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The Hideaway Santa Barbara: Easygoing Luxury by the Beach and Near the “Zone”

by Elyse Glickman

Aug 28, 2020

Photo: Kirkwood Collection

Destinations / North America

Santa Barbara constitutes the perfect cocktail of upscale, artsy Southern California-hewn beach living and northern California’s eco-friendly lifestyle and posh-but-approachable wine culture. And, as far as new boutique hotels go, the Kirkwood Collection’s Hideaway Santa Barbara captures this spirit. The Hideaway is a nine-room marvel of expert repurposing with an interesting story. It was built in 1908 as a private home and carriage house, constructed in the California Craftsman style, and later converted into student housing for a local college.


Hideaway Santa Barbara Solarium Exterior. Photo: Kirkwood Collection


The appropriately named Hideaway is a quiet, comfortably elegant antidote to the busy luxury resorts, particularly for honeymooning and baby-mooning couples and other adults seeking out that rare balance of convenience and privacy. The staff is young and well informed about what’s on and good in town, but also delightfully unpretentious, ensuring each guest can enjoy this little piece of Santa Barbara paradise as they wish.


Hideaway Santa Barbara Entry. Photo: Kirkwood Collection


There are many wonderful bed-and-breakfast touches, including afternoon cookies and Champagne, a daily vegetarian breakfast cooked to order and fresh-brewed Coastal Peaks Coffee in the lobby. These are deftly combined with several creature comforts one would find inside the area’s best larger hotels, including French bath products, luxury linens, rain showerheads, Apple TVs, JBL Bluetooth clock radios, fireplaces and a dual-zone wine cooler mini-fridge. Natural light is also a big selling point, with large windows and skylights setting the mood in the suites, as well as the solarium/breakfast nook and living room-style lobby. Parking is also a breeze, with a car space for every suite in the carriage house.


Hideaway Santa Barbara. Photo: Kirkwood Collection


The Hideaway’s romantic ambiance is further enhanced with views of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the historic Fernald Mansion along with its own pretty landscaping. The beach and trails are a short walk in one direction while Santa Barbara’s emergent, trendsetting Urban Wine Trail and Funk Zone neighborhood — a village unto itself — is a few minutes in the other.


Amid the funky diners, art galleries, winery tasting rooms, shops and seafood emporiums scattered around the neighborhood, there are a few one-of-a-kind locales you could spend hours grazing on chef-driven food and savoring some of the best wines coming out of Santa Barbara’s production areas. Margerum Wine Company provides a large, sophisticated space designed for those who want to sip and linger in the afternoon or early evening. While regulars will order a glass of their favorites, you can order one of the Tasting Room Flights and pair them with a nicely curated cheese and charcuterie board or go all in on a pizza or two, or go luxe with the signature Arugula Salad with smoked duck, dried cherries and goat cheese.


Hideaway Santa Barbara Suite Guestroom. Photo: Kirkwood Collection


Chef Peter Lee’s inspired tapas, paella dishes and some evocative Iberian-influenced interior design practically makes Loquità a gateway to Spain. The details are there, from the gin-and-tonic cocktails to tiled adornments to a busy open kitchen that’s as aromatic and visually interesting as some tapas cafés in Barcelona and Seville. However, the acclaimed chef (whose résumé includes Las Vegas’ Joel Robuchon, Sonoma’s El Dorado Kitchen and Los Angeles’ Gusto) makes things interesting with his Korean heritage and fresh ingredients from nearby farms in classics like croquetas and patatas bravas and tapas with steelhead trout, beef or spiny lobster.


Hideaway Santa Barbara Suite Guestroom. Photo: Kirkwood Collection


For casual breakfasts and lunches, Helena Avenue Bakery (which bakes the bread served at Loquità) epitomizes the “dine like a local” mindset. While just-baked breads, Swiss-style pretzels and pastries are available for picnics, there are plenty of excuses to dine in, from a tangy tortilla soup and addictive fried potatoes to burgers, salads and home-style main dishes weaving in whatever is in season. The ambiance is pure wine country, from the wine barrel accents to a bar dispensing local wines and beers to an open-concept bakery.


If shopping is your thing, look beyond the multitude of surf shops and trendy Los Angeles-style boutiques and bee-line to Loveworn. This hidden spot amid several restaurants is a delightful mash-up of art gallery and clothing shop specializing in vintage pieces and designs reworked into striking statement pieces.


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