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“Hidden Jewel in Santa Barbara” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Spanish Garden Inn

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Spanish Garden Inn
Ranked #2 of 51 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Laguna Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Hidden Jewel in Santa Barbara”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2011

My fiance and I stayed here for a long weekend in July and the couldn't have been more pleased with our decision. This hotel has the feel of Old Spanish with the conveniences of modern day luxury. The rooms are very large by today's standard and are extremely comfortable. The bed was fantastic. It felt like we were staying in more of a small villa than an actual hotel. And the courtyard (w/ fire pit)...AMAZING. Drinking anyone of the house selection of wines in the candlelit courtyard was the perfect end to every evening.

The hotel is located short walking distance to State St. which is where you'll find all the dining and shopping you could possibly desire. The beach is a bit further away but we were able to manage making it there 2 of the 4 days we were in town. Really, nothing is too far in Santa Barbara. And if you have to drive anywhere, in most cases it will be beautiful and scenic.

The staff was very friendly and attentive. I was blown away by the fact that they actually addressed us by our last names?!?!? Who does that? It made us feel like more than just a room number. They provided us with great local dining recommendations (Shalhoob's). They all seemed complete down to earth, not stuffy like you might expect at other establishments of the same quality.

Other Notes: Breakfast is provided (Not full, but definitely better than continental). Pool is small and somewhat shaded but we spent more of our days at the beach so this wasn't an issue for us.

We are already planning a return trip for later this year and will definitely be staying here.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank KRo808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,192 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (228)
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San Jose, California
Level Contributor
46 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2011

This was a great hotel. The building and courtyard are quintessential Santa Barbara, which makes the hotel feel less like a hotel. It was certainly nicer than staying at a chain hotel for that reason. The rooms were very nice- ours had a balcony overlooking the courtyard, which was a great place to chat and have a drink in the evening or eat a leisurely breakfast in the morning. The hotel is walking distance to State St, and also close to the freeway, so it was convenient. There is a complimentary breakfast in the morning, which you can eat downstairs or have delivered to your room. We had quiche, fruit, juice and good coffee. I hope that we will be able to return here on our next trip to Santa Barbara!

Room Tip: The rooms overlooking the main courtyard are lovely if you can get one.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ameliad56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ciney, Belgium
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2011

This is the second time we visit the place. Always excellent, we recommend.
We lack from a luggage service , as our room was at the first floor.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank erjo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2011

My big mistake was not scrolling through all of the reviews to find the bad ones! There were so many nice reviews about this place, and it was ranked #1 on TripAdvisor, so it seemed like a no-brainer to stay there. Well, we're never going back. I suggest you stay away, especially if you have kids. Here's why:

1. We told them we had two kids, an infant and a three year old, and asked if this was OK. They said yes. We asked if they could provide a crib. They said yes. I called on my way to the hotel to make sure they had a crib. They assured me that it was ALREADY IN THE ROOM WAITING FOR US. When we got there: no crib. WHAT? I thought it was already in the room! Where is it? Don't know. You don't know? Then why don't you look in the place where you ordinarily keep it? Sorry, can't find it. But you said it was ALREADY IN THE ROOM when I called! Well, the check-in person was apparently not the same person I talked to on the phone, so the check-in person didn't know what happened and couldn't explain it. Luckily we had a Pac-N-Play in our car, otherwise we'd have been totally screwed.

2. There's no valet. You have to park your car in an underground garage that it open to the area's homeless people. No guards. Nobody keeping an eye on your car. Just a big open garage with your car in it. Which leads me to the next point ...

3. There was nobody to help us with our luggage! And we had a LOT of it! Plus a 3 year old and an infant! I had to get a luggage cart -- which they conveniently leave for their guests in the garage, although there is no porter to help you so you have to do it yourself. I loaded up the cart and brought it up in the elevator while my wife struggled with the two kids. Then when we checked in ...

4. The put us on the 2nd floor, but there is no elevator going to the second floor! Are you kidding me? I told them we had kids, I requested a crib, and the put us on the second floor when there is NO ELEVATOR to get to 2nd floor, and NO PORTER to carry your bags up for you? Seriously?? Do you have kids? Elderly relatives? A bad knee? Sorry, you have to carry your bags and kids up the stairs all by yourself. I complained about having to do this, and the check-in guy said he could "help me" carry the bags upstairs. He took a few and left them at the top of the stairs. I carried most of them up the stairs, and all of them into our room. For what this place costs, I never dreamed I'd be loading a luggage cart and then carrying heavy bags up a flight of stairs.

5. The room was nice, I'll admit. But NOT GREAT. It's nice in a rustic sort of way. Not luxurious. It feels like if you went to some off-the-map beach village in Mexico and found a place that was better than your low expectations. Bumpy plaster walls, old furniture, a heavy sliding door to the toilet that won't close all the way so you can hear the sounds of someone else using the toilet. And if you close the door all the way there's is NO LIGHT BULB in the toilet, so you're in the dark. Kinda interesting and charming in a rustic kind of way, but this is NOT a $400 room, or even a $300 room, or even a $200 room. Last year we stayed at a place across the street from the beach in SB, I think it was the Santa Barbara Inn. It cost in the mid-$200s and had a room the was nicer, plus a better location, plus better service. Example: the roll of toilet paper you get in your bathroom at the Inn of the Spanish Garden? Ours was halfway through the roll. Huh? Aren't you supposed to at least change the toilet paper roll when guests check out?! Someone elses' dirty hands were on that roll. Even the most basic Comfort Inn will change the toilet paper for you, right? But apparently not this place, which for some reason is ranked #1 in all of Santa Barbara on Trip Advisor! I just can't understand it.

