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“Really nice hotel but a couple of problems.”
Review of Blue Sands Motel

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Blue Sands Motel
Ranked #36 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Fresno, California
Level Contributor
158 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Really nice hotel but a couple of problems.”
Reviewed March 25, 2011

I really appreciate any hotel that is pet friendly, and the Blue Sands is that. The rooms are nicely appointed. I enjoyed the fireplace and large bathrooms. I experienced two problems during my stay. I was there for nearly a week and it was very quiet. One night however, there was a very loud group that arrived sometime around 11pm and banged around, shouted, partied and made it impossible to sleep until 4am. Since the management is onsite, and the hotel is small I can't imagine they didn't hear it, but obviously I didn't sleep at all. I realize this could happen in any hotel but it was annoying, none the less. The other problem has already been discussed by several others. Guests are told when the dogs need to relieve themselves to walk them off property. Most of the time I was there it was raining. This means that several times per day I had to bundle up and brave the elements, crossing huge puddles (too big for me or the dogs to jump over) to the park across the street. Because my dogs are small, I got to carry them in the rain, through the puddles. To appreciate the inconvience, you really need to picture this: a small 50 year old woman in rainboots and coat with a dog under each arm so obviously no way to carry an umbrella. Now picture this when it is dark...say 9:30 before bed. Or after midnight as happened a few times. The park is very dark. There are homeless people sleeping in the bushes sometimes. As a single woman, I don't think crossing that street at midnight is a good option and walking in front of the other hotels is more of a walk than I'm up for at that time of night. Really, a strip of artificial turf, or small gravel area would be very welcome and would cause me to give this hotel an excellent rating. As it is I would probably stay there again, but only if I had someone with me who would notice if I didn't make it back to the room after one of my midnight jaunts.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Cathy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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NY
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2011

I would not characterize this place as an Inn/B&B as tripadvisor has; it is a motel that has a great location very close to the beach. The service here is impeccable - the woman who checked me in was friendly, efficient, and helpful. The rooms were clean, but the walls were thin and the decor is aging. (The market on Milpas that is a block walk is great for any food or drink you might want.)

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank jenbrown23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burbank, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed February 18, 2011

We just took our first trip to Santa Barbara in years and were pleasantly surprised. We stayed at the Blue Sands Motel for a couple of days and will definitely make it our go-to place for our next trip. We have stayed at 4- star hotels before and this motel was much better. We stayed in room #5 with an ocean view. It had everything one could want in a comfortable place for us and our pooch. The fireplace and flat screen offered a nice touch, as well as the awesome shower. You could tell that the management tried to do everything they could to please the guests with the decor. Not just your typical motel room! It was very convenient to take our dog to the park right across the way. The pool was a toasty 85 degrees, although we didn't think to take our suits, since this is February. Our loss. Check-in was a speedy process and wi-fi worked great. Everyone was super nice. There is a great place for breakfast right down the road called the East Beach Cafe. They have killer blueberry pancakes and an omelet called the Santa Barbara. I would recommend them both. Our dog sat with us on the patio which was right on the beach. All in all, I would highly recommend the Blue Sands to anyone with or without a pooch for a wonderful place to stay while in Santa Barbara. And, I will add, free parking!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank scottyoly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panguitch, Utah
Level Contributor
93 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2011

Let me just say up front that I own a lodging business so might be a bit too critical.

The location is GREAT and the price, in winter anyway, was very good...$99 per night, plus $10 per night for our dog. The room was clean and well appointed and the spacious tiled bathroom with large shower was very nice (but could use a few hooks to hang things on). The desk staff was courteous and helpful...especially with the recommendation to Brophy Bros. at the marina...EXCELLENT restaurant.

We had room #10, upstairs on the end, and loved that we had a bit of an ocean view both from our room and the chairs in front of the room. Nice big windows let in lots of light and a view of the bamboo garden. Although the motel was full we didn't hear any noise from the other rooms and I'm pretty sure there was a dog in every room! The building seems well built and cared for with nice landscaping. Free WiFi worked quite well.

