I love a good boutique hotel.
Not only did I find one just an hour an a half away from Los Angeles, I bumped into a taste of the Canary Islands, as well.
Strolling through the quiet lobby of the Canary Hotel, you hear the sounds of exotic birds, tree frogs, lizards and crickets from the Mediterranean. There are fountains, Spanish tile, Moroccan-themed antique textiles and lush plants. Although it’s down the block from Santa Barbara’s buzzing State Street, this hotel is a retreat from the masses. Its sister hotels: Santa Monica’s Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar.
The thought of calling it a neighborhood hotel is daunting. It’s so much more. The six floors house 97 rooms and have a rooftop (seventh floor) like nothing else in Santa Barbara. It’s the perfect hang for a romantic weekend, a business trip or a friends’ getaway.
Called The Perch, the rooftop lounge is a getaway within the getaway. Equipped with a fireplace, Jacuzzi, pool, and sitting areas with 360 degree views of the Santa Inez Mountains, Channel Islands, the ocean and downtown Santa Barbara, citing the monumental buildings. While relaxing on various couches/lounges on The Perch, you can order from the in-house restaurant, Coast. There’s nothing like having a glass of local wine while watching the sunset atop this ideal locale.
The front desk staff calls you by name. Each room has a do-not-disturb sign that reads “nesting.” A pair of binoculars are found on the bedroom dresser with a note that says “take me” to venture on a bird or whale watching expedition, or The Santa Barbara Red Tile Tour. (You are required to return the binoculars upon checkout, or you will be charged.)
Each room has a high canopy bed with a shawl placed exquisitely on the right space on the comforter.
And then there’s the chic bathroom. There’s a large scented candle by the tub, eucalyptus bath salts and Spanish tiles. A separate enclosed “rain” shower is in another area of the room, an extra TV is above the sink and a wooden stool holds a cute rubber frog mascot on a fluffy towel.
Keurig coffeemakers with individual pods are available for coffee/tea. There’s also a complimentary coffee bar set up in the lobby, if you are too lazy to make your own.
Coast Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with an oversized bar and lounge for cocktails. Cuisine from local farms and wharfs comprise the menu. Think crab cakes, charcuterie, grilled flatbreads, braised lamb ravioli, diver scallops, local rock fish and grilled pork chops. Chef Brian Park teaches classes called “Ready, Set, Cook.” His “Off the Hook” Friday meals feature the catch of the day. The restaurant also hosts monthly art exhibitions.
Leave your car at the hotel and walk to the Arlington, Granada and Lobero Theatres, as well as Santa Barbara Museums of Art and Natural History (houses Chumash Indian artifacts). The hotel is a block away from Nordstrom’s, Betsy Johnson and Gucci. The ocean/ harbor is a mile away.
Sue Facter owns a news agency for luxury lifestyle brand development including travel, entertainment, beauty, fine dining and pop culture for worldwide publications, broadcast and the web.