When I signed up for my first marathon, it was a Big Deal and I wanted to make a Big Deal about the getaway weekend in Santa Barbara. It’s not easy for my husband and children to support me through these events and I wanted to make sure they got something out of the weekend too. That’s why I booked the Spanish Garden Inn as our hotel in Santa Barbara.
I first read about it in Sunset magazine’s 25 Best Hotels in the West list for 2011. I called up the hotel (sometimes also called the Inn of the Spanish Garden) and begged for a discount for the marathon. The manager kindly offered me 20% off each night, which brought the price to an average of about $300 per night. What made it worth it? The high ceilings in the rooms.
The gas fireplace. My 4-year-old could hardly believe she had the power to make fire with the flip of a switch. (Disclaimer: no small children, large children, or hotel rooms were harmed in the making of this review).
The private patio with the charming gate.
The workout equipment on a covered patio by the pool.
The breakfast buffet each morning that included fruit, pastries, cereal, toast and a special order of spinach or bacon quiche and a meat and cheese plate. (The breakfast was included with the room price and it is definitely a step up from a continental breakfast even though there wasn’t a full kitchen.)
And the gorgeous courtyard where you could eat outside next to the fountain by the lemon trees.
It felt like we were staying at a private apartment (sans kitchen). While I would even go so far as to say the hotel felt a little too nice to take young children to (not that that ever stops us), the kids loved it too. There were freshly-baked cookies at the check-in desk on arrival. There was pink lemonade in the dining area during the day in addition to iced tea for the adults. The front desk had a free copy of Rio for the kids to watch on the DVD player while I soaked in the tub after the marathon. When the kids were crazy enough to want to dip in the outdoor pool in mid-November, the staff brought out extra towels without a word.
While we stayed at the hotel we walked downtown rather than get in our car and hassle with parking. The inn is located in the historic Presidio District and it is just three blocks to State Street. There are a few restaurants that are even closer (I can recommend Julienne and Zaytoon).
I’d definitely stay again at the Spanish Garden Inn and I ain’t getting paid to say that (darn it).