I stayed at the Inn at East Beach with my family for a couple nights on a recent vacation. We chose this hotel primarily based on the positive feedback we saw on TripAdvisor. We were in Santa Barbara at the tail end of Fiesta, so it was pretty hard to find a room anywhere in town.
The Inn at East Beach is not right on the beach, but it is an easy 3 minute walk to the water. The hotel itself is rather understated but very well appointed. The rooms aren't fancy, but they are nicely appointed with everything you need for a stay at the beach.
Frank the manager is a trip, he's very fun and very involved in the activities in and around the hotel. But the service was quite good, and the all the hotel common areas were clean and inviting. The breakfast at the Inn at East Beach was particularly inviting, they offer all kinds of delectable pastries, oatmeals, teas, etc. to satisfy most of your breakfast desires.
If you're staying in Santa Barbara, you have a lot of options that range from super expensive to just expensive. We were very pleased with the service and quality of the room and service we got at the Inn at East Beach, it was a great balance between paying an obscene amount for a really nice room and paying way too much for a poor quality room. If we head back to Santa Barbara or discuss our trip with friends, we would definitely recommend this hotel as a fun and reasonably-priced option in an expensive town.