On October 5, about 250 guests, including community and business leaders, politicians, philanthropists, hospitality industry professionals and the media celebrated the ceremonial opening of the Hotel Californian with a ribbon-cutting party. This ultra high-end hotel, a Preferred Hotels & Resorts property, has 121 rooms and sits on three of the four parcels at the corner of State and Mason Streets.
Managing Director Carlos Lopes and General Manager Warren Nocon personally greeted the guests as they ascended the few steps to the 4,200 square foot Court of Califia Plaza for the festivities. Michael Rosenfeld, CEO of Woodridge Capital Partners, the hotel owner, related how he was feeling “overwhelmed with gratitude and excited about the beginning of a great journey here in Santa Barbara and the end of a long road coming up to this point.” During the program, Rosenfeld related how “we want everyone to feel welcome here…locals and travelers alike … we want them to feel that Californian is their new home.”
Mayor Helene Schneider noted how important tourism is to our economy, but that what she “really appreciates about this particular project is how open it is for the people who live here.” She encouraged guests to tour the facility, share it with visitors and enjoy it themselves. In paraphrasing the Eagles, she quipped, “check this place out as much as you like, but you will never want to leave.”
Schneider then presented Rosenfeld with a Certificate of Recognition for all the love and care he put into the project, and then she had the honor of cutting the big red ribbon with the big black and silver scissors.
All of the hotel rooms are in the two buildings on the south side of the intersection, except for a 1,700 presidential suite, which is in the third building. There is also a 3,000 square foot ballroom, a Turkish-inspired spa, fitness center, two rooftop decks (one with a pool), meeting rooms, and a boutique.
Blackbird, open for dinner only, features a fine dining menu but shorts and flip-flops are welcome. Goat Tree offers all-day casual dining. Room rates start at $550.
The original Hotel Californian, located on the same site, first opened in 1925 and was part of the new wave of Spanish Colonial Revival style structures built in Santa Barbara. A week after opening, the notorious earthquake struck, which forced the hotel to close for massive repairs. It reopened and flourished into the 1950s, until that lower State Street area began its slow decline.
A new project has been in the works for the site since the early 1990s. Woodridge Capital Partners purchased the property in 2011.
For a more in-depth story on the hotel, see a recent cover story in the Independent, which can be found here.
See also the hotel’s website, thehotelcalifornian.com.
By Gail Arnold