Congratulations. Elings is beautiful. Here are a few nice hotels:
$$ Fourseasons Biltmore
I visited most of the hotels in the West Beach area and I liked the following:
Casa Del Mar
West Beach Inn
Fess Parker Double Tree
There is a range in price and style. Not sure what you require, but they are all very nice and if you have time to go check them out, you can usually get a quick tour and over view.
We stayed at the Eagle Inn on our wedding night. It was great. They are one of the few hotels in Santa Barbara that will let you book one night only on a weekend in the summer. They also do wedding blocking and are really helpful. The cottages are gorgeous.
We stayed a few minutes south of Santa Barbara at the Inn on Summerhill.
It is absolutely adorable!! I love this place, the staff and the rooms.
Their suite is nicer and way more affordable then the ones on Cabrillo Blvd. It is on the other side of the 101 fwy and every room has ocean views. They serve breakfast, afternoon snacks, and after dinner deserts all included with your stay. And the cookies they made were delicious!
It's a must see. We will be going back on our 1 year anniversary.
Also, the town of Summerland is so quaint. You'll love it!
Thanks so much for all the suggestions! I can't wait to check them all out!
Fess Parker's Doubletree, all the way! They went out of their way to do everything and more for us and we held our entire destination wedding there (ceremony, cocktail hour and reception--all in the Plaza Del Sol and rotonda on the top of the plaza), along with a welcome/rehearsal dinner and day after wedding brunch. Our entire stay with all the events was wonderful at the Doubletree! We continue to go there for beach trips (we are 2 1/2 hours away) and it is where we went back for our anniversary. Would highly recommend it!
If you have the $$$ then my first pick would be the Biltmore then Bacara. Biltmore if you want Hollywood retreat glamour. Bacara if you want to get away and feel like you are at the Spa. Both are at least $500 a nite. The Canary Inn is another but it is downtown and very urban. For the money I wouldn't stay at the Doubletree. I would go for the Harbor View Inn...it is much more modest but a good deal. It is along the free trolley route, close to downtown, and across the street from the beach.
As a SB local, I would not recommend Bacara. It's beautiful architecturally, but I do not like how the staff can sometimes be extremely warm, sometimes extremely snooty, and it's far out of the way (actually at the north end of Goleta and the area has a lot of tar) and does not actually have a nice beach and is not close to anything that represents SB - not the shops, the restaurants, the harbour, the hiking, or the wine tasting. For the same price, I'd definitely to the Biltmore or even the San Ysidro Ranch - not near the beach, but absolutely stunning property, boutique style personal cottages, rather than just being a room along a hallway, and their are miles upon miles of hiking trails from the property. Plus their concierge is top-notch and will help you book any wine-tasting, restaurants, even pack a picnic basket for you.
For our wedding night we stayed at Casa Del Mar. We booked the cheapest room and was still very satisfied. It was very cute style with a small porch facing the pool. Within steps of the ocean. Didn't go all-out, since we live in town and were going to Paso for our honeymoon the very next day, but it was definitely quite nice. Their higher end rooms are just sooo cute!
Okay, we didn't pay for this, but if you like cottages and want exemplory service, stay at the Simpson House. It's the only 5 star B&B in the country. Heavenly. Ridiculously expensive. Huge tubs in each cottage and very private and pretty. It was a gift for us. (Literally, it was a wedding gift.) Also, the night after our wedding, we stayed at the Mar Monte - because it was the night before our honeymoon, they gave us the corner queen/king bed room - huge room with couch overlooking the ocean (it's across the street). Good to know about Eagle Inn - we looked at them for a long time for our wedding night. Hotel Oceana is beautiful - I would have loved to stay there, but I can't afford it.
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