One Night Away from LA- where to stay?

Jun 13th, 2001, 01:54 AM
  #1  
Mila
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One Night Away from LA- where to stay?

My husband and I have a conference to attend near Cambria. After that, we plan to visit Hearst Castle (as neither of us have ever been there).
The next day we'd like to extend our trip and break up our driving time by staying someplace between Cambria and Los Angeles. Where should we go? Ojai? San Luis Obispo? Someplace else? We're very flexible. I know there's a kind of smaller wine country near Solvang/Ballard.
The spots in Santa Barbara look lovely but they're awfully pricey. We'd like to stay under $200 per night (preferably under $150) and we'll be traveling mid-week. I guess I should also say that we prefer character over amenities and we'll be coming from a fairly generic business hotel.
Many thanks,
Mila
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 09:49 AM
  #2  
Christina
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I wouldn't stay in San Luis Obispo because it's only about 25 miles from Cambria, so won't break up your drive in any way at all. I know Santa Barbara is expensive, but I would bet you could find something less than $200. I think it really depends what type of experience you want or what you won't get on the rest of your trip. For example, if you are not going to be near the beach in LA, you could stay near the beach on this day for variety; there will be lots of lodging along the route near the beach. If anything, I would presume Ojai to be more expensive than Santa Barbara, it's just a small very expensive town for spas, business-expense conferences, etc., but that would be an okay choice if you can get something there cheap. In my experience, places with character are often a lot more expensive than those without, so that may be a problem, as most well-equipped comfortable hotels along that route will be relatively modern. YOu might consider staying near Ventura as an option, near the beach which is nice enough (Ventura is sort of a quasi-big typical CA city, I guess, but does have an interesting old theatre with good concerts sometimes, I've been there). Hotels in Ventura will be a lot cheaper than SB, on average, and it does have some history (old mission) and things to see if you are interested in nature -- the Channel Islands National Park, for example, Santa Cruz, island, and the beach. There are nice hotels near the beach (Ventura Country Inn maybe?) for about $100 probably, but they won't be old or quaint, I don't think. If you aren't going up the coast, they do have sea lions, etc, on the rocks, that type of vista on nearby Anacapa Island, I believe.
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 10:26 AM
  #3  
Suzie
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What about Santa Maria? You could explore surrounding areas from there. Check out Santa Maria Inn at www.santamariainn.com. Looks reasonable and fun.
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 12:27 PM
  #4  
Toni
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We were at a wedding in December in Santa Barbara and stayed at the "Hotel Santa Barbara".
It's a great property right in the middle of town, historic but completely renovated. We paid $149. a night with a $10. AAA discount and you can stay just one night which many places discourage. I just called them for you and they quoted me $159.-189. midweek. ($10. less with a AAA discount) . The number is 888-259-7700. Lots of good restaurants up there also. I live in L.A. and try to go as much as possible) Try "The Palace"...Cajun food...One of Ronald Reagans favorite restaurants when he lived up there. Go to the S.B. Biltmore for a cocktail. It's a beautiful hotel.

You are going to flip over Hearst Castle. It is really unbelievable. Don't be afraid to take more then 1 tour. The first time I went we took 3, one right after the other. You see different parts of the castle each time.

While in Cambria DON'T MISS the elephant seals. They are north towards Heart Castle by the lighthouse. Ask the locals how to find them. The bull's are huge, thousands of pounds I bet, and they are right on the beach hundreds of them. The last time I was there was mating and birthing season. Lots of tiny babies too.

Skip Solvang...a bunch of tee-shirt shops. Have fun!
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 06:00 PM
  #5  
don
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I agree with Toni, Solvang was a disappointment to me. A basic tourist trap. If you enjoy that type of thing, then stop, you can pretty much see the town in a couple of hours. As for a place, Santa Barbara is one of my favorite places on the California coast. It's been a couple of years since I was there, but I seem to remember there being a wide range in the prices of rooms, depending on whether you wanted to be on the ocean. Still, I think it is worth the extra bucks. Splurge!
 
Jun 14th, 2001, 12:31 AM
  #6  
Mila
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Thanks for the wonderful advice!
We will definitely do the back to back to tours at Hearst. And definitely skip Solvang!
And...I'd never heard of Santa Maria so I will certainly check it out.
I will admit that we're leaning towards Santa Barbara (and thank you so much for calling re rates!). But it's nice to know that we have alternatives like Ventura. I will get to work on my research.
I will say that I haven't been thrilled with any of the spots I've found in Cambria. They're all fine but many of them are so cutesy and overdone. I think we'll stay someplace cheap and then splurge on our last night per your advice.
Thanks again! And if anyone needs LA advice, please don't hesitate to ask.
Mila
 
Jun 14th, 2001, 07:36 AM
  #7  
Toni
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I remember seeing a charming B&B in Cambria (up in the hills amongst the pines) I think it was called the Patrick House. Try a search on the web to see if they have a site.
 
Jun 14th, 2001, 08:52 AM
  #8  
carolt
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Santa Barbara is certainly a good choice, but you should also consider Ventura, which will put you 1/2 hour closer to home as well. Charming B&B (more like a hotel) - Bella Magiorre, downtown; classic historic hotel - Pierpont Inn. Maybe stop in Santa Barbara for bkfst/lunch on your way down. Ventura has a nice downtown (quaint) area for walking, as well as a nice harbor. Try The Greek at the Harbor, or Jonathan's, or Zack's for a nice dinner. enjoy! If you do decide to stay in Ojai it will be much warmer, but have dinner at Suzanne's - a splurge, but worth it.
 
Jun 14th, 2001, 10:56 AM
  #9  
kam
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Just back from southern California. Highly recommend the Ballard Inn in Ballard, just outside of Solvang. Charming country inn with great breakfasts--wine country is wonderful and it's the area of California known for thorobred horses. I believe our room at the Ballard Inn was just about $200--it was the Green Room and had a lovely balcony. No phones, no TVs in the rooms, afternoon wine and hors d'oevres, great breakfasts and wonderful staff. The dining room is super but closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The Hitching Post in Buellton is famous for barbequed steaks. Ojai is pretty hot this time of year. Wouldn't recommend SLO or Solvang. It's about 200 miles into LA from Ballard, straight down 101. Enjoy.
 
Jun 14th, 2001, 11:51 PM
  #10  
Mila
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Wow. Bella Maggiore and the Pierpont are both really lovely looking and very reasonably priced.
The Ballard Inn looks lovely as well, but we may save that for a wine-tasting trip.
Santa Barbara is appealing because my husband is a big architecture buff. But now Ventura is calling...
Who knew we'd have so many wonderful options?
Thanks to all of you!
Mila
 

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