Folksy touches bring new life to a Santa Barbara motel.
Lavender sachets on fluffy down pillows greet guests upon arrival. Amenities also include lavender-scented soaps and shampoos and bouquets of lavender flowers, not to a mention a welcome bottle of Champagne. It’s almost enough to make this 23-room property feel like an inn. The parking lot centerpiece, however, tells the story of a bedecked motor court. Still, Lavender Inn by the Sea offers reasonable comfort and enough folksy touches to satisfy most travelers. There’s an extensive library of DVDs, loaner bicycles and the hospitality industry’s go-to perk for creating a homey vibe: afternoon cookies and milk. More importantly, guest rooms have plush pillow-top beds with down duvets. The Fireside Suite offers a king bed and a living room with fireplace; the Lavender Jr. Suites have either a full kitchen or a full-size living room. While there is a small pool area, it’s not particularly inviting, as the parking lot abuts one side, busy Castillo Street the other. The waterfront and Santa Barbara Harbor are two blocks away, and from there it’s easy to hop aboard a trolley to Stearns Wharf or downtown.