Courtyard by Marriott Santa Barbara – Retro Bliss in the Heart of Downtown

Retro Bliss in in the Heart of Downtown 

The stunning retro redesign is reminiscent of Palm Springs – with its white breeze blocks, clean lines, open spaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, and entryway with ceiling cutouts. Room doors pop in shades of red while midcentury-inspired furniture and lighting adorn the hotel in fun patterns, shades, and colors. Expect swanky retro couches and uber-comfy bedding in modern rooms with activated lighting accents for those tip-toeing to the bathroom. However, the best part is the view of the Santa Ynez Mountains from the north-facing rooms’ beds.

This is the first Courtyard Marriott in Santa Barbara, developed by former star of ABC’s The Bachelor, Andrew Firestone, and business partner Jess Parker. They transformed the 122-room pad into a super stylish light-soaked masterpiece with ocean and mountain vistas and an outdoor pool/spa with a firepit in the interior courtyard. Two rooftops boast 360-degree sweeping views – straight to the ocean and mountain-scape. Here is where you’ll want to spend a lingering sunset with a bottle of rosé. 

Saint Remy is the hotel’s casual retro restaurant concept featuring locally sourced coastal cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. Share dishes like Whipped Feta with pomegranates, crispy Short Rib Hummus, Mushroom Flatbread, or Lamb Meatballs. The cunning mixologist shakes up the best classic and inventive cocktails like the Fever Dream with Mezcal or Pistol Whip with bourbon. Breakfast is a worthy endeavor too, featuring wellness options or richer dishes to start your day with a mega smile such as Churros Pancake, Nutella Crunch French Toast, Citrus Salmon Toast, and Shakshuka with zesty tomato sauce and sliced avocado loaded with feta in a skillet. 

Other hotel amenities include a fitness center, EV charging stations, valet and self-park options, and a meeting space. The location is superb. Guests don’t need to walk far to be in the heart of the restaurants, bars, and shops on State Street as the hotel is situated in a quiet area just above the fun which is now a pedestrian thoroughfare thanks to the pandemic. With average daily rates around $250 and $450 during high season, a staycation here can’t be beat!

Pro Tips:  Just a mile away, walk to La Paloma Cafe, a Mexi-Cali eatery from Acme Hospitality Group that combines old and new traditions using oak-fired cooking. On the outdoor patio wash down tasty Hibiscus Margaritas, Palomas, or Mezcalita cocktails with their fulfilling Burnt Ends Bowl stuffed with brisket and trip tip pieces, beans, and cilantro slaw. Or opt for something lighter like the colorful Farmer’s Market Fruit Salad or Ranchero Salad with bacon, sliced egg, and scallion ranch dressing. Churros stuffed with chocolate makes for a happy ending.

In the Funk Zone, brunch outside in the arts district at The Lark to indulge in cast iron delights like bakery fresh Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns, Shakshuka, or Pork Belly Benedict with jalapeno hollandaise. This former fish market offers seating at long wooden tables indoors or on the patio, perfect for sharing dishes with seasonal ingredients from the Central Coast. Now in the Michelin Guide, The Lark also makes a nice place to unwind outside with a glass of wine from a stellar list of Santa Barbara’s best producers.

For a celebratory meal, make reservations for omakase or a 5-course prix fixe meal at romantic Ama Sushi the Rosewood Miramar Montecito just a short drive away. Flanked by a lake and sprawling lawn to the ocean, the hotel’s luxurious east coast-esque vibe makes for an enchanting outdoor meal under heat lamps.

Recently included in the 2022 Michelin Guide, start with miso soup and tender slices of the freshest sashimi (from bluefin tuna, amberjack, and king salmon) elegantly presented moving into sushi rolls of bluefin tuna, softshell crab, or yellowtail. Don’t miss the succulent course of sliced warm red Creekstone Farms Prime Filet with Mochi Cake and Yuzu Cheesecake as a sweet finale. Add a sake pairing or sip a signature sake cocktail like Tsukimi with toasted coconut sake, dry vermouth, banana liqueur, mandarin essence, and roasted nori frozen into the imprinted ice cube. You never know who may be seated next to you – from Rick Caruso to reality stars and Hollywood elite.

Dinner table view from Ama Sushi at the Rosewood Miramar
Ama Sushi

For more ways to explore Santa Barbara, read about other Hidden Gems.


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