Hotel Californian – Entrada de Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara


35 State Street Hotel Partners, LLC


Design ARC Architects

Interior Designer

Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design

Project Size

247,953 SF


2019 | LABC Architectural Award, Beyond LA

2018 | ENR Regional Best Project, Restoration

Originally built in 1925, the Hotel Californian was one of the first buildings to be designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style that now defines the city. The new hotel’s white plaster walls and clay tile roofs seamlessly match the historic façade. To preserve a piece of Santa Barbara’s history, the original façade had to be held in place while the rest of the building was demolished. It was then re-engineered, reinforced with carbon fiber column wrappings and reconnected to the new structure. The connecting building utilizes a steel-framed structure to match the tolerances of the existing façade.

The entire project covers three parcels of land at the corner of Mason and State Street. The 114-room, four-star luxury hotel has approximately 20,000 sf of commercial space with open plazas, paseos, gardens and 264 parking spaces. Hotel amenities in the original building include 62 guest rooms, a fully appointed lobby, a gallery, a gym and an opulent spa that rivals the hammams of Marrakech. In addition, the roof-deck pool gives guests a stunning 360-degree view of the ocean, city and hills.

The second building, a Type V structure, serves as the main entrance to the hotel. It contains 58 guest rooms, a lobby, a restaurant, conference rooms, offices, a lounge and a library. Across the paseo, a cast-in-place concrete structure, with both wood and metal stud framing, houses one level of below-grade valet parking and three levels of public parking backing up to a building designed for events. Amenities include a hospitality suite, a pre-function space, a ballroom, a rooftop event deck, a kitchen that serves the entire property, a café and a large open plaza. The building also houses 10,353 sf of commercial space, including a Visitor Center.

Because of a high water table, construction for the Entrada project utilized the Auger Pressure Grouted Displacement (AGP-D) system at depths of up to 90 feet. Other construction challenges included tight site conditions with limited access and an evolving design vision.

Photo credit: Hotel Californian (interiors)
Erik Spike Thiesmeyer (exteriors)