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“Excellent Santa Barbara Motel!”
Review of Blue Sands Motel

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Blue Sands Motel
Ranked #36 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 28, 2008

We had a great weekend stay at the Blue Sands Motel.

We stayed in a room that had a small kitchen. It was a great little kitchen and it even had a small oven and stove. Another plus is that there is a door to the kitchen so it is separate from the bedroom. Our baby goes to bed at 7pm so we were able to fit her pack n' play crib into the kitchen and close the door slightly so she would not be disturbed.

We did not find the train noise to be disturbing at all.

There is a great little grocery store just a block away.

The $ 0.25 Santa Barbara shuttle is just a block away and takes you to State street and strearns wharf.

Great location, super friendly staff. Great heated pool.

We plan to stay here again.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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Thank cijd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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213 - 219 of 266 reviews

Reviewed May 11, 2008

The Blue Sands is less than a half block from one of the most beautiful beaches in Santa Barbara. So it gets more stars than a hotel with the exact same room and amenities would get in the middle of nowhere. We paid $105 a night for a midweek stay, and compared to all other beachside hotels that was a STEAL.

The motel is small and looks like your typical 1950s roadside stop, with maybe 10 rooms on 2 floors overlooking the pool and the parking strip. It is right next to the Santa Barbara Inn which costs at least 2-3 times what we paid. The rooms are tiny but the space is used well; they fit a microwave, fridge, coffee maker, desk, fireplace, flat panel TV, ice bucket, DVD player and extra TV inputs (it looks like you can plug your videogame player in!) in this small space. We were in room 7 which I understand is one of the renovated rooms. The bathroom was also small, with room for only a shower, no bathtub, but the fixtures are lovely and the tile is beautiful. Yes, there is a hairdryer, and the bath towels are thick and luxurious, not your typical hotel towels at all. There is a ceiling fan and an adjustable dimmer for the overhead light, both of which are very useful. Oh! And a BIG plus: The shower had a handheld shower head on a hose. I love those things!!

We swam in the pool twice. It was heated to around 80-82 degrees, which was a bit chilly in the overcast weather, but fine. Unfortunately the pool is mostly 5-6 feet deep and deeper; there is no 3-foot shallow end for kids to play in.

The front desk is just small counter and they are only "open" until 8:45pm, although I think you can call them if you have an emergency. We called in the morning because we found a carpet tack sticking out of the carpet, and a guy came straight up with a hammer to fix the problem. The management was nice and friendly.

The motel is located down the road a stretch from the main hub of State Street and the wharf; it's on the other side of the Fess Parker next to a baseball diamond and the train tracks. Our toddler loved the sound of the train going by, and we are sound sleepers, but lighter sleepers might want to bring earplugs. Also, the Blue Sands is very close to the Santa Barbara Zoo, which is a wonderful place to visit. We recommend driving to State Street for chocolate chip pancakes at Sambo's, and take the kids to the Chase Palms playground in between! Strolls on the beach are perfect, just outside the motel parking lot. It's a great location; you just can't walk home from the bar unless you're drinking at the SB Inn or the Fess Parker. Up Milpas Street away from the beach, you'll find a Trader Joe's for high quality low priced groceries, and La Super Rica taqueria, a Santa Barbara institution.

There is a shuttle that stops in front of the SB Inn next door and takes you down State Street. It stops running at 6pm off season, but in the summer it runs until 10pm.

The mattresses did not feel like the highest quality to me; they made springy noises and my back did not like them. But everything else inside the room was very nice. The internet worked fine too.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Twirlgrrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2008

I stayed here on March 18 & 19 on the way up the PCH. The hotel is small, but nice. It is the least expensive you'll find close to the beach. I stayed in one of their upgraded rooms and the room was nice with a plasma screen tv, but the bathroom was great. It looked like it had been re-tiled and it was large with a wonderful shower.

The ocean is about a block away and there is a sidewalk leading from the hotel to the beach. Light sleepers may want to look elsewhere as the hotel is close to train tracks and across the street from a baseball diamond.

The pool wasn't open when I stayed there, but it looked nice and it was 9 ft deep. The lady in the office was friendly and she gave us some good meal recommendations. I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: March 2008
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1  Thank alvernochick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2008

My husband and I stayed here on our trip up the PCH. It was our first night on the road and it was GREAT. It was a steal!!!! The second floor rooms are newly remodeled and very clean. It was a cozy room and overlooked the pool. Some of the rooms say they have a ocean view but the hotel is about a block from the water, so there are no direct ocean view. The staff was wonderful and we will certainly return if we are every in the area. Ask the manager about a great little breakfast place on the beach...it is walking distance from the hotel.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ally2581
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2008

We stayed at Blue Sands Motel from 12/29 to 01/01/08. We choose the motel because of the good reviews at tripadvisor. We checked in and got room number 5 (remodeled room). The room was very nice with a fireplace, nice furniture and the bathroom was just great.

