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Canary Hotel

Santa Barbara, CA - Review

Downtown Revival

By Sara Benson

Casually chic locals mingle with guests at the Canary's rooftop bar, with its ocean view, glowing fireplace and open-air pool.
Casually chic locals mingle with guests on the Canary's rooftop bar—the only one in town—with its ocean view, glowing fireplace, open-air pool and regular food and wine events throughout the year.

Canary Hotel Review

With a nod to its hip sister hotels in Santa Monica, Canary revels in the role of Santa Barbara's most stylish property. Casually chic locals mingle with guests at the rooftop bar, where an ocean view, a glowing fireplace and an open-air pool with Jacuzzi complete the prototypical California scene.

While a rambling waterfront and Mediterranean climate undeniably are the city's top enticements, beach-going tourists often overlook its thriving arts and cultural scenes, boutique shopping and wine-country bistro cooking, all of which can be easily enjoyed by staying downtown at the Canary Hotel, just steps away from the action.

With fewer than 100 rooms and suites, the luxurious boutique hotel is relatively petite. But nevertheless, it thinks big. Owned by the Edward Thomas Collection (ETC Hotels), the same hotel group as Santa Monica's glamorous Casa Del Mar and Shutters on the Beach, Canary Hotel shares a similar California cool style, but with a Spanish Mediterranean twist that belongs entirely to Santa Barbara. The architecture echoes the hotel's namesake region of the Canary Islands (off the coast of Africa), with a lobby that also gracefully recalls Mission-era California, with wrought-iron chandeliers, decorative tiles, and overstuffed couches and chairs for convivial lounging, thanks to interior designer Michael Smith.

The Luxury Suite at Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA Chapala Terrace at Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA

A muted palette of red and gold warms guestrooms. Everything is presented with an artistic eye, from the imported bath tiles and hand-painted ceilings to the unique headboards and window treatments. Soft cotton-waffle bathrobes, locally made Forest Essentials organic bath amenities, pillow top mattresses and in-room spa treatments enhance a tropical-plantation air. Modern high-tech amenities haven't been forgotten either: flat screen TVs with DVD and CD players, multiple telephone lines and both wired and wireless high-speed Internet access. Junior suites have partially partitioned living rooms.

The property's meeting and event areas total 5,000 square-feet and accommodate up to 170 people. Finch & Fork restaurant is a well-designed space on the hotel’s ground floor.

The Canary Hotel succeeds in what it sets out to do: to capture the essence of a California beach resort while incorporating savvy urbane accents. From the property, it's a quick shuttle bus ride down to the ocean (complimentary tokens are available from the concierge), where you can laze away a sunny SoCal day. Or you can drive the winding back roads of Santa Barbara's wine country, as seen in the movie Sideways.

Canary Hotel
31 W. Carillo St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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(Updated: 05/21/13 CT)

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