By Bonnie Carroll
Santa Barbara welcomed its newest hotel, Courtyard Santa Barbara Downtown, a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, and Saint Remy restaurant on December 26, 2022. Behind the reinvented hotel is Andrew Firestone, former star of ABC’s The Bachelor and co-founder with Jess Parker of StonePark Capital, a Santa Barbara-based hospitality development company.
Following a complete transformation, the 122-room modern, coastal hotel located in the heart of everything the American Riviera has to offer. Saint Remy will join the local dining scene, featuring a laid-back retro-inspired design and offering Mediterranean coastal cuisine with a locally sourced menu. The property is managed by Azul Hospitality Group, a San Diego based hospitality management platform focused primarily on lifestyle hotels and resorts.
“As Santa Barbara natives, Jess and I are thrilled to re-introduce this classic downtown hotel with timeless mid-century architecture and style,” says Andrew Firestone, co-founder of StonePark Capital. “We are also proud to partner with Azul Hospitality to bring to life the first Marriott branded hotel to the city of Santa Barbara.”
The hotel offers spacious guest rooms with sweeping balcony views of the Santa Ynez Mountains and Pacific Ocean. Courtyard Santa Barbara Downtown features a lush pool, whirlpool, firepit, and two large rooftop decks, both offering sweeping mountain and ocean views.
The pool sparkles, especially after dark, where a welcoming firepit creates a perfect gathering place for guests and little seating areas are ideal for lunch or cocktails. On entering the pool I had a total Deja vu of my first visit to the historic Roosevelt Hotel pool and restaurant in 1979. This Azul hospitality group did their homework and have brought a Hollywood glamour experience to Santa Barbara.
View from the pool (Photo: Bonnie Carroll)
SAINT REMY RESTAURANT
It was a pleasure to cover this opening and review Saint Remy Restaurant, the 50-seat restaurant features the freshest locally sourced ingredients delivered with a Mediterranean coastal twist. It is relaxing and retro-inspired with a comfortable and easy Santa Barbara feel.
The restaurant menu is Mediterranean coastal and is overflowing with uniquely delicious small plates, big bites, salads and what they call handhelds that include items like crunchy mushroom flatbreads and a luscious Israeli Salad that is eaten with a large spoon!
An upstairs patio on the fourth floor was the guests initial meeting place to enjoy Rose of Pinot Noir One Stone or Cabernet with falafel bites and flatbreads as the sun was setting, where opening night guests relaxed before gathering in Saint Remy for an opening preview menu to experience the outstanding service and amenities of the easy and relaxed pool side restaurant.
Guests were invited to enjoy a signature cocktail from a list that included some brilliant, fun and highly imaginative sips including Fever Dream in a Mexican Airport, Put on the Red Light, The Pistol Whip, Gothic Revival, Lapse in Judgement, Green Eyes, Boulevardier, and Stevie Nicks. We opted for the Fever Dream ia Mexican Airport, a combination of Blanco Tequila, Ancho Reyes, Crème de Cacao, and Lemon), a drink I think Ernest Hemingway might have loved. The Saint Remy bar also offers an amazing Old Fashioned, Margarita, Espresso Martini and Earl Grey Martini as well as bubblies including my favorite Brut Champagne Taittinger.
Cocktail titled “Fever Dream in a Mexican Airport” (Photo: Bonnie Carroll)
A lovely collection of red, white and rose’ wines from local area vintners, as well as a few from France (wines) can be paired with plates like lamb meatballs with polenta, chicken puttanesca, crispy short rib hummus, pan roasted salmon, gambas shrimp with pasta, ratatouille, fried calamari, whipped feta Mediterranean salad, sofrito burger and more. The ultimate sweet ending at Saint Remy includes churros con chocolate or Italian cream puffs.
I am so looking forward to returning during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival February 8-18 to sample their breakfast and lunch menu. The Courtyard by Marriott is located two blocks from the historic Arlington Theater, where most SBIFF tributes, panels and films will be shown during the 38th annual event. Reservations for Saint Remy can be made on Tock.
Israeli salad (Photo: Bonnie Carroll)
“Courtyard Santa Barbara is located for both leisure and business travelers to indulge in all that the charming city is known for, including beaches, museums, and wineries,” says General Manager Antonio Morales. “At Saint Remy, every meal is uniformly inventive and crafted with the rich history and culture of the coast. It brings the local dining scene a new hotspot for date nights, private parties and gathering with friends.”
The hotel is a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, nine miles from Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) and two miles from the Amtrak Train Station, and it is a location that is nearby all that Santa Barbara has to offer, including the Old Mission, Museums, Santa Barbara Harbor, The Funk Zone, Stearns Wharf, and the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Average daily rates start at $250 per night. Reservations can be made by calling 805.975.0660. Address: 1601 State Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101.