Clean, comfortable, close to the beach. Those ‘must-haves’ for a hotel choice in Santa Barbara, CA, are easy to come by. Resort hotels line Cabrillo Boulevard, the city’s main drag along the beach from the Zoological Gardens on the eastern end to the marina at the west. But some of those hotels tack a premium price on their services.
If you can turn down your own sheets and don’t feel helpless without a bell hop, the Inn at East Beach offers the three Cs ‘” clean, comfortable, close ‘” at a reasonable cost. And what it lacks in luxury services it more than makes up for in honest, friendly attention.
This is a small split-level property of approximately 40 rooms arranged in a U around a courtyard and pool, with a private parking area at the back for guests. A typical guest room with a king-size bed features a large flat-panel TV, desk, wi-fi, natural-gas fireplace and ceiling fan. Rooms are not air-conditioned, and except for the rare scorcher a ceiling fan works perfectly to stir the ocean breezes through the room.
Bathrooms are small but functional ‘” nothing luxurious to note ‘” and closet space to keep a wardrobe from getting wrinkled is almost non-existent. All rooms feature a coffee maker, mini refrigerator, iron and ironing board, hair dryer and toiletries. Not all rooms have a fireplace.
The kidney-shaped pool is clean and inviting, surrounded by plenty of lounges and tables. Overlooking the pool is a courtyard with small patio tables and umbrellas, for relaxing with a book or with friends. Beach towels and umbrellas, and even boogie boards, are available at the front desk.
First, know that nothing is actually ‘on’ the beach in this stretch of Santa Barbara, except for the marina and Stearns Wharf. All of the hotels, shops and restaurants lie north of Cabrillo Boulevard; so, to get to the beach a guest at any hotel must cross the street and its busy traffic.
The Inn at East Beach is one street back from Cabrillo, but it’s a 50-yard hike at most, through the Hyatt’s parking lot. Directly across the street is a Parks & Rec department facility with a children’s play area and showers for washing off beach sand. Volleyball courts are nearby and lifeguards keep an eye on swimmers.
Sidewalks on both sides of Cabrillo are wide to accommodate bikes, strollers, walkers and runners. It’s a quarter-mile east to the Zoological Gardens and a pleasant one-mile stroll west to Stearns Wharf. For those who don’t want to trek on foot and for visiting downtown Santa Barbara, there’s the Downtown – Waterfront Shuttles that make regular stops on Cabrillo Boulevard ‘” every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time ‘” and the fare is a mere 25 cents.
The term Continental Breakfast is a lot like pot luck; it means different things to different people. At Inn at East Beach, however, the continental breakfast is done right. Plenty of cereals, fresh juice, premium coffees, fruits, pastries, bagels, hard-boiled eggs and more ‘” and the owner, Frank, greeting every guest and making sure they find what they’re looking for.
While there are no other dining facilities at the Inn at East Beach, room service is available. It’s provided by the Hyatt (remember, just across the street?) and it works as smoothly as any room service anywhere. Maybe better; on two occasions this writer’s order arrived surprisingly fast. The room service menu offers plenty to choose from and prices were reasonable.
TripAdvisor ranks it #8 of sixty hotels in Santa Barbara. Yelp gives it four of five stars. Yahoo Travel gives it three and one-half out of five stars. And each of these ratings is based on user reviews. This writer’s review? “I’ll be back.”
Inn at East Beach
1029 Orilla Del Mar
Santa Barbara, CA 93103