But we realized the first second we stepped into the room that somebody smoked in this room before. We are strict non-smokers and could smell it right away. It really bothered us and opened the windows right away. I went back to the front desk and told her that somebody smoked in that room. We just signed the policy with a $250 fee if we would smoke in the room and I insured her that this is not us who smoked in the room. She was very nice but she couldn’t offer us another room since they were completely booked. Another issue was that there was one chair missing on the table (2 people just one chair). She said she will take care of it and we will get another chair latest tomorrow. So I went back to the room and slept with the smoke smell. During the night we woke up 4 times because of the train noise. It was very loud but I have to say we had the windows open because of the smoke smell. So we closed the windows but it was still pretty loud. The next day I went to the front desk and there was another lady helping out. I asked her about the train noise and that it’s been very loud last night and she was just responding that she didn’t hear anything. I was like “yeah, but I heard it and asked her if the train will pass by every night several times?”. She didn’t even answer my question and just responded “you will hear the train noise on all properties close to the beach - just read the reviews of the other hotels on tripadvisor - and you can pay up to $1000 a night and you will still hear it”. I was a little shocked by this statement and she had this kind of attitude “we are a cheap place to stay compare to the luxury hotels around so what are you complaining about …”? I asked her if we could check out earlier than planned and still get our money back and she said yes this would be okay, which was fair. We checked out other properties but everything was booked during this weekend (new year’s weekend) so we gave it another try and stayed the second night.

Since we had the windows of our room open the entire day the smoke smell was gone and we got the second chair. The second night was much better and we kept the windows closed. I still woke up by the train but just 2 times. In the morning we could hear the dog of our neighbors barking non stop (pet friendly motel).

The location is perfect and the Motel it’s just right across the street from the beach. We strolled every morning along the beach and it was just awesome. Santa Barbara is just a beautiful city on the ocean and one of my favorite places in California.

I have to say that our room was very nice and we had an ocean view. There was a fridge and coffeemaker in our room and it was spacious. We stayed the entire three nights we booked and lived with the train noise. But I am not sure if I would return since it kind of bothered us. We still enjoyed our stay at the Blue Sands Motel and liked the location so close to the beach very much. If you are aware of the noise before you book this motel and you are okay with some train noise at night it is a nice place to stay.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank franny26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2008

Perhaps it was the worn outdoor carpeting surrounding the rooms, stairway and property; or perhaps the apparent lack of maintenance the blue painted wooden surfaces outside of the room; perhaps the wind blown ash that made the exterior surfaces seem so dirty; or the screen between the room and the beach view which was obscured by dirt; or the "lived-in kitchen" smell in our room, a suite (#11). The park across the street also "hosts" street people or homeless folks or it appeared others who were doing drugs. When the temperature dipped, they lit little bonfires adding to the "ambience."

The bed was okay--however the comforter was worn and looked like it had seen better days. The pillows were worn and lost much of it's plumpness....in other words, it was like a pancake. The kitchenette was nice to have, but, again, it was dated and worn.

There is no real lobby or anything resembling that at the BSM. Towards the end of my stay, I had to try and "recover" by spending a couple of hours in the massive lobby and lounges of the Fess Parker Double Tree hotel (owned by Fess, leased to Hilton). I know it is totally unfair to compare the BSM with the hotel across the way (2-3 times the price), however the Santa Barbara Inn right next door, which has a lobby and a cleaner appearing "compound" had competitive room rates (I checked into this the morning after my first night at the BSM).

The owners seemed to be real nice, however, you don't get services past 8:30 pm (they apparently live at the BSM and have a child). We paid about $165 per night, which probably is not much for SB but the SBInn had 2-room accommodations for about $150 at the time I checked (late Dec 07).

I was disappointed with my stay. For the above reasons, I simply didn't feel "clean" while I was at the Blue Sands Motel.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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3  Thank JAGTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2008

We stayed at the Blue Sands, booking it at the last moment and boy were we surprised! This is really more of a boutique hotel masquerading as a motel. Completely gutted and rehabbed, each room has a built in personal fireplace, flat screen TV, nice bedding and a beautiful completely new stone bathroom. We were celebrating our anniversary and they even provided glasses for our champagne. Really nice.

The only complaint was the thin walls. We were next to some loud kids who returned from the bars at 2AM and kept us awake until well after 4AM.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BAS_7403
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

Address: 421 S Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3645
Phone Number:
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:
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Barbara
#18 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#23 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range: $170 - $328 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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