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“Nothing "King" About Kingfisher Cottage "Petite Space"”

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The Secret Garden Inn
Ranked #10 of 18 Santa Barbara B&B and Inns
Seal Beach, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Nothing "King" About Kingfisher Cottage "Petite Space"”
Reviewed 18 April 2008

Years ago I was told by a close friend "If you expect, you'll always be disappointed".

I love staying at B& B's for the many personal touches rarely found at hotels or motels. When I found the Secret Garden Inn on the internet last week I was very taken by the lovely advertised pictures, wine & cheese, brownies & most of all full breakfast served in a lovely garden. Yes, I had great expectations who wouldn't.

Arrived Friday 4/11/08 in late afternoon. Margaret checked me in to the Kingfisher Cottage. From now on I'm asking dimensions of a room before plunking down $175.00 a day for what anyone would consider a closet . Margaret left and I brought in my luggage from the car. That proved quite difficult as the spa tub takes up 3/4 of the attached wood patio attached to the Kingfisher room.
Next I'm searching this spec of a space they call a room for a closet. I'm thinking every room with a bed is suppose to have a closet so where is it? Wow! I finally found the closet except there's a chair in front of it.

The bathroom was another experience, more room in there but less private as I could only close 1/2 of the french doors since the queen bed blocked the other door from closing.

When I reported these problems to Margaret all I got was
" Besides all that is everthing alright "?

The breakfasts are good & served in a lovely garden. The wine & cheese along with the brownies are nice as well.

These are the amenities you can expect at most B&B's

The Kingfisher cottage was such a let down in terms of space/size & not worht the $175.00 a day I was charged.

Peg, Pasadena, Ca

Stayed April 2008
Helpful?
Thank PegPasadena_Cs_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles
1 review
Reviewed 4 March 2008

Pros: The room itself was very nice and pleasant. Big comfortable bed and nice patio view of the garden. Nice wine selection. Big bathroom with a huge tub.
Cons: no room service for food, $75 to get bubble for the bath, cable tv doesn't have option to buy pay-per-view movies. No breakfast menu - they only serve continental breakfast.

Great room, but expected more for the price.

  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tismeeh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
87 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2008

Let me start off by saying that my husband & I travel about 8-12 times a year and almost exclusively stay at B&Bs. We travel with our 2 small dogs as often as possible as they enjoy new scenery as much as we do. As far as pets go, this place is NOT pet-friendly, it is pet-TOLERATING and even then, barely.

The problems started with check-in. The inn keeper clearly saw us sitting on the porch at 5 minutes before the 3pm check-in time as she walked from the front cottage to the back of the main house. At 3:15 we finally rang the doorbell since she didn’t come out. She expected me to pay my tab at check-in, told me that the pilot for the heater in the cottage was lit so we could have heat, and pointed out the owner’s cell phone as the emergency after-hours contact number since no one is on the property after 7pm.

As far as the pet policies go, first they only allow dogs in the farthest back cottage (Garden Cottage) which is the ONLY part of the property that has NO GRASS, just a dirt yard, and is right next to the parking lot. Second, they said we have to leave the dogs in the yard if we leave without them but the gate to it doesn't latch closed and there is no covered area to protect them from the rain or cold.

We arrived back from dinner at 10pm to a power outage that only affected the back 3 cottages which are apparently on a different power grid from the rest of the property. I immediately called the owner’s cell phone to ask to be put into a cottage with power, which is when I discovered SHE HAD HER PHONE TURNED OFF! After about 30 minutes the power came back on and that’s when we discovered that the pilot in the heater was indeed NOT on and the ignition switch for it wasn’t working. I again called the owner’s cell phone to tall her we had no heat and that we needed to be moved, but of course SHE HAD HER PHONE TURNED OFF. After spending 45 minutes taking the heater apart my husband finally got the pilot lit.

The rest of the night was spent on a hard as cement bed with the gate to the cottage yard banging open and closed all night long in the wind. I tried to go to another hotel but Santa Barbara is not all that pet-friendly – the only other decent options are over $400. We didn’t even stay for breakfast, we left immediately after we got up and had a lovely breakfast at Anderson’s, which allows dogs in its covered outdoor seating area. All that was required was the hospitality that I paid over $200 for but Dominique Hannaux clearly doesn’t care about her guests. I left a total of 3 messages for her Saturday night and still have never heard a word of apology or otherwise. NEVER AGAIN.

