Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara Review

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For those that have been following my blog, you probably know by now my family is a huge fan of the SoCalCation, or family getaways that are easy driving distance from Orange County.  With our two little ones, now 2 1/2 and 5 1/2, it is a dream to load up the car and be at our destination within a few hours.

My oldest daughter had Presidents’ Week off school last week so I thought it would be fun to go somewhere together. When thinking of places, I realized that although I went to UCSB and spent four years there, I had yet to visit with my family! The thought of visiting my old college stomping grounds (and one of my favorite cities in the entire universe) with my family sounded like so much fun.

Once we decided on our destination, next order of business was where to stay? When looking at hotels to stay with the family in Santa Barbara, location was number one priority to me. I wanted a convenient hotel that was walking distance to all the major downtown attractions, which is how I happened upon Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara.

Special thanks to Trekaroo for the awesome review – after reading I was sold. Now that we have experienced our own stay at Hotel Oceana, I am excited to share my own Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara review because we absolutely fell in love with this property!

Situated on Cabrillo Blvd. across the street from the ocean and beautiful expansive beaches, my favorite part about staying at this hotel was the stunning view and amazing convenience.

In our 3 1/2 day stay, we actually only used our car one time to go to the Santa Barbara Zoo. The rest of the time, we walked everywhere! It was so relaxing to not have to load and unload the kids in the car for outings.

From the hotel we were able to walk to the beach, Sterns Wharf, marina, State Street (Santa Barbara’s main strip with tons of shops and restaurants), ocean view playgrounds, you name it! In my opinion, this hotel has the best location in all of downtown Santa Barbara.

I absolutely love bright decor and Spanish style artitecture and this property was delightfully bright and cheery. Bright colored striped rugs decorated the walk ways and colorful foliage hung in Spanish style pots throughout the hotel. Although a fairly large property, the way the buildings were spread out with picturesque courtyards tucked in between, the hotel had a very intimate and quaint feel. It was hard to not be immediately in “vacation mode” when stepping foot into Hotel Oceana.

When staying at a hotel with my kids, to me it is not a true relaxing vacation unless there are separate sleeping quarters for the kiddos, so the Deluxe King Room with sleeper sofa was perfection. Best part? The sleeper sofa was tucked into a separate little alcove with a door that closes off the main room, and my hubby and I got the big comfy King sized bed, TV and access to the bathroom without worrying about waking the kids after putting them down at 8pm.

And the silly girls had such a fun time sleeping in their own little room – felt like a cozy fort to them! They were in heaven!

We got a beautiful room on the second floor with an ocean view, and we found the accommodations to be very comfortable. Although the room was not overflowing with a ton of bells and whistles, we had everything we needed during our stay including a little mini-fridge, iPod docking station and most important to me: a Keurig Coffee Maker and free WI-FI!

Here was the amazing view from our room…

Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara includes a free European Style Continental Breakfast every morning from 7am – 10am weekdays (10:30am weekends) in a charming Bistro with indoor and outdoor seating.

It was so nice to not have to get the kids fully dressed to go out to breakfast. Each morning we all sort of rolled out of bed, threw on our sweats and hit the Bistro for an amazing spread of muffins, bagels, oatmeal, cereal, fruit, ham, cheese, coffee, tea and more.

Having a breakfast included is a huge time and money saver as well!

[Photo credit: Hotel Oceana]

My oldest learned to swim last summer and turned into a little fish. So when we learned there were two separate heated (HEATED! Yes, HEATED!) pools, one of which also had a newly refinished Jacuzzi, I knew where we would be spending a majority of our time.

Lined with poolside cabanas, colorful towels and comfy lounge chairs for relaxation, the pools were great and having them heated was awesome! One day my daughter swam for 5 straight hours. Only in So Cal in February can you do that!

[Photo credit: Hotel Oceana]

The Fitness Center was adjacent to the main pool and they also have a mobile spa service available as well. Sadly to say I did not get to experience either firsthand, but that just means we need to make another trip back!

Hotel Oceana also offers complimentary two hour beach cruiser rentals. One beautiful morning I got one of these bikes and my husband ran my youngest in the jogger and we all cruised along the beachside boardwalk.

One of our favorite stops along the way was Chase Palm Park, but I will save my favorite things to do with kids activities for another post as this one could get quite lengthy! Stay tuned!

If you are looking for a great place to vacation with your family in Santa Barbara, I can’t more highly recommend staying at the very family friendly Hotel Oceana. It was one of the best trips we have ever had, and we will take those memories with us forever! Thank you Hotel Oceana for the most incredible stay!
Follow Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara on Facebook 

Here are a few of my favorites I took on Instagram

[Disclosure: My family received a complimentary stay to help facilitate a review. This is not a compensated post and all my opinions are my 100% honest ones. I am so excited to share this property with you and can’t wait to share all that Santa Barbara has to offer little ones!] 


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  1. 1
    jessica mercer says:

    very excited to read this review as we are heading up that way in august . We will Definatelty stay here.

    • 2
      Jen says:

      You will love it! Such an amazing location! Depending on the ages of your kids, definitely throw in their bikes/scooters, etc. in the car. And bring a good stroller (we brought our jogger) if you have little ones. Makes it easier to walk out to the restaurants, etc.
      One last thing – go to Brophy Bros in the Marina at some point. The clam chowder is to DIE FOR!
      So much fun! The ZOO was amazing too.

  2. 3
    Candace says:

    I love instagram! What is your name on IG and I will follow you 🙂

    • 4
      Jen says:

      I am tinyorangesoc – just started using it! SO FUN!

  3. 5
    Donna says:

    Loved your review. Husband and I are taking our twin boys for a little get a way at end of month and plan to book hotel and use your 3 day trip guise. Love all the ideas. We have never been to Santa Barbara and we only live 2 hours away. Thanks for the time you put in to your writing to help others make decisions. So appreciated!

  4. 6
    Jen says:

    Thank you Donna! Have the best time!

    Please make sure to read my post on Things to Do in Santa Barbara with Kids:

    There is so much to explore!

    Happy travels!

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