complimentary airport/Amtrak shuttle service available daily. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fess Parker`s Doubletree Hotel Santa Barbara
Doubletree Santa Barbara
Doubletree Fess Parkers
Fess Parkers Doubletree Resort

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