Hotel Californian | High-Glam Explosion | Travel Blogger

We’re not in Virginia, anymore! The Caroline Doll visits Hotel Californian, where the East influences the West!

Wandering through the halls of Hotel Californian, one would expect to find the bustling narrow streets of a Medina just on the other side. Sequential runs of bold black and white stripes mimic the arches of the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. Jeweled toned pillows laced with earthy arabesques invite you to stay and rest in rooms similar to a Mihrab, a niche you would find hidden within the walls of a mosque. No, we are not in Virginia, anymore! 


This is what makes Hotel Californian California’s newest destination resort. It is precisely that, a destination, a place to which one must journey. 

Rather than the hot sands of a Moroccan dessert blazing on the other side of Hotel Californian’s walls, however, Hotel Californian is located in the midst of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, known for its high energy festive bars, galleries, and boutique eateries!


The hotel gives life to the bones of the original Hotel Californian which was built in 1925 and sadly destroyed by an earthquake one week post opening. Its exteriors proudly stand in the style of Spanish Colonial Revival while the interiors give way to the Moorish influence so entrenched throughout Spain and Portugal. What lifts the hotel out of the colonialism of the past and into the modernism of the present, however, is the overall design concept.

Filtered through a sense of “high-glam explosion,” as described by the designer, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, himself, the hotel is luxury at its finest! No wall, piece of furniture, or textile should ever go un-touched. Attention to these things is a sure sign of luxury to me — I think Bullard and I share a very similar philosophy! It seemed like every room had its own distinct Azulejos, painted tin-glazed ceramic tiling, art work, really! 

My favorite destination within this destination had to be the rooftop, though. “Tucked between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean,” the rooftop makes the perfect showcase to Santa Barbara, the American Riviera. 

I always, always say that whenever I travel, I have to stay in a place that transports me to another place, and even time! While I have never been to North Africa, I can certainly say I have a feeling for what it may be like after staying at Hotel Californian, along with Spain and Portugal! 


Definitely not in Virginia, anymore!

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