Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hotel Oceana Is A Santa Barbara Escape

Hotel OceanaThe Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara is often listed right alongside luxury resorts, but it doesn't necessarily fit there. The casual feeling is much more akin to a beach-like resort, consisting of a collection of four unconnected motels that happen to share the same red tile roof and Spanish Colonial architecture.

The buildings didn't always belong together. At some point, the Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara acquired most of the block. This sometimes makes for confusion, creating mixed reviews based upon nothing more than what building the guest is assigned. Almost all of the buildings were built in the 1940s.

But for some of the shortcomings that come with an older but renovated property, the asset of this hotel is its oceanfront setting. The beach is right across the street. And the hotel has two pools and an outdoor spa. The two primary buildings are brought together with an expansive lawn. And while it might seem funny mentioning such amenities as we move into winter, the best time to think about spring or summer is now.

An Oceanfront Stay In Santa Barbara Is An Ideal Escape.

Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara is located almost directly between the Harbor to the north and Stearns Wharf to the south. In between both points of interest are the soft white sands that make this an ideal place to visit. The beach is relatively uncrowded, even on holidays like the Fourth of July.

Stearns Wharf, which was built in 1872 to serve cargo and passenger ships, is the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco and has a rich history that includes several fires. Today, like many piers, it is a focal point for recreation, with several restaurants, shops, and the Ty Warner Sea Center. What the Ty Warner Sea Center lacks in size, it makes up for by giving everyone a chance to touch marine life.

Equally interesting, Stearns Wharf was once owned by legendary film actor James Cagney. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time. He was best known as cinema's quintessential tough guy.

The Harbor, Santa BarbaraNorth of the wharf, the Harbor is home to several more restaurants and gift shops and hundreds of commercial and recreational boats. Watching the sun sink down behind the masts makes for a memorable sunset. During the day, there are plenty of opportunities to book sightseeing, sportfishing, and kayaking trips.

While I would not consider it walking distance, the cosmopolitan center of Santa Barbara blends a Main Street charm with a contemporary vibe. During the day, it provides an eclectic center for shopping and dining that ranges from beer-battered fish to California fusion. And at night, it's easy to find a variety of back alley bars, hip clubs, and moody blues venues.

Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara Scores With A 5.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Hotel Oceana RoomsThe entire area is vastly different than metropolitan Los Angeles. Between the working wharf, vineyards, and farmland, it seems much less changed by time than its southern neighbor. The same might be said of the hotel, with its friendly and relaxed staff.

Even the rooms, which are spacious and sparse, seem almost timeless with colorful accessories pulled together by designer Annette Jaffe in 2008 to create a sort of "beach chic" vibe for the area's Mission-style feel. The only modern amenity is a flat screen television. If you want to visit, plan ahead using Fare Buzz flight deals.
blog comments powered by Disqus