By Trina Hendry

Most people would agree that it's great to be in the center of it all when you travel to a new city. But sometimes you find a place that lures you away just ever so slightly; a place that speaks to the vibe of a destination; a place where you can let your hair down and truly unwind. 

Enter The Kimpton Goodland, a boutique hotel located just 10 minutes north of Santa Barbara in a sun-drenched suburb called Goleta.

Situated just off the 101, and nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this bohemian-style hotel is the perfect retreat of surfers, wine-country road trippers and Santa Barbara weekenders alike. From the moment you pull up beside the vintage Country Squire wood-panelled house car in the driveway, you know you've arrived at someplace unique.

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Perhaps this is due to the fact that this bohemian oasis, which was formerly a roadside Holiday Inn (hard to believe, I know!), has all of the fixings of a SoCal beach house—whitewashed driftwood walls, earthy accents and a weathered leather sofa adorn the lobby, vintage surfboards suspend from the ceiling while old-school surf photography hangs from the walls, and colorful woven throw rugs, wicker lamps and rattan ottomans complete the retro chic surf vibe. 

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After a full day exploring Santa Barbara, Roxy Blue (my rescue pup) and I arrived just in time to partake in the hotel's social hour. Like all Kimpton Hotels, the Goodland offers a complimentary happy hour every evening, along with pet-friendly amenities—such as dog bowls and beds—to make every member of the family feel welcome. As I sat by the wood-burning fireplace, wine in one hand, a plate of blistered shishito peppers in the other, and Roxy waiting patiently by my feet for a taste, I relished about how lucky I am to be living my best life in California. A life that I created from scratch a long way away from home, and after many years of restless yearning for more.

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Our guestroom was minimally furnished with white walls, a trendy macrame wall hanging for a splash of texture and color, and a crisp, clean white duvet on the queen-sized bed.  A vintage turntable and vinyl records, as well as yoga mats, were fun additions to the room. Note to audiophiles: Be sure to check out the VYNL Record Store in the hotel lobby, and consult the Record Concierge for help putting together a custom playlist to enjoy in your room!


Once settled, Roxy and I ventured out to the pool area to kick back with my glass of wine by one of the outdoor fire pits. Santa Barbara cools down dramatically after the sun sets so the warmth of the fire is greatly appreciated for the after-dark alfresco cocktail hour.

The restaurant, Outpost, features California coastal cuisine using sustainable seafood and locally sourced ingredients As I had spent the day eating my way through Santa Barbara, dinner consisted only of light bites, including house-made guacamole with toasted pumpkin seeds, and a bowl of fried brussels sprouts tossed in yellow curry and served with roasted garlic aioli. Yum! 

Other perks of the hotel include, complimentary bikes to explore the area, a trivia night on Wednesdays, free yoga classes on Sunday mornings, a 24-hour fitness center, a courtyard swimming pool where local DJs spin on weekend, and the Good Bar, a retro-inspired cocktail bar featuring a cocktail list that highlights local ingredients, like lavender. There is also an retrofitted Airstream named Rita parked onsite that not only serves at the perfect backdrop for those Insta-worthy pics, but also serves drinks!

Speaking of Instagram, be sure to ask for the map of Instgrammable spots when you check-in. Tag the hotel and you'll receive discounts at Outpost!

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I booked the stay on the  Hotel Tonight app for a decent rate but was a bit disappointed by the additional $25 resort fee. While I understand the purpose of it—to allow guests to enjoy the hotel's various amenities and activities, I didn't feel there was enough happening at the hotel at that time to justify it. In all, I had an enjoyable experience at the Goodland and, with it just being a short drive away, I would recommend it as a fun alternative to the more luxurious hotels in downtown Santa Barbara.

Hotel Basics

  • Rooms:  158
  • Style: Boho Chic
  • Atmosphere: Lively (although not at the time I was there)