Santa Barbara area

Old Nov 14th, 2014, 01:41 PM
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Santa Barbara area

We’re planning a trip (two of us) to Santa Barbara and wine area in early January for 8 nights. We have the plane tickets and car reserved, but we’re still undecided on hotels. We’ll make a “loop” trip out of it starting by driving straight to the Santa Ynez Valley for 2 nights (one full day wine tour), then 3 nights in Cambria (one day traveling through and stopping in San Luis Obispo, one day to Big Sur, one day to Hearst Castle), 2 nights in Santa Barbara (city sights and urban wine trail), finally returning to LAX for the last night at an airport hotel.

So, which hotels would you choose?
In Santa Ynez Valley we’re considering Holiday Inn Express (Solvang) or Kronborg Inn (Solvang)

In Cambria we’re thinking Moonstone Landing or Little Sur Inn. We are also considering Best Western Cavalier in San Simeon.

In Santa Barbara we’re considering several. Brisas Del Mar, Secret Garden Inn, Cheshire Cat Inn, A White Jasmine Inn, Hotel Santa Barbara, or Holiday Inn Express. We’re mainly interested in the town attractions, not the beach—though walking along a beach is always fine, and the Brisas Del Mar is highly rated! The other hotels are, I believe, nearer to most downtown sights.

Are there others in our price range/style in each of these three areas that we should not overlook?

And, which all day wine tour company in the Santa Ynez Valley--Grapeline or Stagecoach?
Thanks!
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Old Nov 14th, 2014, 02:47 PM
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Solvang...Wine Valley Inn or Hotel Corque are better than either of those, but HIex is better located than BW Kronborg. Pick hotels with good cancellation policies as you might possibly arrive in LA on a rainy day with freeway shutdowns.
If you find something you like nearer the beach in SB don't count it out, the 50c trolley goes up and down State street all day, plus you have a car so you'll be fine, parking is pretty much a breeze in January.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 05:19 AM
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Thanks. We've checked out those two hotels, and think we'll go with the Wine Valley Inn. Seems perfect, and the location is much better. And seems better than those that we'd suggested. They also seem able to arrange a Grapeline wine tour if requested. So is that the wine tour company to go with, or should we choose Stagecoach and arrange ourselves? Or are there others?

What do you mean by LA rainy day and freeway shutdowns? Traffic tie ups or water on roads? Or something else? We're somewhat unfamiliar with the area.

Still thinking about which hotel for Santa Barbara and Cambria. Thanks for info on the trolley and parking. We'd read about the trolley and will probably take advantage of it.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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In Cambria I've usually stayed at Moonstone's Cambria Pines Lodge but only when it's been on sale through Travelzoo.

You might want to see if they've got any availability for your stay. Looks like it might work.

http://www.travelzoo.com/local-deals...ia-Pines-Lodge
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Thanks mlgb. I'm taking a fresh look at the Cambria Pines Lodge, though the travel zoo deal isn't right for us. Still the hotel itself might just work. It's close to town for dinner and walking around. We will have three evenings/nights there.

Clark, We've booked the Wine Valley Inn. Thank you.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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I've stayed at both Sand Pebbles Inn in Cambria as well as the Best Western Cavalier in San Simeon. I liked the BW a bit more and we got a room with a fireplace which would be nice in January but there are not a lot of places to eat in San Simeon, we had dinner at a decent Mexican restaurant across the street and half a block down from the BW. Of course you can drive to Cambria for dinner, only a 5-10 minute drive. Either town would be a nice place to stay on your trip.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 12:10 PM
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If it doesn't work because you would be there on the holiday I'd be cautious. The rooms weren't built to isolate sound and it can get noisy. That's why we go when the sales are on, because it reflects low season. We always stay in one of the fireplace rooms since they're on the top floor, away from thundering elephants.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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Mlgb, It’s complicated in the way it doesn’t work. We’d want 3 nights, arriving on Jan 3, a Saturday. If we booked the 2 night package, starting Saturday it would cost more. If we just booked a regular Fireplace King room we’d be able to stay in the same room (a smaller room, but there’s just the two of us and we don’t need a large suite that could sleep six). There’s also a special package on their website called Eat.Taste.Shop. for two nights with any room size. If we chose that then we’d just book the third as an add-on and stay in the same room. I think I need to place a phone call to the inn! Plus, the Fireplace King room would be on the top floor for less noise, right?