6. We asked the desk clerk for a dinner recommendation. He gave us a place and highlighted it with a magic marker on a map. All very nice. We asked him if we should walk or drive. He practically insisted we walk. It's a beautiful evening, it's so close, it might be hard to park there, etc. We said hey, we've got kids, one of whom will be in a stroller, the other will be walking for a bit then we'll have to carry her when she gets tired, are you SURE it's close enough to walk? Otherwise we'll drive. He scoffed at the idea of driving, telling us what a lovely walk it was. Well guess what? He was wrong. It was about a 15-20 minute walk, which is fine for adults, but not for kids. Plus we walked by about 5 homeless people along the way, and walking home in the dark past homeless people with kids isn't a great feeling. We should've drove, but the desk guy practically insisted that we walk. Get a clue, man! I don't want to fend off people asking for a spare dollar when I'm holding a scared, hungry, tired 3 year old girl in my arms!

7. When we checked out it was the same weird, lame routine. The girl behind the desk helpfully advised me that the trolley was in the garage. I brought up the trolley and she was nowhere to be found so I couldn't ask for help carrying our bags down the stairs again. Carried our bags downstairs all by myself. Loaded up the cart all by myself. Walked it past the desk girl who smiled at me but didn't say a word. Took it to the garage all by myself. Loaded up the car all by myself. When I went to pay the bill, the same girl asked me if I was OK with my bags or if I wanted her to call somebody. WTF? She told me where to find the trolley. She saw me walk by with all my bags on it AFTER I loaded it up. She saw me take it down in the elevator. And NOW she asks if I want her to call somebody? Just crazy. Who's she going to call, anyway? There's no porter.

Based on all of the other very nice reviews for this place, I can only conclude that we had a much worse stay than the average guest here. Might be a nice place for couples who just want to drink a bottle of wine in the cute little patio and then have a romantic evening in a rustic room. But we're never going back. And trust me, don't go there if you have kids. Wish I'd read the other negative reviews that made the same point, they were all right. These people don't understand what it's like to be travelling with children.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
26 Thank TomLosAngeles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SpanishGardenInn, General Manager at Spanish Garden Inn, responded to this review, August 3, 2011
Dear TomLosAngeles:

I am truly sorry that your experience was not what you had hoped for. Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. We value all of our guest’s feedback, even when it is not positive so that we can make improvements where needed. I do realize how difficult it can be traveling with small children and we should have taken more initiative to assist you. Because we are a small hotel, we do not have dedicated porters, but our guest service agents are readily available to handle luggage; and, we do have a direct phone line in the garage for guest’s to call for luggage assistance. It is always our desire to exceed each of our guest’s expectations and families are of course welcome at our hotel.

Laurie Lawson, General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
portland
Level Contributor
39 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2011

The girls stayed here on a four day girlfriend junket. Not only was my room lovely, spacious, clean and the bed linens amazing and a comfort to sleep in, my balcony overlooked the patio. The Inn is located just blocks from the best shopping streets in Santa Barbara, yet it feels like you are in a quiet residential area. The breakfast was adequate, French Press in your room, and Frette towels in the bathroom. It is worth the price, so don't hesitate to book your room and enjoy a heavenly respite with all the trimmings. (my only regret is that I could have stayed longer, and that housekeeping had replaced the marvelous make up remover pads and not left the toilet seat up after they cleaned!)

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank poodles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Esher, Surrey
Level Contributor
37 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2011

This hotel has lovely rooms, a gorgeous courtyard and a very nice pool and is located in a quiet area which is good for sleeping but not far away from the beach, bars and shops. However one thing really does let it down. Although the staff on reception were very nice, unless you ask them questions directly you really have no contact with them. You can go into breakfast without a good morning because there is no one there to greet you. Everything is self service. Yes you can help yourself to towels at the pool but yet again there is none milling around the place checking that you are OK and generally making people feel welcome. It is a lovely building but it needs some warmth from attentive staff. I appreciate the hotel is small but it could be so much better. Why not have a small bar set up in the courtyard for a few hours in the evening to provide some ambience.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SBear62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2011

My husband and I stayed here for two nights in July, 2011 on a Santa Barbara getaway. It was a lovely hotel and the plus for us was that we could walk to the downtown shops and restaurants easily. The original room we had was too close to the elevator so we were upgraded to a nicer room at no extra charge. The rooms were nice, Spanish decor, comfortable, clean with Molton Brown amenities. There was a complimentary continental breakfast each morning which was very nice (yogurt, fruit, pastries, coffee, tea, juices and my husband found they would make him a latte!) I would recommend this hotel for anyone not needing a beachfront hotel -- it seemed more of an adult hotel than where we would bring our children as it would be a drive to any of the beaches. We loved it and would go back.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank momof3boysScottsdale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Spanish Garden Inn

Property: Spanish Garden Inn
Address: 915 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#1 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
#1 Green Hotel in Santa Barbara
#2 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#5 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Spanish Garden Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience the jewel of luxury boutique Santa Barbara hotels. Spanish Garden Inn offers a sophisticated Spanish-Mediterranean inspired design, quality amenities and close attention to personal service. The hotel epitomizes the vitality of the City and honors its tradition by recreating the history, romance and intrigue of Spanish Colonial Santa Barbara. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Inn Of The Spanish Garden Hotel Santa Barbara
Hotel Of The Spanish Garden
Of The Spanish Garden Hotel

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