The Best Hotels with Pools to Book in Santa Barbara, California

Three saltwater pools, luxury cabanas and an ocean view await at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara
Three saltwater pools, luxury cabanas and an ocean view await at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara | Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Bacara / Expedia
Photo of Nione Meakin
6 December 2021

Dubbed the American Riviera for its elegant, red-roofed villas, palm-lined boulevards and white-sand beaches, the coastal city of Santa Barbara is the ideal place to kick back and do some California dreaming. Visit chic boutiques, impressive museums and intimate restaurants on foot before grabbing a bike to explore beachfront and mountain trails. When it’s time to head back to base, you’ll be ready for a refreshing dip – and we’ve got the lowdown on the city’s best hotels with pools, bookable with Culture Trip. Dive down to discover where to go.

El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel

The luxurious infinity pool with lounge chairs perched on a hillside at El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, in Santa Barbara
Courtesy of El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel / Expedia

You’ll feel every inch the off-duty starlet lazing on a lounge chair by El Encanto’s infinity pool. A Santa Barbara icon since the 1920s when it became a popular Hollywood hideaway, this five-star hillside hotel continues to dazzle. Perched high in the hills overlooking the Pacific, a range of California Craftsman and Spanish colonial-style bungalows are dotted among seven acres (3ha) of terraced gardens. Unwind in the spa before watching the sunset with a perfectly mixed gimlet.

Rosewood Miramar Beach

The large oceanfront patio with comfy furniture of a beach front suite at Rosewood Miramar Beach in Santa Barbara
Courtesy of Rosewood Miramar Beach / Expedia

From the Rolls Royce Ghost employed to chauffeur guests around, to the beach butlers toting your towels, the Rosewood takes care of every little detail. Based around a manor house overlooking one of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful beaches, 124 rooms and 36 suites offer a luxe take on beach living – think white clapboard and crisp striped linen. Soak up the abundant West Coast sunshine at the adults-only Cabana Pool or nap beneath the citrus and olive trees that surround the Manor Pool.

Kimpton Canary Hotel

Spanish-style rooftop pool with panoramic views at Kimpton Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara
Courtesy of Kimpton Canary Hotel / Expedia

Pack your wide-angle lens when staying at this downtown boutique hotel – the view from its rooftop pool is too good not to share. Perched at the top of a Spanish-style building just two minutes from lively State Street, hand-painted tile steps lead the way to 360-degree views stretching from the Santa Ynez Mountains to the Pacific. Follow a refreshing swim with a plate of freshly caught seafood at the rooftop restaurant before retiring to a rainforest shower and four-poster bed.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Spanish-style buildings overlooking the ocean with trail and landscaping of the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Bacara / Expedia
Whitewashed terraces, tropical palms and stunning ocean views make this sweeping clifftop plot a little slice of paradise. Spanning 78 acres (32ha), the resort takes in two beaches, a spa and not one but three saltwater pools surrounded by luxury cabanas where you can take a siesta or sip a cocktail in comfort. Ready to see the sights? Activities including horseback riding, sailing and hiking offer an unforgettable introduction to the local landscape.

West Beach Inn, a Coast Hotel

Large shaded whirlpool and pool area with lounge chairs and dining tables at West Beach Inn in Santa Barbara
Courtesy of West Beach Inn / Expedia

Make a splash whatever time of year you visit Santa Barbara – the West Beach Inn’s heated outdoor pool is open year-round. Located a few steps from the beach, the shops and restaurants of Stearns Wharf and the arty Funk Zone, the hotel and its breezy Mediterranean vibe will make you feel instantly at home. Take advantage of the free continental breakfast before grabbing one of the hotel’s bikes to ride the palm-lined Cabrillo Boulevard Bike Path.

Santa Barbara Inn

Outdoor pool and shaded dining space across the street from beach at Santa Barbara Inn
Courtesy of Santa Barbara Inn / Expedia

Wake up to the sight of the sun rising over the Santa Ynez Mountains or fall asleep to the sound of waves breaking on the shore; each of the 70 rooms in this elegant boutique hotel on central Cabrillo Boulevard features its own private balcony. While all the attractions of downtown lie beyond the hotel’s white stucco exterior, you may find it hard to resist the lure of the heated pool and oceanfront terrace where you can eat wood-fired pizza and homemade pasta beneath flickering lanterns.

Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach

The welcoming pool area with lounge chairs, orange umbrellas and palms at Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach
Courtesy of Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach / Expedia

With hot pink bougainvillea tumbling down terracotta walls, this Mediterranean-style coastal villa fits right in on the so-called American Riviera. Offering a range of chic suites and rooms, all with cloud-like BeautyRest Pillow Top mattresses, communal areas include a dappled sun terrace, a lounge with a working fireplace and a huge pool with a whirlpool spa. Soak up those European vibes during the afternoon wine hour, when you can toast your good choices over a glass of complimentary Californian vino.

Harbor View Inn

Lush pool area facing beach and ocean at Harbor View Inn in Santa Barbara
Courtesy of Harbor View Inn / Expedia

Relaxation and luxury don’t always go hand in hand with family travel, but the Harbor View Inn does things differently. Large rooms offer space for all the gear children require, while its proximity to West Beach means everyone can be on the sand right after breakfast. Take a day trip to the nearby Natural History Museum, Santa Barbara Zoo or MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, before heading back to the palm-fringed pool, where grown-ups can grab a well-earned drink at the poolside bar.

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