San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property Rating: 4.5 Pearls
San Ysidro Ranch is one of the most exclusive, romantic luxury options in not just California, but the entire country. The cottage-style units are individually furnished with brick fireplaces, stone walls, and four-poster canopy beds (some with private Jacuzzis and outdoor showers). Most units have dazzlingly white tiled bathrooms with walk-in showers and large soaking tubs, and there are in-room spa treatments available. The calm, tree-lined pool, secluded location amid nature, and rustic, romantic ambiance, make this arguably the top boutique in Santa Barbara.
Simpson House Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This quaint and upscale bed and breakfast resides in a quiet residential area in an old Victorian home, originally built in 1872. It features two wrap-around porches on two levels, with wicker chairs overlooking the expansive lush property, and rustic rooms, all with a little patio or balcony, as well as a fireplace. The decor is consistent with the late 1800s, with lovely antiques and brass bathroom fixtures, though at times the floral carpeting or bedding may feel a bit dowdy. The free breakfast (enjoyed in the dining room or from the privacy of guest rooms), evening wine tastings and hors d'oeuvres, and the in-room spa treatments are nice perks.
Spanish Garden Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 23-room Inn of the Spanish Garden isn't the most luxurious hotel in Santa Barbara, but it's certainly one of the most charming boutique options (the fireplaces in each room definitely help). It's situated on a residential street, but lies only three blocks from State Street, Santa Barbara's main drag. This hotel has all the essentials -- continental breakfast, free parking, free Wi-Fi -- but the pool is small, the open-air fitness area is smaller, and there's no on-site restaurant. Still, it may be a good option for visitors seeking a quiet, convenient Spanish-style retreat.