Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Unappealing on the outside, but bright and cheery on the inside
The Inn at East Beach refers to itself as a “boutique motel” and has very affordable rates considering the location near the beach. Situated on a residential street, the exterior looks more like a 70s-style mountain lodge than a vibrant beach hotel. It's set up like a motel (self-parking is in front of rooms) but has been renovated on the inside. The lobby is bright and welcoming, with yellow walls and a tall white wooden ceiling. A fireplace, microwave, and a variety of tea and coffee flavors are available here. Though there isn't a seating area for guests to lounge, there are tables and chairs outside.
In the center of the property, the kidney-shaped pool has pebbled detailing around the edge and is surrounde by modern woven lounge chairs. There are several rooms that overlook the pool and outdoor staircases lead up to the second floor. There are no elevators on the property, so guests with special needs should ask for a first-floor room. While the property doesn't have views of the ocean, guests can smell the sea air and the beach is a short, easy walk away.
Walk to the beach and the Santa Barbara Zoo; bike or cab everywhere else
The Inn at East Beach is separated from the beach by E. Cabrillo Blvd., which runs parallel to the shoreline. While it's not an oceanfront property, it is only a block away from the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara Beach. There are many tourist attractions that are located within three miles, but not necessarily within walking distance. Guests can either rent bicycles at the inn or take a cab to attractions such as Stearns Wharf (1.3 miles) with its local candy shops and waterfront cafes, and State Street (2.3 miles) with more shopping and dining options. Great for families, the charming Santa Barbara Zoo is less than a 10-minute walk away.
Beachy rooms, some with full kitchen areas or gas fireplaces -- but limited ocean views
The 33 rooms at the Inn At East Beach tend to fill up fast during tourist season because of the reasonable rates. Like the lobby, rooms have bright yellow walls and white wooden ceilings with ceiling fans; some have gas fireplaces. The furniture is modern and the beds have colorful tiled mosaic headboards that are inspired by the sea. Bathrooms have double-faucet, large porcelain sinks. All rooms have at least a mini-fridge, but suites come with small kitchen spaces -- complete with an oven, full-size stainless steel refrigerator, four-burner stove top, toaster, double sink, tiny kitchen table, plates, cups, and utensils. Note that the rooms advertised as having "partial ocean views" overlook a street and other buildings, and very little of the ocean can actually be seen.
A small pool and a continental breakfast
The Inn at East Beach has a pool, unlike some other budget-friendly properties in the area. Though the restaurants and shops of Stearns Warf and State Street are a little too far to walk to for most, bicycles are available for rent on-site. A free continental-stye breakfast is served each morning and free newspapers are available in the lobby. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the propriety, and free self-parking in front of rooms. Beach umbrellas, blankets, chairs, and boogie boards are available for guests to take to the beach. There is a washer and dryer on-site for guest use.
The exterior of the two-story, 33-room Inn at East Beach appears outdated and somewhat unappealing, but the inside is modern, clean, and well-maintained. Some of the beach-y, attractive rooms at this budget-friendly property -- billed as a "boutique motel" -- have full-size kitchens. Just note that those advertised as having "partial ocean views" overlook a street and other buildings -- very little of the ocean can actually be seen, but the beach is a short, easy walk away. The Inn at East Beach has a pool, unlike the Castillo Inn, but the Castillo Inn is closer to Stearns Wharf and State Street.