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The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort
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Reviews (3,508)
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1,241
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All reviewsacross the streetocean viewdouble treebreakfast buffetwarm cookiestennis courtsstate streetnice propertybeautiful groundsmain buildingrooms are largenice poolwine tastingroad tripconferencepatiopier
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1,987 - 1,992 of 3,508 reviews
Reviewed 15 May 2014

For $750 a night, you could stay at three other hotels in the area that aren't awful. We came down for a wedding that was having the reception at the hotel, and since we were in the bridal party, we really had no choice as to where we stayed. Let me put it this way - I've stayed in hotels in third world countries that were better than this dump. To begin with, the parking costs $17 a night, and you'd better believe you're paying it. The on-street parking for several blocks around the hotel is fine as long as you're willing to go drive your car around between 2 and 6am to avoid getting towed. And since there's no public transportation, you're parking in their lot. The idea of a hotel of this price point charging you to park may seem ludicrous to you - it did to me, too - but that's how they roll at the Fess Parker. The layout of the hotel is like that scene in The Blair Witch Project where they realize they've walked past the same pile of rocks over and over again. And painting the names of the buildings with the flowering plants they’re named after only works if you haven't allowed plants to grow so tall as to obscure the painting. The signage is well-hidden and incomprehensible, and the room order makes no sense whatsoever. Oh, and "mountain view" means "parking lot adjacent", fyi. Speaking of the rooms, who needs fans in the bathrooms when you’ve got lysol to barely cover the smell of mold? And since you're paying $750 a night, it makes perfect sense that you're sleeping on a mattress that cost less than a hundred bucks when they bought it ten years ago. The power outlets are, again, well hidden or safely cloistered behind immovable pieces of furniture, and the only lamp with a power outlet in it is conveniently all the way across the room from the bed, because when you want to plug in your phone, the best place to do that is on the desk. I know that's where I plug my phone in when I'm at home. The bedsheets were wonderfully perfumed with the rocket fuel aroma of industrial dryers. Oh, and when trying to figure out how to turn on the floor lamp that was the sole source of light in the actual room besides the meager bedside lamp and the aforementioned desk lamp in the corner (the switches in the room turned on the light by the door and the closet light), I discovered a pair of dirty children's underwear inside the lampshade, which likely explained what my friend was talking about when she walked into our room and exclaimed "it smells like poop in here". She didn’t say "poop", by the way. Otherwise, the place is wonderful. Attending a wedding or conference and need your clothes pressed? No problem at all, just as long as you don't need them back within 24 hours. Need your shoes shined? No problem, if by "no problem" you mean "we don't do that at this hotel even though every other hotel in the known universe that isn't a Motel 6 does that". Want Wi-fi in the room you're paying $750 a night for? No problem, as long as you're ok with spending an additional $20 a day for internet that chugs along at 56k when it's not dropping out entirely. Need to talk to the front desk? Enjoy the sound of that phone ringing over and over for eternity even though when you actually find your way to the front desk the clerks are standing there staring off into space like head trauma victims. Need an extra bed in the room because you have a child staying with you? Get ready to bring that child to the chiropractor when you get home. Want to go down to the pool and relax? Kick back to the soothing sound of drunk, shirtless bros shouting profanities at each other while they slowly take on the pleasant hue of boiled King Crab while listening to "Wish You Were Here" and "Baby Got Back" blasting from the boombox they brought to the pool for everyone else to enjoy. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend this hotel. To anyone. Ever. Being next to the beach doesn’t mean you can just forget about everything else people expect from a hotel and then charge them four times more than their airline tickets. They (sort of) have a Starbucks in the lobby! Who cares? They have a view of the mountains and the beach! So does EVERYTHING IN SANTA BARBARA. They have their own winery! Great, except the wine has the flavor and consistency of sweetened motor oil. They play Davy Crockett movies at the bar! Ok, you got me there. The cookies they gave us at reception were a nice touch.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with DoubleTree by Hilton
3  Thank Adam M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mlavine, General Manager at The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Thank you for your review of your stay with our hotel. We are very sorry that the guestroom did not meet your expectations and for the item you found in your lampshade. We have shared your review with members of our team so they are aware of when the front desk phone is ringing and how to help our guests troubleshoot their internet problems. We hope you’ll give us another try the next time your travels bring you to the area.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

This Hotel is the worst Double Tree I have ever stayed at in all my years of travel. I had to call three time to get the reservation straight and then I had to be transferred to a manager and even after that I still had problems to resolve during my stay in regards to the booking and the number of days I would be staying. I had an 8 day stay of business on the front end and pleasure on the back. The location is wonderful, directly across the street for the pacific ocean but you can lower your voice after that. The hotel is run down and in need of a complete remodel. we asked to be put in a quite room and they gave us a room over the main pass thru overlooking the pool across from the ice machine. We arrived very late, midnight and were exhausted so we didn't realize the terrible selection we were given until the following morning. We were moved to another room that was quite be we now looked at a brick wall when sitting on the lanai. When house keeping came everyday they would bring new towels, shampoo, make the bed etc but never picked up any of the used towels unless they were in the bathroom. The room had a couple pieces of plastic on the floor when we arrived and the were still there when we left so I am pretty sure a vacuum never saw this room. The carpet throughout the hotel is pretty nasty, so of the carpet in the stairwells smell and are badly stained. Overall the location of the hotel is wonderful. the people working in this hotel for the most part were very nice but the place is in desperate need of a gut job.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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Review collected in partnership with DoubleTree by Hilton
1  Thank Ann H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mlavine, General Manager at The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2014

Ann,

Thank you for your review of your stay at our hotel. We always appreciate hearing from our guests, especially about areas where we can do better. We are sorry that we couldn’t supply you with a room that met your expectation. Our front desk department goes through a detailed process every day to make sure that our guests receive exactly the room they expect. I apologize for the housekeeping problems you encountered and will improve on our carpet situation. Once again, we’re sorry for the inconvenience and hope that the next time you travel to the area you’ll stay with us again.

