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More places to check out in Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA OTHER LODGING CHOICES

January 13, 2008

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Want more options for accommodations? Below are places we looked atbut didn't stay in because of busy schedules. Hey, we had to get back to the office!

ALA MAR BY THE SEA

102 W. Cabrillo Blvd.; (805) 962-9208, www.alamarmotel.com.

Price: $129 to $199, plus tax, for weekends, double. $119 to $375 high season. Cancellation until 48 hours before stay.

Amenities: Free wireless Internet service.

Pros: Across the street from the beach and within walking distance of Stearns Wharf. Second-floor patio overlooking the water. You can literally chuck a rock from its balcony into the Pacific, but without exorbitant seaside hotel prices. Rooms small but comfortable, with tile floors, ceiling fans and a tropical décor. Bring an ice chest, your favorite grilling meat and a jar of barbecue sauce to take advantage of the second-story patio that is stocked with lawn chairs and a barbecue. Free parking.

Cons: Small rooms with no pool, no hot tub and tiny lobby.

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CABRILLO INN

931 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; (800) 648-6708, www.cabrillo-inn.com.

Price: Doubles $89 to $199 (winter rates); $159 to $299 (June). Two-night minimum on weekends. Cancellation, at least seven days prior, by phone. Two-bedroom, two-bath vacation cottage rentals are available weekly or monthly.

Amenities: 41 rooms with TVs, air conditioning, swimming pool, complimentary continental breakfast. Second floor features ocean views and sun decks.

Pros: This place offers a great location at a decent price (provided you don't choose the pricey ocean-view suite): It's a few blocks from East Beach and a short drive (or longish walk) to Butterfly Beach. The rooms are airy; some have refrigerators.

Cons: No online reservations accepted; must book by phone.

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CASTILLO INN

22 Castillo St.; (800) 965-8570 or (805) 965-8527, www.sbcastilloinn.com.

Price: Doubles $110 to $250 (winter rates); $175 to $300 (high season); $10 off with AAA or AARP memberships midweek only. Two-night minimum on weekends. Cancellation until 48 hours before stay.

Amenities: 20 rooms with TVs, air conditioning, refrigerators.

Pros: Well-furnished, spacious modmed rooms, large flat-screen TVs, granite countertops in bathrooms, free wireless Internet access. Across the street from the harbor. State Street and train station all within 10 minutes' walk.

Cons: No pool or microwaves in the rooms.

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EAGLE INN

232 Natoma Ave.; (805) 965-3586, www.theeagleinn.com.

Price: Doubles $80 to $400. AAA club or AARP discounts of 10%. Two-night minimum on weekends in summer. Cancellation until 72 hours before stay.

Amenities: 23 rooms (two with full kitchens) and four cottages (three with microwave and refrigerator) behind the hotel. Continental breakfast included, and cookies, tea and coffee.

Pros: Distinguished 1930 building (nice Moorish arch over the entrance) on a quiet corner two blocks from the beach. Walking distance to State Street, train station and Stearns Wharf.

Cons: No pool. And the nearest shore is West Beach, not the more swimmer-friendly East Beach.

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EL PRADO INN

1601 State St.; (800) 669-8979, www.elprado.com.

Price: $110 to $225, plus tax, per night, depending on date and room type; 10% AAA discount on most dates. Two-night minimum stay on weekends in high season. Cancellation until 24 or 48 hours before arrival, depending on method of booking.

Amenities: 68 rooms, all with TV, air conditioning, phone, small fridge, coffee maker, shower or tub-shower combo, Mission-style furniture. Outdoor pool with courtyard. Free continental breakfast. Free parking.

Pros: Pool. Pleasant, traditional décor. Reasonable rates. AAA three-diamond rating. Family-owned and operated.

Cons: About 1 1/2 miles from the beach and two blocks from last stop of the Downtown Waterfront Shuttle. A few of the rooms are snug.

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FRANCISCAN INN

109 Bath St.; (805) 963-8845, www.franciscaninn.com.

Price: Doubles $99 (weekdays) to $235 (weekends) winter; $125 to $295 after May 15.

Amenities: This family-owned motel, once a Spanish-style ranch house, is one block from the beach in a quiet residential area. The attractively landscaped property, which has 53 rooms and suites, has a nice list of amenities, including freshly baked cookies daily, an on-site laundry and a hearty complimentary breakfast with croissants and muffins. Also, a heated pool and hot tub, VCRs and free video library, free parking, hot beverage bar in lobby, free wireless Internet access.

Pros: Quiet location one block from marina and Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor. Friendly staff.

Cons: Rooms need to be updated; furnishings are a bit faded.

HOTEL STATE STREET

121 State St.; (805) 966-6586, www.hotelstatestreet.net.

Price: Doubles $69 to $119 in winter; $79 to $149 summer.

Amenities: No-frills budget hotel with a terrific location steps from the train station, a block from Stearns Wharf and two blocks from the bar and restaurant scene on State Street.

Pros: One of the great historic Santa Barbara properties that dates to the building boom that followed the 1925 quake. Tough to beat these prices; courteous staff.

Cons: Small, very plain rooms and shared baths; ready for an update.

OLD YACHT CLUB INN

431 Corona del Mar Drive; (805) 962-1277, www.oldyachtclubinn.com.

Price: Doubles $99 to $249, including full breakfast. Two-night minimum if a Saturday night is included. Cancellation with refund, excluding payment for the first night, which is nonrefundable.

Amenities: A ship-shape B&B that has 10 rooms, three suites (including one three-bedroom family suite for $479) and one cottage. The classic Craftsman-style main building was the temporary headquarters for the Santa Barbara Yacht Club in the 1920s.

Pros: Delicious cooked breakfasts. Very close to East Beach and Tri-County Produce. Rooms are pretty with antiques and nautical memorabilia; some have fireplaces, private decks and whirlpool tubs.

Cons: A long walk from State Street and no pool.

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VILLA ROSA INN

15 Chapala St.; (805) 966-0851, www.villarosainnsb.com.

Price: $139 to $319 winter, plus tax; $179 to $320 in summer. Two-night minimum stay on weekends. Cancellation policy five days in advance of stay.

Amenities: 18 rooms, with continental breakfast and evening hors d'oeuvres, wine, port or sherry included. Pool and whirlpool.

Pros: Less than 100 steps from the beach, with an inviting lobby fireplace. Walking distance to State Street, train station and Stearns Wharf.

Cons: Children under 14 discouraged. (Or maybe, if you're looking for some adult time, this is a pro.) No auto club or AARP discounts, and the cancellation policy is stricter than most.

-- C.R.