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September 08, 2019

Encina Inn & Suites: Santa Barbara's Suite Spot

2017 1 Bedroom Suite Kitchen  Dining & LIving RoomOne would think with a beach community this small there would be limited hotel space but on the contrary, Santa Barbara is a hot spot for hotels due to the influx of students, family, friends, and tourists who gaggle in sunny Santa Barbara each summer for a wide variety of west coast action. And, let’s not forget that Santa Barbara is known as the Riviera of the West Coast, so even those in northern and southern CA, and nearby Nevada, make Santa Barbara their weekend getaway all year long. Just a hop, skip and a jump by car or commuter plane. In fact, just recently I took a puddle jumper from LA to Santa Barbara and it took longer to taxi and lift off than it did time in the air, only twenty minutes, but it sure beat the two hour road trip in LA’s infamous bumper to bumper traffic.

Once there, we headed over to the Best Western Plus Encina Inn & Suites in the heart of Santa Barbara. Tucked away on a quiet residential street lined with turn-of-the-century homes, the hotel offers all the amenities of a small luxury hotel with the charm of a bed and breakfast inn.

Checking in was a breeze in a lobby that appeared more like one from a Clark Gable movie from the last century but with all the modern conveniences of the twenty first century. ‘Nicely done,’ I thought. It was homey and welcoming, like entering a Cracker Barrel country store loaded with Santa Barbara street maps and an assortment of other eye-catching goodies including free chocolate chip cookies. Now I knew we were in for a treat!

Live Oak Cafe Next Door to Encina Inn & Suites in Santa Barbara, CA
Live Oak Cafe Bar

With a warm welcome, the hotel check-in greeters were eager to share the 411 on all the local hot spots including the adjacent restaurant. A quick tour of the Live Oak Cafe on the way to our room was inspiring enough to ensure our return for happy hour and a brunch. The unique copper top horseshoe bar alone was so inviting that we almost delayed going to our room to settle in. We just sat there for a few minutes and took in its distinctive decor, which also provided an opportunity to speak with its business owner, a delightful woman who was clearly proud of her establishment. 'We'll be back,' we assured her.

The entire experience reminded me very much like that of a mid-western, old school, back in the day family-owned business and a familiarity where everyone knows your name and seems genuinely interested in you as a person. The vibe was refreshing, felt downright down home. It was very inviting, a stark contrast to the cold ‘hurry up and check ‘em in to get through the line’ attitude in so many other hotels around the country.

For full story, click here to go to A delightfully charming hotel Santa Barbara, CA

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