We can think of so many reasons to book a staycation in Santa Barbara. Between its stunning beaches, scenic Spanish & Colonial architecture, wineries, local restaurants, and curated shops for a little retail therapy, Santa Barbara is an out of LA hotspot that, ideally, is a place to visit any time of year. But here’s what we really love about good ol’ SB. It’s a weekend or vacation destination that truly gives you a feeling of ultimate relaxation. And if you’re staying at the new Courtyard Santa Barbara Downtown, which is also home to its signature restaurant Saint Remy, you’ll get to Monday with a recharge like no other.
We got the chance to visit the stylish new Courtyard Santa Barbara Downtown, a Marriott hotel, which sits on the iconic State Street, and BONUS! It’s just a few blocks alway from the vibrant downtown scene (including the Funk Zone). But stepping through the doors of the hotel, you’ll immediately feel those calm coastal vibes. Washes of blues, neutrals and gold compliment the lobby’s cozy waiting area for check in, and if you get a chance to be checked in by Aron, consider yourself lucky. He was incredibly helpful in navigating parking and locating the hotel’s key spots and amenities, like the hotel’s full gym, two rooftop terraces ( both with gorgeous sunset views of the Santa Barbara skyline) its sparkling pool and spa, and fire pit. Yeah, we wouldn’t expect anything less from a hotel owned by the classy former ABC bachelor, Andrew Firestone (remember him? we do…he was a total fan favorite). As far as the guest rooms, they were super chic, modern and bright and some come with a spacious balcony. The bathrooms also had superior lighting too. A plus for us since nice bright white lights are a necessity when it comes to applying makeup and doing your hair for dinner. Speaking of dinner, let’s chat about the hotel’s restaurant, which is about to become Santa Barbara’s next great local hot spot.
Dinner at Saint Remy was a total casual vibe. It’s not stuffy or pretentious, but the way they’ve crafted their food and drink menu screams upscale. Upon entering Saint Remy, you’re greeted with a super large, super cute instagram worthy sign of the restaurant. Inside, there is a large L-shaped bar, common areas with TV’s to sit, drink and watch a game, cozy booths with their own TV’s too, plus a spacious and long table for bigger parties. You also won’t be disappointed with their drink menu. It has cocktail options that range from margaritas, espresso martinis, Old fashioned’s to a phenomenal wine list. We went for an off menu drink crafted by bartenders Johnny and Jorge: a blood orange margarita. Yeah, it was pretty delicious.
Food is a fusion between Mediterranean and coastal themes, and their plates are large enough for sharing. We began with a warm Whipped Feta cheese dip and calamari then, for our entree’s, we had the shrimp capellini and crispy short rib hummus. Honestly we could have taken one of everything off the menu, and hung out until the lights when out. And this restaurant is that place: where people can meet up , share a drink, share some food and connect for an overall good time. We’re certain the bar is going to be a major go-to for locals and of course, those just visiting. We rounded out the night by ordering dessert. There were two simple options on the menu: churros or Italian cream puffs. We went for the churros which were delicious. They tasted authentic and completely homemade.
Now as much as we loved our amazing dinner, we loved breakfast even more. Saint Remy has an incredible well rounded menu. They’ve also sectioned it off with a hearty breakfast list and lighter wellness options. On the breakfast side, you can choose between delicious and filling plates like the Nutella crunch French Toast, the farmhouse sandwich, pancakes or a veggie filled fritatta. On the wellness side, there’s avocado toast ( a staple, for us angelenos), oatmeal, and parfaits. The bar is also open to order bloody mary’s, mimosas and, of course, bottomless coffee.
During our visit, we were also able to meet a team member from the hospitality group who shared a little behind the scenes info on the hotel and restaurants concepts, plus their plans for the rest of the year. We’d hate to spill their secrets, but we’ll say this,think more elevated cocktails, on tap libations, and maybe a couple of rooftop events. Yup, just the reason we need to come back and host a summer friends-cation weekend at this chic new hotel and restaurant. Plus it helps that Santa Barbara is only two hours away from LA and the drive is pretty scenic with some of the most stunning beaches outside your window.
Pro Tip: Look up these hidden gems, Miramar Beach and Hammond’s Beach in Montecito (minutes from downtown SB), both are local favorites and have some epic views.
Can’t make it to Santa Barbara for Spring Break? No problem. Here are some ideas to make the most of it in LA.