As the world tentatively reopens post-pandemic, the Santa Barbara hotel scene is humming with changes. One of the most heavily impacted industries during the pandemic, hotels are finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. And with fresh optimism, they’re using this time to renew or even restart their properties in order to entice visitors and residents alike back into their spaces. Here’s a rundown. 

The Leta (5650 Calle Real, Goleta): Formerly known as the Kimpton Goodland, this property was acquired by AWH Partners and is now managed by Spire Hospitality. The charming beach-chic property retains much of what made the hotel an area favorite, including the Airstream, the Woody, and long-time GM Barry Dorsey. Updates to the property include high-speed Wi-Fi, higher-quality bedding, and big-screen TVs in every room, with the welcoming lobby, pool, and fire pits still very much at the heart of the property. Dorsey hopes this new revamp will keep much of the cool, hip, carefree Californian personality the hotel is known for while also making use of the significant investment in renewing the guest experience for all. The restaurant area is slated to be expanded along, and live music is already back at the property, with art, food and wine, and other events coming back as well. While the individual record players no longer reside in each room, they are still available upon request, as is the quaint vinyl room in the lobby. 

See theleta.com

Canary Hotel (31 W. Carrillo St.): In the heart of downtown, the Kimpton Canary Hotel underwent a renovation under the stewardship of new GM Richard Cox, who expects to conclude the project in January 2023. The changes start in the lobby and Finch & Fork restaurant, where one will notice lighter tones, a more open environment, and a color palette that reflects the new menus’ Californian cuisine, featuring plenty of seafood and Central Coast wines. The private event and meeting spaces, all 97 guest rooms, and even the roof will be transformed over the next few months. Los Angeles interior design firm Beleco was tapped for the reimagining of the Canary’s interior with the aim of channeling an elegant California estate while still paying homage to the property’s Mediterranean inspiration. Even the art throughout the hotel’s public spaces is getting an update, thanks to Eaton Fine Art of Austin along with in-the-room artwork exhibiting unusual, playful pieces. 

See canarysantabarbara.com

Credit: Kimpton Canary Hotel

The Riviera Beach House (121 State St.): In another name change, the Hotel Indigo is transitioning into the Riviera Beach House. The new ownership is a collaboration between the family that owns the historic Culver Hotel in Los Angeles and the team behind Pacifica Hotels, which claims to be the largest independent owner of design-inspired hotels on the Pacific Coast. 

The hotel’s update draws inspiration from Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean style while still hazily dreaming of its quintessentially Californian beach town roots. Located right next to the humdrum of the Funk Zone and just blocks to the beach with the on-site restaurant, Santo Mezcal, the new design hopes to impress with curated programming and personalized experiences. More details to be announced. 

See pacificahotels.com


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