Good times at The Goodland: fun boutique surf hotel near Santa Barbara

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JACKIE: We want to talk about a little trip, with our dog Skye, close to home. A casual, yet special getaway that wouldn’t break the bank. So David found “Goodland” …

DAVID: The Kimpton Goodland in Goleta is an exceedingly pet-friendly hotel. People-friendly too, from the moment we were checked in by adorable Ashley at a lobby loaded with quirky touches of ‘70s art and artifacts, amusing signs and eclectic objects everywhere. Skye was welcomed in the lobby with doggie snacks and fresh water, and also in the garden.

JACKIE: Wonderful garden, I might add; towering, flowering plants and vines with gigantic trumpets, plus a green lawn with picnic tables and games with bean bags to divert the young and the young at heart.

What really surprised me was the changing tone of Goodland. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon (no traffic driving North), and jive was in the air, literally. Seventies music filled the territory and the big (big!) pool had more dancing than swimming. It was hard not to do the Funky Chicken to our room. The joint was jumping. But flash forward. The next day’s quiet was only parted by perfect squeals of the babies taking their first dips into the comfortable pool. Young grandparents watched adoringly as the younger parents tended to their toddlers. At cocktail time, guests with dogs and children informally mix for a glass of wine or water. It was a mellow tone, peaceful.

DAVID: Our patio led into a very large room with attractive, comfy furniture, ‘70s books on the shelf and a Crosley record player with LPs of the era. The big bathroom had plenty of storage and snazzy robes and a fluffy bed for Skye!

JACKIE: Goodland was full of visual goodies. A style tip-off was seeing the Airstream trailer parked near a meticulous Country Squire Woody at the entrance! While exploring, I found a room with a pool table off the lobby and a second bar that offered first-rate sliders. The Vinyl Bar offered timely LPs to rent for a dollar.

DAVID: The wine tasting was presided over by O’Neill Houghland, in charge of food and beverages and the Assistant General Manager. Like all of the staff and most of the guests, O’Neill is about 50 years our junior. Very friendly and helpful, Neil sat with us and while we ordered dinner at the Outpost restaurant. Not just a hotel restaurant, but a destination restaurant in the hotel… that helps put the good in Goodland.

JACKIE: Truth, Goodland was going to be our base, but we had plans to hit Santa Barbara for choice dining. However, the three young Chefs at the Outpost were so creative and skilled with food, we ate at the Outpost all three nights! Not only convenient and relaxing, it was delicious.

DAVID: After burrata tomato salad and strip steak for Jackie (leftovers to our room to stuff into Skye’s elk bone) and mussels in coconut broth for me (desserts: fried carrot cake and Mexican spiced chocolate pudding), we collected Skye and sat in front of the fire pit for a nightcap. Lovely first night.

JACKIE: All three days followed suit – lovely people, super-pet-friendly, Skye joined us when we ate in the patio. We did go into Santa Barbara once for a great lunch at Jane (David had the best pasta with clams ever and, this may sound silly, but my lettuce wedge was superb). But we decided, why ever leave Goodland?

DAVID: Every day at Goodland started with complimentary coffee in the restaurant served up by pleasant, hard-working Nancy. (Service over and beyond.) Every night, Goodland offers a surprise for the guests. Monday night was s’mores. All the fixins were supplied by the hotel. It was a joy watching parents carefully offer a long fork to a young child to cautiously cook their marshmallow. Good glee and good gooey treats.

JACKIE: Just watching the families relaxing and being together, teaching swimming, reading books, playing with their pup, was very heartening. Goodland is a good place in a good land. You might do yourselves a favor by giving it a try next time you’re up that way.

DAVID: Tell them Jackie and David sent you.

SKYE: Arf! (Me too.)

JACKIE: And … we’ll travel!

Actress Jackie Joseph-Lawrence and her husband David Lawrence write regularly about travel for The Tolucan Times.

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