My main purpose in booking this place was getting as close to the beach as possible without paying $400. We are not picky, we just want a place that's clean and comfortable. We payed $250 for the Junior kitchen suite.
When you first get there, you are greeted by Frank, the manager, about whom plenty has been written, and I'll get to him. We were able to check in early (about 1:30, as opposed to the 3:00 check-in time) since our room was ready, which I always love. The parking is ample and off the street, and in a beach area like this, that's huge. Plus, the parking area is a few short steps from any of the rooms; This is a really small place, so everything is close to everything else.
The grounds are really cool: There is bamboo all over the place, and the set-up is nice, with decks for lounging and snacking, different levels with a few stairs. Other reviewers are correct about the gates though - they are loud and rusty. It's a good example of the bottom line of the Inn at East Beach: They've fixed up some stuff, but some things are really overlooked that would make a big difference.
When we walked in, it didn't smell that fresh, as others have noted. It was distinctly the smell of mold - not strong enough to be disgusting, and we're not that picky. It got much better as soon as we got the fans going. I did think it was interesting that the windows were left open by housekeeping - I've never seen that done before, maybe to negate the initial impact of the smell?
We were delighted with the amount of space. The kitchen is fully stocked, regarding plates, silverware, full-sized refrigerator, stove, etc. Some people complain about the decorations or the fact that it's not to their taste, but again, we don't care. I thought it was nice... the window treatments are silk, and block out the light well, and darken the room when you need it. Huge sink (in separate area outside the actual bathroom). Just enough TV channels to keep us entertained in the short amount of time we'd want to stay inside, in a spot so close to the beach. The beds were very comfortable, pillows were big and nice, and there were extra blankets. The fireplace is really cool, and I expect it would be a great perk in the winter. I have to say I didn't think we'd mind the lack of air conditioning, but it was awfully stuffy at times - when you want it, you really want it! No fan in the bathroom ends up making a big difference with no air after warm water's been run. There is a ceiling fan, and a standing fan, and they both help a lot, but we would have liked air conditioning. The proprietor has a wall unit, incidentally.
As to the Sainted Frank, who manages the place: He is pretty oppressive. After the first afternoon, I avoided him like the plague. The thing is, his "Look at me, I'm all hospitality, and I'm your key to Santa Barbara" act wears thin very quickly. He hovers like your grandma, waiting for you to break some little rule, and he explains each rule repeatedly. And God forbid he doesn't tell you a rule (and you didn't think to ask), you'll get a condescending verbal spanking that makes it downright uncomfortable to take advantage of some of the amenities for fear you won't do it right.
On the other hand, he runs a tight enough ship that other people don't break rules that make your experience miserable. This place can be VERY loud, especially if the windows are open because of the lack of air conditioning. But if everybody's civilized, it's peaceful and nice, and that's great. If you've never been to Santa Barbara, it's a wonderful place to vacation, and from what I could see, the price here was reasonable. On the other hand, the Motel Six (30 feet away) was a hundred dollars a night cheaper, so do your research and go from there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just steps to Santa Barbara's best beach - Exclusive East Beach Resort area near zoo, wharf and shopping. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Inn At East Beach Hotel Santa Barbara
- Hotel At East Beach
- At East Beach Hotel