Where else in California can one indulge in Spanish colonial culture and a unique laid-back luxury experience nestled between the mountains and the sea than in sunny Santa Barbara?
During last week’s Destination: Third Thursday presentation, the team from Visit Santa Barbara immersed the Visit California staff in the simultaneously earthy and elegant “American Riviera” – a region that shines in the heart of the idyllic Central Coast.
Mediterranean influence gives the destination its signature red-tiled flair, evidenced with each street and building. This distinctive destination boasts a distinct “accessible luxury” environment, one where visitors can do just about everything with an appropriate libation in hand.
Travelers from all walks of life make their way to Santa Barbara, according to leaders from the DMO, including families seeking oceanic adventure, wedding parties and honeymooners enjoying the romantic scenery, wine lovers and affluent vacationers alike. And there is no lack of activity, as the dramatic landscape and etesian climate allow for diverse touring experiences across the region
Aside from the unique setting, one of the main appeals in visiting Santa Barbara is the high-level hospitality services. Even with the massive rate of hotel growth this year – including 660 new rooms being added to five hotel projects – one thing that remains a constant is the attention to detail each industry member pays to their guests. Whether travelers find themselves in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito or Summerland, quality accommodations are a priority and staple of hospitality purveyors in the region.
But Santa Barbara may be best known for its cuisine. As Noelle Buben, Visit Santa Barbara’s director of marketing and events, points out: “You can’t have a bad meal in Santa Barbara.”
The Visit California offices were lucky enough to get a real taste of the fresh ingredients that originate in the Central Coast region when special guest Alvaro Rojas, owner of Alcazar Tapas Bar and renowned competition mixologist, demonstrated how to make an award-winning, Lotusland-inspired mocktail using a shrub made with local apple cider vinegar and lemons from his own backyard.
With upscale amenities and a bohemian flair, there is truly something for everyone when visiting Santa Barbara. The subtle changes in the seaside town do not compare to the iconic characteristics that stay the same — the old that is made to seem new for every visitor who charts a coastal course.
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