On our late February automobile trip to southern California we stayed in two hotels in Santa Barbara, the Canary Kimpton in downtown, and the Harbor View Inn at the beach. Both hotels play in the same price league. Both locations offer singular advantages. The downtown location is an urban walking and shopping experience. The beach location is about access to water, boats and sand. The two hotels differ in the amenities that enhance each experience.
The Harbor View Inn is a two story complex occupying an entire city block. The original buildings appear to have been constructed in the late 1940's. The block square site is bisected diagonally by a concrete lined, fresh water drainage channel. Recent additions to the hotel were constructed on the opposite side of the channel and are connected to the original part by a foot bridge. The hotel does not provide valet service, you drive to your room location and transport your own luggage.
We reserved a standard king room at the Harbor View, at about $275 per night before taxes. Upon check-in check we were offered an upgrade to a superior king room for about twenty dollars more per night which we eagerly accepted. Our room was in the newer part of the hotel on the opposite side of the drainage channel. The superior king room was quite generous, as large as some studio apartments. There is a generous tile paved balcony with comfortable outdoor furniture, an excellent place to enjoy food and drinks brought back to the room. Our balcony had a narrow but enjoyable view of the harbor and ocean beyond. The bathroom included a comfortable soaking tub and shower separated by a partial glass partition with door. The toilet is in a separate compartment with a sliding door. Two people can be in the bathroom easily at the same time. The bathroom was well stocked and room maintenance appeared to be excellent. Our room faced the interior of the block, thus we were shielded from street noises which did not seem loud in any case.
The interior colors, finishes and room furnishings want to suggest a generic Mediterranean theme with Greek and Roman references. That said, the brown, grey, and cinnamon red theme colors chosen do not acknowledge the ocean a block away, and feel incongruous in that setting. Though the generous size is relaxing, the room could be anywhere.
We regretted the lack of an immediate and inviting lobby bar and restaurant. The Harbor View Inn has small, coffee shop sized facility in a separate building near the main entry which serves as both the hotel bar and restaurant. To be sure, if you want something very low key and casual, literally coffee shop tables, it will fill the bill. There are other restaurants and bars within a few blocks walk. There are restaurant opportunities on the boardwalk and on the end of state street as you walk back into town. In my view, a hotel in this price league should have an inviting bar and restaurant with an atmosphere that captures the location accessible from the lobby.
In sum, the appeal at the Harbor View Inn is the opportunity for a generous room across the street from the ocean and the boardwalk.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Santa Barbara's premier 4-Diamond boutique oceanfront hotel. Centrally located to the beach, downtown shops, restaurants, museums and attractions. Enjoy all of our wonderful amenities which include heated pool and jacuzzi, Full service Spa,room service, gift shop, fitness center, coffee bar and restaurant, Eladio's. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Harbor View Hotel Santa Barbara
- Santa Barbara Harbor View Inn
- Harbor View Santa Barbara
- Harbor View Inn Santa Barbara