A Review of the Santa Barbara Inn in Santa Barbara, California

We stayed at the Santa Barbara Inn in Santa Barbara, California for a week in July and although the reviews on Trip Advisor were amazing, we were all disappointed and confused as to why and how it could have received such good ratings. The Santa Barbara Inn is neither an inn nor a hotel; it is a motel. I learned while staying in the area that the accommodations with the name “inn” at the end of them are actually motels. It’s just something they do in Santa Barbara and something I wish I would have known before I booked my room. But like the old saying goes, “Location, location, location” and the Santa Barbara Inn is situated in a very convenient location.


What guests are really paying for is the location. The Santa Barbara Inn in Santa Barbara, California is across the street from the beach. Most of the hotels/motels state they are on the beach but that is simply not true. There are no hotels/motels on the beach; they are all across the street and any beach view is of the street and then the beach. The hotel’s main entrance is on Milpas Street and across from that is a park where you can often spot teams playing baseball. Next to Santa Barbara Inn (on Cabrillo Boulevard) is yet another “inn” aka motel.


The free continental breakfast consists of pre-packaged muffins, generic English muffins, bread, apples, oranges (sometimes bananas), mini Yoplait yogurt, 2% milk, packets of oatmeal, mini cranberry juice, mini apple juice, mini carton of orange juice, and coffee and tea. They say they are open until 10:00 a.m. but they close the doors much earlier and the woman who puts everything out is nasty and takes food away as you reach for it (no joke) if you get there close to 10:00 a.m.

The Santa Barbara Inn provides free coffee and tea which is located in the lobby and is available 24 hours/day. They also have a bowl of apples and oranges.


The only rooms you should even consider are those located on the third floor facing outwards towards the street/beach overlooking the pool area. The other rooms face the parking lot and the dumpster and the rooms on the first floor (ground floor to Europeans) literary have their front door in the parking lot. The decor is dated although they do have some upgrades such as the tile in the shower, the flat screen TV, and the sink. However, the rest needs a major overhaul.

The carpet in the Santa Barbara Inn in Santa Barbara, California is as gross as it gets. It’s dirty, stained and clearly in need of ripping out. Why they have carpet throughout (including the sink area so the water can drip down and form mold) when they cater to guests swimming in the pool and bringing in sand from the beach is beyond me. Word on the street is they will be renovating this year and if you’re on the fence, I’d suggest you wait until they renovate before considering the Santa Barbara Inn.

The Santa Barbara Inn in Santa Barbara, California does not have air conditioning so guests have to leave their sliding glass doors open (you can close the screen door) making it difficult to sleep with the amount of noise going by on the busy road. I liked having a king bed but the pillows were a huge problem. They were so soft (think feathers and cotton balls only) that they actually flattened as soon as you touched them. We had to use two or three pillows to raise our heads high enough to be able to sleep.

The toiletries provided are shampoo, shower gel (which we weren’t given until our third day there), body lotion, a shower cap and oil-based make-up remover. Every room is also provided with two bottles of water located in the mini refrigerator.


The electric shuttle cost $0.25 and there is a stop in front of the motel’s grounds to take you to State Street and the harbor (where all of the restaurants and shops are). Parking at the motel is $7/day regardless if you park it or if they do. The spots are small too so be careful if you have a SUV.

The Santa Barbara Inn in Santa Barbara, California is about $250 per night which is expensive for a motel but everything in Santa Barbara is costly and you’re paying for location, free Wi-Fi, free continental breakfast and free water, tea and coffee.

The Santa Barbara Inn is located at 901 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara, CA, 93103. For more information or to make a reservation visit http://www.santabarbarainn.comor phone (800)-231-0431.

*Disclaimer: My review is based on our stay in July 2011. I encourage my readers to form their own opinion and write their own review.