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The Upham Hotel & Country House
Ranked #12 of 52 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Fremont, California
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Needs a little help”
Reviewed 10 April 2013

Overall the properties (main and country house) are pleasant and picturesque, as you would expect in the spring while in Santa Barbara. This is an historic hotel, as I understand it, the oldest continuously operating hotel in California. The main building is the oldest property (I think originally constructed in 1871), and you do see the impact of limited space and a lot of redesign work to fit modern conveniences into this rustic setting. Both the main building and the country house are of this era. Other surrounding buildings on the property used for rooms etc. are more modern.
We stayed at the country house property, in the Darcy room. This room is on the second floor and faces the mountains. It has a private balcony overlooking the front entrance of the house and a very nice view of the front garden. Other rooms in this house have various views of gardens (which were all well maintained) from either porch or balcony. Our balcony was pleasant, but did feel a little shakey at times with two full sized adults. Also, access to this balcony is via the bathroom so coordination may be required. Not so much more than using the whirlpool bath-tub/shower which looks directly out/in the open door to the balcony. The tub was very well used/beat. So much so, that we opted to forego it's use as a whirlpool. Too bad, as it was the deciding factor in choosing this property/room. I think if I were to stay here again, I would go with the penthouse. It has a much better view (western/sunset) and the bathroom is much nicer.
The included breakfast at the country house was nice. The young lady preparing baked goods an/or scrambled eggs did a nice job of adapting to our requests. Also, the aroma of baked breads with cinnamon wafting up through the stairways and into the rooms is a compelling call to rise.
Location is good if you are planning to shop-to-you-drop on State St. 2 blocks slightly uphill to State St. and then 10+ blocks of stores/shops/restaurants all the way downhill to the shoreline.

Overall the room itslef was acceptable, but really needs a deep cleaning. Closet doors and bathroom doors all showed excessive wear and dirt. As mentined, the tub was pretty beat too with cracks etc. showing around the drain. Dust under the end tables and bed accumulates pretty quickly when you leave windows open to capature the prevailing pleasant breezes. And with this corner of the building you have a very nice cross breeze from front to side windows.

Parking at the country house is in a small private drive area. It is pretty tight. If you have a larger vehicle spaces are limited.
We did not use the restaurant in the main buidling.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank s2global
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (128)
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
98 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2013

The hubby & I came here for a long overdue "just us" getaway. This was my first time visiting Santa Barbara so naturally, I was very excited. I found this place thanks to Trip Advisor's rating system. I believe Upham is #3, which makes me want to stay at 1 & 2 even more! Anyhow, we booked the midweek special and received a $30 dining credit at Opal Restaurant and a $50 credit at their on-site restaurant, Louie's Bistro. We fell in love the minute we arrived in the parking lot. The grounds are well kept, the property is small but spacious enough that you don't feel crowded in by your neighbors. We stayed in a fireplace king cottage, Iris room 37. It was beautiful - right next to the waterfall area. The room was very clean. The bathroom, while small, which spacious enough for us. I know some complain about the size, but really, it's big enough. How big do you want for a bathroom on vacation? Anyhow, the bed was super comfy, with LOTS of pillows, both firm & soft. We loved the terry cloth robes and used them as often as we could. The fireplace was clean and very easy to use. They even provided us with matches! Check in was a breeze - super easy. They gave us quarters to use the shuttle to State Street - that blew me away. The location is far enough away from State Street so that you can have peace & quiet. It's close enough to walk or take a shutle

Let's see, daily continental breakfast, wine, cheese & crackers in the afternoon (all deeelish), and milk & cookies in the evening (Oreos - and c'mon, who doesn't love Oreos dipped in milk?!?!). The service from the staff was top notch from check in to check out. They were accommodating in every single way possible. The hubby, who isn't a chatty guy, was even chatting it up with the owner. He was very impressed, and that is not an easy feat. Way to go Upham! We will be back, for sure!

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MissesJai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Solvang, California
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 March 2013

I suppose my review might be a bit biased because our room didn't cost us anything. We won a room from a Christmas party and decided to use it as we were going whale watching the next day and thought it would work out perfect. With that aside, the property was beautiful!

Amazingly parking wasn't too bad, even for being so close to downtown. We found a spot right on the property. We were staying on a Thursday night, so it might be worse during the weekend. We arrived around 8:30 p.m. and there were still one or two more spots left. From parking the car to the registration desk the walk was amazing! Very beautiful property and well kept.

We were given a room in the Rose Cottage, and it was everything you would need. Bed, TV, Couch, Desk, Bathroom, and even a wood burning fireplace. It is an older building so the heating consists of a small wall unit between the bed and bathroom. Also not everything is in excellent condition, but I would assume this from something over 100 year old. My only real disappointment was there was no blow dryer for my hair in the morning. I used the wall heater and stood next to it while reading a magazine for 10 minutes instead.They do provide all normal toiletry items though, shampoo, soap, lotion, body wash, Qtips, etc...

In the morning there is a continental breakfast. Typical juice and coffee with bagels, muffins, toast, fruit and cereal. My husband is type 1 diabetic, so sadly there wasn't one thing he could have (but we don't expect that from any hotel). There isn't a pool or spa, but the garden makes up for it. We easily walked to the wharf, but I could see it being too tiring for some people as it was probably a little over 2 miles.

There is also a restaurant connected to the main building, but we didn't eat there.

