Greg’s Getaway: My experience at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Santa Barbara is often called the California Riviera. The idyllic town of white, mission-styled architecture and rolling hills is located on the ocean and boasts a perfect Mediterranean climate. One of the crown jewels along this stretch of coast is The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, which sits across from the beach and offers guests a front-row seat to all the charm of the city.
A friend and I recently escaped to the resort for a day and night of beautiful scenery, delicious food and joyous relaxation.
Our getaway began when we checked into a modern and comfortable suite overlooking the resort pool and gardens. Our 650 square-foot junior suite featured a 55″ HDTV, compact refrigerator, Wi-Fi, tea/coffee maker, clock radio with mp3 connection and a telephone. The room also boasted a spacious balcony with table and chairs where we absorbed a memorable view of the resort’s lush gardens and relaxed with a glass of wine after unpacking.
Once acquainted with the room we explored the property. Located on 24, lush acres of lawns, gardens and flower-lined paths, the elegant, Spanish Mission-styled resort is nestled between the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. The property boasts three restaurants and a wine tasting room.
The Roundhouse, located adjacent to the lobby, offers daily breakfast delights and a hearty buffet selection. The Set serves lunch and dinner and offers seasonal menus and selection of classic dishes. And Java del Mar is a convenient café in the resort lobby, serving a variety of on-the-go snacks, sandwiches, breakfast items and Starbucks coffee.
The resort also features a fitness center, with state-of-the-art equipment, heated outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, three night-lighted tennis courts, bicycle rentals, free shuttle service and more. And if this isn’t enough, the place is pet-friendly, with acres of landscaped grounds to walk your pooch, and a helpful concierge that can advise on everything from dog-friendly beaches and off-leash parks to hiking trails in the nearby mountains.
The hotel occupies the former site of two locomotive roundhouses built by the Southern Pacific Railroad built in 1911 and 1925. The resort was originally named after actor Fess Parker, who purchased it in 1986 and who was best known for his television roles as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. In 2016, the property was redesigned and reopened as Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
After touring the grounds, I worked out at the fitness center and relaxed by the pool and soaked in the jacuzzi. For dinner we dined at The Set and sat on the patio beside a fire pit overlooking the ocean.
Our meal began with poke nachos – sashimi grade tuna, mango, pickled cucumber, wasabi crema, scallion and fried wonton. For the main course I had Short Rib Bourguignon, braised fess parker ranch short ribs, turnip, parsnip, pearl onion, carrot, mashed potato and braising jus. My friend had pan seared salmon with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, haricorts verts, cauliflower, caper-lemon relish and aged balsamic. While eating we sipped local Fess Parker Syrah wine and breathed in the cool sea breeze that swept through the courtyard.
After dinner, we crossed the street and walked along the sand and water to the Santa Barbara Pier and then walked down busy State Street, the town’s main drag. Back at the hotel we had a nightcap at The Set lounge.
In the morning we had breakfast at The Roundhouse, which is also located in the hotel’s massive, stately lobby. Our meal featured smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese and potatoes and eggs with toast and coffee. After eating we walked back to the beach and sat on the sand, enjoying incredible views of small boats bobbing offshore and the Channel Islands in the distance.
The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is located at 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. For more information on current specials and on staying at the resort, call (800) 879-2929 or visit: www.hiltonsantabarbarabeachfrontresort.com.