The brilliant Native American art adorning the walls of the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park is absolutely stunning, especially considering the cave’s small size. A visit to the homelands of the Chumash people is just one of many exciting adventures that await in the Santa Barbara area. From beach days to nights wrapped up in history, culture and cuisine, this escape from LA deserves a long weekend. Spend it wisely and spend it in spoils at these hotels, bookable on Culture Trip.
The cat couldn’t dream of touching this Canary. With four-poster canopy beds, soaking tubs and hardwood floors running through every suite, you’ll hardly want to leave. Plot your way on a scavenger hunt through this top hotel, starting at the luxury spa, stopping for evening wine hour in the lobby and finally setting foot in the largest rooftop pool in Santa Barbara.
Need a little help getting into that Golden State of Mind? The Goodland will do that for you. Grab a cup of java and let the staff schedule a surf lesson for you. You’ll return to a much-needed local brew at the evening social hour. Did you notice the record player in your room? The VNYL record shop next door has just the vinyl for you to spin. Not a melomaniac? The Good Bar has a billiards table and great selection of spirits to set the soundtrack to your night.
El Encanto is ready to charm the pants off of you, mostly because they know that you’ll love lounging poolside with a crisp glass of wine in your hand. The American Riviera suite is the ultimate indulgence, spoiling you with bespoke culinary experiences, private fitness sessions and al fresco movie nights on your terrace with all of the truffle popcorn you can eat. Imagine walking into all of this luxury, only to discover that a masseuse is waiting for you down at the spa.
When notable names like JFK, Groucho Marx and Laurence Olivier run away to San Ysidro Ranch for unspoiled solitude, then you know that you’ve found the ultimate level of seclusion. These 550 acres (225ha) hide dreamy cottages with stone fireplaces, oversized sunken spas and outdoor rainfall showers. The 12,000 wines from around the world will perfectly complement the beloved mac and cheese at Plow & Angel. As for the spa, visit just once and you’ll know why our lips are sealed.
Time spent at Rosewood is a journey for all five senses. CBD massages, pedicures and manicures at the Senses Spa will calm your every nerve, while the sea breeze from your beach house suite will whisk away any lingering stresses. Would four retail boutiques, six restaurants and two pools on-site still leave you longing for more? No matter; ask the concierge to ready the Lincoln house car for another destination within a 3mi (4.8km) radius.
Tranquility is a constant guest at Simpson House Inn. Their acre (0.4ha) of English gardens offers a respite from the busy streets of Santa Barbara. You’re free to spend your stay in quiet quarters, venturing into conversation only during morning breakfast, afternoon refreshments and evening wine reception. The Sun Room’s large private deck offers relaxing garden views. If you must leave this Victorian mansion, do so to walk the botanical gardens and memorial park next door.
This Alice in Wonderland-themed bed and breakfast has adorable rooms named for Carroll’s iconic characters. Though there’s no hookah in the Caterpillar Balcony Room, you will find a jacuzzi in the Tweedledum Suite that is just as relaxing. No need to hesitate eating or drinking the spread at the breakfast table; the only change you’ll experience is in the size of your smile.
Hosting West Coast wanderers since the days of the Gold Rush, the Upham Hotel will treat you to a luxurious stay. The historic king suite will get the job done for a single night, but you can warm up to Santa Barbara over a long weekend with a little help from the fireplaces in the Garden Cottage. Too far from your favorite watering hole on State Street? Book the downtown penthouse in Santa Barbara’s historical district and have it all at your fingertips.
Set your clock to California coastal time and take it easy at Hotel Santa Barbara. Cozy suites can fit two to three guests, but the writing desk and in-room coffeemaker are perfect company for the solo traveler seeking peace and quiet. When your relaxation needs a walk, step outside onto State Street and hopscotch your way from cafes to galleries to boutique shops as you head down to West Beach.
Want other reasons to visit Santa Barbara? See why the world is flocking to the American Riviera, then book yourself a room in one of the best hotels here with Culture Trip. Of course, a trip here’s wasted if you don’t also see Los Angeles, which is only a two-hour drive away. See the chilled-out guide to the city and the quintessential list of things to do, and don’t miss the best restaurants around.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.