When my friend Carolyn moved up to Montecito near Santa Barbara, I was eager to take a trip to see her and tour her new home. I reserved one night at the newly rebranded Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Hotel. Located right along the American Riviera offering a coastal mediterranean atmosphere with ideal temperatures during the day, swaying palm trees, red tile roofs on white plaster buildings, and billowing sails skimming the Pacific Ocean.The beloved Fess Parker Hotel in Santa Barbara recently had a multi-million dollar renovation and rebranding to the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. The long-standing partnership with the Fess Parker family and Hilton remains intact. Eli and Ashley Parker, son and daughter of Fess Parker said, “The resort may have a new look and a new name, but will continue to provide the same first-class visitor experience that has made both locals and travelers feel at home for several decades.”Checking in, a Hilton staff member gave me a Welcome bag filled with two small bottles of Prosecco and two bottles of water. Walking inside our Room #334 we appreciated the balcony with two chairs and a table. It was an inviting spot to sit and overlook the heated pool and Pacific Ocean while sipping our sparkling wine. Inside was a spacious king size bed, sitting area with a sofa bed, mini refrigerator, safe, and bathroom with a full shower and two sinks.Since this resort charges a daily resort fee, it offers perks to justify the charge. Guests receive a card listing the special offers that include internet access; two-hour bicycle rental at the onsite bike rental area. Be sure to go to the front desk to get your certificate for complimentary bicycles. Guests can receive a glass of house wine (up to 2 adults) at The Set, a lively bistro-style spot. At sunset guest enjoy ocean breezes while sitting around flickering fire pits sipping cocktails and wine. Executive Sous Chef Patrick Clark prepares small bites to pair with drinks.Nearby at Rodney’s Grill, this talented chef uses sustainable seafood and naturally raised meats with the freshest local seasonal ingredients. The wine list offers an array of Fess Parker Wines, plus an array of California varieties to pair with his dishes. I just wish this dining room overlooked the lawn and beach. It feels a little closed in and overlooks the semi-enclosed rotunda Plaza Del Sol. This flexible space boasts 180-degree lawn and beach views. It’s a premier event and meeting destination offering indoor and outdoor space for beach weddings, conferences and parties. I think it would be a great restaurant destination too.
We took the complimentary bikes for a ride along the designated bike lanes next to the beach to the Santa Barbara Harbor. We turned around and rode them out to the end of the Santa Barbara Wharf, then to the Funk Zone and out to the Santa Barbara Zoo and Bird Sanctuary in two hours.Coming back I noticed a automatic water refill bowl filled with water and another with dog treats. The Hilton Santa Barbara is dog friendly. Guests can stay with a maximum of two dogs, up to 150 pounds. The fee is $50 per night.
For guests who fly into the Santa Barbara airport or take the train to the nearby Santa Barbara Amtrak Station, the resort offers complimentary shuttle service to the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Hotel.