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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

October 21, 2012

A Guide to America's Most Haunted & Historic Hotels

A Guide to Haunted & Historical Hotels

Playing Host to Ghouls & Ghosts
Every Night of the Year

If the little devil in you still prefers “tricks” over treats and goose bumps are your gauge of a good time, members of National Trust Historic Hotels of America can offer a ghastly good time. Spanning over 300 years of history, these hotels have seen their share of unrequited love, untimely deaths and unsolved mysteries—all ingredients that stir supernatural specters.

Make your Halloween a truly haunting experience with a visit to one of these spooktacular sites. Choose to go ghost hunting with a group, participate in a murder mystery weekend or book a stay in a “preoccupied” room.

Floyd the Doorman - Georgia
Big Bend Ghost Tracker, a group of ghost hunters, spent the night at the Best Western Plus Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia, and monitored several areas of the hotel where strange sightings have been reported. Fully equipped with flashlights, thermo-meters, cameras, infrared equipment and electro-magnetic monitors the ghost hunters were looking for signs of a haunting. Among the spirits they encountered on the hotel’s third floor was the silhouette of Floyd Lowery, who worked at the Windsor as a doorman and elevator man for 40 years. It is likely that Floyd still wanders the hallways of the Windsor because he so loved the hotel and doesn’t want to leave. [Cover story]

Cigar Smoke & Flowery Perfumes - Michigan
The Holly Hotel been referred to as the most haunted historic building in Michigan, and perhaps the most haunted in America. By all accounts, the Holly Hotel does seem to be one of the few active haunted hotels where the occurrences continue over and over. The haunting and strange happenings have been observed by many people, from employees to guests. Very few of these can be easily discounted. The ghostly residents seem to follow certain “habits,” and even if one is ignorant to the fact that the restaurant is haunted, their experience will often fit into a known set of occurrences. For example, many people have smelled cigar smoke, even though they didn't know that original owner of the Inn smoked cigars. The descriptions of flowery perfume is often strikingly similar as well, and for some reason, the meat cleaver is the favorite toy for a little girls’ spirit who still plays in the kitchen and on the banquet room steps. More Scary Hotels Here...

February 02, 2009

Stay Like Royalty at a Castle B&B

Castle_bed_and_breakfastsEveryone dreams of being royalty — wearing a jeweled and guilded crown, having ultimate power, living in a castle. The crown and power may be out of reach, but the castle may not be. Though you won't be crowned king or queen in a castle bed & breakfast, you will definitely be treated like royalty.

You don't have to go overseas to stay in a castle. While most castles are located outside of the United States, Texas boasts it own. Terrell Castle, located in San Antonio, TX, was built in 1894 and sits on a one-acre site with landscaped yards and a vast front porch. The castle has 10 rooms decorated with antiques, some with fireplaces and stacked bookcases.

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