Hilton Opens The Doors On Its Refurbished Santa Barbara Property

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Angelenos looking for somewhere to go on a weekend break along the Pacific Coast Highway may now have a new property to check out thanks to a multi-million dollar refurbishment project at an old Doubletree property.

The Fess Parker, A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara has undergone a complete renovation and has reopened its doors as the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.

Image – Hilton

All 360 of the property’s guest rooms have been remodelled and “appointed with ocean and sky-blue tones, driftwood inspired interiors, private balconies or patios“.

According to Hilton:

Centrally located, the landmark property is walking distance from quaint downtown Santa Barbara and easily accessible to Santa Barbara Airport and the Santa Barbara Amtrak Station via complimentary shuttle service. The newly modernized property continues the legacy established by the Fess Parker family while paying homage to the resort’s rich history, stunning location and the unique culture of Santa Barbara.

Image – Hilton

The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort offers 40,000 square feet of “flexible space” (good for meetings and weddings) and, much more importantly for those of us looking to relax, multiple dining options, a spa and a wine tasting room.

Dining options:

  • The Roundhouse – offers a daily changing breakfast menu based on locally sourced California cuisine
  • Rodney’s Grill – offers sustainable seafood and “naturally raised meats are paired with the freshest seasonal ingredients”
  • The Set – offering a bistro-style menu and full service bar
  • Java Del Mar – “casual grab n’ go options”
  • Terraza Del Mar – poolside eatery serving lunch and blended beverages


  • Spa del Mar – offering a variety of massages, facial treatments and salon services
  • A year-round heated outdoor pool and whirlpool
  • 24-hour fitness center with ocean views
  • Business center
  • Gift shop
  • Car rental desk
  • 3 on-site tennis courts

Image – Hilton


The renovations sound as if they’ve brought the property up to a standard that you’d expect of a seaside hotel in Santa Barbara but you’re going to have to be prepared to pay if you want to try the property for yourself.

Standard room rates for a randomly selected weekend in May start at $418 + tax, in June they’re up to $491 + tax and in July the weekend I selected costs $455 + tax per night.

Those rates aren’t cheap (Santa Barbara rarely is) and they don’t include a $25/day resort charge which the hotel adds on to the room rate.

The resort charge includes internet access; 2-hour bicycle rental, a glass of house wine (up to 2 adults), in-room bottled water, a 20% discount on Spa and tennis and local and toll-free calls but I can’t see how any of that is worth $25.

The cost of an award night appears to range between 59,000 and 80,000 points depending on the season and may offer decent value during the more expensive times of year.

A room costing $455 + tax will end up costing over $500 once taxes have been added in….

…..and even if you strip out the resort charge (which you’ll have to pay on an award booking too) you would be getting ~0.65 cents of value out of every Hilton Honors point if you booked the same night for 80,000 points.

Considering Hilton will currently sell you points for 0.5 cents each there’s a good deal to be had here.

Image – Hilton

Bottom Line

I really like Santa Barbara and the renovated property looks nice but I’m not overly encouraged by the nightly rates or the resort fee (I really, really, really hate resort fees)….but award nights may be decent value.