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“Great view, loud onlookers.”
Review of Ala Mar Motel

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Ala Mar Motel
Ranked #49 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Reviewed June 30, 2014

Stayed in the room that over looks the beach along Cabrillo Blvd. Room 110. Great, great view. French doors open right over the sidewalk, a small wood balcony with a cozy little table and two chairs. You get to see the pier and the beach all day and night. Now for the bad news. There is a community (motel) wood deck outside the door of room 110. It's about 10'x 25' in size and it is for all motel patrons to use....at whatever time they want. Case in point, group of twenty something adults partying late at night, yelling over each other, and not one of them cares about the people staying in the room at the end of the deck. You've been warned. It's a trade off. If you have a bunch of partying friends, best damn room you could ask for. If you just want to get a good nights sleep, forget it. This was on a Wednesday, too! Anyway, it's not the motels fault. The room is ok. Not the cleanest LOOKING place. Dingy carpet and dingy upholstered chairs. Bathroom was clean. Electrical outlets (plugs) are all old, two-prong, and very loose. Hard to get a charger (phone/laptop) plug to stay in. I found a newer GFI in the bathroom that held great. All-in-all, I would likely stay there again, but at the opposite end of the motel. Not next to the deck.

Room Tip: Oh yeah. Don't park under the deck either. House cleaning washes/sweeps the water off, over the...
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Dave A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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34 - 40 of 155 reviews

Reviewed June 30, 2014

Don't come for the breakfast or the toiletries, but this is the place if you want to pay less than the competition for a beachfront stay and no two-night minimum. It had character but a few missing pieces, such as the toilet paper holder in the bathroom (really?) and the overhead light in the room. There was one slim bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap that felt like sandpaper. Breakfast was donuts and coffee. However, I was there on Summer Solstice Parade weekend and everything was packed -- all the other hotels charged $50 to $100+ more and required two nights. The service was pleasant and the location was fine. Be aware it's next to the Veteran's Memorial Hall so could have added activity if there is an event -- we had a wedding during our visit but they went home by 10:30 p.m. All in all, for the price + location + cheerful service, I would stay again.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Mauralela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2014

We drove pacific coast hwy from LA to San Francisco and decided to stay in beautiful Santa Barbara. At first we checked the bigger hotels where the prices ranged around $200-$300 which was a little bit too much for an unplanned stay in our opinion. After asking some locals we got directions to this gem, which was located close to the Pier right in front of the beach and the harbor. The personnel was very helpful and service minded and the room was clean, with WiFi, Cable, Flat screen TV, Fridge and a water boiler. In the morning we ate our breakfast in the amazing balcony right in front of the beach. The free parking was also a plus since all other Hotels we checked, wanted to charge us $15-$25 per night. When we return to Santa Barbara we will definitely stay @ this Motel again. But keep in mind that the off-season prices is half the amount you pay during season.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lalander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2013

My best friend and I have been travelling all over America for the past 6 weeks, and have seen the best and the worst. The worst being the Ala Mar, and for almost 6 times the price of others that we've given 5 stars.

Basically we came into Santa Barbara late on a Saturday afternoon and were taken by the beachfront location. Everything else had sold out due to a concert on around in Main Street and generally being a weekend; the alarm bells rang when the hotel worker offered to show us the room BEFORE purchasing it. After an hour or two of walking around we were just glad to have found a room, so declined. Little did we know, the room we'd just paid $200 a night for was across the road on the opposite corner, not in the same beachfront block as reception, and looked like a half completed construction site.

There was a red party cup in the sink, tortillas in the microwave, food smears on the bench and dirt so thick on the floor we had to re-wash our feet before getting into bed. We realised the bathroom window, sans security screen, had been pitched with rusty nails so that basically anyone could come and go as they please, which explained the mess we rocked up to.

When I told the hotel clerk the next morning, he was seemingly unsurprised and offered a meaningless apology. Needless to say there was no reimbursement or goodwill for next time.