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Reviewed 14 May 2014

We spent one night in SB from LA for a quick family getaway/zoo visit. The property is nice and our room was very spacious but pretty uninspiring/outdated (perhaps they did upgrades to other rooms/other sections of the hotel?) I would've added an extra star if there was a better value (we paid $325 on hotwire, rack rate was $500), but for just one night it wasn't worth it - we would've rather stayed at our old standard Santa Barbara Hotel or something off of State St for half the price.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank CATraveler30s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2014

Stayed here for a weekend before going to Kauai. Perfect in everyway. Easy enjoyable drive from LAX or Burbank.Hotel Location was absolutly the best, you can walk to the pier, beach right across the street, exlpore State Street or catch a bus right out front for 50cents. Trolley city tour stops right at the hotel. Beautiful room with ocean view. I looked at prior reviews before staying here. Yes the Amtrak train is close by but not a noise issue, pool was very nice and plenty big enough...Staff could not have been nicer and knowledgable about the area.Patio right in front with fire pits for cool nights. Beautiful lobby and outdoor area....will stay here again in a minute..even though they charged me 19.00 a day for over parking...

Room Tip: pay the extra 15.00 for a bigger room it is worth it. Front of building location provides a beach view and you can hear the ocean all night
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Kathy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2014

This was only our second time coming to Santa Barbara, and our second time staying at the Fess Parker. I just wish we could have stayed a little longer this time. I am a Hilton rewards member, so I do get a little different treatment, but then again, there is no reason you shouldn't be one too...

My girl decided to surprise me and get me tickets to see New Politics in Santa Barbara(later review), so I decided to surprise her and get the hotel room. We both were happy with the outcome.

The concierges here are top notch. They ask you what you need every step of the way. I told them we were checking in, they told me leave the car, they would take care of it. They grabbed our luggage, took it to the room, and even had a cab ready for us, when it was time to leave for the show. The only thing someone messed up on, was I ordered my girl chocolate covered strawberries, that were supposed to be delivered before we got there, they finally brought them to us at 1am when we got home from the show, but they were perfect at that time.(I also got her a tin of cookies.)If you have never had double tree cookies, find one, check in for the night, ask for 2 cookies, and you will be addicted, yes addicted. (What's with me and cookies lately?)

We walked up to the front desk, and the lady working was as nice as could be, and they were busy. She checked us in, told me they had everything on file, and just needed to run my card through. She asked if there was anything special we needed, or forgot, then asked if we needed cookies, and water, we said yes please. She gave us 2 cookies, and 2 bottles of water, ice cold I might add, and we were off to our room.

I didn't know what to expect since they were sold out, and only had 2 queen bed rooms left, but when we opened the door, it was like walking into heaven. The patio door was open, so there was a beautiful ocean breeze that came in. We walked over and looked out and saw the sun, sort of setting over the ocean. It was a very beautiful and romantic sight, especially since we haven't been away together in a very long time.

Huge bathroom, huge bathtub, big shower, and an extra sink, outside of the bathroom so someone can brush their teeth, or wash there hands, if the restroom is occupied. They also have a huge closet, and add extra pillows, and toilet paper, in case you run out, I guess. The beds are very comfortable, and the pillows feel like the form fit pillows that mold to you. They have a heater and AC unit that works better than you could imagine, but there is no need for AC with that breeze. There is a huge flat screen TV and they have a lot of channels plus HBO.(Do you really go to Santa Barbara, kidless, to watch TV? I don't think so!!!) Hilton members get free Wi-Fi, but then again, do we need internet?

Fess Parker owns their own winery, so they offer a bottle of Red Wine and a bottle of White Wine, no name, just red and white. $30 per bottle. They also have huge bottles of water in the room, that look like 1 gallon bottles, but they are $7.(We got 2 little bottles at check in, and they will give you more if you need) Down stairs in the lobby, they have a wine tasting tour, but we have yet to take advantage of that either time we stayed here. (Next time baby, I swear)

They have a huge breakfast buffet spread. (Think Las Vegas, with just a lot better and fresher taste.) They have omelets, waffles, pastries, cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, croissants, oatmeal, and fresh juices.(They might have more, I just don't remember, we went elsewhere for breakfast.)(That's another review too)

At the end of our one day here, we have to say, we absolutely loved it. They have a huge pool. and Jacuzzi, and a great bar as well. There is so much to do in Santa Barbara, I am just glad we have a place like this that we can come back to and just relax. Thank you Fess Parker, you made our Valentine's Day weekend(Day Away) that much more special. Give it a try, and make some memories of your own...

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Adam P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mlavine, General Manager at The Fess Parker - A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2014

We thank you for selecting our resort for your getaway to Santa Barbara! What a wonderful review. The details you provided will be so helpful to our Tripadvisor family and our team members will be delighted to read your very kind compliments about the service they provided while you were here. We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you back to the resort and Santa Barbara!

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