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Paul Wellman

Hello Hotel Indigo

State Street’s Newest Hotel Brings Minimalist Design to Santa Barbara


The newest member to join the downtown Santa Barbara lodging scene sits just a stone’s throw from the train station on lower State Street. After a multimillion-dollar makeover, the former Hotel State Street how shines as Hotel Indigo, whose 41 rooms feature sleek platform beds, interactive 32-inch TVs, free WiFi, and European-style bathrooms (out with the shared bathrooms). There is also plenty of outdoor space, as 13 guest rooms offer private garden patios and there’s a spacious open-air lounge on the second floor.

Walking in from the street, the lobby’s minimalist design makes for a welcome distraction from the customary uniform of Spanish architecture that blankets Santa Barbara. The contemporary hotel takes its style cues from the surrounding Funk Zone, with interior decorating by Stevie Mason and Level 3 Design, and it also houses the CAF Satellite @ Hotel Indigo, a mini-gallery of art and site-specific installations, curated by the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum.

Developer Marc Recordon took The Santa Barbara Independent on a tour of the property and showed off the vertical garden brought in by French botanist Patrick Blanc, a library filled with books about contemporary art, and the touch-screen digital concierge technology that he helped develop, which puts guests in touch with his favorite spots to eat, shop, and drink. (This former concierge couldn’t help but be impressed!)

Hotel Indigo is also billed as being eco-friendly, with a filtered water-bottle refilling station and energy-efficient fixtures like double-pane windows and on-demand water heaters. In the property’s quest to reduce its carbon footprint, it has joined forces with the Santa Barbara Car Free Project to offer a $10 discount off the room rate for guests who stay at the hotel car-free. And with the train and new bus station next door, the trolley stop just outside the frontdoor, and bike and foot paths leading to Stearns Wharf or the downtown shopping area, it’s pretty easy to be car-free here.

It’s just a month into its existence, but with its art-centered theme and green initiatives, Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara looks to be a perfect reflection of the town that it can now call home.

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See indigosantabarbara.com.

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