Santa Barbara, Inn of the Spanish Garden
By Kevin Ausmus
Why You Must Go: The Spanish Garden Inn just purrs relaxation and romance. From the deep water soaking bathtubs to the early evening wine bar, the colonial setting is perfect for a one-night getaway or a weekend to rekindle the burning fires of passion. It can be a bit pricey—upwards of $500 a night for special packages, but those include the Night of Enchantment, where guests are greeted with a bottle of wine before dining downtown at the fabulous Bouchon restaurant. Celebrate your birthday in sophistication with “Happy Birthday to ME” with balloons and teddy bears. The Spanish Garden Inn is a scant three blocks from the State Street shopping area and a few minutes drive from beautiful East Beach. Other enticements are the in-room massage therapy and the “Inn-dulgence Bath Experience,” with Molton Brown bubbles and fresh seasonal fruits to nibble on. You can even have your wedding at the Spanish Garden, but will have to book all 23 rooms well in advance. When you wake up you can nosh quiche or Frosted Flakes and the Spanish Garden staff is especially friendly and helpful. It’s just a beautiful place to be!
Inn of the Spanish Garden, 915 Garden St. Santa Barbara, (805) 564-4700, www.spanishgardeninn.com. Rates from $259–$519, depending on type of room and season; 23 rooms. Book online and see room availability. Note: Special packages cannot be booked online.
Where to eat: Playa Azul, located just behind the Spanish Garden back gate, serves up authentic Mexican food that doesn’t hurt the pocketbook.
What Else To Check Out: The Santa Barbara Historical Museum—housed in a nearly 200-year-old adobe—and The Presidio are located just steps away from the Inn. If you’re in a determinedly anthropological mood, you can drive up the coast and check out wild mongrel UCSB students kicking hackeysacks in Isla Vista.