My reasons for going with this Inn were that I wanted to be close to the warf and State street without actually being on either, and since I was traveling with my wife I wanted to do something a bit more novel. I also had the sense that this might be a property in transition. Having stayed there now, I think that may be true. I read several reviews of this property prior to making my reservation. Because some previous reviews were fairly negative, I was prepared to have to deal with a bad experience. I tend to lean toward business hotels when traveling so a B&B style isn't always what I think of as a perfect destination. It was a real toss of the dice, but I think it turned out OK.
We arrived around 3:30, so check-in was not a problem. After going through the front desk formalities, went upstairs to our room (room 15). The staff was still busy with some of the other rooms, but ours was ready for occupancy. The room itself is spacious and is dominated by the poster/canopy style king bed. The other furniture in the room is of the same style as the bed, dark oak or mahogany, with emphasis on grandiose proportions. Although the room is large, the leather upholstered sitting chairs and small table lining the only free wall of the room actually crowd the door. It can also be a bit awkward if trying to sit in the chairs without hitting your head on the dressing table or TV. A little effort and doing it once tends to prevent future events.
There is a gas fireplace at the end of the bed that adds a nice touch in the evening. It can be cool this time of year so it's nice to have on if you want to open the balcony doors to the wrought iron balcony. Unfortunately, because of the size and location of the bed, you really can't fully open the balcony doors, and have to maneuver them to access the balcony. The doors themselves are somewhat quaint in that they are louvered and hinged separately from the weather/glass doors. Sadly, one of the things that keeps this from being an excellent room is the overall condition of these doors. They've seen a lot of use and are in desperate need of repair.
The view from the balcony is actually very nice. You look directly down at the garden and pool area, which also has a hot tub and koi pond. I liked the view, but like some of the other things that are preventing this from being a truly excellent experience was, they were trimming and pruning the shrubs. The ladders and equipment left strewn about in the afternoon were kind of unsightly, adding to a generally cluttered appearance of the courtyard. But from this location you do get a glimpse of boat traffic in and out of the harbor.
The bathroom and wash basin are adequate, not opulent or even up-graded. The tub/shower combination reflects what I've seen in other B&B's where the framing and finish for in-room bathing facilities can be in itself a work of art. However, the shower like the balcony, does have a nice view of the courtyard area. Nothing spectacular, but sufficient.
Downstairs, the central living room and reception area does have a couple of sitting chairs and a good collection of coffee table books, all next to the fireplace. They do serve wine and cheese snacks in the evening around the corner from the office, and found them to be just fine. The breakfast in the morning is also available here and is typical fare with the addition of a waffle making machine. A good assortment of pastries, fruit, and cereals were available to go with coffee.
In the afternoon we were able to walk the entire length of Stearn's pier and back, and still have time for wine in the evening. The location of this hotel makes it easy to get around. They do have a large book of recommended restaurants, and the evening person was very forthcoming with recommendations or ideas. Having taken one of the recommendations a few blocks away, we struck out to locate it and have dinner. Unfortunately, that place was over-crowded, and frankly seemed geared to a much younger crowd. Instead we simply walked a few blocks to State street (past and through the Amtrak station) and found a much better option. We didn't have to get back into the car until we left the next day.
Our off-season price was quoted at $169 for this room and with all taxes it came to $190.
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Rosa Hotel Santa Barbara