Romance in Santa Barbara County at the Santa Ynez Inn

Set in the small town of Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County, about two hours from LA, the AAA-Four-Diamond Santa Ynez Inn is a 20-room boutique hotel that’s perfect for a romantic getaway. Located within walking distance to several restaurants and wineries—and just a few minutes drive from dozens more—it’s a charming inn in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country.

Santa Ynez Inn exterior

From the exterior, it’s apparent how much care went into the inn’s design. From the wrap-around porch to the brick walkway, from the well-manicured grass to the softly gurgling fountain, every element works together. Upon pulling up, I felt like I was arriving at a luxurious home. Inside, that feeling continued.

The inn’s 20 rooms include Classic, Deluxe, and Premier rooms, all of which have 20-foot ceilings and plenty of room to spread out (the smallest rooms start at 550 square feet). My room, a Premier room, had a King-sized bed, gas fireplace, semi-private patio space, and a large marble bathroom with steam shower, L’Occitane bath products, heated tile floor, and a whirlpool tub. Full-length curtains, a crystal chandelier, and an oversize dark wood bedframe accented the ceiling’s height and made the room feel even more spacious, and a cranberry velvet ottoman and chairs provided ample seating.

Santa Ynez Inn room

The rest of the inn, which was recently updated, has the same elegant decor as the rooms. From the welcoming lobby to the cozy library to the inviting dining area, there was a mix of dark wood, leather, and crystal, with accents like recessed ceilings and antique-style furnishings, which add to the inn’s sophisticated, modern design.

Santa Ynez common areas

Onsite amenities include free WiFi, a TESLA charging station, a full breakfast including made-to-order items such as eggs Benedict and homemade pancakes, an evening wine hour with hors d’oeuvres, and nightly tea and cookies. Guests also receive a “tasting passport” good for complimentary tastings at several nearby wineries.

There’s an onsite spa offering massages, a small outdoor Jacuzzi, and an attached (independently run) restaurant that also offers room service. My favorite onsite amenity, however, was the beautiful 1500-square-foot courtyard dotted with firepits and cozy chairs—the perfect romantic spot to relax with a glass of wine or evening tea and cookies.

The inn is a popular spot for weddings, thanks to that courtyard, as well as the Coach House, a beautiful space with exposed beams, gleaming wood floors, exposed brick, and an intimate seating area and bar. It was easy to see why—my husband and I even fantasized about returning with friends and family to renew our vows in the courtyard and serve a candlelit dinner in the Coach House.

santa ynez inn wedding barn

Santa Ynez isn’t well known outside of California. And even in the state, the area is overshadowed by its northern counterparts, Napa and Sonoma. But I found the area to be beautiful, charming, and packed with things to do—from tasting at local wineries, to exploring nearby Santa Barbara and the Dutch town of Solvang.  And the Santa Ynez Inn was the perfect home base; romantic, stylish, and with plentiful amenities to up the luxury factor, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic weekend in Santa Barbara wine country.

If you go: Room rates start at $230 per night plus a $25 per night resort fee. Make your reservation directly with the hotel or compare rates and book through Priceline.

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