  • Liked — Less than 2 miles from the main shopping drag of State Street
  • Disliked — Uncaring owner, discriminatory pet policy
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank marla5575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego
Level Contributor
127 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2008

This B&B is owned and operated by a charming French woman who lives off site. Our room was fine with a nice private patio. In the evening there are appetizers and wine set out and if you aren't real hungry it would suffice for a meal. The general location is very good; close to the "main drag" where all the shopping and resturants are. Having said all that, there were a few things lacking. When we travel we prefer B&B's and have come to expect that the higher price we pay for a room will include a nice breakfast. Not the case here. Breakfast was barely mediocre. The first morning was a Mexican casserole that was just OK. The second day we were told we would have stuffed French toast but we got cheese omelets (made with the cheese from last night's appetizers) that I could have made better. There were no nice table settings and everything was self serve. Also, their site does not mention that they are vegetarians and no meat is served. The overall atmosphere is one of no-frills-this-is-a-business. We felt it was a mediocre experience.

  • Liked — The location.
  • Disliked — The mediocrity and apathy of staff.
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Albizia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2007

Very pleased withthis B and B. Very comfortable. Great food and wine everyday. Our room was very comfortable, clean and the staff was friendly! We will be back. We have stayed at other B and B's in SB and down the street there is one we will never go back to. The Secret Garden had warmth, lovely guests, breakfast was fun and the conversations were very enlightening.
Good work!!

  • Liked — home setup with wine, breakfast, snacks....
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank poptart1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glendale
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 August 2007

While browsing the web site, I came upon the beautiful, charming cottages each decorated differently and fell in love with the place. When I arrived, I found the place more charming and pleasant than expected. The service is fabulous. It brings back memories of the service in European bed and breakfasts. A very friendly and cozy atmosphere for total relaxation.
Smell of fresh coffee and baked goodies in the morning is out of this world. Evening wine and cheese is quite filling and satisfying. I would highly recommend this place.
And thank you for a wonderful stay. I'll be back. Hassmik

  • Liked — Location, scenery, food and service
  • Stayed August 2007, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank grandose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2007

Before going into details about the actual accommodation, I would like to put right one of the glaring mistakes on the information provided by The Secret Garden Inn in their description: the Inn is, in fact, 1.4 miles from downtown (not 1/4 mile as stated), and 2.2 miles from the beach (not 1 1/2 miles as stated).

The accommodation was mediocre. We had a two-room suite which shared a deck with the adjoining room. The furnishings were adequate. The in-room diary, written by former guests, made interesting reading especially in view of the many comments about "thin walls". We were fortunate to have had neighbors who spoke very quietly, as did we, but I can imagine how uncomfortable one's stay could be with less considerate neighbors.

I think the least acceptable part of our accommodation was the bathroom. It is in dire need of updating and some serious cleaning. (Obtaining a few sheets of toilet paper was quite a challenge as the roll is immediately behind the toilet, due to the restrictions of space available to hang the roll holder!).

On the plus side: driving directions to the Inn and available parking were excellent. The young innkeeper was very welcoming and polite. The owner does not appear to live on site, but was there in the morning at breakfast time. She seemed to be a pleasant lady, although when she arrived we assumed she was a guest as she walked straight past people having breakfast with no word of greeting. The evening cocktail hour was very nicely presented with a good selection of appetizers, which were much appreciated. Breakfast was quite substantial. All dining takes place outside at tables in the delightful patio garden.

  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank sgn1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Secret Garden Inn

Property: The Secret Garden Inn
Address: 1908 Bath St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2813
Region: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — The Secret Garden Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Secluded behind high hedges, hidden pathways, and romantic gardens in Santa Barbara, lies the Secret Garden Inn and Cottages, built in 1905 and now owned and run by Dominique Hannaux. Stay in a main house guestroom, a cottage room or suite with or without private hot tub, or our completely private house. Surrounded by the Inn's gardens, all of our accommodations are romantic and peaceful. Enjoy the delicious Buffet Breakfast which includes: Dominique's French recipe quiches, fresh-baked scones, muffins, sweet breads, fresh fruit, coffee, tea and juices. Our rates also include wine, cheese and hors d'oeuvres at 5 pm and brownies and hot cider later in the evening! All our rooms have a TV-DVD, a private bath and shower and a hairdryer. Many fine restaurants, shops, museums and sights of beautiful Santa Barbara are just a short stroll or a quick bike ride from the Inn. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Secret Garden Hotel Santa Barbara

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