I don't know what the normal rate is for the room, but it is definitely worth it if you are visiting Santa Barbara for a few days and want to be close to downtown, and have a nice garden to look at while relaxing. There are definitely cheaper hotels in more "boring" parts of town, but if you are looking for a quite get away with a relaxing vibe to it, this is the place to go.

Room Tip: It seemed as though there really weren't any bad rooms. They all are near the garden. Maybe one...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CAsmussen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Droitwich
Level 6 Contributor
127 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2013 via mobile

Upham House is the oldest inn in SB. There is the main house, with a separately run restaurant serving really tasty food, and cottages set around a sweet rose garden at the rear. Parking is available out back too, it's tight but fine. Each cottage contained 4 suites with a large bedroom and decent bathroom. The cottage rooms varied in price up to $300, we negotiated to $225 per night for 2 nights as late arrivals. Our room had a queen bed which was a bit soft and a gas fireplace with real flames, we lit it up to get a roaring fire going as the room was cold in March. The wifi connection was good also. Breakfast was an ok continental, I always expect some cooked sausages or bacon at a B&B so that disappoints. It was a safe 30 min walk to the shops and beach down State Rd though there is plenty of parking in town if you drive in. Plenty of homeless along the way but not pushy or aggressive at all. Enjoyed sitting out in the garden for an hour to relax. All in all a good stay, perhaps a little pricey considering the average breakfast.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Roadtripper64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 March 2013

I would like to share my experience TRYING to book this hotel. After another family Australian recommendation I contacted The Upham via email to make a reservation for an up and coming family holiday. Note that I LOVE Tripadvisor and have pretty much pre-booked my entire holiday for 3 weeks myself via TripAdvisor recommendations via email with credit card pre-payment from Australia and have found all hotel managers to be delightful - except The Upham! After 3 weeks of SLOW correspondence (they won't answer an email for 4 days or more), they tell me my credit card has bee declined! I've asked then to try again and the same.I've checked my card and contacted the bank. I have an excellent credit rating and every other booking has been an easy transaction. I asked for other ways such as a direct debit to an account or maybe an online booking service but no - they tell me it can only be done via the front desk. And not even a booking form! What kind of backwards place is this??? I truly suspect this was their way of stringing me along to wait for a longer booking more than 1 night. So my advice - AVOID a pre-booking of this hotel and look for one with some structure and rigour around how they handle overseas bookings.

Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Jai S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ManagerSantaBarbara, General Manager at The Upham Hotel & Country House, responded to this review, 2 April 2013
The Upham Hotel enjoys many international visitors and there is rarely a problem in making reservations. We are extremely sorry for the difficulty this guest experienced. During email correspondence, we advised the guest that we were unable to process a deposit on the credit card provided. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to receive credit card authorization, we advised the guest that we were unable to confirm her booking without a deposit. In the end, this guest was successful in booking on our website and the funds were approved by our credit card processor. We find it interesting that despite the difficulty in making this reservation she still wishes to stay with us.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Barbara, California
Level 6 Contributor
144 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2013

One of the oldest if not the oldest hotel in Santa Barbara. Our room was recently updated but the historic elements were maintained. Located in the center of Santa Barbara make walks to cultural venues and prime restaurants and shopping a breeze. The grounds are beautifully maintained and many private areas available in which to sit and converse or read or to just enjoy the beauty. Unfortunately our morning was interrupted at 6:00am by the trash pickup outside our particular building but hopefully it did not disturb most of the other interior bungalows and probably doesn't happen everyday. The continental breakfast was ok. The afternoon refreshments were ample but I always wonder about the quality of the wine when served in a decanter. All in all a very good experience.

Room Tip: Obtain an interior room if possible and not on the street.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HEH352
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marina del Rey, California
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 March 2013

We decided at the last minute to escape LA and drive to Santa Barbara for one night. Because the weather seemed iffy we made a decision to save some money and not stay at the beach. The Upham was perfect. Bed was good, floors and bathroom clean--couldn't be better. We had a little cottage with a private patio. The sun did come out so that was a happy bonus for us.
Scones, muffins, bagels and hot and cold ceral were available for breakfast. The setting was lovely with charming seating inside in the loby and outside in the beautiful garden. Later in the day wine and cheese was set out. When we came back from dinner they had milk and cookies for us.
The location is great--two blocks from State Street and another block to the Santa Barbara Museum. The Museum is delightful, and we had a wonderful docent tour.
Our two days, one night stay refreshed us and reminded us why we love Santa Barbara. The Upham would be ideal for a longer stay as well.

Room Tip: Don't forget to turn off the heater before you go to sleep. We didn't and had to turn the h...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Quarterdeck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Upham Hotel & Country House

Property: The Upham Hotel & Country House
Address: 1404 De La Vina St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3027
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Santa Barbara
#8 Luxury Hotel in Santa Barbara
#11 Romantic Hotel in Santa Barbara
#15 Family Hotel in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Upham Hotel & Country House 4*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Victorian treasure in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, the Upham Hotel and Country House is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Santa Barbara, Southern California. Constructed of redwood with sweeping verandas, the 58-room 1871 landmark is surrounded by an acre of gardens and combines the intimacy of a bed and breakfast with the convenience of a full-service hotel and conference facility. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Upham Hotel Santa Barbara
Upham Santa Barbara
Upham Hotel Santa Barbara

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