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“Nice place, patchy service, relatively expensive”

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Lavender Inn by the Sea
Ranked #5 of 18 Santa Barbara B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 11, 2014

We stayed here for our last night in California after driving down from San Francisco over the previous 3 days. As it was our last night we decided to pay a bit more and get a nice place. In the end I'm not sure we 100% got value for money (around 165 USD) but nevertheless it was a nice place to stay. That said, accommodation in Santa Barbara seems to generally be expensive, so we weren't unhappy.

The amenities in general were very good, and the little things were definitely well taken care of. There was the complimentary bottle of fizz in the room, the cheese/crackers/wine reception and the milk and cookies and we were able to borrow towels to take down to the beach with us. All of that made it a very comfortable place to stay and made you feel cared-for. There was also free parking and wi-fi - a must for me! We didn't use the pool but it looked clean and cared for (although right next to the road and car park). The breakfast in the morning was good and there was a nice selection of things to eat but the space was very small (a couple of sofas and two outside tables) so it was a bit of a cramped experience.

The service we had was patchy and gave us a very split feeling about the staff at the hotel. On check-in in the afternoon we had an older lady that was very matronly and gave us the feeling that we were somehow inconveniencing her by staying at the hotel and asking for advice. The following morning though we had a lady called Sophia who was the polar opposite - friendly and kind and ready to help us with any advice or information we needed.

The room was a decent size and very clean, all the necessary provisions were there and a fridge was provided. My dislike about the rooms is that the lighting was quite weak and you have to close all the blinds because the windows look directly onto the car park. The decor was also not to my taste - it was a little too quaint and floral - I know that's the image they're going for but it felt a bit too much like my grandma's house ;) That said - comfortable, clean and a good size is what you look for in a room and it was all of those things.

Finally the location - it was only a couple of blocks from the beach so it was easy to shoot down to the beach and sit on the sand. However, most of the fun stuff (restaurants, bars, shops) in Santa Barbara is further up State Street in town and this was a good 20 minute walk from the hotel. Do not go around the back of the hotel - you go past a dodgy looking area around the back of the train yard. It's a pleasant walk though if you go along the sea front and then along State Street.

So absolutely nothing wrong with this hotel, but I do feel I should have got a bit more for the money.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank ECTom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SBHotelGroup, General Manager at Lavender Inn by the Sea, responded to this reviewResponded February 17, 2014

Greetings from Santa Barbara ECTom!

Thank you for your recent stay with us and for taking the time to offer a summary of your experience with other TripAdvisor travelers. We are delighted to hear you enjoyed the complimentary bottle of champagne, our afternoon wine & cheese reception, and the nightly freshly baked cookies & chilled milk we provide. Your kind comments regarding our Innkeeper, Sophia, is greatly appreciated, however I am disappointed to hear you found the quality of our guest service to be inconsistent. We are very fortunate to have a dedicated hotel team who take great pride in the quality of service we provide each of our guests, so please know we will address the experience you mentioned with our hotel team members. We know you have many hotels to choose from when visiting Santa Barbara so we appreciate you giving us the opportunity to improve our service for all our guests. Best Wishes to you and we hope to see you again soon! Greg Broussard, General Manager.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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223 - 229 of 440 reviews

Reviewed February 9, 2014

Read other reviews that were very good and thought we would stay a couple nights. The staff member that checked us in was very friendly and we upgraded to a king junior suite that had a small kitchen. The wine and cookies in the evening are great. We really enjoyed the getting bikes that are part of the room rate and biking through downtown Santa Barbara. We will definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Carol W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2014

First night stopover on our road trip. Very friendly receptionist. Nice, if small rooms, which are a little tired, but more than ok for one night. Complimentary fizz in the fridges of both rooms a nice touch (not yet opened, but will be!). If there is a mini warning it's that the walls external and between the rooms are paper thin. That said, if we come to Santa Barbara again and there's a deal to be had at the Lavender Inn, we'd likely stay.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
Thank ESB-UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2014

My husband and I stayed here with our 6 month old baby for one night. I had pretty high expectations from the reviews and the website. The pros: Quaint country feeling, complimentary crackers and cheese & milk and cookies, close to downtown Santa Barbara. The cons: The woman at the front desk when we arrived was not very pleasant or helpful. I asked for a recommendation on a couple things and I felt like I was interrupting her. We had some issues getting connected to wireless. The breakfast was decent, but there are only a couple seats so breakfast is pretty much on the go. All and all it was an average stay

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Namaste1017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2013

My wife and our 2 children love staying here, the pool is super warm, the location is excellent and the comp cruiser bikes and sparkling wine are a lovely touch.We found the reception staff exceptionally helpful and the free lemonade, coffee, muffins and fruit all make this place great value. we would certainly stay here again.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Eddie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2013

We had two nights here and brought all the adult beverages, snacks, etc. to feed us for days. However, this lovely hotel furnished everything, including a lovely breakfast every morning. All of us "world travelers" were extremely impressed. The location is also idea: only a few blocks up from the ocean and pier. The beds were also very comfortable.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank chee2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2013

We stayed at the Lavender Inn by the sea for 2 nights and enjoyed our stay. Lovely comfortable room with free bottle of champagne and comp water each day. Short walk to the beach and pier. Complimentary bikes available which we're great fun. Free parking. Nice pool which the kids loved. Sophia on front desk was very nice and very helpful. It was a lovely place to stay , a little pricey but we enjoyed it there and loved Santa Barbara .

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Bigboybrims
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lavender Inn by the Sea

Address: 206 Castillo St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3812
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Barbara
Price Range: $190 - $384 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Lavender Inn by the Sea 2.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Along a sweep of California coastline reminiscent of the Côte d'Azur, guests can relax amid the soothing scent of lavender and soft ocean breezes at the Lavender Inn by the Sea. French-inspired paintings adorn the walls, lavender bouquets grace each room, and sunlight shimmers off the waters of the pool. Lavender Inn by the Sea's plush guest rooms feature pillow-top beds, down duvets, lavender-scented bath amenities, and a welcome bottle of Champagne. Savor a deluxe continental breakfast on the sunny patio, wine and cheese by the fire, and milk and cookies before bed. Surrounded by beautiful lavender gardens, the Lavender Inn by the Sea is just two blocks from Santa Barbara's picturesque beaches and yacht harbor. Stearns Wharf, the oceanfront bike path, and downtown shops and restaurants are all within walking distance. Golf courses, wineries, and the Santa Barbara Mission are just a short drive away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lavender Inn By The Sea Hotel Santa Barbara

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