Hotel at a Glance: Villa Rosa Inn
A pair of palm trees flanks the archway leading to the Villa Rose Inn, which is housed in a Spanish Colonial building near the beach. The established bed and breakfast was built more than eight decades ago and is trimmed from top to bottom in decorative furnishings that have helped it earn praise from Los Angeles magazine and Glamour.
- Distance from the beach: one block
- Elegant accents include carved wooden bed frames and button-back sofa chairs; some guest rooms have fireplaces and views of the nearby mountains.
- Continental breakfast served daily from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- Outdoor pool and hot tub in a walled courtyard
- Gourmet cheeses are served with wine in the early evening.
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: it’s sandwiched between Pacific beaches to the west and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the east. With a population of 90,000, it’s urban, but not overly so—the charming downtown corridor 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 of 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.