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Santa Barbara: Budget hostel (you heard right) opens in the Funk Zone

New Santa Barbara hostel promises cheap rooms ($59 for a bed) with 'industrial cool' style

Santa Barbara really doesn't do cheap when it comes to hotel rooms, but a newly built hostel in the city's Funk Zone is out to change that.

The Wayfarer at 12 E. Montecito St. is a new building with 31 rooms, some dorm-style with four or five beds. It's a stone's throw from the Amtrak train station, Highway 101 and State Street, and you can walk to places such as Union Ale Brewing Co. and Giessinger Winery.

The hostel is aimed at millennial travelers who favor experience over amenities, who don't mind giving up space for low prices, and who value extras such as free Wi-Fi (which the hostel has) more than turndown service.

"Industrial cool with unpredictable touches" is how a statement describes the hotel's design. Perhaps that explains the yellow bed pillows embossed with the face of a tiger wearing a wig with braids.

With an introductory offer good through the end of the year, you can reserve a private room for three with a king- or queen-sized bed and a pull-down Murphy bed starting at $159 a night. Shared rooms (same sex) mean you can book for a group or bunk with other guests starting at $59 a night. Each room has a 43-inch HDTV, lockers and a desk.

For comparison, I checked online at Motel 6 Santa Barbara at 443 Corona Del Mar and found rooms available for random dates in August and September from $135 to $202 a night.

At the hostel, free breakfast comes with the room, and there's a community kitchen equipped with dishes, utensils, etc., if you decide to make your own meals. It also has a heated pool, library and on-site laundry, and guests can grab maps of the city's Urban Wine Trail and newish Funk Zone.

The hostel is operated by Pacifica Hotels, which manages a slew of California properties including Sandcastle Inn and Pacifica Suites in Santa Barbara.

"This hospitality concept is different from anything we’ve done before and novel for the West Coast," company President Matt Marquis says in a statement. "The emphasis on common space and socializing is of growing importance to the millennial traveler and becoming a significant part of the hospitality industry."

Info: The Wayfarer, (805) 845-1000

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