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We arrived far too early for check-in, though we weren’t complaining about waiting for our hotel room on a soft sand beach. We slipped on our shades, lost our shoes, and grabbed a few freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to-go as the Californian sunshine beckoned us to the beach.

The most ideal location on the Santa Barbara coast, The Fess Parker: A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort is your home away from home – beach included!

An upscale, luxury retreat with signature Santa Barbara red tile roofs, perfectly positioned between the mountains and the beach, there is no need to compile a listicle when recommending where to stay in Santa Barbara – no other property will define your Californian experience quite like this retreat.

Literally steps from the beach, the Fess Parker offers everything you could ever want from an authentic Californian vacation. A dramatic mission-style hotel which sits on 24 beautiful beachfront acres in Southern California, the hotel truly captures the architectural details reflected in their Mission and Spanish colonial history, and the chance to explore the immaculate grounds is enough to draw you away from the beach.

Think swaying palm trees and fresh ocean air, tropical gardens and colored plants with incredible flair. The grounds and gardens are beautifully manicured and wind their from the entrance of the resort throughout its center, making a walk of the grounds a Santa Barbara attraction in itself.

We stumbled upon beach bike rentals, hummingbirds investigating the hibiscus, and hidden garden courtyards with patio furniture shaded by outdoor umbrella’s which were dotted around the gardens and grounds.

A definite perk of the resort, regardless of your room, every guest is treated to a view. Whether you choose to book to overlook the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Ynez Mountains, or the lush gardens on-site, each newly renovated room includes a furnished patio or balcony, and despite our room being categorized as a “resort view”, being on the third floor meant it included partial Pacific views too.

With a rich decor that reflects the hotel’s relaxing seaside location, we were pleasantly surprised with the spacious set-up of the standard King-size rooms. A large open living area with comfortable sofa which extended past the end of the bed offered plenty of room to move, space for a computer desk (WiFi included), and our private balcony overlooking the pool and Pacific.

With a knock on the door shortly after arrival, a bottle of Syrah from Fess Parker Winery was delivered to our room – located in an area where cooler coastal climate conditions create the perfect conditions for grapes of exceptional quality, Santa Barbara Wine Country and the Santa Ynez Valley are premiere destinations for touring and tasting the best of Californian wine.

Wine packages are available starting at $189 per night. These include complimentary breakfast and parking as well as a complimentary wine tasting at the Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos.

As a large property which caters to many meetings and events, we found this to mean the hotel amenities and grounds were refreshingly uncrowded and quiet. While the car park was full, guests tied up in conferences and meetings all day is just the way we like it, and made for a relaxed afternoon enjoying the heated pool in complete privacy.

Though the pool was also likely empty due to our proximity to the beach. Tough decision between the two! The below photo is also the view from our room.

Where to Stay in Santa Barbara

The Fess Parker DoubleTree by Hilton Resort is a pet friendly hotel located just half a mile from downtown Santa Barbara where there are plenty of things to do. There are multiple onsite restaurants (five in fact), a Hertz rental car desk located in the main lobby and a complimentary airport shuttle service from 5am to 9pm daily.

The resort features a fitness center, tennis court, relaxing spa, full service salon and family activities – it really is your home away from home – beach included!

Rates start from $169 a night – phenomenal value for one of the most picturesque hotels in Southern California offering the perfect scenery for a vacation of any kind. We would like to thank the staff for being outstanding hosts. We couldn’t find fault with our stay.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

We were guests of DoubleTree by Hilton.  In no way were our opinions shaped by the proximity to the beach, luxurious rooms, amazing hotel staff or freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! 


  1. So fancy. I would love to visit Santa Barbara, not for the wine, just for the beauty.. and I guess this would be a nice place to stay.

    • It is such a beautiful resort! Seriously one of the best things about our evening was just walking around the grounds :)

      Santa Barbara is definitely a great spot to visit if you’re after the best of California’s beautiful scenery – you’ve got a combination of everything :) Happy travels!

  2. wow, that place is stellar. I have done the drive up the California cost a few times, and we always make a point to stop at a different Mission each time. Maybe next trip we will actually need to stay in a mission-style hotel like this!

    • Absolutely – hope you do get the chance Mike – you won’t be disappointed, trust me!

  3. Damn! This place looks amazing! How did they ever get you to leave? The views especially looked awesome :)

    • I know right! I wonder what they would do if you just decided to become a squatter lol

  4. I love the shot of the tall pal trees against the hotel! This looks magical! I want to stay here!

    • It really was just such a magical stay – we literally ended up just walking the beach and then roaming the hotel grounds during our time in SB because it was such an amazing place!

  5. I love the Fess Parker and Santa Barbara. It’s so lovely there and there’s so much to do. I bet your stay was amazing.

    • So glad to hear! It’s magical indeed!

  6. Oh, one of the places I want to see in my lifetime.
    I run a blog:
    Please have a look and comment.

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