Santa Barbara - Suggestions on where to stay

My new Bluechick and I are thinking of going to S.B. over the weekend in February. Anyone have any suggestions for places to stay that are fairly nice, cheapish ($60-$120) and gay-friendly? Thanks in advance…

Pretty much everywhere here is going to be gay friendly.

Do you want to stay in the downtown area?

$60-120 is going to be tough on a weekend here for a super nice place but it is offseason so you might be able to find a deal.

Do you mind staying at a lower end chain hotel like Motel 6 or a little better?


Thanks so much for your reply, Haj. Downtown or near to would be nice since we’re flying, not driving ( I could also ask for people to weigh in on a relationship in which I live in San Diego and she lives in San Jose, but that’s another thread :slight_smile: ). Definitely a little better than Motel 6, so I guess I’ll have to bump that to $100-$200. By gay friendly I mostly mean not a ton of kids and grandparents…
How does one find a deal? I’m so terrible at these sorts of things!

Thanks again!

The airport is in Goleta and is way on the other side of the Santa Barbara area from downtown. That said, it’s a fifteen minute drive during rush hour.

You might want to try the Holiday Inn Express (not the Holiday Inn) which will be nice and should be moderately priced. It’s in a good location too. There are tons of little hotels all over the place, some nicer that others. Check them out when you two are cruising State Street and you may find a gem for your next visit.

It’s Santa Barbara. No one gives a crap if you’re gay or straight.

As for getting deals, and this works for any hotel chain, call them up ask for a rate. Once you get the rate, ask if they have a better one. It may seem silly but 50% of the time they’ll say, “we have a special that’s $10 less a night” or something. Also ask about AAA rates or corporate rates. Then call the 800 number for the hotel chain and go through the same routine.


Oh, I know, believe me, I live in San Diego. It’s just that it’s a little - unsettling - to disentangle yourself from a liplock with your girlfriend only to have an openmouthed 5 year old gaping at you, teddy bear hanging from one hand :eek: . Kills the mood, little bit :slight_smile: .

Thanks again!

We stayed at the Franciscan Inn last July and were very happy with it. The place was not fancy but it was a block from the beachfront, the staff was pleasant and the prices were reasonable. Santa Barbara certainly is a lovely place.

It has been quite a few years, but believe it or not, the Motel 6 is in Santa Barbara was great! Has a small pool, with a view of the ocean from the pool area…easy walking distance to the downtown area and pier.

Again, it has been 10 years or so, so who knows if it was torn down and replaced with a drive through bank.

And don’t worry about Gay friendly…there are a few nice Gay bars in the downtown area as well.

DMark is correct. The Motel 6 here is a step above the usual Motel 6.

Here is some Santa Barbara trivia: the first Motel 6 was in Santa Barbara, also the first Kinko’s and the first (and now only remaining) Sambo’s.

The big gay dance club (Fathom) has been closed for a few years. I don’t get out a whole lot but it is my understanding that there aren’t any gay bars downtown anymore. There is one place by the train station called Hades but it’s off the beaten track. There are plenty of places to go dancing that I imagine have a lot of gay people there.

What sort of restaurants and night life do you like? I can make some suggestions for you, especially with restaurants. We have especially great sushi and Italian here.


I used to go to a workshop in Santa Barbara every year in April which was at the Fess Parker Doubletree - right on the water (well, across the street) and close enough to downtown and the pier to walk. It wasn’t bad because of our conference rate, but the place was usually empty. You might get a good deal on one of the hotel search sites. Good luckl.

There’s always the nearby Neverland Ranch…

I used to sleep under a big old tree in the first northbound block after 101 turned into a freeway again. Circa 1973. Does that help?

Damn. The tree’s still there but the 101 is all freeway now and they haven’t let folks sleep there in like a decade.


:frowning: I figured things have changed. I haven’t even been in California in almost 30 years, let alone hitch-hiked up and down 101 recently.

I have stayed at the Doubletree Fess Parker Ranch and it was very nice. I can’t remember the rate though.

I was going to suggest The Madonna Inn ( ) because I thought it was in SB, but I was mistaken. It’s still a fun place, but it ain’t cheap!

Well, its a bit above the price range you mentioned, but if you go to Hotel Andalucia, you can let us know if it’s as nice as it’s purported to be. And after something like five years of on-again off-again construction, it had better be nice.

I think Sunday nights at the Wildcat lounge (50 W Ortega, or thereabouts. Six or eight blocks up from the beach, right off of State) are gay nights. Not sure, being under 21 (nine days to go. Early happy birthday to me!) and straight, but I think so. In any case, as Haj said, nobody really cares if your straight or gay.

Also, the bus system here is… not the best. However, if you’re willing to walk around, it’s only twelve or so blocks from the beach to the end of the downtown area, so it’s not too big of an issue. And there is the handy-dandy State St Shuttle, which runs up and down State and costs a quarter (I think. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken it)

Haj, how have I never noticed another Santa Barbarian on the boards? It’s not like you’re concealing it or anything. Maybe I should pay more attention to people’s location and post counts and whatnot. If you’re ever craving a smoothie, swing by Blenders on the Mesa. I’m the tall lanky fellow. Same to you, jellyblue, and enjoy our quiet little beach community.

Another Barbarian! Cool. There have been several of us over time but some have moved away or quit when we went to subscription. Besides us there are at least a couple others, iamthewalrus(:3= and oceans_11.


Stayed at the Montecito Inn on my honeymoon - - it was really nice, and they have specials from time to time (I seem to recall we paid around $100/night, this was 3 years ago). Hope this helps.

??? A former Barbarian is curious. The sushi in santa barbara seemed to be on the expensive side of California-average (especially on State Street), and I don’t remember a really great Italian place. Not that there wasn’t excellent restaurants, but I think that the cooked seafood offerings, like Brophy Brothers, Enterprise Fish Co (Arther Dent (yes, that Arther Dent), “How do you make the fish TASTE SO GOOD!”), were the class of the town. Then you had places like the Shellfish Company (best $15 lobster dinner in existence, and the amazing view from the end of the pier), the Palace (Cajun, and easy walking distance from the Holiday Inn Express), and it’s twin the Cafe Orleans (training ground for the main restaurant, but in an outdoor mall and with syrofoam plates) getting high marks for their niche.

Did I just not find the places you’re thinking of?


Brophy’s is an institution and has great food but so damn crowded. The same can be said about The Palace but the two places couldn’t be more different.

Enterprise Fish is part of a chain and pretty good but not great IMO.

As for sushi, Arigato on State is fantastic. It used to be in a much smaller location on Victoria. Pirahna, also on State, is almost as good as Arigatio in terms of food but it’s smaller and more crowded for some reason so I usually don’t go there. There is a new sushi joint in Montecito that’s even better.

As for Italian, there are lots of mediocre places but some great ones too. Ca’Dario, off of State down town, is the best place in Santa Barbara proper. The food is authentic and hearty. Buccatini on lower State has very good pasta but a somewhat limited menu.

There is great Italian in Montecito too. Via Vai has great thin crust pizza and Pan e Vino is expensive but worth it. Both of them are in the Upper Villiage.


The whole Brophy’s/Enterprise debate seems to key on how much the flavor of Enterprise’s charcoal grill does it for you.

Pirahna was probably the sushi place I was thinking of, good but too expensive for what you get. There was a place by the ocean in Ventura that destroyed them in terms of taste for that price…but alas, I don’t know if I even ever knew the name. I remember a marina :slight_smile:

Buccatini is the sort of place that I was thinking of for the italian choices in town. Good food, but not as good as, say, a typical Bucca de Beppo location.