Santa Barbara: Newly named Hotel Milo toasts city’s early promoter

Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
The Spanish Colonial Hotel Oceano will be renamed Hotel Milo Santa Barbara starting Thursday.
(Independent Collection)

You might not recognize Milo Potter’s name, but a Santa Barbara hotel wants to make sure you do.

As of Thursday, the Hotel Oceana will be renamed Hotel Milo Santa Barbara in a tribute to the hotelier who put the coastal city on the map.

The hotel at 202 W. Cabrillo Blvd. was the same spot where Potter opened the doors of his luxury 400-room Hotel Potter in 1903. The hotel owner and self-promoter is credited with luring visitors from L.A. and launching the city on its resort-worthy path.

“Potter’s timing was everything,” author Neal Graffy writes in the book “Historic Santa Barbara.” “In March 1901 the missing link of the Southern Pacific railway — Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo — was finally completed. At last, trains came through Santa Barbara on their way to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Potter knew Santa Barbara was a golden opportunity as a seaside resort.” The hotel burned down in 1921 and wasn’t rebuilt.


Now Philadelphia-based hotel operator HHM, which counts the hotel in its upscale Independent Collection, says in a statement the new name honors Potter and “the history of its location and the city of Santa Barbara itself, evoking a true beachside boutique experience.”

The 122-room hotel is the collection’s first West Coast property, which includes the Duane Street Hotel in New York City and the Blue Moon Hotel in South Beach, Fla.

The Spanish Colonial hotel in Santa Barbara was redone in 2008 and offers stays that include such extras as breakfast, Wi-Fi and use of a beach cruiser for two hours.

Info: Hotel Milo Santa Barbara, (800) 965-9776

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