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Santa Barbara has been a honeypot for the rich and famous for decades. Drawn by the warm, Mediterranean climate, 300 days of sunshine each year, and beautiful, palm-lined beaches, it's one of the most stylish cities on the California coast.
Santa Barbara offers a number of chic boutique hotels downtown, near the beaches and in the outlying suburbs and towns, including Goleta, Carpinteria and the Santa Ynez Valley.
Santa Barbara has plenty of attractions, from old Spanish missions, historic museums and modern art galleries to designer shopping malls and a modern dining scene. Most boutique accommodation in Santa Barbara offers WiFi, minibars and room service as standard, while many also feature infinity pools, luxury spas and ocean-facing terraces.
First stop is a visit to the legendary Mission Santa Barbara. A mile north of downtown, this landmark pink-and-cream church dates back to the 18th century and houses a fascinating mission museum, a sacred garden and Chumash art gallery.
From here, it's a ten-minute stroll to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, while the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, off State Street downtown, is well worth an hour or two of your time.
Ranked as one of the wealthiest communities in America, and home to many celebrity faces, the Santa Barbara suburb of Montecito has a chic, small-town vibe. Head to the main street for designer boutiques, stylish coffee shops and upscale SoCal restaurants. But also take time to visit the weird and wonderful Lotusland, a 37-acre botanical garden once belonging to eccentric Polish opera singer, Madame Ganna Walska.
Book a boutique hotel in the Santa Ynez Valley, some 30 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, and you'll be within easy reach of some of Southern California's best wineries. The area is made up of five small towns – Solvang, Buellton and Los Olivos – and there are over 100 wineries and vineyards in the lush hills, most of which offer guided tours and tastings.