But I have three complaints:
#1 - If you are going to charge extra for a dog in the room then you should also provide a space ON THE PROPERTY for them to use. Instead you are told you have to either take them across the street to a public park or you can go out the back driveway and let them go on the grass behind the neighboring hotel. That's just not right. If you are charging for them then you should take the responsibility for ALL aspects of having pets on the property. I had a run-in with a homeless man and his pit bull that made me very hesitant to go across the street and it felt wrong to go behind the motel to use someone else's grass. If I had to take her out in the middle of the night I was not sure how safe I was off the property.

#2 - The pool was unheated. We had looked forward to the use of a pool and it was ice cold with no offer to turn on the heat when we expressed disappointment. It looked like a very nice pool and furnishings, it just would've been nice if it was actually usable. We were told it doesn't get used a lot in winter (well no..not if it's freezing cold) and I understand that with the winter rates maybe it's not cost effective....but if you have it, it should be available.

#3 - The furnishings in the room were nice, seemed new. A gas fireplace, a lovely big TV and even a wine cooler! But the bed did not seem to be very good quality and the linens were tired and ordinary. I can sort of understand the faded out bedspread because there is likely to be a dog in the room and on the bed so why put deluxe speads on. But at least put a good mattress under that spread.

Some other reviews complained about the homeless and the trains. From what I could see of Santa Barbara both of those things affect pretty much the whole town. We were surprised at the number of homeless everywhere in town and especially at the large number gathered in the park across from the motel...which is not the motel's fault. As for the trains, we didn't hear them at night except for one time in four nights. The rest of the time it wasn't that big a deal or that often and certainly DID NOT shake the room as another reviewer claimed. You can pay 4X as much at the Fess Parker resort next door and still hear the same trains.

All in all we would stay here again in the winter but I don't think I would pay the summer rates.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank TheCookieLady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueSandsMotel, General Manager at Blue Sands Motel, responded to this review, February 7, 2011
I would like to thank this reviewer for taking the time to go online and submit a review of the Blue Sands Motel. We appreciate the kind words and compliments that we received and take to heart any suggestions of things that we might be able to do better.

To that end, we are currently in the process of upgrading all of our mattresses. In the past few months, we have replaced almost every one of our mattresses with top-of-the-line Serta Presidential Line pillow-top mattresses. Unfortunately, mattresses are such a subjective thing. Although ours are a medium firmness, I think for some who are used to a firmer mattress, these may feel too soft which could be interpreted as being old.

I would also like to say that we are very sorry about the incident at the park. Apparently, someone in the nearby park had a dog with them which, while technically on leash, was just dragging it on the ground behind it. Although the dog did not turn out to be aggressive, it did frighten the guest when it came running up to her. There is no excuse for people to allow their dogs to run free in an open public area when they can't control them, especially if it is a larger breed which may frighten people. When the guest notified us of the problem, we immediately called the police while the guest was still at the front desk. The police dispatched two nearby officers who were able to quickly resolve the issue with-in minutes.

While it is true that we are a dog friendly property, we are also a very small property and only have very limited space. As much as we would love to provide the guests a special area on the property where they can take their dogs to do their “business”, it would be too destructive to have all of the dogs at the motel use the same small plot of grass that we have near the rooms. It is only a 15' x 15' area and would be dead and barren with-in a few weeks. It is also important to stress that we did not suggest that the guest take her dog to any of the other hotels to use as a potty. The guest asked for a good place to go for a walk at night after dark. I suggested that she walk around the front of one of the larger hotels because they have a nice path that winds through their garden. It is well lit and has lots of people. In retrospect, it seems obvious to me now that the dog would need to do its business at some point, but at the time, my only concern was for the guest and the best location for her to walk at night.

It is also true that we have a seasonally heated pool. Unfortunately it is not economically feasible for a small property like ours to heat an entire pool through-out the winter months...or on the request of an individual guest. We do not advertise that we have a heated pool, even though we do keep it heated much of the year. It is also clearly stated on every confirmation letter that the pool is only heated between the months of April and November.

