January 13, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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