Hotel at a Glance: Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara
With a red-tile roof, trickling fountains in the courtyard, and an oceanfront plot accented with palm trees and bougainvillea, Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara has a chic Mediterranean vibe. It's a style found throughout the town of Santa Barbara—appropriately nicknamed "The American Riviera." The upscale hotel is tucked alongside West Beach, smack dab between bustling Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor. The shops and restaurants of downtown are within easy walking distance.
- Notable press: Conde Nast Traveler noted the hotel's "bright colors and smart style," while Santa Barbara magazine praised the hotel's renovations in 2009.
- Stylish digs: Guest rooms feature hardwood floors, colorful decor, and view of the ocean.
- Enjoy a continental breakfast in the on-site bistro every morning
- Go for a swim in one of the two outdoor pools and Jacuzzi, or escape the heat in a poolside cabana
- Play ping-pong on the grassy lawn near the pool
- Borrow a bike: Use the hotel's beach cruiser bicycles to pedal around downtown Santa Barbara or along the beachfront pathway; rentals are free for two hours per day
Santa Barbara, California: Charming Beachfront Town Nicknamed "The American Riviera"
The sprawling 400-mile stretch of California coastline between San Francisco and Los Angeles is freckled with scenic, laid back beach towns. Yet Santa Barbara stands out among the pack, thanks to its prime location sandwiched between scenic beaches and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the east. It's urban, with a population of 90,000, but not overly so—the charming downtown along State Street is a steady parade of mom-and-pop shops, cafes, bars, art galleries, and movie theaters. A subtle Mediterranean influence graces most buildings: think red-tile roofs, stucco facades, and Moorish-style arches. The climate is breezy and warm year-round, providing an environment for lush tropical foliage to thrive; it's easy to see why the city bills itself as "The American Riviera."
To see where it all started, head to the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara, founded in 1786 by a Franciscan friar. Docents offer guided tours inside the mission which houses an art gallery, Native American artifacts, and period furniture. Around the corner, Mission Canyon is a popular trailhead for several hikes in the front range of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Try the 3.5-mile round-trip trek to Inspiration Point for scenic views of the Santa Barbara coastline and the Channel Islands off the coast.