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Redondo Beach, California
January 30, 2005
My husband and I enjoy staying at B&Bs – we like meeting our hosts and the other guests, the rooms are comfy & unique, and the food usually is excellent and hearty. A week or so before our trip to Lotusland, we decided to make it a weekend winery, garden, and B&B trip from our home in Los Angeles.
Santa Barbara is a lovely city, small and upscale, with gorgeous beaches, mountains, shopping, and people – that said, it is NOT cheap to visit. Bed-and-Breakfasts here are costly as well. A previous visit included a stay at the disappointing Old Yacht Club Inn, so we were on the lookout for another reasonably priced B&B. We don’t really like frilly, over-the-top Victorian decorations, so we try to stay away from establishments with that style of decor. The Secret Garden (http://www.secretgarden.com/) seemed to fit – simply decorated rooms, reasonable price, AND availability that accommodated our close to the last-minute decision.
The room itself, Mockingbird, was simply decorated but cosy, with a queen-size bed, wooden floors, faux-finished walls, and a claw-foot tub. The gardens were lush but not flowering at the time of our visit. Parking was easy – the inn has a parking lot accessible through an alley behind the property. The neighborhood is residential, quiet, and safe.
Wine and snacks were available in the afternoon.
We drove from Los Angeles to Santa Ynez and visited some of our favorite wineries, then we headed back south to Santa Barbara and the Secret Garden. Our tour of Lotusland was scheduled for 11am the next morning.
When we went to get breakfast at the appointed time… there was none.
Nobody except other hungry guests.
I couldn’t believe this. After about an hour and a half, after we tried calling the various numbers for the inn, hoping to reach the proprietor, hoping one of those numbers was a cell phone number – the proprietor finally showed up. She offered no explanation and little apology. Dave and I had to leave for our tour – luckily we found a place just off the freeway exit on the way to Lotusland where we were able to gulp down some sandwiches.
We negotiated a rate deduction on our room and did get breakfast the next day, but I'm very hesitant to recommend this bed-and-breakfast.
From journal Santa Barbara Weekend -- Wine & Lotuses
Little Rock,, Arkansas
November 11, 2002
The bed and breakfast was filled with art, a piano, magazines, menus from all local restaurants, and decorated beautifully--we had a great three days! The garden was puncuated by a winding walkway leading through pomagranite and avocado trees, pink camilla bushes, creamy magnolia flowers, and roses.
Breakfast was homemade, and the breads were especially good. Evenings brought French wines and cheeses, olives, walnuts, and other guests, who were colorful and fun. Nighttime snacks included spiced cider and warm brownies. Parking is behind the facility. It was within walking distance to some shops and restaurants.
From journal The Other Wine Country-Santa Barbara