Jamie, I’m stilling looking at the BW in San Simeon, and I’ll check out the Sand Pebbles, but I wish there were more choices for dinner nearby. Any Santa Barbara hotel ideas?
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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Yes, give them a call. If you cite the discount code you found on Travelzoo they might be able to put something together and make sure you've got a top floor room.

Btw, the room should come with breakfast even if you don't book a dining package.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 01:05 PM
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We liked the Best Western Cavalier very much. It's oceanfront, and they light bonfires on the beach at night, with chairs set out. A nice touch. My room had a Swedish fireplace, and nice coffees.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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I forgot to recommend the Castillo Inn, Santa Barbara.
http://www.sbcastilloinn.com/about.html

It's set up like a motel. You have free parking and a continental breakfast included. It's a block to the marina.

Very reasonable price. Relatively newly renovated, very clean, very nice. We had a king suite that was quite large.
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Old Nov 15th, 2014, 02:14 PM
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I would only stay in Cambria two nights and add a night in Sabta Barbara, for why you have explained. One night after Big Sur and one night after Heart Castle and seeing the town. There just isn't that much to do there. You can see SLO on you way either north or south so you aren't backtracking and add the time in Santa Barbara where there is muh more to do and see.
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 08:43 AM
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"... you might possibly arrive in LA on a rainy day with freeway shutdowns."

What? L.A. freeways don't shut down when it rains. Construction projects affect a lane or two which can impact traffic speed for miles in each direction. An accident can similarly tie things up. If it's a deluge, traffic will slow to a crawl. But enough rain to close a freeway?? Nope.
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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I was talking about problems getting up to Solvang from Los Angeles in a heavy rainstorm. I don't think early January is considered rainy season but late Jan into February there are problems when there are heavy rains. Carpinteria Creek Bridge on the 101 does not even meet federal flood standards. It would be rare, but I just recommend checking weather.com a few days before your arrival as nobody wants non-cancellable reservations that they can't keep.
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 10:18 AM
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Extremely rare.

If it did rain that hard, the tie-up might be from people getting out of their cars and either looking up in the sky like turkeys, or jumping up and down for joy.
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Clark- Thanks for clarifying what you meant about rains. I appreciate the concern and we'll be sure to check weather before we leave on the trip. I did make a lodging reservation in Solvang that could be cancelled.

Tabernash2, We booked two nights at the Castillo Inn. It looks fine. Thanks for the recommendation.

Mlgb, After thinking and rethinking about the Cambria Pines, we decided not to go with it and we haven't booked anything yet for Cambria. Our thoughts about it were that the package seemed to be a good deal if you wanted to eat there. We thought we'd like to try different restaurants, so the advantage didn't seem to hold. Then we thought we'd just book the room, but we weren't sure we wanted that location. So, we're still looking.

lynni, We need 3 nights in Cambria, since we'll be spending much of the 1st day getting to Cambria. On the return trip to Santa Barbara, we'd like to take a slightly different route and stop along the coast at a few parks (Pismo Beach?), and maybe in Lompoc as well. If we get to SB by dinner, we'll be pushing it. We'll have the full next day and most of the following one (mid-late afternoon) before we head to the LAX airport hotel, which we also haven't booked yet.

I appreciate everyone's help. And thanks Jean for addressing the rain statement. I was still wondering about it.
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 10:29 AM
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Mlgb, Actually I might like to see that!
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 10:38 AM
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kathleen, I think you'll be happy with the Castillo Inn. It is a rare bargain in Santa Barbara, with such a great location. Easily walkable to the marina and a number of restaurants nearby.

In LA, look at the big name brands of hotels near LAX. The Sheraton is usually inexpensive, like $99, for example. Has a free airport shuttle, if you want to ditch your car the night before flight.

Slightly further away, but still with a complimentary airport shuttle, is the Custom Hotel.
http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/cali.../custom-hotel/
Prices there are usually around $159 for a queen deluxe.
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Thanks. I'll look into those hotels. We do plan on turning the car in the night before since our flight out is ridiculously early.
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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I stayed in Moonstone Landing in Cambria and loved it. Really nice B&B-ish hotel/motel. Cambria was a lot more expensive than I expected, I guess due to limited places on the beach and it's a popular spot to stop in-between LA and SF or Big Sur. I stayed there in-between Santa Barbara and Monterey.

http://www.moonstonelanding.com/

There are a couple restaurants you can walk to from there, one is right next door.
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