Room Tip: Don't stay here!
Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
9  Thank Emily M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2013

We stayed here for one night in August and found it very expensive but chose it for the good location right opposite the sea. At the time we did not realise that the restaurants and bars were a 15 minute walk in land.
We were given a room with double aspect and a balcony and a double bath as well as a shower. Our children's room initially had a double bed...even though they are different sex young adults! This was quickly sorted out.
We found the accomodation tired and that it lacked a little thought. There was no air conditioning and the ceiling fan could not be on if the door opened as it hit the door! The lavatory door when closed, touched my knees! The overall finish was that of an enthusiastic amateur.

The reception staff were very friendly and accomodating. Breakfast was laughable....coffee in styrophone cups and pastries in plastic bags to be collected from reception and eaten....or binned in your room!

Overall too expensive and a disappointment as it was the most expensive place we stayed in our two week trip!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank shmorgelina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

I'm a Santa Barbara local, and when my boyfriend and I were having trouble finding a new apartment, we ended up staying in quite a few different hotels and motels around town. I'm pretty sure that the Ala Mar is owned by the area's most notorious slumlord, and all his properties are absolute crap, and overpriced to boot. The location is, of course, fantastic, which is the only reason why this place is even still in business. It also looks nice from the outside, which lures in a lot of unsuspecting tourists. We only stayed there one night, when literally every other place I'd called was booked solid (and I called over a dozen places). I knew the Ala Mar's reputation, but we'd roughed it at one of the owner's other properties in Carpinteria and our standards are pretty low. When I made the reservation, I was just relieved that we'd managed to find a bed and a roof, but in hindsight, I think we would have actually been more comfortable if we'd just pitched a tent somewhere. We certainly would have spent less money.

For over $200 a night, we got a tiny, dark, dirty room with a bed that was falling apart and a bathroom lacking a shower head (the water, which fluctuated between burning hot and ice cold, just came out of a hole in the wall). The bed was so awful that I considered sleeping on the floor. The only reason I didn't was because the carpet was filthy and sticky. The internet cut out frequently. This motel is just beyond bad. I've travelled a lot, and I've stayed in many local hotels and motels, so I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and this is the WORST place to stay I've ever encountered. The only motel I've encountered that was anywhere close to being this bad was the afore-mentioned motel in Carpinteria that I believe is owned by the same person.

The location is absolutely lovely, but there are LOADS of hotels and motels along the same beach, and I can promise you that every single one of them is nicer than the Ala Mar, and I know for a fact that the Ala Mar isn't even the least expensive one in the area. Do yourself and our community a favour and do not give your money to this public menace.

Room Tip: Find somewhere else to stay.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank libertatis_sacra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

This was the most disgusting room I have ever come across. We felt the need to book without seeing it (Expedia) since we were coming a long distance and thought we might be out of luck looking for something in Santa Barbara. Big Mistake!! We were charged $172.00 per room (I booked 2) - The 2 rooms were both absolutely DISGUSTING and the place should be condemned! The TV had no signal and upon opening the remote we found the batteries to be leaking everywhere. The toilet was running and when we contacted the maintenance man he ran in the room lifted the lid on the toilet tank and claims he pulled the chain and it was fine - within 2 min. it was running again. (and ran all night) He ran back with a different remote that was all taped up and threw it down. The electrical boxes were falling off the wall and there were ants all over the bathroom and a few in the bed. The blankets were dirty and we squirmed all night afraid of going to sleep. There was no air conditioning nor glasses in the room to get a cup of water. No hair dryer in our friends room and their room was just as disgusting. (Hair dryer in our room didn't work anyway!) There were holes in the wall in both rooms and they were in dire need of paint/or complete renovation. I was tempted to go to Code Compliance but didn't want to spend my vacation time fighting this war. The manager (Julia) was obnoxious and NEVER available to talk to. (Expedia also had problems contacting her!) She left me a message and pretty much told me I was lying.
I am not through with fighting the amount - it was a complete rip-off and they should be ashamed of themselves. If I can prevent anyone from staying here I would feel better. I should've read the reviews first! Now that I have I don't feel so alone! THIS PLACE IS A DUMP and DIRTY!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Linda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ala Mar Motel

Address: 102 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3505
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range: $171 - $292 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Ala Mar Motel 2*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Great location next to the beach and State St. We're a small boutique motel. Some rooms have private a jacuzzi. Most rooms have the beach view. We also have rooms with full kitchens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ala Mar Hotel Santa Barbara
Ala Mar Santa Barbara

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