An escape à la Provence in Santa Barbara's Old Town.
This is a rarity: a historic downtown hotel that's bright and shiny as a new penny. After a $4 million makeover, this property is delightful, with colorful, well-priced rooms, free continental breakfast and valet parking. The 75 air-conditioned, non-smoking accommodations are almost French country with their blue carpet, yellow walls and floral bedspreads. Rooms feature high-speed Internet access, pillowtop mattresses, coffee makers and writing desks, while suites supply DVD/CD players and waffle/terry robes. The hotel may not have a pool or restaurant (apart from a handy Starbucks outlet), but with this incredibly central State Street location, they may not be missed. Of course, such a prime location means that light sleepers can expect significant street noise, especially on weekends. Amidst the shopping district of Santa Barbara's Old Town, the few attractions not within walking distance can most likely be reached via the shuttle that stops at the hotel. Meeting rooms with high-speed Internet connections, both wireless and standard, are available. Business travelers can borrow laptops, as well.