Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
What We Love
- Free cruiser rentals to explore the beachfront bike path
- Steps from great shopping on State Street and right across the street from the beach
- Two serene cabana-lined pools, one with ocean views
- READ MORE: 72 hours on Highway 1
What To Know
- Nestled between Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Harbor
- Each room is unique in layout and square footage; bathrooms are on the small side
- A $12 (plus tax) service charge per night will be collected by the hotel at checkout; continental breakfast stocked with pastries and coffee from local shops is included in the fee
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The six red tile–roofed buildings comprising Hotel Milo spread out languidly over an entire beachfront block that runs between touristy Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Harbor. The property has several peaceful garden courtyard retreats with comfy furnishings, gurgling fountains and blooming flora. The main buildings straddle a historic Chumash Indian site that was also once the grand entrance to Santa Barbara’s historic but long-gone Potter Hotel (built in 1903 but burned in 1921). Stately palm trees lining the original path are all that’s left of that era, when travelers first discovered the charms of this seaside tourist town.
Bed and Bath
Each of the 122 guestrooms is unique in size and shape but all are airy, colorful affairs. Wood floors are warmed up with tropical-hued rugs topped by beds with colorful throws and orange headboards. Bathrooms are smallish but up to date and are stocked with L’Occitane toiletries. Since the hotel is all low-rise buildings, property and pool views feel limited, but the picture windows in Ocean View rooms beg to be left open all day.
Milo’s amenities include two cabana-lined pools, one with an ocean view and Jacuzzi, the other with a bocce ball court, and a 24-hour fitness center with more ocean views. There’s also a delicious continental breakfast that features pastries and coffee from local hot spots Deux Bakery and SB Roasting Company, alongside fresh fruit and juice. Travelers can grab one of the free beach cruisers to work off the calories peddling along the beachfront bike path.
In the Area
Sure you can arrive by car or plane, but why burn gas when you can travel by train (the station is close to the hotel) and walk, jog or bicycle to nearby attractions. Located on Stearns Wharf, the new Deep Sea tasting room overlooking the Pacific has the best wine-tasting view in town. If you want to continue imbibing the region’s great vintages, the SB Urban Wine Trail continues nearby. At the end of Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara Shellfish Company is a cozy indoor/outdoor spot that serves fresh, live Maine and local lobster, clams and oysters. The harbor has local fave Brophy Bros., the Endless Summer Bar Cafe (great for kids; good surf memorabilia) and Waterfront Grill (for seafood in a nautical setting). The hotel “embraces” Sambo’s, the popular flagship coffee shop (and only survivor) in the Sambo’s restaurant chain, which was founded in Santa Barbara. Go whale watching on the Condor or visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in the harbor and the Ty Warner Sea Center (“feeling tanks” are popular with little ones) on the wharf.
How to Get There
We were so excited to book this beautiful hotel in Santa Barbara! It's right on the beach and is located right near State Street where all the shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, etc are located. We splurged on an ocean front room. It was very hot the day we checked in and I was shocked to learn that the room had no air conditioning. The hotel staff offered a second free standing fan for the night but I said that I would wait to see if the room cooled off (the temps normally drop substantially in the evening in this area.) We literally dropped our stuff off and left the room. We really liked the look/size of the room. After dinner, we returned to the hotel. The temperature outside was very pleasant but the room was still sweltering hot. I sat on the bed to call the front desk and was horrified when I realized that the window that I needed to keep open for air was directly next to the bed and the room was at the top of the stairs so EVERYONE that needed to be on our floor would be walking past us. Also there was a light at the top of the stairs that not only would make it easier to see into our room, it shone brightly into room making sleeping impossible. If I had been in the room longer when we first arrived, I would have requested another room immediately but we were meeting family and only spent a few minutes in the room before leaving. We stayed out on one of the patios by the fire pits until we were tired, then went up to the room and left the door open while we got ready for bed. We then closed the front window and blinds, turned on the fans and tried to sleep. We discovered that leaving the back window open was a bad idea too because it was so noisy. A garbage truck woke us up before the sun was up. (You could hear a lot of street noise even with the front window closed too.) I've never been so disappointed in a hotel room in all of my life. It's such a shame because the hotel itself is beautiful and the location is great! My rating is based on a combo of the great hotel (Excellent) with our horrible room/no air conditioning (Terrible) - that's how I came up with Average. It's a real shame because the bed was comfortable, the L'occitane bath products are a treat, the towels were soft, you can use their bikes for 2 hours free per day, the grounds are beautiful and breakfast was tasty. But if you can't sleep at night, those things really don't matter. I would be willing to try this hotel again in a cooler month, but definitely in another room away from the main street/beach.
We found this expensive due to additional costs for wifi, parking, etc. We booked via a third party provider, so this was a surprise to us. Great position for beach and town. Air-con was broken so rooms were uncomfortably hot for sleep, but assume that this would soon be rectified.
I stayed 2 nights, staying in a deluxe room looking onto the lawn that was lined by giant palm trees. Nice wine upon arrival with nice and knowledgeable staff. The location is unbeatable, across the street from the ocean walk with an unobstructed view of the ocean. Rooms are unairconditioned but nice old fans are provided that made the room very comfortable despite unseasonably warm weather. Free breakfast is really good and cruiser bikes are provided no charge. I think this is the best hotel in SB.
I will start with he positive. The location of this hotel could not be better. It is right across the street from the beach and just a block from the pier and State St. where you can get on the trolly to downtown. The staff is very friendly and helpful as well.
Everything else is ridiculously overpriced. The price at the hotel is steep but then they add a mandatory $30 valet parking fee (you cannot park yourself), $25 amenities fee (this includes the wifi that doesn't work, and a breakfast of stale bread, cereal, and slices of cold salami. Yuk!) Basically, you pay $25 to ride their cute bikes so make sure you do!! In addition, they charged me $50 to have two queen beds instead of one king bed. What? I have stayed in hundreds of hotels and never been charged for this! The rooms are old and stay very stuffy in the heat. In addition, you are a couple blocks away from either pool or ice machines should you choose to use those. We walked all the way to the pool but when we needed to use the restroom we had to go all the way back to our hotel room.
They also allow dogs which is okay except when the dogs next door and below you are barking and whining the whole time their owners are away.
They did allow you to get into your own car which, when parked by a valet, is very close to the other cars and I watched the people next to me get into their car and smack their door into my brand new car! UGH! I don't see us staying here again.
We stayed for one night. Pre-paied breakfast, but still had to pay for breakfast, use of pools and wine-tasting (not ordered and requested).
The sign said “Premium continental breakfast”, well- it was dry bagels and bread, almost no choices to put on the bread. Not at all a continental breakfast!
No AC in the rooms- it was so incredibly hot- no one could sleep.