by Lissa Poirot
The family-run property that is the Franciscan Inn is full of whimsy. Tucked away on a side street, just steps from the Santa Barbara beaches and marinas, the inn is a collection of what was originally three different hotels. Back when the current owner was just a girl, her family bought a 21-room, two-story inn in 1976. When an adjacent 1920’s ranch house went on the market, the family purchased the former stables, converting them into full suites for families. When another neighboring pay-by-the-hour motel closed, the family purchased that, too, and connected the properties to create a 53-room, U-shaped hotel that looks a bit disconnected, but is still a great little property. The old stable side just may be our favorite; the rooms are large and spacious, with lots of living space. The inn and motel sides have traditional rooms. While decorated to fit right into the Santa Barbara artistic beach community, the suites are where it’s at at the Franciscan.
The unique property is decorated with original art by local artists, and each room is furnished with its own pieces and own style. Visitors of the inn often return, and with so much room to spread out at the Franciscan, plus a convenient location, it’s no wonder families turn to the boutique property.
Our Editor Loves
- Suites accommodate up to six
- Walking distance from Santa Barbara's beaches
- Afternoon reception with fresh cookies
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
In the former ranch, suites feature one- and two-story spaces with queen beds in bedrooms and queen sofa beds downstairs, next to a full kitchen. Suites can sleep between four and six guests. The remodeled kitchens do not have stainless steel amenities, but they are fully functional with stoves, mini-fridges, microwaves, coffeemakers, dishwashers and all of the cookware and dinnerware needed to create daily meals. Wi-Fi is free in suites and all come with flat-screen TVs with complimentary HBO and DVD players.
Families can choose from five suites. Standard Suites, Manager's Suites and Franciscan Suites sleep four guests, or five with the addition of a rollaway bed. Edgewater Suites and Santa Barbara Suites come with three queen beds and can sleep up to six.
Traditional hotel rooms offer double, queen and king beds. All sleep between two and four guests, with the larger options offering two queen beds, two double beds or one king and one double bed. Amenities include flat-screen TVs with HBO and DVD players, free Wi-Fi, coffeemakers and bathrooms with shower/tub combinations.
I have stayed at several places around this location. I never had booked it as it was a little more $$ but this stay was worth the better accommodations. The location is near the harbor and very quiet. Morning walks to the harbor and the pier are very enjoyable.
Huge, immaculate, room. The furnishings and bedding are modern and visually appealing. Fabulous location. State Street and wharf approximately 5 to 15 minutes away. Many top-rated restaurants nearby. Train station nearby as well.
The inn features a small, heated outdoor pool. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A small reading/DVD library in the lobby offers families a place to relax with a book or to rent a movie for an in-room movie night.
The inn is within walking distance of Santa Barbara's harbor, where families can rent surreys or bicycles and enjoy the expansive pathways running alongside the coast.
The inn does not offer a restaurant, although it does provide a complimentary, continental breakfast in the lobby daily. It is served Monday through Friday from 7 to 10 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 to 10:30 a.m.
Every day, the inn offers freshly baked cookies in the lobby from 3 to 5 p.m.
The inn is within walking distance of harbor view restaurants. Families can choose from a variety of cuisines, such as California, seafood, Japanese, Thai and Italian.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
A coin-operated laundry facility is available.
Onsite parking is free at the inn.
Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at noon.
The Art of Smart Timing
Located steps from the marina in Santa Barbara, the inn and the area are beneficiaries of sunny, temperate climates year-round, making it a great place to visit at any time of year. It does receive more traffic at the holidays and on weekends, but families can still find deals throughout the year.
The inn is located two blocks from Santa Barbara Harbor, and within 20 minutes from the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. From Los Angeles International Airport, the inn is about two hours. Rent a car or take a taxi to the resort, depending on your family's needs during your stay.
Once at the Inn and in the Harbor area, guests won't need a car, as they can ride bicycles, rent surreys, walk pedestrian paths and enjoy the trolley service. To visit the greater Santa Barbara area, however, guests will want to have a car on hand.