Hotel Santa Barbara’s Grand Tradition

Hotel Santa Barbara continues a grand tradition which began in 1876 when the City of Santa Barbara was still a sleepy pueblo. 

 

Owner Neal Callahan’s Name on the Building
Neal Callahan constructed the earthquake-destroyed hotel.  If you look at the front of the building you can see his name above the awning.

 

Part One: Quick Getaway to Santa Barbara

The Valet attendant asked if we live in Telluride, Colorado.

Why?

Oh, yeah I wore a black hat bought on our Awesome Empty-Nest Adventures in Colorado.

He said his dad loves Telluride and may have a vacation home there.

I didn’t really listen as I did the mental calculation about how to park our car and cart our clothes in without tipping.

Self-Serve Room Cart in Lobby Near Elevator

Cheap?

Yup, plus we’re on the hook for paying $15 a day already for parking.

We chatted for a couple of minutes.

“If not Telluride, where are you from?” he asked.

Of course, I told him Orange County and then  launched into the traffic and accident and …

“Where abouts?” he asked.

Rooms at the Santa Barbara Hotel

Turns out his dad was in Ventura, so he called him to  warn him and to find out more about flipped car accident.

Then he leaves to check out when we can check in.

Emma joins our valet to see if we can be upgraded to a nicer room, since we have to kill some time.

But, no.

When we get the green light signaling our room is available, we carry our stuff into the lobby.

Classic Otis Elevator at Santa Barbara Hotel

The Ventura valet-son instructed us how to operate the old-time, double door elevator which took us to our fourth floor room that overlooked the hustle and bustle on State Street.

“The modern Otis elevator contains antique design elements including the original spring-loaded scissor gate.  Hop on board to enjoy the remaining  historic details.”

 

The lobby and ambiance so reminded us of the Montecito Inn, so we felt right at home again in Santa Barbara.

My wife inspected every nuance of our room.

She revisited a map handed to her by the registration hostess.

She declared each of our Friday evening events were all within walking distance.

And, then calculated just how long we could enjoy our non-driving relaxations before dressing for dinner and a concert.

Meanwhile, I conducted my deep, background research.

Oh, okay I got the history from a card on our desk next to the other card telling us how to log into WiFi.

Historical Society Shows Hotel Santa Barbara’s Earlier Days

“Past and Present

Hotel Santa Barbara continues a grand tradition which began in 1876 when the City of Santa Barbara was still a sleepy pueblo. 

Since the early days, a hotel has always been located on the site now occupied by Hotel Santa Barbara. 

Southern California Earthquake Data Center at Caltech

In 1925, a major earthquake destroyed much of downtown Santa Barbara, including what was then called the Santa Barbara Hotel. 

Vowing never to lose another building to an earthquake, the owner constructed a new hotel, the Saint Barbara, to specifications far exceeding those required at the time. 

Owner Neal Callahan’s Name on the Building

(Neal Callahan constructed the earthquake-destroyed hotel. 

If you look at the front of the building you can see his name above the awning.)

Apparently the Saint Barbara was not always quite a saint. 

Local legend has it that liquor was always available in the hotel during Prohibition, and that for years, a “secret’ gaming room flourished somewhere near the lobby. 

Clark Gable (Wikipedia)

The Saint Barbara eventually became The Barbara Hotel and a getaway for many of Hollywood’s brightest stars. 

“After the rebuild the hotel became a celebrity getaway. 

Clark Gable and Carol Lombard were frequent guests, and eyewitnesses claim Leo Carrillo rode his horse around the lobby on several occasions.”

Leo Carrillo (Wikipedia)

Following World War II, the area and hotel’s popularity gradually declined and eventually the doors closed to Hollywood’s celebrities and travelers from around the world. 

The hotel wasn’t reopened until the late 1960s, and in 1975 was purchased by Rolland and Venetia Jacks. 

With the help of their children they revitalized the hotel and for many years served both residential and leisure guests. 

By the mid 1990’s the Old Town area in which the hotel is located had improved so dramatically that the Jacks concluded it was time for a major renovation. 

The hotel close for renovation in November 1966. Nine months and $ million  later it emerged as a reborn classic … Hotel Santa Barbara.”

But, enough about that.

That was then.

Time to join the bustling parade buzzing on State Street below our window for our night out on the town.

Part Three:  Night TRAPs – Walk. Drink. Eat. Groove.

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