Ultimately, at the Blue Sands we always strive to give each guest a perfect experience. Regrettably, we may not always be able to achieve this highest of goals, but hopefully we are able to provide each guest with the best possible experience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chico, California
1 review
Reviewed January 4, 2011

We truly couldn't have asked for more. Truly exceeded my expectations. The room we stayed in was very comfortable, with Full Kitchen, fireplace and a great bathroom (shower had great water pressure). The staff was very accomodating and friendly. Location is great, 30 steps to East Beach. We have stayed at several other hotels in the same area and paid double what we paid at the Blue Sands and the rooms at the larger hotels don't have near the same amenities they offer. We will certainly be back!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Traveler77286
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Smithfield, North Carolina
Level Contributor
56 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2011

In our five day trip from Long Beach to San Francisco, mostly up the PCH, the Blue Sands Motel was certainly the best place we stayed -- and we stayed in some wonderful places! Its location couldn't be more convenient, the service was excellent (from booking to our arrival and departure), and the room itself was outstanding!

It is evident that the room has been upgraded and that the owners truly care about their property. Our room featured a fireplace with a large television above it, as well as a dvd player. There was storage space that allowed us to get our luggage out of the way, in addition to the closet and kitchenette area (our room had a small refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot and the requisite supplies). The beds were very comfortable and we all (Grandmother age 70, Mother age 47, myself age 22 and sister 21) slept well!

The bathroom was well done and feels more like a bathroom at home rather than at a hotel -- the finishes were of a very nice quality -- a gorgeous stand-alone vanity, ample shelving for storing our toiletries and beautiful tile work.

The pool was of a nice size, clean and obviously well-maintained, but because of the March temperatures, we were unable to go for a dip.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone confidently!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sarah E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed November 9, 2010

Headed to Santa Barbara for the weekend and wanted to bring my dog. After calling around to several 'pet friendly' establishments, I was getting very discouraged. All the hotels either had a weight restriction, or an expensive nightly fee for my canine buddy. The first was a big problem since my dog was a Great Dane who weighed 140 lbs...the 2nd, not as much but since most of Santa Barbara's hotels were pricey to begin with I preferred not to pay a big 'pet' fee on top of that.

And then I found the Blue Sands. Exactly what I was looking for! Family owned & run, the owners were some of the nicest people I've met. Super friendly & helpful and even had great suggestions on 'dog-friendy' restaurants & locations around town.

We stayed in #3, a bright & sunny room with a fully functional kitchen (full size fridge, microwave, mini-stove & even small cozy table!). The room itself was nice and clean, with wood floors, 2 queen beds & a flat screen TV. While the decent sized bathroom didn't include a tub, that was not a big deal for either me or my friend. The shower had plently of hot water & strong pressure, which is always a plus for me!

The entire place had a very friendly feel. Not only were the owners super nice, but the other guests as well. One of the other families staying there even had a young English Mastiff with them, and Murphy (my dane) and Mudge quickly became fast friends.

All in all, there are only a few suggestions that I have to make it an even better experience. 1) The beds are a little old..with pretty skinny pillows. Not horribly uncomfortable, but could definitely use some updating. If you like a fluffy pillow, plan to bring your own. 2) the room could use a ceiling fan. Being in a pretty mild climate there's not much need for A/C, but it happened to be pretty warm the first day we were there. A nice floor fan was provided and helped tremendously, but a ceiling fan would probably be more effective. Finally, 3) a broom & dust pan in the room would have been useful. After a romp at the beach, my dog is usually covered in sand. Even after getting toweled off and brushed down, he still managed to bring a bunch of sand in the room. I would have loved to have swept it up without having to bother the staff.

Overall, it was a fabulous weekend. I would definitely stay here again and highly recommend it to any traveller & their canine companion.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank DebinSD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blue Sands Motel

Property: Blue Sands Motel
Address: 421 S Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3645
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Barbara
#18 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#23 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Blue Sands Motel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Blue Sands Motel is a small property only a quarter of a block from some of the best beaches in Santa Barbara. Close to shopping and restaurants, we strive to provide you a clean comfortable room at an affordable price. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Sands Hotel Santa Barbara
Blue Sands Santa Barbara

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